Challenges of Asian Language E-Discovery
March 26, 2013
As e-discovery reaches into Asia, global companies face unfamiliar challenges. The so-called CJK languages (Chinese, Japanese and Korean) are difficult to search and review. The cultural and political climate of Asian nations differ sharply, and each of these languages presents unique problems.
The key to solving them is to assemble the right team as early as possible. That includes lawyers, case managers, linguists and vendors with demonstrated experience in the host country.
Many Asian companies doing business in the United States are unfamiliar with U.S. discovery rules and practices, and a fundamental premise of the U.S. system – that a full exchange of documents among all parties is the best way to arrive at the truth about a dispute.
In Asia, few if any documents are exchanged before trial. The parties simply bring their witnesses and state their case as best they can. When working with Asian clients, they must be informed early about the duties and processes surrounding e-discovery in the United States. Disclosure is not cheap. The client must be warned that the costs of e-discovery are high in the best of circumstances, and multi-language discovery rarely offers the best of circumstances.
Expect the process to be tedious, time-consuming and expensive. In a multi-language matter, translation is often the single-largest expense, sometimes even more expensive than review. Machine translation (MT) may present an alternative in many cases, depending on the nature, volume and complexity of the data.
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