Multinational M&A Review Often Requires Translated Documents

Until recently, according to the authors, the FTC viewed the matter of non-English-language documents during the discovery process with some flexibility. Today, the FTC often makes a second request, in which it requires translated documents.

The prevalence of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) cases is another factor in the growing need for translation processes. Legal representatives are now tasked with proving their compliance efforts not only in their U.S. headquarters, but also in their foreign operations. The ability to do that hinges on access to translated documentation of business practices abroad.

Machine translation is essential for managing the multilingual documents involved in discovery, M&A, patent litigation and other matters. Relying on machines for triage early in the translation process is one strategy. This can be coupled with various technologies to cull down the data set. Then human experts can carefully translate a smaller set of documents.

The authors provide examples of how translation services factored into several cases. These include a second request from the FTC that involved 400 documents in 12 languages and came only three days before a critical government deadline, and a case involving an FCPA investigation that required the translation of relevant documents from Chinese into English.

The authors note that international companies need attorneys that can practice law in the United States, so they value hiring U.S.-based counsel. With this practice, translation becomes important in collaborating between the company abroad and domestic counsel.