A Legal Translation Case Study: Managing High-Profile Disputes

April 21, 2022

International law firms have to deal with cases that involve multiple languages on a regular basis. Often these consist of the translation of hundreds of thousands of words. Furthermore, turnaround times can be short and in-country security regulations can present additional barriers. How do translation providers manage this type of requirement? We explore the process below.

court house brussels

The Background: What is involved in this type of legal translation project?


When world-leading international law firms with dozens of offices in multiple countries service an impressive portfolio of clients worldwide, dealing with many different languages is an everyday occurrence.


Success in these prominent, international litigation battles, where matters often involve hundreds of plaintiffs, depends heavily on lawyers acquiring a comprehensive and timely understanding of foreign documentation before presenting their pleadings before a high-profile court.


With prohibitive time constraints often influencing a case, quality and speed are of the absolute essence.


Another challenge can be the sensitivity and high-security setup required for these matters, with the clients often given only a few days’ notice of the courts’ decision on how to hold and process documentation. For example, courts may rule that all documentation pertaining to a case must remain on native soil only. This decision means that no material can be disseminated by email, via secure websites or any other means outside of the country, posing significant challenges for the law firms when evaluating the case material.


The Challenges:  What is needed from the translation provider to ensure a successful result?


The translation of hundreds of thousands of words in often little more than a week demands tight control and a seamless quality control procedure. Legal translation providers are left with only a few days to recruit and set up teams of native, in-country translators, editors and proofreaders with the relevant subject-specific and legal expertise.


With pressure to deliver a successful case result, clients often seek guaranteed turnaround of files, which may include specialised documentation, such as highly sensitive reports, medical or financial records and witness statements, in record time.


Furthermore, with these types of cases often involving disputes worth billions of pounds, law firms need a round-the-clock service with zero room for error or inaccuracy.


Due to the sensitive nature of these types of cases, legal translation providers may need to apply lateral thinking and flexible project management, in addition to translation expertise in the relevant subject matter and knowledge of litigation practices, to deliver a solution.


To fulfil these project requirements, legal translation providers must react extremely quickly and consult meticulously with the client to design a bespoke solution.

binding files documents

The Solution: The infrastructure, process and expertise that enable success


With such complexity and volume in these projects, the translation provider’s project management team needs to implement a fully comprehensive recruitment programme. This process includes sourcing experienced native linguists to be present in-country within a short time frame, allowing them to turn around the necessary legal translation work to meet the deadline. An equally strong team of English native translators and editors also need to be put in place. As when servicing any client from a highly specialist field, conducting a rigorous selection process and testing the most experienced translators needs to be executed.


To ensure the infrastructure of these temporary teams of linguists operates seamlessly and the high levels of security are maintained around the clock throughout the duration of the project, an operations director or person of a similar level of responsibility also needs to be present in-county to oversee the process.


With these measures in place and teams of translators working simultaneously on the same documents, high volumes of words can be turned around each day while consistently retaining the necessary quality. Teams of proofreaders work on a shift basis, offering 24-hour availability to provide quality assurance and ensure that deliveries can be made on a rolling basis.


The Resource:  Mission Translate, the legal language specialist


Mission Translate is a specialist in supporting law firms and corporate legal departments with their multilingual legal activity. We can adapt to this level of client demands and can scale up at the shortest notice while creating a bespoke process that supports the success of our clients’ cases.


To learn more about our approach to managing the translations required for high-profile international disputes, please get in touch with our team.

  • US: +1 (347) 391 0672

European Office:

Kandoy House, 2 Fairview Strand, Dublin 3, D03 R8P3

  • EU: +44 (0) 121 296 9870