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How Machine Translation (MT) Can Help e-Discovery?

Updated: Aug 28, 2023



How can Machine Translation with Help E-Discovery?


If there’s one word to describe electronic discovery — or as it’s more commonly referred to, e-Discovery — it’s laborious.

A process where you identify, collect, and produce electronically stored information (ESI) for use in lawsuits and legal proceedings, e-Discovery is almost always a messy and complicated affair.


After all, the process involves going through thousands of ESI such as audio and video files, databases, social media content, and website pages. A Sisyphean task, really.

But, do you know what’s worse than e-Discovery? Well, that would be e-Discovery with multilingual content. Alas, considering our increasingly globalised world, this is almost a certainty in most cross-border litigations.


Having said that, all hope isn’t lost yet. Instead, all you need is the right tool. And, in this case, there’s no better tool than machine translation (MT).

Below, we take a look at some of the common snags in multilingual e-Discovery and how MT can help.


1. Volume

In today’s digital world, the e-Discovery process is marred by complexity. For starters, the ESI comes in a range of formats. That’s everything including emails, word documents, and data from a hard drive. As you can see, that covers a lot of ground.


But, that’s not all. There’s also the sheer volume of data involved. In some cases, we’re talking about terabytes of data to be processed. To put it into perspective, one terabyte can hold about 85,899,345 pages of Word documents.


Obviously, this task is an insurmountable one if your translation strategies rely on only human translators. Even if you could hire enough translators — and, that’s highly unlikely — the costs would be devastating. Plus, the high costs would be particularly hard to swallow when you find that most of the translated content is irrelevant.


This is where an MT comes in incredibly helpful. As its name suggests, it’s a machine — it can handle large volumes of content. In fact, this is even one of the reasons for the creation of MT as a whole.


2. Rapid Turnaround

Sure, people joke about the legal world and its tortoise-like pace. But, here’s the deal: once court dates are fixed, things go from zero to a hundred fast. And, one of the first things you need to settle is e-Discovery.


Here’s where MT’s speed is very much appreciated. It can easily translate pages and pages of documents within seconds. An attorney can then glance through to determine if the documents are relevant or worthy of a second look.


3. Language Identification

Some would say that in terms of languages, the ones that matter the most are CJK (that’s Chinese, Japanese, and Korean) and FIGS (French, Italian, German, and Spanish).

But, as we’ve already established, e-Discovery is often a global affair — especially for cross-border litigations. Hence, the languages involved are diverse and vary from case to case. There could even be multiple languages within one document.


An MT is particularly helpful here as it saves you the headache of having to identify the languages. Instead, a good MT will automatically identify the language and translate the content on your behalf.


In a Nutshell

If you’d like the help of MT in your e-Discovery process, get in touch now.

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