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Morningside Blog On Legal Document Translation Cited By Cornell Law School

Apr 19, 2012

Morningside is honored that a blog we wrote on legal document translation costs and how a case before the Supreme Court, Taniguchi v. Kan Pacific Saipan, could affect them has been cited in a publication of the Cornell University law School.

The case could have broad ramifications on whether courts can award the legal translation costs related to foreign-language document translation to the winning party.

Currently, federal law states that the losing party in a lawsuit may have to reimburse the winning party for certain costs including “compensation of interpreters.” The question SCOTUS must now decide is if these costs include those related to legal document translation and written translation in general.

The arguments at the Supreme Court apparently centered on how ‘translation’ vs. ‘interpretation’ is defined. Taniguchi argued that only oral translation costs can be taxed based on the standard definition of ‘interpreter.’ Ken Pacific, and the 9th circuit court which sided with it, claimed that ‘interpreters’ includes those who provide written document translation as well. At most translation companies, we see a clear distinction between interpretation which is strictly oral translation, and translation which includes document translation and translating other written materials. But several judges on the Supreme Court apparently see things differently, and the court may decide against rigid textualism in favor of a broader definition of interpretation that includes written translation as well.

The court’s decision on awarding document translation costs will be made public in several months. We will be sure to update our readers at that time.

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