E.g., 04/07/2020
E.g., 04/07/2020

Google Translate Satisfies Fact-finding Research for U.S. Government Agency Proceedings

Note from Hans Fenstermacher, GALA’s CEO:

While having lunch with my friend, David Schwartz, recently, the subject of machine translation came up. “I use Google Translate a lot,” said David, an international trade and regulatory compliance attorney with Thompson Hine LLP. It seems, Google’s machine translation engine has even served as a sort of “smoking gun,” helping David advance some of his international trade cases.

I asked David to write a short description of how he uses Google Translate. His response is below. What do you think? Is David’s experience like others’? Is Google Translate filling a void, changing the landscape, both, or neither?


Google Translate Satisfies Fact-finding Research for U.S. Government Agency Proceedings

By David M. Schwartz - Thompson Hine LLP

As an attorney, I appreciate accurately translated legal documents by companies authorized and certified to provide them. I have also learned, however, to value Google Translate as a research tool in fact-finding for U.S. government agency proceedings involving foreign companies.

I have been using Google Translate frequently the past few years to uncover information on foreign-language websites for use in administrative litigation matters. Placing the Google Translate version of the webpage and the URL link on the record of a proceeding will usually satisfy a government agency arbiter, who will presume the veracity of the translated information unless the adverse party can show that it is wrong. No further authentication of the translation is needed.

Google Translate provides a shortcut not only for the attorneys but also for the agency arbiters who engage in independent research – especially when dealing with foreign-language websites of companies that do not offer English-language versions. These situations often arise when Chinese companies are involved in the proceedings.

Also, even if an English-language version of the website or the targeted webpage is available, I have often found telling differences between the foreign-language version and the English-language version from Google Translate that will lead to new paths of inquiry in the proceeding.

While Google Translate is no substitute for the translation of official legal documentation, it can and does serve as a quick and inexpensive research tool for fact-finding investigations.

Feel free to reach David Schwartz at [email protected].  

NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of GALA.