Man Vs Machine – Factors to Consider in eDiscovery Translation

Machine Translation Vs Human

Times are changing, and firms are embracing technology at a much faster pace. Printed documents, folders, video cassettes and CDs are quickly becoming relics of the past. There are now more places where evidence can be stored or located. One such example would be Social media platforms that are part of our daily business and social spheres, which have led to new ways of creating and storing potential evidence.

We now live in a digital world. More and more businesses, corporations and governments are storing their data electronically. The statistics are stunning – electronic data volumes are doubling every two years.

In the legal industry, this means whole new categories of information to sift through as part of the eDiscovery process. Electronic data can include, but is not limited to: emails, documents, presentations, databases, voicemails, audio and video files, social media and other websites, from various electronic devices, coming from all over the world and in multiple languages. This can present issues for legal teams and we are seeing a significant increase in the types of litigation cases that we work on at Sky, particularly those requiring translation or transcription services.

Identifying and collecting relevant documents during eDiscovery can produce crucial information for your case, but there can be issues with foreign language documents. Law firms are now global businesses, operating in multiple countries and jurisdictions, and this issue is arising frequently. In such cases, you will need to consider the following four factors to determine how to proceed with your translation needs:

TIME – If you’re working on a deadline with hundreds of documents to translate, machine translation will give you a high-level overview of each document. It is also helpful to highlight which documents need further human review and translation.

COST – Human translation is more accurate and reliable than machine translation to date, but costs significantly more and takes longer to produce results. Cost proportionality needs to be considered.

ACCURACY – For technical and legal documents, full human translation will provide the most accurate results to date, but the software is rapidly improving with the advent of artificial intelligence. However, a combination of machine translation followed by human post-editing is usually less expensive and the best compromise to meet your needs, especially for documents that do not need to go to court.

CONFIDENTIALITY – Human translators sign confidentiality agreements upon hiring, but many machine translation services do not guarantee confidentiality for the data you upload, as a result, it’s important to check where the data is held.

Every eDiscovery translation project is unique and you will never find a solution that suits every unique case. It’s all about striking the right balance between accuracy, cost and speed. Due to the high cost of human translation and length of time required to undertake translation work, it is more expensive and takes longer to produce positive results than auto translation and transcription tools. That’s why at Sky, we are seeing a use of hybrid models involving both lawyers and machine software. The software is run initially, with the lawyers following up to review post-editing. A combination of human translation with machine translation can produce a level of quality sufficient to meet your needs, especially within a limited timeframe and budget.

Sky has invested in the best of breed solutions that can effectively and efficiently translate multi- language documents and transcribe audio files with software plug-ins that integrate with our Relativity software. This enables those files to be quickly converted in the review platform at a fraction of the cost of a human reviewer.

We have seen some excellent results with cases requiring this type of solution. So, the answer to the question of man versus machine is man and machine – working together. This is the best solution when it comes to translating and transcribing foreign language documents and audio files.


Leave a comment