By United Language Group
Join us in getting to know Andrew Batman of VIA’s eDiscovery Group.
Q: Why should law firms and corporations use foreign language eDiscovery consultants?
A: eDiscovery processing has matured significantly and become more commoditized. When I first started it could cost $2,500 to process a gigabyte of data. Now you can do it for approximately $200. As a result, eDiscovery tools once used solely for litigation are now being repurposed for M&A due diligence, compliance and HR, network/cyber security and enterprise social media management.
However, as business becomes increasingly global, it is more common to encounter foreign language documents during the eDiscovery process, which brings a whole new set of challenges. For example, different countries have different slang for bribery, which means you can’t always directly translate your English search terms into the different language. So it’s essential to have a partner you can trust to help you decipher the culture code and effectively translate your foreign language data.
Q: Tell us about your background and what led you to becoming an eDiscovery translation consultant.
A: I got my start in eDiscovery at NTI, where I worked with the military and federal government to provide computer forensics tools and advisory services. We offered more than 30 different tools, most of which were DOS or Windows based so I received significant training in both computing languages. I also completed Formal Computer Forensics Expert Witness training from Tsongas Litigation Consulting, Inc. and hold multiple Computer Forensics and eDiscovery Certifications. Now, I get to help law firms and organizations navigate foreign language multinational litigation, M&A, compliance and other cross-border matters.
Q: What value does a cross-border eDiscovery consulting team bring to a client?
The eDiscovery industry has really evolved. There are so many tools and apps available. But just because they are available doesn’t mean you need all of them for your project. Plus, courts are being less forgiving when dealing with foreign language content. So you need to have a process for your foreign language documents that is well defined, defensible and repeatable. For example, you should run a key word search in the native language, as well as once the documents are translated into English, and then cross-reference both data sets to make sure you’ve caught all the pertinent documents.
Having a reliable partner who can help you identify a process specific to your needs and manage your project accordingly is essential. VIA’s project managers have been rated number one in the world by companies like Oracle and Cisco and we have a 99% on-time delivery rate, which is something that is typically not seen in eDiscovery over the years.
Q: Since we’re getting to know your work, it would be great to get to know a little about you. What is your ideal day outside of the office?
A: I have been married for more than 20 years. My wife and I have five kids. So, most of my time outside of work is typically spent with my family enjoying a variety of sporting activities that my kids participate in including going to Friday night football games, basketball games, wrestling matches and gymnastics matches. In my free time, I also enjoy “wrenching” on vintage 60s muscle cars, as well as racing them at the track.
Most companies require certain types of paperwork for their employees – HR documents detailing job descriptions, benefits, and employee expectations – which should be provided in the employees’ native language. Manufacturing is no exception, but also requires its own subset of documents that are unique to the industry.
Manufacturing documents tend to be highly technical, and include equipment user manuals, training materials, and operating instructions. Due to the technical and repetitive nature of the industry’s jargon, manufacturers would benefit from using translation memories and content management systems to reduce translation time and cost, and would also need to work with a linguist who is a subject matter expert in order to translate accurately.
In the manufacturing industry, safety is of paramount importance, especially when working with heavy industrial equipment and machines. As a result, employees must undergo rigorous training to conform to safety standards and minimize the risk of injury.
Training materials might include a manual, an in-person presentation, a series of videos, or any combination thereof, and should be provided in employees’ native languages to ensure comprehension.
In addition, as technologies such as cloud computing, robotics, and 3-D printing gain more of a foothold in manufacturing, it will be essential for employees to learn how to use these new tools. Using the equipment correctly can also increase production and lead to better quality control.
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Improving Service in Call Centers
Call centers usually handle requests for customer service and sales. If a manufacturer has operations globally, their call centers are likely to field inquiries from a variety of language speakers.
The call center should be equipped to communicate using languages in the target markets, as well as have the resources to speak any other language it comes across. For example, a manufacturer that has operations in Japan, the USA, and South Korea should work with a call center that has in-house Japanese, English, and Korean speakers. However, callers might not speak any of those languages.
In these instances, the call center should work with a language solutions partner (LSP) to identify an appropriate interpreter who can provide broader language access needs.
Communicating With Foreign Suppliers
The nature of manufacturing is that raw materials are sourced from the places that can make them for the least amount of money, and then compiled in a manufacturing plant so the end product can be created.
This means that individual commodities – which might be bolts and screws or materials like wood, steel, or plastic – can come from a variety of countries that may speak different languages than the employees in the manufacturing plant itself. Effective language services ensure that all suppliers and manufacturers involved in production can communicate about the proper quantity and quality of materials, minimize any issues related to billing, and develop strong working relationships.
As economies change and new regions become major players in the manufacturing industry, the importance of language access will remain a constant.