Certified Translation for Discovery to Be Used in Foreign Courts

Japanese to English Translation Under Section 1782

Certified translation of foreign language legal documents to English plays an important role in litigating international defamation and libel cases. Today we have two matters which span the globe, from Japan to California. Both of these matters are not actual cases, but are petitions made to the court, specifically the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

In re Application of Planning and Development of Education, Inc. 2022,  the entity Planning and development of education, Inc., d/b/a Kaichi-juku Naka Sakuragaoka School (“the School”), is searchable on Google, and has a Google Maps business profile. The Google Maps option lists the location and contact information of the school, as well as reviews given by users. A reviewer needs to have a Google account to post a review, and can do so using a pseudonym.

Google, headquartered in California, maintains the true identities of such users. In August of 2021, two reviewers, under pseudonyms, gave a one-star rating to the school, as well as negative reviews. The reviews were, of course, written in Japanese. Both Japanese reviews referenced the arrest of the school administrator, apparently for stealing underwear. The school then made an application/petition to this Court for authorization to conduct U.S. discovery by serving a subpoena on Google, to determine the identities of the people who had posted the allegedly fake and defamatory reviews. Under this subpoena, Google would be compelled to provide the identity of the reviewers.

The school also contended that it intended to sue the reviewers for defamation, back in Japan. The school alleged that the administrator, under consideration, had been arrested in 2016, not for underwear theft, but for mistakenly touching a neighbor’s clothes hanging on the clothesline. Notably, the administrator was not even prosecuted for that incident. Contrary to what had been alleged in the Google reviews, the school pointed out that the administrator was not under arrest at the time. In filing its petition, the school provided a certified English translation of the Japanese language reviews. Thereafter, the Court authorized the service of a subpoena by the Japanese school on Google, to obtain the U.S. discovery. The school’s petition was granted because it met the criteria of 28 U.S.C. § 1782, which allows a foreign party to obtain discovery, for use in a foreign proceeding, from a person living in the district where the U.S. District Court is located.

Japanese to English Translation of Second Petition under Section 1782

The second petition, In Re Ex parte Application of Haruki Hattori, also involved a Japanese petitioner, and Google. A mental health clinic, based in Japan, had a business profile and appeared on Google. An anonymous user posing to be a patient of the clinic, also posted a negative review on its Google profile. The Japanese clinic then made an application to the Court to seek authorization to serve a subpoena on Google, in order to determine the identity of the person who had posted the review. The clinic said that it needed the identity of that person so it could file suit in Japan against him. The clinic wanted to sue the reviewer for alleged harm caused to its reputation by the posting of that review.

The review was posted in Japanese, and the clinic provided its certified English translation to the Court. The Court granted that application as well, under Section 1782. The Court found that all the requirements of Section 1782 were met by the clinic, as this foreign entity was seeking discovery from a U.S. party located in the District in which the Court is located, for use in a foreign proceeding.

Far-Reaching Uses of Certified Japanese to English Translations

Both of the above matters show us the importance of certified Japanese to English translation and its far-reaching uses. The reviewers who had posted the alleged fake reviews in the Japanese language probably would have never thought that their reviews would be translated to English and could end up in a U.S. court, but that is exactly what happened in both cases. Never underestimate the power of certified legal translation!

Contact All Language Alliance, Inc. to obtain certified legal translation from any foreign language to English, including certified translations from Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, Chinese, Turkish, Romanian, Russian, Polish, Croatian, Haitian Creole, German, Portuguese, French, and other languages to obtain U.S. discovery for use in foreign courts.  Get in touch with our certified translation, Apostille, and interpreting service to retain court-certified interpreters in all foreign languages for in-person depositions and Zoom depositions.

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