Legal Translation Services
for Arbitration of Disputes in Asia

Korean to English Legal Translations and
English to Korean Translation Services
for Arbitration

The Growing Need for Korean to English Legal Translation Services

There’s a growing need for Korean to English legal interpreter services for arbitration, and for English to Korean legal interpreters. A huge industry, not as well known to Westerners, is the international arbitration industry in Asia. Asian companies, and western companies that have a presence in Asia, need objective venues in which to settle large corporate disputes. The two top international arbitration venues in Asia have long been Hong Kong and Singapore. However, Seoul, South Korea, is making a play to provide stiff competition to those cities as the next best international arbitration venue.

Seoul’s attempt to become an Asian hub for international arbitration has huge implications for litigation firms who need legal translation services to assist with their client’s arbitration cases in Asia. Indeed, law firms who practice in Asia, or have clients in Asia, need to secure a legal translation company that can provide accurate, reliable, quality English to Korean translations, and Korean to English translation services as Seoul’s presence expands on the Asian arbitration stage.

South Korea Moves To Become An Attractive Arbitration Venue

South Korea established the Seoul International Dispute Resolution Centre (SIDRC) in 2012. Since then, South Korea has been working hard to put the SIDRC on the map for arbitration.

Indeed, South Korea revised its national Arbitration Act, and its arbitration board, the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board (KCAB), revised its arbitration rules specifically to make South Korea a more arbitration-friendly place to handle international disputes. In addition, the KCAB issued a new Code of Ethics for Arbitrators, and it is holding seminars, lectures, and conferences abroad to market its new focus on international arbitration. In fact, the KCAB staged a number of promotional events in China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Mongolia, Japan, the U.S., Germany and Austria.

Moreover, KCAB opened branches in Shanghai and Los Angeles. Also, the South Korean government is taking a more “hands on” approach to supporting the KCAB by giving guidance on how to promote the arbitration industry with a five-year plan to develop arbitral institutions, improve the existing arbitration-related facilities and infrastructure, and promote Seoul as a safe place for international arbitrations.

The Pros and Cons to Seoul as an International Arbitration Venue

The advantages to Seoul being a hub for international arbitration are many. Seoul is a Model Law-based legal framework, has effective and supportive national courts, has a solid arbitration institution with newly revised and modernized arbitration and ethics rules, and has an increasing number of seasoned arbitrators.

While Hong Kong and Singapore are common law jurisdictions, Seoul has a civil law system which leads to more stability and familiarity with the legal framework in which an arbitration will occur. Further, South Korean companies provide a sufficient amount of arbitration business to help Seoul push into the international realm.

There are, of course, disadvantages to Seoul. First, Seoul falls far behind Hong Kong and Singapore with regard to English language skills. Seoul is trying to catch up to the other cities with regard to English proficiency, so there are serious language barrier issues. Also, some legal commentators note that there may be an issue with regard to judicial independence in South Korean courts. There have been a number of cases where a South Korean court was reluctant, or refused, to enforce a damages award against a South Korean company. Yet, other commentators who have knowledge of South Korea’s arbitration industry find that litigants can count on the independence and objectivity of the KCAB and the South Korean courts. Time will tell how objective the courts really are on the international scene.

Will Seoul Become The Next Hong Kong or Singapore?

In sum, Seoul is doing everything it can to become a popular venue for international arbitration. Can it measure up to Hong Kong and Singapore? In the short term, probably not. That said, 15 years ago, Singapore was not that popular a venue for international arbitration, and a lot has changed in that time.

It appears that Seoul’s focus right now is to get all of its arbitration “ducks in a row,” including facilities, rules, laws, court buy-in, and infrastructure to attract the type of arbitration activity it ultimately wants. Although Seoul is still in the shadow of Hong Kong and Singapore, the laser-like focus Seoul has on improving its arbitration platform will only inure to its benefit as it seeks to compete in the next decade.

Implications for Legal Translation Services

The public push by Seoul to attract international arbitration in Asia will invariably mean more international arbitrations occurring there. As noted above, Seoul’s English proficiency is an issue compared to Hong Kong and Singapore. Accordingly, legal translation services that can translate complex legal documents from English to Korean, and Korean to English become more important than ever.

All Language Alliance, Inc. has the expertise you need in Asian translations. With expertise in myriad languages, we can handle any arbitration that your firm has in Seoul. We have English to Korean legal translation experts who can efficiently provide you with the document translation services you need, when you need them. In fact, our strength is in speaking the language of the law, and ensuring that discovery and other technical documents are accurately and appropriately translated. If your client has an arbitration in Seoul, we can be with you every step of the way providing multilingual support in Asian languages and European languages.

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