Text Message Translation Services for Court Proceedings

Polish Translation Services for Workers’ Comp

Certified translations of foreign language text messages play an important role in court proceedings, including workers’ comp cases. Today’s case from the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania brings us to the U.S. Virgin Islands. The name of the case is EJR Properties, LLC v. Malczuk. The claimant, Mr. Malczuk, a native of Poland, had moved to the U.S. Virgin Islands for work. His first language was Polish, and he only spoke limited English. One day he was working at a construction site when he fell several steps down. As a result, he injured his right knee and elbow. He informed his foreman of the incident, who then proceeded to take him to a local store where they obtained a knee brace and some medication. At some point thereafter he traveled to his native Poland where he underwent arthroscopic knee surgery.

Subsequently, he filed a workers’ compensation claim against his employer EJR Properties. Under the workers’ compensation, claimants are entitled to receive compensation for lost wages and medical benefits, incurred due to work-related injuries. Such cases are typically heard in front of a Workers’ Compensation Judge (WCJ) who hears the matter, decides on the matter, as well as on the award amount, if any, for the petitioner.

The petitioner must show that he gave timely notice of his work-related injuries to his employer. In this case, the Workers’ Compensation Judge who heard the claim was satisfied that the petitioner had met the burden of showing that he had given timely notice of the work-related injuries to his employer. The employer appealed the decision to the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB), arguing that the WCJ erred in holding that the petitioner had provided timely notice. The employer basically alleged that the petitioner had not provided a timely notice.

Polish to English Translation of Text Messages

The Polish-speaking petitioner testified that he had called his Polish-speaking employer and informed him about the accident. However, a couple of Polish text messages sent by the petitioner to his employer, the owner of the company, were the point of contention. The Polish-speaking petitioner sent two text messages to the owner of the company, in the Polish language. He mentioned in those text messages that he had a medical appointment concerning his injuries. The English translation of these Polish-language text messages was presented to the court, and a Polish interpreter was present. The petitioner argued that the Polish text messages had put the employer on notice of the work-related injuries, as well as the treatment he sought for these injuries. The Polish-speaking owner, who also testified through a Polish interpreter, argued that he did not believe that those messages had been referencing a work-related injury.

The owner also argued on appeal that the WCJ should not have given preference to the Polish interpreter’s Polish to English translation and interpretation of the text message over his, the owner’s, interpretation.

On appeal, the Workers’ Compensation Board pointed out that the Polish interpreter was not a fact witness but simply a duly sworn interpreter who provided a Polish to English translation of the Polish text messages. Therefore, as per the board’s reasoning, there was no real basis to dispute the accuracy of the Polish interpreter’s translation of the text messages from Polish to English. Hence, the Board was satisfied with the translation provided by the Polish translator.

In essence, the employer did not have any substantive argument against the Polish to English translation provided by the Polish translator/ interpreter. This, once again, underscores the importance of using certified professional translators and interpreters for civil cases involving foreign language text messages and other foreign language documentary evidence.

Admitting Foreign Language Text Messages as Evidence

Apart from the Polish to English translation of the evidentiary text messages, this case also touches on another important issue, namely, admitting foreign language text messages as evidence. This is an area which is becoming more relevant day by day, as most of us communicate regularly with others through text messages. Generally speaking, a text message is admissible into evidence, as long as it is pertinent to the subject matter of the case, and is authenticated to the point that establishes the identities of the sender/receiver.

Get in touch with All Language Alliance, Inc. to obtain certified translation of text messages written in Polish, Chinese, Korean, Mongolian, German, French, Romanian, Russian, Portuguese, Arabic, Spanish, Turkish, Italian, Japanese, Thai, and other foreign languages to be used in the U.S. court proceedings.

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