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Approximately 99 percent of all data and documents created by U.S. businesses today are in electronic form. As these businesses become more global in scope, they send and receive more foreign-language documents. Thus, when a business dispute, a government investigation or litigation arises today, foreign-language documents often are at the epicenter.

Foreign-language documents present a host of challenges for even the most technically savvy attorney. Some challenges are obvious: For starters, foreign documents must be accurately translated. But even a literal translation may not capture a writer’s exact meaning. For example, many Spanish-speaking countries use different words to describe the same thing. A Venezuelan might refer to a computer as a “computadora,” while a Spaniard would call it an “ordenador.” Translators and translation-software programs need to understand these subtle differences to capture an author’s intended meaning.

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