Some Success Stories
Translation for Forensic Accounting
“Forensic” means “suitable for use in a court of law.” Forensic accounting is the subfield of accounting that analyzes the financial and operating data of involved parties to assist law firms, insurance companies, etc. in building cases and/or evaluating claims. Analysis may be used to determine, for example, whether all those costs listed in an insurance claim are valid or whether sales really fell due to the alleged price fixing. Often the documents involved are obtained by court order and were never meant to be seen by outsiders.
So translating for this field can present some unique challenges.
After the huge earthquake and tsunami hit northeast Japan in March, 2011, large insurance claims arrived at international insurance companies. The supporting documents were of every kind—-some handwritten, some poorly copied, and some for industrial claims consisted of the same company form filled in for hundreds of jobs by dozens of vendor, relating to cleanup and repairs.
The insurance companies gathered the supporting docs and enlisted the forensic accountants to analyze them. The accountants called on us for translation. At JTT we provide these firms with cost-effective solutions. We find ways to avoid “blanket translation” of volumes of documents. Our know-how, born of experience, enables us to work with forensic accountants to streamline the translation work, giving them the information they need while avoiding unnecessary work.
Translation for Compliance
Overseas operations of American firms are not free from scrutiny by various US agencies. And most American firms are conscientious in ensuring that their foreign operations and affiliates maintain the same high standards that they do here in the US. Compliance extends from product labeling, to operator manuals (that must have the proper cautions and warnings), to advertisements, and even to employee policies and manuals. And monitoring such publications requires translation.
JTT works with compliance departments to provide cost-effective solutions. We extract the text from label artwork and deliver translations keyed back to the original, thus avoiding the cost of recreating a complete document. In translating operator manuals likewise, we save clients money, while enabling them to document that they are (a) aware of every product claim their foreign operations are making and (b) have verified that all necessary warnings and cautions are in place.
Listening to your Japanese user’s voice
A Silicon Valley medical instrumentation company (Company M) is just entering the Japanese market. They have a distributor who sells to specialized clinics who in turn use the equipment to perform a unique new kind of treatment. Working through a distributor, it is hard for Company M to evaluate the performance of the individual clinics and even harder to determine if end-users are satisfied with the treatment.
Working closely with the client, we found that a website in Japan, called “Kuchi-Komi” (word of mouth) is used by patients to discuss treatments for various medical and cosmetic conditions. We identified a Kuchi Komi thread dealing with Company M’s product and its efficacy. The thread was quite extensive and it would have cost many thousands of dollars for a blanket translation of it all. Here we offered the client “value-added translation.” We agreed on a limited budget and educated the translator about the client’s objectives, which were to gain understanding of the patients' experience and whatever comments they had on the various clinics. The translator used his initiative to pick out the high-value content for translation into English and skip over repetitive or irrelevant material. Within the limited budget, Company M was able to hear their client’s voice and learn how to improve their product and strengthen some of the weaker clinics. This inside knowledge also gave them leverage in pressuring their Japanese distributor to perform better.
Saving money when filing patents in Japan
A high tech firm (Company K) files dozens of patents in Japan each year. Their procedure had been to have the patent law firm in Japan handle the whole project, but they eventually realized that the cost of translation was much higher than what they were paying to have us translate other technical documents for them. They learned that this was not only due to the strength of the Yen (at that time 80Y to the dollar), but also due to the additional markup the Japanese law firm added to the cost of translation (even though it was done by an outside contractor in Japan.) We explained to the client that the team we use for into-Japanese patent translation are native speakers of Japanese, are highly technical (in several cases, PhDs), and have extensive experience with the unique work of drafting patents in a form that satisfies Japan’s rules on terminology and format.
The Japanese law firm initially resisted Company K’s plan to use the JTT team, but after we did a no-cost sample which exceeded the Japan side’s standards, they acquiesced. Since then we have worked closely and smoothly with the Japanese law firm while saving Company K a lot of money.
Cutting the cost of litigation support
During the discovery phase of an international law suit, various documents are requested from the Japanese side. But they have no motivation to pick exactly those documents that help the US side build its case, so boxes and boxes of Japanese documents are delivered, most of which are irrelevant. In such cases, blanket translation of these can be exorbitantly expensive, so we work closely with law firms to implement a system that achieves the goal of identifying and translating the critical documents while spending as little cost as possible to eliminate the chaff.
In the case of an international law firm (Company W), we put together a team of bilingual document reviewers and, working with the attorneys, trained them on the gist of the case, the key words, concepts, and culprits. Working onsite, they sorted out relevant documents and a team of translators working next to them did summaries of those documents. Finally, when the attorneys had reviewed those and isolated the key documents for use in court, we made complete translations of those, double-checked them, and provided translation certificates. After months of work, the case went to court and our side won, to the tune of a $400 million judgment.