Can Translation Software Help Legal Services Agencies Deliver Legal Information More Effectively in Foreign Languages and Plain English?: An Evaluation of Existing Translation Technology and Recommendations for Future Use

This report, prepared by a legal aid association in the United States, looks at the current and possible uses of translation tools to translate legal documents and forms, including fully-automated machine translation, and translation memory management software. Translation memory re-uses whole phrases that an expert has previously translated. The authors provide an overview of the tools available at the date of writing (2013) for translating legal information in the context of community legal services.

One recommendation of note from the report was that the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), a nation-wide legal aid organization, look into developing a web-based collaborative translation tool for use by non-profits, courts, and other justice organizations. The authors suggested that the LSC convene a focus group of technologically-skilled community members to discuss the possibilities for selecting a platform, hosting hardware to perform the statistical analysis, and getting contributions of plain language legal documents from justice community partners.