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Japanese Litigation
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Are you going to be preparing Japanese witnesses for depositions? If so, if you do not have a top-flight interpreter with both deposition experience and technology savvy, you or your client may not get the value they expect and deserve.

An additional important factor to consider when participating in depositions in Japan is the problem of getting your interpreter to the venue. If you were planning to use an interpreter from the US who is a US citizen, you will need to address not only the travel expense problem, but also the non-trivial problems of obtaining a deposition visa.


Specialization in Interpreting for Patent Litigation  Additionally, since Kirameki Translations specializes in interpreting for litigation and other legal matters involving Japanese entities and has extensive deposition experience, we have a commitment to being a team member for the duration of the assignment, and welcome the opportunity to provide whatever language services and related assistance you might need during the course of the deposition, both in the deposition room and outside. We can also provide translations of discovery documents that are expected to be used in depositions. Naturally, you will want to contact us early about discovery document translation.

Extensive Real-World Experience  It is extremely difficult to interpret a deposition of a witness living in the real world of industry and business if you have not lived and worked in that world yourself. Unlike many interpreters you might encounter helping your adversary examine your witness, we having been in both research and business environments and, having managed businesses in Japan, will not often be puzzled by the real-world responses of Japanese deponents.

Language Ability  Although you naturally expect an interpreter working with Japanese and English to have superior ability in both languages, depositions taken in Japan are often hampered by deficiencies in the area of spoken English on the part of the interpreter. The record is in English, of course, and you naturally need a clean record of testimony in English, and the best way to achieve that is to use an interpreter who speaks native-level English. The record will reflect only the English interpreting of the deponent's responses as obtained through the interpreter. A poor interpreter is not the weak link you want to introduce into the process. This applies to the checking interpreter as well.

Economy and Logistics

Eliminating Visa Application Problems  Since our native-English-speaking interpreters are residents in Japan, you will not be required to go through the messy process of applying for a visa for your interpreter, as you will need to when taking a US citizen interpreter to Japan for depositions.

Eliminating Costly Airfares  Being based in Japan, our interpreters can get to any deposition venue in Japan for a tiny fraction of the cost of flying an interpreter from the US. We additionally can get to venues such as Korea more economically than someone coming from the US, and have visited Korea, Taiwan, Guam, and Hong Kong numerous times for Japan-related depositions for which it was not possible to obtain a deposition room reservations and visa for depositions in Japan.

The Value of Specialization

Because there are only three usable deposition rooms in Japan (one at the US Embassy in Tokyo and two at the US Consulate in Osaka), many interpreters you encounter in taking and defending depositions in Japan have very little or no deposition experience. They might do well, but then never get another deposition assignment. For many interpreters, deposition interpreting represents no more than a challenging (and often stressful) break between other types of assignments.

For us, deposition interpreting is not a sideline; it is our specialty and an ongoing commitment. Almost all of our extensive interpreting experience has been in the deposition room or prepping witnesses for depositions, and, backed by decades of experience, we can provide interpreting services in witness preparation and also as the check interpreter in depositions.

Almost all of our deposition interpreting is for intellectual property cases. We have also been involved with arbitration matters heard in Japan, India, and Switzerland, licensing negotiations, and meetings between Japanese and overseas engineers.

We also have experience in giving testimony as an expert witness on translation matters for litigation.

Experience Counts

The typical interpreter you might encounter in attempting to contract for deposition interpreting in Japan might be perfectively capable of other types of interpreting, but ill-equipped to interpret a deposition for the simple reason of a lack of deposition experience. This situation is practically inevitable, given that the number of other interpreting assignments in Japan is so great compared with the maximum of three depositions that can be taken simultaneously in Japan at any one time (one at the US Embassy in Tokyo and two at the US Consulate in Osaka).

Additionally a conference interpreter acting as the sworn lead interpreter at a deposition for the first time is often shocked to find that another interpreter is in the deposition room actively objecting, when necessary, to his or her interpreting. Conference interpreters work under a different type of pressure, but are almost never corrected while interpreting, as is the normal situation in depositions.

Over Three Decades of Providing Deposition Interpreting Services to Major US Law Firms and Japanese Entities

We have provided deposition interpreting in Japan for more than 28 years, in a wide variety of matters.

Typical Cases

The following are just a few examples of cases we have handled, listed in alphabetical order. In addition to matters in US Federal court and ITC investigations, we have done interpreting for arbitration involving intellectual property and business matters.

USITC Investigations:

Federal Court Litigation:

Other Types of Matters:

Conflict Checking

Before we accept any assignment of interpreting for litigation, we need to be sure that the assignment would not result in a conflict with any of our existing clients or any ongoing case in which we are providing or have provided services. It is therefore essential that you inform us of the identities of all parties in any case in which you wish us to interpret. Giving us the case number (or ITC investigation number) will suffice, as we can check for conflicts based on that information alone.

Witness Preparation

Once potential witnesses have been identified, the task of preparing the witnesses for depositions begins. Because most Japanese witnesses are participating in a deposition for the first time, the more natural and accurate the interpreting is, the more freedom you will have to focus on the task of prepping your witnesses. Having a professional interpreter fully familiar with the deposition process is a valuable asset.

Since we specialize in working with Japanese entities, we have often interpreted for witness preparation and, being familiar with the deposition process, we feel that we can provide valuable services at this stage of the deposition process, such as acting as the checking interpreter when you are defending depositions.

Some law firms rely on their clients to provide in-house interpreters for witness preparation, but sometimes find that it would have been better to seek the services of a professional interpreter from the start. What you gain by arranging professional deposition interpreting services is an interpreter who is a dedicated team member from the start of the deposition prepping process, and who can focus on the interpreting task, leaving client personal free to attend to their normal duties in the preparation for the litigation.

Meetings With the Client

Before you even get to the specific witness preparation stage, you will probably have meetings with your client to discuss strategies. An interpreter thoroughly familiar with the process can be an asset at this stage as well. Naturally, a professional interpreter will be bound by any NDA or protective court order that is agreed to.


Complex intellectual property cases often stump interpreters who do not have technical backgrounds. Familiarity with the terminology used in the field of the invention is essential to providing high-quality interpreting from the first stages of witness preparation. Additionally, while preparing ourselves for the interpreting assignment, we regularly create glossaries. Having participated in witness preparation, we are in the ideal position to act in the role of check interpreter at the deposition, and glossaries produced in the preparation process provide a valuable tool for checking the lead interpreter.

  • On-site Document Triaging
    Discovery document examination and evaluation in Japan for foreign attorneys, involving triage screening and sight translation documents.

  • Meeting interpreting

    • Meetings between a US inventor and a Japanese patent/law firm, including presentations of the invention before a board of Japanese patent examiners.

    • Meetings between engineers of US and Japanese firms which have entered into agreements for the licensing of technology.

    • A 1-1/2 year licensing negotiation interpreting assignment for a large US firm. The work consisted of monthly visits to more than a dozen Japanese firms with a licensing/patent team from the US side, and participating in licensing meetings.

    • Interpreting for a presentation before the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications in Japan.

    Where Can We Provide Interpreting Services?

    Most of the parties to litigation we are involved in interpreting for wish to hold depositions in Tokyo. The difficulty of reserving the single deposition room in US Embassy in Tokyo, however, has meant that many of our assignments have been in the US Consulate in Osaka. Travel is no problem. Lately, the difficulty in securing the room in either Tokyo or Osaka has placed more importance on alternative solutions. One of them is to do depositions in Korea, Taiwan, Guam, and Hong Kong, and we have traveled to all these venues for depositions recently. You should note that it is difficult to secure the services and a Japanese/English deposition interpreter in those locations. Other assignments have taken us to the US and other locations, including Zurich and to New Delhi for interpreting in commercial arbitration.

    If you are going to need interpreting services, be sure to contact us as early as possible in the process of planning your depositions, regardless of whether you are taking or defending depositions. It is often very difficult to schedule time with less than 3 to 4 weeks prior notice. Please note that our clients are manufacturers and law firms; we do not deal with agencies of any kind.

    To learn more about who we are, and how to contact us, you might wish to check the profile of our founder. If you anticipate a need for interpreting, contact us with the details as early as possible.