Case Study: Translators in the Fight Against Terrorism

Case Study: Translators in the Fight Against Terrorism

The legal world is complicated and complex, and requires specific translation expertise. Add to this the sensitivity of working with an Israeli company that specializes in researching the financing of international terrorism, in all languages, and works in close cooperation with a U.S. law firm that is a world-renowned expert in lawsuits against entities that finance or help finance terrorism or genocide, and you have a translation project with far-reaching moral and professional ramifications. So we mobilized, and accompanied them throughout the process.

The Background

Terror organizations throughout the world need a financial infrastructure to finance their activities. An Israeli company joined the legal authorities waging war against these organizations, conducting research in many languages, among them Persian, Arabic, Turkish, French, German and Kurdish, and gathering evidence to ultimately establish the evidential basis for filing lawsuits throughout the world against the entities that finance terror, among them banks, huge corporations, countries and organizations. A U.S. law firm that specializes in this field then continues the legal procedure, filing law suits on behalf of terrorism and genocide victims against entities that support and transfer funds to terrorist organizations.

The Israeli company is one of the few enterprises in the world that actively initiates and investigates the financing of terrorism, tracking banks, corporations and countries that participate in the financing chain, as well as the organizations that do business with and provide services to organizations involved in terrorism. Most of the research work aims to establish an evidential basis that these entities knew, or should have known, that the organizations with which they were doing business were terrorist organizations, or that indirectly the money reached terrorist organizations through go-betweens and straw companies.

“The U.S. law firm represents Kurdish casualties, U.S. soldiers, Kenyan citizens, Europeans and Israelis, and wherever people were victims of terrorism or genocide – that is where we make it our goal to be, to investigate and to try to uproot the financing of terrorism” says Gil, a partner in the company.

The Challenge

Hever Translations has accompanied this law firm for many years, and this time faced a new and very significant challenge – to obtain the evidential basis that would help the U.S. law firm represent the citizens of Kurdistan against European companies in various countries, that apparently sold equipment and knowledge for producing chemical weapons used by Saddam Hussein to massacre the Kurdish people in 1988.

The challenge in these cases is twofold. Due to procedural-legal constraints the many dozens of documents must be translated within rigid and very short time limitations, sometimes on the same day, so that the documents can be sent to those charged within the legal timeframe. Furthermore, language aspects must be considered, in the documents and in the lawsuit itself, requiring accurate and consistent translation in each of the target languages.

The Procedure

“Another issue is data security. In some instances Hever Translations is the first external entity exposed to the documents, which is why secrecy and confidentiality are critical, particularly with such sensitive material”, adds Gil.

The fact that Hever Translations complies with ISO standards, and its work procedures meet global information security requirements, meets the required security and confidentiality requirements.

Professionally, the projects were assigned to professional translators from the legal desk. The underlying significance of this translation undertaking was obvious to all those involved – the global translator team mobilized to immerse itself in the unique content worlds, contributed their experience in order to improve the documents in the source language, English, and translated the many dozens of legal documents into Persian, French, Dutch, Arabic, Turkish, just to mention a few.

“We felt unusual mobilization to a project of this scale. The level of accessibility to specific requests, the short response times and translation quality, it was evident that things were performed based on a sense of a mission and very impressive in-depth thought and investigation. We felt we had a partner on this long journey to bring to justice business organizations that help terror”, summed Gil.