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Foreign Language Doc Review

Something I've always been curious about in my many years in keithd04/01/12
They usually test you. I know someone who majored in German bodog04/01/12
I am sort of doing one now at 36 an hour. Spanish review is bigsal04/02/12
I guess the question is whether there will always be enough keithd04/02/12
Just got laid off from my review this evening. bigsal04/04/12
.... macunaima04/04/12
I wish. bigsal04/05/12
You're starting med school in the Fall, right? You should b therewillbeblood04/09/12
Anybody know if there is any demand for Russian? Guest04/02/12
Check the posse list. There were some in DC a few months ba bigsal04/02/12
Thank you for the tip. Guest04/02/12
I know a native Russian speaker working in my market for its mikoyan04/02/12
Bodog is pretty much on the money. I passed the German ALTA korlash04/03/12
.... macunaima04/03/12
Who has done a Portuguese doc review? masterpoaster04/09/12
.... macunaima04/09/12
Yeah, I think I can hack it with a little study. masterpoaster04/09/12
Beware! If you are not at least proficient in Portuguese yo licksthestamp04/17/12
I'm a fully fluent Portuguese speaker, and a few years back alphadog1504/17/12
Alphadog, yes I have noticed the same recently in regards to licksthestamp04/17/12
My browser is acting up so I may want to take the test at th lafleur04/12/13
The Alta tests have each passage and the questions about tha francescadarimini04/12/13
The test I have to take has 8 passages and it's 1 hour. Th lafleur04/12/13
lafleur, Are you taking a Japanese test? I took the Japan jdttt04/12/13
That would be the language of the Gauls. If it is that I h lafleur04/13/13
Are the questions to the test such that if you know the lang lafleur04/17/13
I know a guy that google translated the test and got on a pr wanka04/17/13
THIS..lol maxwell04/18/13
.... tkjdf4sbe04/18/13
That is not good nor is it wise. I look forward to taking lafleur04/18/13
If it's Alta, the passages will be legally oriented. I remem francescadarimini04/18/13
I don't understand all these warning about getting weeded ou korlash05/05/13
It seems that many agencies have different techniques to tes lafleur05/05/13
I'm unclear--How does one cheat on the ALTA test? Does anyon rodney1805/13/17



keithd (Apr 1, 2012 - 7:02 pm)

Something I've always been curious about in my many years in doc review is just how well you have to know a foreign language to do foreign language doc review. I know "some Spanish" and "some German." But I've always assumed they want a native speaker, or at least someone fluent. Could someone who took a foreign language in college but who has forgotten most of it theoretically beef up enough to qualify for foreign language doc review?

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bodog (Apr 1, 2012 - 9:31 pm)

They usually test you. I know someone who majored in German in college and did fine on the test but they have been unable to get German projects because there are enough native speakers or at least people who did better on the test.

I also know a girl who grew up with native fluency in Chinese, but she immigrated to the US and learned to read and write in English (while still speaking Chinese at home) so her reading was a bit slow. She passed the fluency portion of her test but then they made her do a test run of document review and they said she coded too slow because while she could read the documents she couldn't read them as fast as say we read English.

Foreign language is probably not worth it. Spanish is so common they barely pay above market rates. Other languages would require too much of an investment in time and money to even have a prayer of getting a project, which are fly by night anyway.

I knew some idiots who were considering learning Japanese when they became wild with dreams of riches back when Japanese projects were being posted every week with $100/hr rates. The thing is Japanese is an impossible language to learn. And even if you spent a year in your mom's basement digesting Rosetta Stone for 12 hours a day, these agencies are going to toss any resume without a Japanese name in the trash. I worked on the same floor as one of these Japanese projects and all the coders were native born Japanese. I talked to one of them who had been on the project longterm and she said people were constantly being cut. That's why you saw so many ads. Because of the high rates, they cut (and add) people like crazy until they whittle it down to superstars.

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bigsal (Apr 2, 2012 - 7:42 pm)

I am sort of doing one now at 36 an hour. Spanish review is okay since most of the technical terms are almost English. They will likely test you especially if you are not Hispanic.

But, I told the agencies that I am ethnically from [insert shitty Central American country], and I have never been tested.

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keithd (Apr 2, 2012 - 8:33 pm)

I guess the question is whether there will always be enough native speakers that those of us who learned a language in a half-ass manner in college will never be able to out-score the natives looking to do doc review. If that's the case there's probably no point in trying to re-awaken those brain cells that house my memories of Spanish or German.

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bigsal (Apr 4, 2012 - 8:15 pm)

Just got laid off from my review this evening.

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macunaima (Apr 4, 2012 - 10:08 pm)

....

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bigsal (Apr 5, 2012 - 3:29 pm)

I wish.

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therewillbeblood (Apr 9, 2012 - 6:37 pm)

You're starting med school in the Fall, right? You should be the most relaxed person here.

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Guest (Apr 2, 2012 - 7:43 pm)

Anybody know if there is any demand for Russian?

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bigsal (Apr 2, 2012 - 7:45 pm)

Check the posse list. There were some in DC a few months back. A hot older russian chick left my old project in a shitty midwest city for DC to do that type of review.

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Guest (Apr 2, 2012 - 7:53 pm)

Thank you for the tip.

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mikoyan (Apr 2, 2012 - 10:32 pm)

I know a native Russian speaker working in my market for its comparative peanuts. So I guess "not right now," but maybe there is from time to time.

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korlash (Apr 3, 2012 - 8:51 pm)

Bodog is pretty much on the money. I passed the German ALTA exam, and was on a very high-profile German review in 2010, and after that German reviews burned out. There are almost no more German reviews and they go to the droves of unemployed native German lawyers in NYC and DC. German reviews are a bit more plentiful in DC but who wants to work there?

And forget about Russian. I have seen maybe 2 Russian projects in the last 5 years.

Doc review in general is a sinking ship, even in NYC, where I work. Get out as fast as you can.

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macunaima (Apr 3, 2012 - 9:00 pm)

....

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masterpoaster (Apr 9, 2012 - 6:31 pm)

Who has done a Portuguese doc review?

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macunaima (Apr 9, 2012 - 7:29 pm)

....

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masterpoaster (Apr 9, 2012 - 11:31 pm)

Yeah, I think I can hack it with a little study.

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licksthestamp (Apr 17, 2012 - 9:57 pm)

Beware! If you are not at least proficient in Portuguese you will be found out. I would warn against attmepting to enter that sort of gig without some serious study. I have done Portuguese and Spanish doc review on and off for a few years. I am near fluent (I grew up in a Portuguese speaking household). Most of the Portuguese reviews tend to be small (less than 10 people, sometimes less than 5) compared to Spanish reviews I have done. And because it is a lesser known language, the associates involved often ask for more in-depth work including summaries of docs and even word for word translations of pleadings (and I am often chosen for this since I am a native English speaker translating into English from Portuguese). Also, be prepared for associates and staff attorneys to put you on the spot and ask for summaries of a doc they are shoving in your face. I have even been asked to sit in on phone conferences with clients to interpret. I have seen first hand people cut for not being able to perform in this way. For some reason this sort of thing does not happen in Spanish reviews in my experience. Don't ask me why.

There is another reason people get cut - the truth is there are many unemployed/underemployed Brazilian lawyers with their LLMS in the US who are available for this sort of work. They will make a point of only speaking in Portuguese to one another when discussing work-related/review-related issues in order to weed out those who don't actually speak the language. And what are you going to do at that point, insist that they speak in English when you were hired specifically for your Portuguese skills? I know that the Brazilians on my projects are often asked by associates, staff attorneys and project managers to give their assessment of the reviewers' language skills even once the project has started. I have seen more than a few of the questionable reviewers go bye-bye shortly thereafter.

Moral of story: start studying seriously now and in a year or two you may be ready for it, but please don't try to "hack" it. And if you think you can handle Japanese, I'd go for that, since as a native English speaker you will be in the unique position of being able to handle more polished translations into English. Just my two cents, e boa sorte!

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alphadog15 (Apr 17, 2012 - 10:17 pm)

I'm a fully fluent Portuguese speaker, and a few years back I only used to see Brazilians on projects (with the occasional Portugues from Portugal) and now it seems that every project I'm on recently it's about 20% Brazilians, 80% Spanish speakers, half of whom seem to be winging it at best with the reading and not a clue on how to speak it. Which is fine- I'm the same way with Spanish and I take Spanish review when I can. In my experience I've seen people cut from Portuguese review for not knowing what the hell they were doing, but it's relatively rare. Seems like there are less native speakers and so agencies are grabbing whoever they can get.

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licksthestamp (Apr 17, 2012 - 10:44 pm)

Alphadog, yes I have noticed the same recently in regards to Spanish speakers winging it. At my most recent review, I saw a Brazilian approach a Spanish speaker and start rattling off in Portuguese a question about a document. Spanish speaker looked like a deer caught in the headlights. What is surprising is that I see more and more English speakers who did not grow up with Spanish or Portuguese but who seem to have at least a decent grasp on Portuguese and can even converse, albeit a bit awkwardly. I'm curious, though, I have always felt like some "fluency" in Brazilian culture has been of huge benefit on Portuguese reviews, unlike Spanish reviews (which may involve a variety of Spanish-speaking countries). So many of the Portuguese doc reviews, in my experience, require an understanding of Brazilian political structure as so many of the cases litigated in the US involve Brazilian governmental entities (not to mention all of the acronyms!)

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lafleur (Apr 12, 2013 - 4:31 pm)

My browser is acting up so I may want to take the test at the Public Library. Is the test something where I have to keep clicking to get to the next question or to get to every passage or can I just scroll up and down. If it's the former I definitely have to head to the NYPL.

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francescadarimini (Apr 12, 2013 - 5:01 pm)

The Alta tests have each passage and the questions about that passage on one page. You do have to click through to get to the next passage. I recall there being three passages.

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lafleur (Apr 12, 2013 - 5:07 pm)

The test I have to take has 8 passages and it's 1 hour. Thanks for explaining. I will upload mozilla firefox to see if I have the problem moving to another page.

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jdttt (Apr 12, 2013 - 5:38 pm)

lafleur,

Are you taking a Japanese test? I took the Japanese Alta test with somewhere between 7-9 passages a couple months ago.

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lafleur (Apr 13, 2013 - 8:40 am)

That would be the language of the Gauls. If it is that I have to click next for every question I will have to head to the library. I have heard of so many varieties of tests. I heard of the test being 30 minutes long and then there was a 45 minute 15 question one and now a 60 minute 25 question one. I can't wait to take it and see if test is on everyday French or legal smegal. Thanks for the insight y'all.

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lafleur (Apr 17, 2013 - 1:51 pm)

Are the questions to the test such that if you know the language it'll be easy or is it in addition to reading a passage in a foreign language the questions are tricky like on the multistate?

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wanka (Apr 17, 2013 - 6:16 pm)

I know a guy that google translated the test and got on a project

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maxwell (Apr 18, 2013 - 2:20 pm)

THIS..lol

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tkjdf4sbe (Apr 18, 2013 - 2:31 pm)

....

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lafleur (Apr 18, 2013 - 8:53 am)

That is not good nor is it wise. I look forward to taking the test using my own knowledge and seeing what score I get.

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francescadarimini (Apr 18, 2013 - 5:14 pm)

If it's Alta, the passages will be legally oriented. I remember it having a lot of American legal terms translated into French, which is a bit strange. You would expect a French test to be on French law, not American law.

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korlash (May 5, 2013 - 3:38 pm)

I don't understand all these warning about getting weeded out and spied upon. If you can read in the language, you can do the review and the chances are nothing will happen. Doc review is doc review no matter what language it is in. You look for words, you're not analyzing the content. Its simple in any language. And everyone cheats on the ALTA exam because its horseshit. I've met more non-natives that have passed the exam than native speakers.

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lafleur (May 5, 2013 - 5:01 pm)

It seems that many agencies have different techniques to testing ability.
Which agencies test using the ATLA exam? Which agencies use a different test? How does HIRECOUNSEL and HUDSON test ability? Do you have to go to a testing site?

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rodney18 (May 13, 2017 - 2:12 pm)

I'm unclear--How does one cheat on the ALTA test? Does anyone know?

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