Coping With Asian Languages In E-Discovery, Uncovering Fraud, Intrusions And More

Monday, August 19, 2013 - 12:13

The Editor interviews Masahiro Morimoto, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board, UBIC.

Editor: Why did UBIC decide to go public in the U.S.?

Morimoto: We offer innovative solutions and services for e-discovery and forensic investigations, especially for the Chinese, Japanese and Korean (CJK) languages. The growth of our business reflects the fact that an increasing number of companies find themselves confronted with the challenge of collecting, processing, reviewing and producing relevant documents in an Asian language and then making such documents available to attorneys and courts in the appropriate format and translated into English if necessary.

Listing on NASDAQ demonstrates not only that UBIC is very active in the U.S. legal business area, but also confirms UBIC’s status as a significant U.S. corporation. We are the first Japanese company in 14 years to be listed on NASDAQ and became part of a very small group of companies with a dual-listing in Asia and the U.S.

Editor: What technological innovation is most important in the e-discovery space that UBIC occupies?

Morimoto: The use of predictive coding to find relevant data in an Asian language or a mix of Asian and English languages in a large and complex data set. UBIC’s technology enables such searches to be done quickly and effectively. Our aim is to provide our customers with cost savings together with predictable results and reliable support.

Editor: What challenges do CJK characters pose?

Morimoto: The characters used in CJK languages are complicated and are often difficult to read. Different characters may be used for the same word. There are no or fewer spaces between words in CJK languages. Therefore, it is more difficult to recognize a separate word. Asian as well as U.S. corporations also have many different email systems from which to choose. They bear little resemblance to Outlook, and a company using CJK characters may even have a variety of different information systems for internal usage. Also, an e-discovery vendor offering Asian-language e-discovery services like UBIC needs to understand the cultural and linguistic nuances along with the technical expertise and experience with data handling for cross-border litigations. UBIC has offices and staff with experience and expertise in these Asian countries where for legal reasons it is important to keep data within the jurisdiction in which it originates.

Predictive coding technology needs to be tuned to address the special characteristics and requirements with Asian characters. UBIC’s proprietary predictive coding system (CJK TAR) is designed to recognize separate words with/without spaces between them.

Another challenge is the heterogeneous IT systems across departments in large corporations and across different geographical regions. Most U.S.-based vendors can’t handle the data accurately when it comes to cross-border litigations or investigations involving Asian-language documents.   

Global U.S. companies need the strongest possible defenses to intrusions/attacks. Because of its experience in helping CJK companies protect very important data and software, data security is a strong point in favor of using UBIC. Because of the different IT systems, some of which might be more prone to cyber attacks than others, global U.S. companies need the strongest possible defenses to such intrusions/attacks. UBIC, with its extensive experience and expertise in assisting global corporations head-quartered in Asia in protecting their data and intellectual property, can also help U.S. conglomerates with their international subsidiaries in Asia.   

Editor: Can e-discovery technology assist more broadly with cybersecurity and fraud?

Morimoto: UBIC originally started as a forensics company and then expanded into the e-discovery realm. We were pioneers in the technology for finding and preventing data intrusions of corporations in Asia.  It is difficult to identify attempts to steal or contaminate data and collect evidence of such intrusions. We have found that prerecording the event is very useful. Our technology is designed to alert the user to an attempted intrusion into their data, to determine if its data has been compromised and to ferret out the intruder if possible. It is easier to accomplish these missions if the data is stored in cloud-based servers located in the country in which such data is found. Therefore, we have UBIC Legal Cloud service through which our users can store data in our secure data centers located in a number of those countries.

As part of our risk consulting services, we advise our corporate clients on how to prevent and investigate fraud. A company may have a lot of very complicated data. Our solution is to use our advanced predictive coding technology to analyze all of a company’s data to identify instances where fraud has actually occurred or where it is vulnerable to such instances of fraud. As you might suppose, this process can involve a huge amount of data. This is not a problem for us. We are one of the pioneers in dealing with Big Data, especially when it comes to Asian-language data.

Fraud is committed by human beings, not by machines.  Even in the case of a company that has very strict security, the intruder tries to find security holes. The best way to prevent or minimize the damage is by careful auditing. However, companies have a lot of data, and it is nearly impossible for a human auditor to investigate all of it.

Our proprietary predictive coding technology (CJK TAR) can be trained to search for such evidence in all of a  company’s data. CJK TAR searches at about four thousand times the speed of a human auditor. A human reviewer can on average search 80 documents an hour. Our predictive coding program can review 300,000 documents an hour and with 30 percent greater accuracy than a human reviewer.

Our predictive coding system is the only one in the world specifically designed to accurately search in major Asian languages in addition to English. This system is now being successfully used for e-discovery in litigation involving CJK corporations.  It has reduced costs by up to 40 percent when compared with other search systems.  

Editor: How can companies get help when faced with U.S. e-discovery of documents in a CJK language?

Morimoto: UBIC’s staff can help explain to those companies in their native language how to respond and can also serve as a liaison with the party requesting such e-discovery.

Editor: We have been discussing UBIC’s e-discovery capabilities. To what extent are global corporations also using UBIC’s translation capabilities for communications between English-speaking and CJK language speakers? 

Morimoto: Our technology is not only useful in an e-discovery context, but also provides a vital communication link between English speakers with global corporations and those who speak a CJK language. We do offer translation services upon request by our clients or their outside law firms in the U.S. or in Asia. Our goal is to minimize the cost of translation by using our workflow where you translate documents that are necessary in the post-review phase.

Editor: Please describe the user experience for English-speaking attorneys in adopting UBIC’s solutions.

Morimoto: We have features in our tool, Lit i View, that can identify the different documents using our unique batch flow function for document review projects, thus reducing time to review different language documents involved in a case as well as costs associated with. The user interface for Lit i View is simple and easy to use and can be customized for some functions depending upon the project needs. This makes adoption of our software solutions relatively easy for U.S. attorneys. The languages detect function helps the attorneys to separate the documents and assign/allocate resources accordingly to handle the documents for a given case

Editor: What about navigating the cultural issues inherent in any document population?

Morimoto: UBIC has published a book that describes for the benefit of U.S. corporations cultural issues that might affect their relationships with Asian corporations, and we are working with Asian corporations to assist them in understanding how to deal with U.S. corporations.  This is part of our major effort to acquaint Asian corporations with the issues raised by U.S. e-discovery.   

Editor: Do you see a role for UBIC in risk management?

Morimoto: Yes. It is a major part of our business. Every company needs to plan its responses to risks so that it is prepared when incidents occur.  Damage control is important. UBIC can help with corporate damage control by advising how a company’s data can best be protected. We have a separate entity/subsidiary, UBIC Risk Consulting, for this business segment.

Editor: Does UBIC have a staff in the U.S. who can advise with respect to its services?

Morimoto: We have proficient staff in the U.S., Taiwan, Japan and Korea that can advise our users about our services and can help solve their problems when they arise.

Editor: How can UBIC help American lawyers use predictive coding to find relevant documents in a CJK language?

Morimoto: Our predictive coding system is the first one in the world that is tailored for CJK languages. It is a unique system that works with any Asian-language standalone or in conjunction with the English language. It has been successfully and cost-effectively used in e-discovery cases in the U.S., reducing costs by up to 40 percent.

Editor: Working with CJK language documents must seem like a daunting task for U.S. attorneys who don’t speak these languages.

Morimoto: We are accustomed to working with U.S. attorneys who don’t speak any CJK language.  They appreciate the effectiveness of our software in bridging the language gap.

Editor: Does UBIC also offer forensic services?   

Morimoto:  Lit i View Xaminer is a forensic tool we recently introduced in Japan. We expect to roll it out soon in the U.S. We are also expanding the number of people on our staff in the U.S. that can do the forensic consulting onsite at a client’s location and, unlike other U.S. e-discovery companies, we have significant boots on the ground in Asia.