English Extraction of Foreign Language Documents: An Example of CETRA’s Flexibility

The Client: Advisory services company specializing in commercial real estate  portfolios


The Challenge:

Develop a solution to manage the client’s thousands of foreign language leasing documents for properties all over the world, integrating the client’s internal processes with the skills and resources of a language services provider. The client did not need direct translation of the documents, but rather extraction of key information, such as names, dates and lease terms. Any inconsistencies were to be thoroughly documented. The extracted information was to be recorded in English in an organized, functional format.

english text extracted from foreign language document

The Solution:

CETRA completed a test project with the client, which involved reconciling documents for a company that maintains multiple properties in Germany. After signing  a confidentiality agreement, CETRA’s project manager prepped 95 German leases for document reconciliation. Essential information would have to be extracted from these lease and placed into a client-provided spreadsheet.

The project manager assigned to the project a German linguist with J.D. and LL.M degrees, certification as a German/English translator by various associations, and experience as a full time translator and foreign  consultant in a German law firm.

The linguist reviewed the German documents and completed the English spreadsheet as requested by the client. She also reported on the state of the documents, for instance noting if any pages or annexes were missing or if certain sections were duplicated or illegible; she described inconsistencies and errors in the lease documents from a legal perspective. This reconciliation would serve  as a tool to decide which leases were important to the project and would require full abstraction, or a more detailed summary.

Due to the successful completion of the test project, CETRA collaborated with the client to provide a working solution to their foreign lease document management. CETRA completed a full day training program on-site at the client’s office to learn how to use the clients database TRIRIGA, the software program used to manage the leasing documents. The client worked with CETRA to provide glossaries and training materials for the linguists.

The project managers (PMs) developed a training program for the linguists to learn how to use the software and how to deliver the project in English. The PM then recruited qualified translators with legal backgrounds and implemented the training program.

As leases in Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Korean, Russian, and Spanish required abstraction, the PM recruited and trained appropriate linguists. As a quality control step, the PM reviewed the deliverables, checking for consistency in style between linguists and languages and assuring that all necessary steps had been completed. CETRA delivered English Excel spreadsheets to be imported into the TRIRIGA format, giving the client a streamlined way to manage their foreign language leasing documents.

Client Benefits:

The client benefitted from the flexibility of working with a language services provider who created a program directly built to satisfy their needs. Most importantly, CETRA’s abstraction solution saved its client money, as the abstracted deliverable allowed the client to pinpoint only the most relevant information rather than pay for full translation and per-word rates. The responsiveness and willingness of the CETRA project manager  to train linguists to complete the project exemplifies how CETRA will go the extra mile for its clients.