Very good article by Julie Anne Halter and Lori Steidl of the law firm K&L Gates on how machine translation tools can be used during international arbitration proceedings. This is a technology that continues to develop and one which we have used across multiple projects - not just those relating to international arbitration, but also regulatory or internal investigations and more traditional litigation.
There are some valuable pointers within the article - specifically the importance of the quality of the underlying text and using the correct language settings during any OCR operations, otherwise the end-result will be very disappointing!
In addition, one should also consider how the translations are subsequently used. For example, in most scenarios, I would not advise performing searches across translated text; much better to get the search terms translated into the local language, search in the local language and then translate the results.
I also concur that it will not replace the need for certified translations, but for an initial analysis and overview of foreign language documents, the service can add incredibly good value and be accurate.
While machine translation technology will not replace the need for certified translations of documents to be used in legal proceedings, it can be a valuable addition to your arsenal. This technology is a practical tool to help streamline the review of documents, reduce costs for clients, and optimize your staffing for international projects.