On May 21, 2012, the Supreme Court of the United States issued
its opinion in Taniguchi v. Kan Pacific Saipan, Ltd.,
which concerned whether the cost of translating foreign documents
is a taxable cost under 28 U. S. C. § 1920(6). In that case,
the plaintiff, a professional Japanese baseball player, alleged he
sustained personal injuries when his leg broke through a wooden
deck on the defendant's resort property. He sought damages
for lost income from contracts he could not honor as a result of
the injuries. The trial court granted the defendant's
motion for summary judgment on the grounds that the plaintiff
offered no evidence that the defendant had notice of a defect in
the wooden deck or otherwise failed to exercise reasonable
care. The trial court also awarded the defendant costs, which
included the cost of translating Japanese documents into
English. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the
summary judgment and the costs awarded to the defendant.
The question before the Court was whether the phrase
"compensation of interpreters" extends to translation of
documents. Under § 1920(6), the "cost of
interpreters," among other items, may be recovered as a
taxable cost by a prevailing party. The Court held that the
term "interpreter" as used in the statute does not
include the cost of translating foreign documents. In so
holding, it reasoned that the "the ordinary and technical
meanings of [the term] 'interpreter,' as well as the
statutory context in which the word is found, lead to the
conclusion that § 1920(6), does not apply to translators of
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