The case (No. 10-1472) involved a professional baseball player from Japan (Mr. Kouichi Taniguchi), who was injured while on vacation in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, a United States territory. Mr. Taniguichi sued Kan Pacific Saipan, Ltd. (KPS), the owner of the Marianas Resort and Spa where the incident occurred. The suit was denied, and Mr. Taniguchi was ordered to reimburse the costs incurred by KPS in its defense, including more than $5,000 spent to translate written documents from Japanese into English for use in court. That ruling was upheld in District Court and by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

A perhaps unintended consequence of this ruling is that it instantiates in case law the fact that interpreting is oral and translating is for written material, a distinction often blurred, as people refer to translators when they mean interpreters. Interestingly, the reverse blurring seldom occurs; that is, people seldom say 'interpreter' when they mean 'translator.'