A method is provided in one example embodiment and it includes receiving a state request and determining whether a state exists in a translation dictionary for the state request. The method further includes reproducing the state if it is not in the dictionary and adding a new state to the dictionary. In more specific embodiments, the method includes compiling a rule, based on the state, into a given state table. The rule affects data management for one or more documents that satisfy the rule. In yet other embodiments, the method includes determining that the state represents a final state such that a descriptor is added to the state. In one example, if the state is not referenced in the algorithm, then the state is released. If the state is referenced in the algorithm, then the state is replaced with the new state.