As today’s digital world grows bigger and bigger, data security breaches are becoming even more commonplace and are seen as one of the top risks to any business. It wouldn’t be unacceptable to leave a pile of confidential HR papers around the office, and the same approach should be taken when looking at data that is stored online.

Data security is something that all businesses, in all industries, should have as a priority and the translation industry is no exception. The translation process uses data at all of its stages whether that be in the form of client information or the actual documents that need translating. Therefore, making sure this data is stored securely, and limiting the people who can access it, is crucial in making sure a data security breach does not happen.

Potential data security risks with translation

For businesses who require translation, there is an even greater threat of a data security breach as data is being sent to a third party; the translation provider. The risks associated with outsourcing data to a third party are already big enough, but these risks become an even greater threat when businesses use poor quality translation providers or online machine translation tools.

1. The dark side of using Google Translate

Online machine translation tools can seem appealing to businesses who are wanting to minimise costs, but most businesses are unaware of the risks associated with using these online tools. Google claim that their translation tool has over 200 million active monthly users, but what happens to the data that these 200 million users are putting into Google Translate? Well, a Japanese Bank learnt the hard way when they used machine translation for company emails, which lead to embarrassment and legal exposure when the content of the emails became accessible online. The bank had no way of getting the data taken offline and it is somewhat sinister that these online tools have the right to use company data in a way that was not originally intended.

Most businesses who use Google Translate don’t realise they are giving Google control over their company’s data but how can Google get away with doing this with today’s security policies like GDPR? Well, when people use Google Translate they are agreeing to Google’s terms which state that they have the right to use, host, store, publicly display and distribute any content that is submitted into their engine.

To reduce the risk of this happening to your business, the most effective thing to do would be to just not use Google Translate for professional use in the first place. Whilst Google Translate can be a handy tool when travelling aboard, Google themselves even advise that you seek professional, human translators if you require translation for professional use

2. Stay away from unsecure public Wi-Fi and cloud services

The most well-known risk associated with using unsecure public Wi-Fi and cloud services is that data can be intercepted during transfer and is more vulnerable when stored on public cloud servers. It may seem harmless to send an email to your translation agency whilst sitting in Costa Coffee or Starbucks, but if this email has documents or other confidential data attached to it, you don’t want to risk it getting into the wrong hands. Therefore, it is wise to avoid using public Wi-Fi to transfer any data and unless they are using a VPN, any security that the company has in place will be useless if employees are working from home.

3. Can you trust your provider?

There are several things that businesses should consider when choosing a translation provider; including the quality, cost, turnaround time and the reliability of that provider. Businesses need to know that they can trust the third party who they will be sending their documents to and be reassured that their data will be secure. Businesses who don’t do the right checks on their provider before they send them their work could be at risk of their confidential data being published online or being used against them. Both freelance translators and translation agencies need to be vetted properly. If a translation agency is being used, businesses also need to be aware that agency may outsource the documents to freelancers or other companies they work with, and if all of these parties are not security  vetted too then your data is not fully secure.

Data security best practices

To avoid putting their business’ data at risk, all organisations should aim towards implementing the best data security practices as they would with any other procedures like health and safety or an employee disciplinary.

  • Secure systems and processes- If you are on the lookout for a new translation provider it’s important to select a supplier who has established security policies in place. You need to make sure that your translation agency has proper security measures that cover both the employees and the physical infrastructure of their systems. The most reliable agencies will have been awarded security accreditations that demonstrate that they implement the best data security practices.
  • Do the right checks – The best translation providers will also do the relevant checks (such as a DBS check in the UK) on all of their employees, whether that be freelancers or other companies they work with, and have policies in place such as service agreements and non-disclosure agreements.

All our clients here at Language Insight will never have to worry that their data is at risk. With our ISO 27001: Security and confidentiality accreditation, we are recognised internationally for our commitment to the safety of our client’s data which sets us apart from other Language Service providers. Our in-house software developers have designed bespoke systems that we use everyday which securely link the different aspects of our services together.

Our clients can access our secure, encrypted online portal at any time of the day or night. The portal is secured with https protocols and high‑grade 256‑bit encryption. Any data sent to us is transferred through a dedicated fibre broadband leased line, which is the same system used by the financial services sector. Our leased line is not shared with any other user and allows a private, dedicated flow of information, meaning secure data transfer is guaranteed at all times. We also have significant business continuity and backup solutions.

Don’t put your business at risk of a data security breach, choose Language Insight for quality language services that you can rely on.