Confidentiality in the Translation Industry
When it comes to the translation of important documents, you have to be careful with the process in order to control whose hands they end up in. When you opt for a free online translation tool or a partner with unreliable translators, you don’t only risk mistranslation but you also run the risk of having your sensitive information exposed to the public.
We thought it would be useful to cover this topic in light of the new film released recently; Official Secrets (2019), based on the true story of Katherine Gun, who leaked a secret memo exposing an illegal spying operation by the USA in 2003. Gun’s job was to translate Mandarin Chinese into English, working at GCHQ, the Government Communications Headquarters.
The information that Gun received concerned a request for intelligence on diplomats from member states of the Security Council, who were due to vote on a second United Nations resolution on the prospective invasion of Iraq. They requested aid in a secret operation to bug the UN offices to determine whether they approved the invasion of Iraq.
She was so outraged by the email, that she took a printed copy home and passed it to her friend who was acquainted with a journalist. The email ended up on the front page of The Observer newspaper, and Gun was arrested.
This shows that confidentiality issues can be experienced by any business or organisation, and with the security risks inherent in today’s technology, it’s more important than ever to ensure you are working with a translation agency for whom confidentiality is a top priority.
Issues with machine translation services
You may be aware of the breaches in privacy that Translate.com suffered previously, which lead to highly sensitive data becoming available to access within search results. The online translation tool was, and still is, used by hundreds of thousands of people across the world looking for a quick translation, but what people didn’t realise is that the text typed into the system could be found by anyone online.
The result of this is that an abundance of sensitive information can be freely accessed by the public. This includes everything from email exchanges between large companies on tax matters, staff performance reports of global banks, plans for workforce reductions at gas companies, passwords, code information and contracts.
This is generally how free online translation works – every word you enter is stored in some sort of translation engine with machine learning in order to improve future results. Whether this is indexed by Google or not, it poses the threat of confidentiality issues with data getting exposed.
Why Choose Freeman Williams?
When it comes to your documents and information, confidentiality is one of our top priorities. We know that all of your data is important to you, and we wouldn’t want any part of it to get into the wrong hands. Whether this involves contracts, certificates, property documentation, witness statements or wills – you can rest assured that your information is safe during the translation process. We don’t use machine translation – we offer a human translation service. Our in-house staff are highly-qualified, trusted linguists with many years’ experience in the translation industry, and maintain the utmost professionalism and attention to detail.