secrecy information translation

No one would ever thought that translating content from one language into another has high-risk data leakage.  But then, Norwegian news agency NRK reported on a data breach by Statoil, one of the world’s largest oil and gas companies.

According to NRK, the $46 billion cap Statoil  uses translate.com , a free online tool for translating “dismissal notices, layoffs and outsourcing plans, coded information and contracts, etc.” When university professor Lise Lyngsnes Randeberg searched Statoil with Google , he retrieved some of the information that the company translated using translate.com.

“I was in shock,” he told NRK. “This is all information from government agencies, organizations, and private companies.” That is, it should be confidential to Randeberg or any Google user.

The entire translation industry can foresee the arrival of information leaks. This warning should be sent to all companies.  It is a rising issue that no one really looks into.

Where Does Online Translation Service Go Wrong?

How does this happen? Here are the things that translate.com has to say:

Translate.com’s free, volunteer-based machine translation method does not reveal information. There are two versions of the translate.com solution.This free version of the problem uses a large number of online translation services, combined with a volunteer translator to review the corrected translations. The initial volunteer section has been closed and all volunteer-related translations have been removed. Online machine translation is currently not free and does not save content.

In general, free online translations are implemented in such a way that each word you enter is stored in a translation engine, and machine learning uses these words and their translations to optimize subsequent results. This means that anyone who uses it after you can get this information. Whether the information is uploaded to Google depends on how and where the tool server is stored.

Form a secure translation mechanism

In order to avoid the disclosure of personal translation information, the first step is to decide whether employees can use free online tools to do the translation job. In BASF, the answer is never to use.

For non-confidential or public knowledge information, online translation tools can be allowed (however, there is still a accuracy issue).  Companies who deal with confidential information should have internal codes of secrecy information levels and to decide which levels are not allowed to use online translation tools.

For big corporations, a safer option is to form your own machine learning engine and develop your own translations. Volkswagen does this.  They evade exposure to the outside world without an external engine.  In 2016, Volkswagen’s profit was $251.6 billion. At this enterprise scale, internal translation tools are very simple, and for other types of enterprises, it is still unrealistic.

The Importance of Working with a Professional Translation Agency

In addition to the choice of entering data into online tools, some people choose a professional translation company.  The choice of translation company is mainly based on its service quality, turnover efficiency and cost. To ensure information security, ask potential vendors how they send and receive translated documents.

Outsourcing in the translation industry is very common, and most translation companies outsource work to other suppliers.  And if the content is confidential, the information is very likely to leak out – As long as your documents flow out of the company, you enter the unknown world.  

That is why for highly confidential materials, HSU Translations use only in-house translators to ensure your data safety.  We have in-house translators for Chinese Translation, Japanese Translation, Korean Translation, Arabic Translation, Persian Translation, Hindi Translation, Thai Translation, Germany Translation, French Translation, Swedish Translation and Russian Translation.

Once your information enters the unknown world, you can only rely on protection and security mechanisms, that is, those who wish to access all of your document information.

This is a huge trust for an organization. As the Russian proverb says, believe it but verify it. Track your data as your document is translating. 

No matter how rigorous you are to use technical means, the highest risk in the translation process is always the translator.  And HSU Translations can offer in-house translation services for your highly secrecy document!

41 Thoughts on “Case Study: Secrecy Information leak due to using Online Translation Tool”

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