Why a Secure Translation Workflow is Necessary

By United Language Group

The bulk of translation projects are conducted on computers and through the Internet. The client must transfer the original document and any supplementary materials to the translator at the start of the project, and the translator will need to transfer translated drafts back to the client for feedback and approval.

The stakes are high in any industry, especially those dealing with sensitive data like patient information or legal records. Therefore, a secure translation workflow with stringent data protection protocol is essential.

Language Solutions Partners (LSPs) use a platform known as a Translation Management System (TMS), a workflow system which enables collaboration between linguists and clients throughout the duration of a translation project. The TMS is an encrypted holding ground for data related to the project, including names, addresses, medical records, legal records, and proprietary information related to the client’s products. With a TMS, the integrity of the client’s data is maintained and all translation occurs within the platform, minimizing the chance of someone unrelated to the project gaining access to sensitive information.

A secure translation workflow influences all aspects of the translation process. Here’s an overview of how a secure translation process works and what clients should look for when choosing an LSP.

Storing Data

The most important part of a secure translation workflow is maintaining an environment that minimizes the risk of data breaches. The most common methods to maintain data security are both human-focused and machine-focused.

On the human side, LSPs often require translators to sign non-disclosure agreements and implement rigorous training programs for employees involved with clients’ data.  Password-protected logins and restricted permissions for accessing data also help make sure the only people looking at the data are those who need to.  

Human linguists aren’t the only ones with access to data related to a translation project. Most LSPs also use some form of Machine Translation (MT), especially with large-scale projects, to reduce time and cost. A secure MT environment means that MT applications are encrypted and password-protected. No data should be stored in an MT system without the human linguist or client’s knowledge.

Accessing translation information

Many companies rely on platforms such as Google Docs or Dropbox when sharing information and documents. Sometimes employees work on documents from their personal computers, and email files back and forth so they are stored on multiple desktops. While these methods can be useful for some internal projects or sharing schedules, projects that involve personal data or sensitive information require more robust protections. When linguists work on translations, they must work through the TMS on the LSP’s server (which requires security credentials), rather than downloading the necessary files to their own computer. This ensures that all translation documents remain within the TMS and are not shared with anyone else.

Transferring data

Sensitive data should never be sent over email, which can be easily hacked. With a TMS, clients and linguists send files via a secure File Transfer Protocol, or FTP, which transfers data over a 256-bit, encrypted connection. In addition to ensuring data security, a TMS with FTP capabilities also ensures that all relevant files are kept in the same place.

ISO Certification

LSPs at the forefront of the language solutions industry often seek additional security accreditation like ISO 27001, a standard that demonstrates an organization has established an Information Security Management System (ISMS) to strengthen data protection and prevent data leaks.

This extra level of attention develops trust with clients and shows that an LSP takes data security seriously.

Worth the time and investment

With the global marketplace becoming more and more aware of the risks involved with sharing personal information, taking the steps with your LSP to protect data during the translation process will help your reputation and avoid data disasters. Putting best practices in place for secure translation is well worth the time and investment, no matter what industry your organization works within.

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