Whether you run a small business or a large enterprise, if you’re considering an international expansion to a foreign market, you’ll most likely require professional translation services at some point in your journey. You probably already know that you can simply copy the content you need to translate and paste it directly on Google Translate or any other tool to get instant results.
The question is, however, how safe is that for your business?
There’s no denying that in the short term, in most cases, machine translators are quicker and more affordable than a paid human translation service. Nevertheless, in the long run, saving on essential services such as secure translation can really hurt their budget in the future.
So, what are the risks posed by machine translation, and is there a way out?
What Can Translation Data Risks Cost You?
While using a free translation service for everyday tasks sounds cost-effective, it can cost you a lot in the long run. Believe it or not, a single data breach can cost a business more than $30 million annually.
Despite the enormous losses, most executive managers don’t allocate more than 10 per cent of their company’s income to tackle cybercrime. In this situation, there are many ways in which your sensitive data can land in the hands of malicious personnel on the internet.
When you send a project for translation, your document passes through several hands before being translated into the language you need.
Unfortunately, throughout this process, there are many instances where your data is vulnerable to unauthorized users who can use this information for their benefit.
What Happens When Someone Else Accesses Your Data?
We know what you’re thinking. So, someone else can read an email my German colleague sent me, which I translated using a cheap translation service, so what?
If you think the same way, you need to know how much data leakage can harm you and your company. What would a colleague typically include in an official email?
Now, evaluate how important these pieces of information are to your enterprise. If they are of utmost importance, then there are probably people who can benefit from this information.
An online translation tool’s owners can use your data in any way they like to feed their language processors or even sell it to third-party buyers. Similarly, you can allow internet users to access your documents and extract sensitive information once you save your data in a particular format.
Most importantly, if you translate documents with legal clauses and contract details, this information can wreak havoc upon your organisation if it lands in the wrong hands. Hackers can easily track your URL details through the translation website and use it to manipulate you or block access to your information.
How Does A Translation Process Put My Data At Risk?
As mentioned, a document travels through various hands when you put it out on the internet for translation. So while you might think you’re merely pasting the content onto a translation engine and getting a translation within seconds, it’s more complicated.
Here are the stages at which your crucial data can potentially leak into the hands of malicious individuals and result in monetary loss for your business.
The Right To Repurpose
Most small businesses need to learn that machine translation systems have a no-return clause. As a result, you can no longer control the data when you paste your content into their system.
Thus, the platform can use or repurpose your content in any way they see fit. While your data is usually used to feed and reprogram their language generators, some sensitive information can also end up in the hands of third parties.
Sharing Through Email
Even if you hire a freelancer or translation company to translate your data, your content is still at risk if you share it through email. If you email your files as attachments for edits and revisions, the freelance company or its team can easily save them on their computer, posing a risk to your data.
On the other hand, if you opt for dedicated translation companies with data encryption services, they let you share and save your content on a cloud-based portal. This way, you can be sure that your data remains safe at every stage.
No Permission Controls
Similarly, the portals will have little to no permission controls if you deal with an unprofessional company or machine translation service. In this case, anyone across the internet can save your documents without regard for your permission or privacy.
The best way to solve this problem is to check whether your translation service provides a centralised password system when sharing crucial data, such as company files or legal documents.
This way, you can reduce the risks associated with illegal data sharing and safeguard sensitive information about your organisation while getting quality services from your provider.
Translation memory is another prevalent phenomenon on the internet. This system lets machine translation systems save the translations produced by your organisation for future reference.
While professional translation services do not provide open access to translation memories to third parties, most machine translation systems are not obliged to do so. Unfortunately, this means your company’s and your clients’ crucial data might get reused or accessed without any permission barrier.
That’s why translation memories are great ways to ease translation jobs, but the memory files must be encrypted and protected to avoid malpractices.
Necessary Encryption and Certification
Lastly, most business owners must check if their translation service has the necessary certifications and encryptions. Most machine translation systems do not take such measures to cut costs and facilitate free services to their users.
This can result in the unauthorised use of company data and legal documents, making your business vulnerable to manipulation and phishing attacks.
You should check SHA-2 and 4096-bit encryption, along with 256-bit SSL certification. Similarly, your translation providers should have a no-return policy to ensure they do not save your data.
Furthermore, accessing your document should require multi-factor authentication and transport layer security to keep malicious individuals out.
Moreover, the service should display the last login details on your document so that you know if anyone except authorised personnel has accessed it. Also, in some translation services, the program logs out automatically if it stays idle for more than 30 minutes, which saves it from hackers.
Most importantly, the service should support secure browsers and have reliable audit systems in place so you can cross-check the security of your data anytime you like.
If you’re concerned about your data and content safety, there are better ideas than going for cheap machine translation services. Instead, you should spend some bucks and work with secure translation management systems and companies.
These services have encrypted storage and transfer methods combined with reliable security systems and permission controls to ensure the safety of your data. By allocating a calculated budget to high-quality translation services, you can save a fortune on data leakage costs in the long run.