As the translation industry continues to expand in line with the growing global marketplace, it needs stay ahead of the curve in terms of innovation and best practice. The hot topic of confidentiality has never been more important to tackle head-on, to ensure both consumer confidence, as well as to meet global market needs, thus safeguarding your business against the ever-present risk of potential data protection breaches. When considering which translation service provider to partner with, you must be sure that both your and your customer’s data is in safe hands.

Sensitive Data

The breadth of sensitive data that translation providers handle on a daily basis goes far beyond just the raw source material being translated but can include anything from highly confidential business information, strategic marketing materials, legal documents to personal data and medical records. Needless to say, it’s imperative that this data is protected within the multi-disciplined team of translators, editors and project managers, along with others involved in each project.

Data Protection Laws and Regulations

Along with the many country-specific laws to help ensure your data is always kept confidential, there is also the recently introduced General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This consolidates and updates all EU member states’ data protection acts and regulations into one, all-encompassing “Swiss army knife” of data protection. Under this regulation, data controllers can specify exactly how they want the data processor to handle the data shared with them. Data Protection Agreements (DPAs) are required to set out the guidelines and boundaries on how specific data may be processed and with whom it can be shared. The processor must also list all current third party processors and give advance notice of any changes to the data controller.

Confidentiality Contracts

Requiring Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) and Confidentiality agreements to be signed by all contractors, as well as in-house staff is imperative. These contracts offer a guarantee that any data provided will not be disclosed under any circumstances to third parties. However, this is only the first step towards ensuring the privacy of clients’ data is respected.

Personnel management is a very important aspect in the protection of confidentiality, but needs to be used in tandem with a robust technological structure so as to guard against external threats. This is of particular significance in today’s largest online business environment where the dangers of hacking and subsequent data leaks cannot be underestimated.

What Translators Need To Do

Each team member involved in a translation project has the duty to protect the confidential data they are entrusted with. Certain crucial steps need to be taken to ensure this is achieved.

  • All computers should have data fully encrypted so as to mitigate any risks from unauthorised access, which also extends to any and all backup storage; logically, there’s little point in protecting data in one place and then leaving it exposed in another.
  • Reputable, up-to-date firewalls and virus protection software will also help to catch any malicious threats before they can wreak havoc on your systems. Keeping these up-to-date is as important as first installing them.
  • All users with access to sensitive data should also regularly change their passwords to maintain optimum protection levels. This can be hard to police but is the easiest exploitable access point along the data protection chain.

Continuous Review

All of these measures can aid in ensuring that private information stays just that, but only through regular procedural reviews and by asking questions of your chosen translation partners can you be sure that everything possible is being done. This is not limited to end clients as translation agencies of all sizes should be continuously reevaluating their approach to data handling and their protection policies. There’s always room for improvement, and, as the age old saying goes, you can never be too safe.