E.g., 04/05/2020
E.g., 04/05/2020

Establishing Secure Translation Processes in the Globalization Strategy

By: Across Systems GmbH

11 March 2015

In addition to the meaningful integration of all parties in the overall process to ensure consistent translation quality, process and information security should also be an essential element of the localization. Confidential information contained in documents such as  business plans, marketing campaigns, or annual reports are valuable and must be protected from loss and unauthorized disclosure.

For example, during the development of a product innovation, associated information (e.g. instruction manuals or descriptions) is often translated at an early development stage to keep the time to market as short as possible. This can be dangerous if a competitor gains access to this information due to inadequate security measures. This information could enable the competitor to be faster to launch his own new product.

Enterprises are already doing a lot to protect their data through backup routines, firewalls, and regulations. However, special challenges arise in connection with the localization of such documents such as:

Risks can be minimized through a combination of compliance policies that accommodate the circumstances of the respective destination markets, open and transparent collaboration of the individual partners, and suitable technological support.

To ensure the availability of the data, language service providers should, if at all possible, fulfill the technical requirements specified by the customer. For example, it may be contractually agreed that backup copies are to be created and stored elsewhere in order to protect the data from destruction. Another approach is the central data storage at the customer, since he would have to compensate any damage resulting from loss of data or unauthorized disclosure.

As organizational measures alone cannot guarantee information security in distributed translation processes, ideally tools and technologies can be employed that support the defined processes such as:

Ultimately, the required level of data security in the translation process depends on the needs of the customer and the type of text to be translated. For example, the information in an annual report is much more sensitive than the text of an advertising flyer. Irrespective of regulations and process-supporting technologies, the most important factor is the close and trusting communication between the customer and the translation service provider and the cooperation with reliable partners.

Stefan Kreckwitz, graduate computer scientist, is responsible for strategic product development at Across as Chief Technology Officer. He has extensive experience in connection with the requirements of distributed documentation and translation teams.  

Note: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of GALA.

  1. Legal requirements, data protection and process security regulations should be taken into consideration in the context of the translation. Non-disclosure agreements– a common measure – isn’t enough to guarantee full process security. The customer and partners involved should identify and take measures against risks while also ensuring compliancy is applied by each individual party involved in the project and for every data handover.
  2. Cultural circumstances may need to be handled differently and require you to make changes to your usual translation processes when collaborating with international partners to address copyright or country-specific technical and organizational formalities.
  3. Technical failures, missing competencies in certain areas, or human errors can endanger information security.
  4. The document translation process is often not standardized which compromises quality.
  5. Numerous parties are involved with different infrastructures and security definitions which can cause risk of uncontrolled information leakage to the public. For example, if the required data transfer takes place by e-mail or FTP server, it cannot be guaranteed that only the intended recipient can access the data.
    1. Translation management systems, which offer a closed system environment and thus make the translation memory and terminology available to those involved in the project as central databases.
    2. Integrated project and workflow controls to ensure that all process steps are traceable, and source and target texts can be handed over in a controlled manner in a closed supply chain.
    3. Process step automation to eliminate potential error sources from the outset. For example, automatic task assignment and distinct access rights for the individual parties involved reduce the risk of accidental transmission of translation data to unauthorized recipients. Additionally, history tracking can be implemented in order to be able to see at all times who worked on which content, and when.