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Protecting Sensitive Information Within Translation

Protecting Sensitive Information Within Translation

Strategies for Preventing Data Breaches in the Translation Industry

By Ofer Tirosh, CEO of Tomedes

When it comes to translation, it’s not unusual to come across sensitive information such as financial reports, legal documents, and medical records. It doesn’t need to be explained that such important details must be kept confidential and secure, as the resulting data breach can be disastrous to both the translation company and its clients.

This comes with its own set of hardships. Thus, safeguards must be in place in order to ensure the privacy, integrity, and security of both service provider and customer. Sharing information during business transactions is a show of trust, and failing to do their part can have terrible long-term repercussions, a loss of credibility, financial and clientele loss, and a damaged reputation for the translation company among them.

For clients, the consequences of a data breach can be even more severe. Exposed sensitive information can lead to identity theft, financial and reputation loss, and damage to personal and career life. Clients may also be subject to legal action if they cannot protect the private information of their customers. Therefore, it is critical for translation companies to take measures to prevent data breaches and protect the sensitive data they handle.

The Risks of Data Breaches in Translation

No matter how secure a translation company thinks it is, it is still vulnerable to cyberattacks and data theft. Hackers and other cybercriminals may attempt to gain access to confidential information by exploiting vulnerabilities in the company’s systems. This can come in the form of malware, spyware, and other malicious software on the company’s systems. These attacks can result in the theft of sensitive information, such as financial information or personal data, which can be used for identity theft, fraud, and other criminal activities.

Insider threats from employees and contractors are another major risk for translation companies. Employees and contractors with access to sensitive information may deliberately or accidentally leak confidential data. Employees who are disgruntled or have been terminated and contractors who may not be properly vetted can easily be bought or convinced to reveal what they know. Insiders can also fall prey to phishing attacks and other social engineering tactics used to gain access to sensitive information.

Additionally, one of the main challenges translation companies also face is the sheer volume of data that translation companies have to process. This can lead to errors and oversights, which can put sensitive information at risk. Another potential issue is the diversity of the information that is being handled, as confidential knowledge can be delivered in a range of different formats, including audio recordings, video files, and written documents.

On a brighter note, there are some defenses already in place. Some countries and organizations have already put privacy and data regulations that all companies, including those in the translation industry, should comply with. This includes the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) among others. This bolsters companies to implement data protection measures that are appropriate for the types of data they handle, including policies and procedures for data collection, storage, and sharing. It also pushes businesses to secure systems and processes for handling this data, including encryption, secure storage, and access controls. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in significant fines and reputational damage.

Strategies for Preventing Data Breaches in Translation

However, even with these safety nets in place, securing confidential data should start at the company ground level. There are already a few general steps that a company can do to begin the process, but for translation companies, these strategies should be more stringent. They can range from putting strong security protocols and procedures in place, training employees on best practices for secure information management, ensuring secure data storage and transmission, and conducting regular security audits and assessments.

For security protocols and procedures, use secure encryption methods to protect sensitive data, ensure that all software and hardware is up-to-date and regularly patched for security vulnerabilities, and put into practice access controls to restrict who has access to sensitive information. Other security protocols may include multi-factor authentication, firewalls, and intrusion detection systems.

However, using machines may not be enough. Employees also play a critical role in preventing data breaches. It is essential that translation companies train employees on best practices for secure information management, including how to identify and report potential security threats, how to handle sensitive information, and how to protect data during transmission. Employees should also be trained on how to avoid phishing scams and other social engineering tactics used by cybercriminals to gain access to sensitive information.

Once human and machine are trained and prepared for any breach possibilities, companies must then ensure that the data is stored and transmitted securely. This can be done through secure cloud-based platforms for data storage and transmission, implementing secure file transfer protocols, and using encryption to protect data during transmission. The information should also be backed up regularly and stored in secure locations to prevent loss in the event of a security breach. These procedures can also be automated to reduce human error.

Finally, to keep security effective in the long term, conduct regular security audits and assessments to check and discover potential vulnerabilities in their systems and processes. Do regular penetration testing to identify potential security weaknesses, and perform regular audits of their security protocols and procedures to ensure consistent compliance with data protection regulations. These assessments should be conducted by qualified professionals and include a comprehensive review of all security controls and procedures. Any identified vulnerabilities should be addressed promptly to minimize the risk of data breaches.

Best Practices for Secure Information Management in Translation

In the translation industry, secure information management has become essential. This is conducted through a combination of sensitive data encryption, access controls, authentications, data backup and recovery, and monitoring and logging access to confidential data.

First and foremost, sensitive data, such as personal information, financial records, and confidential business information, should be encrypted during storage and transmission. For instance, translation company Tomedes has its certified translation orders go through a Secure Sockets Layer (“SSL”) protocol to ensure that data cannot be accessed by unauthorized users, even if it is intercepted or stolen. Other industry-standard encryption methods, such as Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) or Transport Layer Security (TLS), can also be used to encrypt sensitive data.

Another method of preventing unauthorized access to sensitive information is access controls and authentication measures that open or restrict the types of data employees receive based on user roles and responsibilities. Common examples include biometric or two-factor authentication for programs, which can also enhance security by requiring users to provide additional forms of identification before accessing sensitive information.

Translation companies should additionally provide secure methods for regular data backup and recovery to prevent data loss in the event of a security breach. All backups should be stored in secure locations to prevent unauthorized access, and disaster recovery plans put in place to ensure that potentially lost data can be restored quickly in the event of a security breach or any other disaster.

Steps can be followed to maintain security even during company operations. Monitoring and logging access to sensitive information can be a dealbreaker for detecting and responding to security incidents. Implement systems that track and log access to sensitive information, including who accessed the information, when it was accessed, and what actions were taken. These logs should be reviewed regularly to identify potential security threats, and to ensure compliance with data protection regulations.


No matter how secure a translation company may be, the threat of data breaches and compromises will always be around the corner for as long as there is the knowledge of private, sensitive information being traded back and forth between clients and service providers. Privacy and data protection regulations are an attempt to keep on top of the danger, but there is only so much that can be done if companies themselves do not put their best foot forward and prevent, if not minimize, the risks that are already present and waiting for an opportunity to strike.

The translation industry is constantly evolving, and companies must adapt their security strategies to keep up with emerging threats and new technologies as best they can. By implementing best practices for secure information management, translation companies can minimize the risk of data breaches and protect sensitive data from cyber threats and other security risks, keeping clients safe, happy, and secure in their translator choice.

About the Author

Protecting Sensitive Information Within TranslationOfer Tirosh is the CEO of Tomedes, a translation company that offers language-based solutions to businesses and Fortune 500 companies worldwide. With over 15 years of experience in the language industry, Ofer has developed strategies to protect his company from data breaches, making Tomedes’ certified translation a trusted partner to businesses worldwide seeking to protect their sensitive information during the translation process.

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