How can professionals best protect client privacy when translating?

Guildhawk | Jan 8, 2024 1:45:25 PM

A regular speaker on BBC Television, Arun Chauhan is a lawyer specialising in disputes and compliance advice arising from fraud and financial crime issues. He helps protect businesses from fraud and recover their losses. In this article, Arun explains how to protect client data when translating information.

The Importance of Protecting Personal and Client Data

The consequences of a data breach can be deeply impactful. To avoid a breach, one of the most important things is to protect is your personal data. Data about individuals is the gateway for criminals to cause the most damage and if the data is especially sensitive (passport details, banking credentials etc.), the more damage that can be done. If you’re a regulated professional like a lawyer, accountant, or in a compliance function, you must be extra vigilant about not only your client’s data but also your own private information and data.

Relying on Third-Party Service Providers

ISO:27001 Certified Translation Partners

Professionals think of these risks but what happens when we must rely on third party service providers? For example, think about the amount of sensitive data that can be in the hands of those who translate your legal documents etc. for your business?

In my view, using an ISO:27001 certified translation partner is an absolute must to protect data and that of your client. There are occasions when you only need to get a quick understanding of the content in foreign document and be tempted to use a free online translation tool. The problem is it presents data security risks.

Risks of Online Translation Tools

Online translation tools are a popular and convenient and the results can be pretty good. However, as a lawyer, you have a professional and ethical duty to protect the confidentiality of your clients and their cases.

Therefore, you should not use such public tools for any texts that could identify a client or reveal any sensitive or privileged information about their legal matters. Here are some reasons why:

  1. Terms of Service and Privacy Concerns: Online translation tools may store, use, or share your texts. Terms of service and privacy policies tend to include a license to store, use, and distribute your texts for various purposes, such as improving their services, creating new products, or complying with legal requests. This means the provider may keep a copy of your texts on their servers, analyse them for patterns or insights, or share them with third parties, such as government agencies, courts, or other users. Even if you delete your texts from the platform, there is no guarantee they will erase them completely or permanently from their systems.
  2. Security and Accuracy Issues: The translation platform may not be secure or accurate. Tools use artificial intelligence algorithms that are not always reliable or trustworthy because the Machine Learning models are trained on data that may contain bad translation and information that is false or biased. These algorithms may make mistakes, omit details, add errors, or change the meaning of your texts. These errors may compromise the quality, clarity, or validity of your translations Moreover, they may not have adequate security measures to protect your texts from unauthorised access, interception, or modification by hackers, cybercriminals, or malicious users. These risks may expose you and your clients to identity theft, fraud, blackmail, defamation, or other harms.
  3. Violation of Professional Obligations: Using online translation platforms may violate your professional obligations. As a lawyer, you have a duty to act in the best interests of your clients and to maintain their trust and confidence. You also have a legal obligation to comply with the rules of professional conduct and the laws of the jurisdictions where you practice. Putting confidential texts into an online platform may breach these obligations and expose you to disciplinary actions, sanctions, lawsuits, or damages. You may also lose your clients’ trust and reputation if they find out that you have used an unsecure platform to translate for their sensitive information.

To sum up, whilst free online translation tools can be useful, you must be careful as to when and how you use them.  When you have client data needing translation, in my view, free tools are not a suitable for translating any texts that could identify a client or disclose any confidential information about their legal matters.

Testimonial for Guildhawk GAI Platform

A safer approach is to always use professional human translators who are qualified, experienced, and bound by confidentiality agreements. If you require a quick translation to understand the content of a document, you could use a secure translation technology like Guildhawk’s GAI platform.

I like the GAI product and am providing my testimonial for it because it is a quick, easy to use means to translate. Importantly, it generates human-like results because the AI is trained on clean, high quality multilingual data. Importantly, the data you enter is confidential. Another unique feature is the ability automatically have a translation certified by a vetted legal linguist, at the click of a button.

Arun Blog


Remember: if you don’t want data to be seen by others, don’t put it into a website that is public, use services of a firm that has ISO:27001 data security certification with controls that are independently verified.