What are the risks involved in the translation project?

The process of translation is challenging and comes with a lot of technicalities. A single project of translation requires getting through many phases before finally shaping up into something which can be presented to people overseas.  Also, the translation agency has to run it through different hands before it is finally handed over to the customer. This content can be checked by the project managers, translators, proofreaders graphic designers, editors, and subject matter experts linguists during the whole cycle of making. Every person and phase is an integral part of the process and refers to the significance of each step.

Translation services are not easy to handle and deliver. The translation agency has to go through a lot. They have to handle the content which could be sensitive or include legal contracts and documents. These documents have confidential clauses which are important to be taken care of. Customers send these files to their vendors and show their trust however, they should understand the touchpoints which are there in the process and they should also be prepared to counter the threats that documents might face from external factors.

Here are the risks described stepwise for a better understanding.

Step 1: Customer request

This starts with the customer taking the initiative in the translation process where the customer sends its files and content to the project manager. All the documents that the project manager and translators receive are very much likely to be at risk of interception and cyber attack due to the attachments in the email. Moreover, when there are thousands of unopened emails in your inbox there are chances of sending an email to the wrong person or client exposing the secure information to unknown resources. Therefore, if the LSP has to receive the files through email only, the customer has to understand that his content is at stake and at risk including all the sensitivities.

Step 2: The project manager forwards the data to the third party

The project manager and translation vendor once receive the data, will naturally start scanning his team for the best person to assign the task depending on his profile and the project’s requirements. A lot of translation agencies hire freelance translators to do the job. Many times they take up the job of a language that is rather new to them such as Vietnamese. Also, it is always important to hire native language speakers for translation. Therefore, they will have to hire freelance native translators to work on Vietnamese translation services. They contact and approach these translators who are not part of their teams and are third parties. This refers to another risk because the vendor will have to send files via email and the whole process is not secure.

Additionally, it includes the threat as a project manager might include translation memories too which is important for professional Vietnamese translation services in this case. That refers to the exposure of the data to cyber threats. The TM files can also contain data from the whole account and are not related to this project in particular leading to more serious issues.

Step 3: Translator storing the files locally

Translators after downloading the files save them on their PC or laptops. It carries a lot of risk to the data and its sensitivity. This can be mitigated depending on the translator and his way of dealing with his content and concerns for personal security. Though several translators take data security as a serious concern, many others do not pay much heed to it. Also, not all of them are aware of the risks that they might face or expect as they don’t have much exposure to IT-related things. There are possibilities of having vulnerable points in the system.

Moreover, common security risks may include poor password management, insecure internet connections, irregular security issues, and inconsistencies in data backups. As per the cybersecurity experts, four in five companies have suffered cybersecurity breaches which is mainly due the third-party vendor. Once the data is shared with the translators, proofreaders, editors, or subject matter experts, the data is at immediate risk. For professional translation services, it is evident to ensure that translators adhere to laws and regulations strictly.

Step 4: Translation memory mergers

Another risk in the process of translation is faced when language service providers spare the translation memory to merge it with off-site and third-party vendors. This process asks for the manual merger of both data sources which is very much prone to errors and since it is carried out by humans so the risk is always there.

Moreover, the data and translation memory could differ with the languages. If translators are working on Thai translation services, for instance, they will have to make sure that the glossary and terms in the respective language have been set and integrated accordingly.

Also, translators and proofreaders who come forward to chip in the professional Thai translation services should make sure that they understand the role which a strong TM plays in the quality and consistency of the translation.

Step 5: The translator sends the email back

Once the document is complete and the translator has worked his best. He will have to send the document back to the project manager. The vulnerabilities of sending a file through documents are there once again. This tells us that if LSP needs to get additional off-site third-party resources the cycle might start back. However, if the project is final and ready to be delivered, LSP might return insecure emails to clients again which involves risk and exposure to risk from the start.


Translational content is often very sensitive and confidential. A lot of business agreements, technical content, forms, and data are sent for translation, and confidentiality agreements are also signed mutually. However, the content carries risk from the very start when it is shared through email attachments. Therefore, companies should work on secure sharing methods to avoid this cyber theft and the risks involved.

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