29 Jan /19

Lesson 10: Free translation tools are the answer to all your problems! (Or are they…?)

Lesson 10: Free translation tools are the answer to all your problems! (Or are they…?)
Lesson 10: Free translation tools are the answer to all your problems! (Or are they…?) – EVS Translations

20 lessons learned in 20 years of business

As EVS Translations UK approaches the celebration of its 20th anniversary in February, its founder and CEO, Edward Vick, joins us on the blog each week to speak about the business and life lessons learned from the UK chapter of his international business.

These are exciting times. Instantaneous communication, whatever the language, thanks to increasingly sophisticated technology. Last week the New York Times revealed that Facebook was poised to merge its three messaging services – Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp – into a single platform. But this news story got us thinking about open-source tools for messaging, and the temptation of some businesses to use similar tools for translation…

Lost in translation – data threat with open-source translation tools

Perhaps for tourists at least, the ever-increasing number of translation apps certainly makes life easier. Communication made possible by the touch of a button. As individuals, it is fantastic to be able to keep up with a conversation or quickly understand tourist information. It is hugely liberating.

But as we enter into this age of artificial intelligence and its application in language, we always advise clients to consider the full implications in a business context.

Your data is the product with these popular open-source tools, including translation tools. Consider what you or your colleagues may be sending out of your organisation through them.

WhatsApp has started charging business users and we welcome the extra layer of security and peace of mind that this brings.

In the case of translation tools, the problem isn’t simply about low-quality ouput causing embarrassment or damage to brand equity. We’re questioning where the data is stored and who is using it. Consider this with major translation projects for a corporation, perhaps in a legal case or financing deal. Imagine the impact of a breach ahead of a major investment because information leaked via a free translation tool.

Lesson learned: The challenges we faced 20 years ago with global communication are quickly diminishing here in the 21st century. And the world is better for it. But as the technology giants hail the wonders of rapid and free solutions, we offer a note of caution. If you are not paying for the product, you are the product.