Security Considerations in the Litigation Language Review Process

By Bryan Melchionda, Strategic Director of Litigation, Park IP Translations

515745835Park IP Translations recently co-hosted a dinner and round table discussion with George Socha, founder of the EDRM model. The theme of the evening was Translations in E-Discovery. The event featured discussions with senior members from the e-discovery and litigation industry, where participants talked at length about industry trends in litigation language services. One recurring theme in our discussions was security.

How safe is my e-discovery data when it is being translated?

Many senior case teams are concerned that when files are sent for translation, the risk of confidentiality breach is high whether that is during the process of machine translation (MT) or human translation. As a specialist in language services and litigation, I would like to share some key points on where a security breach could occur and what your legal language service provider can do to negate any risk.

There are two areas where security and confidentiality breach can occur during the translation process as part of the e-discovery process:

1. Human Translation

If files are sent out to human translators, then this raises concern for both client and law firm. Where is my data going? Will files be sent out of the language service providers IT network? Where does the data live? Where is the data backed-up? Who is working on my data? Have they had the necessary security checks?

The key to reducing the level of security risk for any litigation or e-discovery translation project is to work with a company who specializes in legal language services and discuss any security concerns with your provider before work starts. It is in the client’s best interest to establish and confirm translator testing and review protocols and processes, data management, security, and policies. Check that all translators on your project have signed NDAs. For high-risk projects, confirm whether your provider has the capacity to lock down the translator’s ability to save or print content to their computer by putting extra security steps in place and establish whether the provider actually done this before. It is important to be aware of these potential security breaches; however, an experienced provider like Park IP Translations will have steps put in place to keep these risks at a minimum.

2. Machine Translation (MT)

Many law firms use MT to support the foreign language e-discovery review process. MT can save costs, decrease timelines and reduce the amount of data requiring unnecessary human translation. It also opens up new areas of potential security breach. To save on costs, some law firms will use free web-based MT engines. By simply copying and pasting content into the online engine, you can obtain a translation (not necessarily an accurate one). This is a data breach. Your data and your end clients data has now gone into the digital stratosphere. Furthermore, your content is now being used to build that free web-based providers translation memory (TM). This is how the free online MT engines establish vast TM’s.

From a client’s perspective, you have to establish where the risks lie and where the touch points are. Security is a big consideration to clients and law firms and rightly so. By working with the right language partner, you can work together to minimize risk and focus on the core tasks. Park IP has all the necessary steps and processes in place to ensure clients’ data is safe and never compromised at any stage in the translation process.


Bryan Melchionda is Strategic Director of Litigation at Park IP Translations. Bryan advises law firm, corporate legal and information technology teams on best practices for reducing the risk and cost of people, processes and technology surrounding an organization information governance business process or problem. Bryan has spent over 13 years in a consulting and SME role within the corporate law environment and on the vendor side supporting multinational organizations on RM, IS, DM and language business and legal problems.

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