Data protection-compliant use of online translation tools

Online translation tools offer a convenient way of having technical terms automatically translated into or from another language in both professional and private everyday life. Depending on the provider, such tools can also be used to translate long texts or at least passages of text. In the meantime, online translation tools are constantly being further developed using artificial intelligence processes, so that the end user receives ever better results from their translation. Employees in the professional environment are also increasingly making use of the support of such tools. From a data protection point of view, however, such services involve risks. Find out in our blog article which tools you can use and to what extent to ensure data protection-compliant use.

The different providers of online translation tools

With its well-known translation tool “Google Translator”, Google provides a tool that can be used for the automatic translation of texts. Depending on the scope or context, the provider only delivers partially satisfactory results. More and more often, users are switching to the alternative provider “Deepl” from the Cologne-based company of the same name. “Deepl” has existed since August 2017 and with its solution offers serious competition to the translation tool from Google.

Artificial intelligence translation

“Deepl” meanwhile offers ever more professional and better translation results. This can be attributed to the fact that the service works in the background with neural networks. Such networks, better known as artificial intelligence, offer a way for the computer to make decisions independently. IT systems become more intelligent and develop their own mind, so to speak. With every translated text, the system learns automatically through the use of neural networks. It is thus able to continuously improve its results for the benefit of the user. In addition, “Deepl” offers the advantage that not only individual text passages can be translated, but even entire documents such as Word or Powerpoint files.

Data protection violations in translations

In order for the machine learning of the translation tool to be possible, the system has to keep learning. This is made possible by entering texts that are then translated. The automatic learning effect also requires the provider to store the texts for a certain period of time. There is a risk that texts that also contain personal data are inserted in the translator. If this is the case, there is already a violation of the General Data Protection Regulation, as personal data is processed without consent or legal basis.

The manufacturer already points out this fact in its data protection declaration:

“If you use our translation service, only enter texts that you want to transfer to our server. This is necessary so that we can carry out the translation and offer you our service. We save your texts and the translation for a limited period of time in order to train and improve our translation algorithm. ”

https://www.deepl.com/privacy.html

Regardless of the use of artificial intelligence, data entered in tools such as “Google Translator” are also stored by the provider.

Data protection-compliant use for translations

If you use translation tools such as “Deepl” in a professional environment, you must always ensure that personal data or other sensitive information is removed before the text to be translated is inserted. Only then can it be ensured that no confidential information is processed by the provider.

Alternatively, the Cologne-based company also offers a paid pro version of its service. This version promises that entered texts will not be used to improve the product and therefore will not be saved.

“When using DeepL Pro, the texts you submit and their translations are never saved and are only used to the extent that this is necessary for the creation of the translation. When using DeepL Pro, we do not use your texts to improve the quality of our services. ”

https://www.deepl.com/privacy.html

As is so often the case, the typical scenario between free and paid services is also reflected here. Anyone who uses free services on the Internet usually pays with their personal data. But even when using the paid version, you should make sure that personal data is not simply translated.

Would you like to sensitize your employees to the topic of data protection in your company in order to avoid data breaches and GDPR violations? Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like support. We can advise you, hold awareness training courses on site or offer online alternatives. Call us on 08505 919 27-0 or fill out our contact form.

This post is also available in: German