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Cloud Translation – Working with Online Translation Applications and Solutions

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“Cloud translation” is something that many translation agencies resorting to. This entails working with online translation applications and solutions. For those of you that may not be familiar with this, it is usually a software-as-a-service (SAAS) provider that offers online CAT-Tool solutions for their clients, who are translation agencies for the most part.

When the agencies have a document they want to be translated, they just have to upload it to the cloud and send access data to their translators for them to work on the project online. This entails a slew of advantages for translation agencies. Translation memories are automatically stored; the CAT tool is thereby standardized among all the translators who are using the application. Translators can work in groups in the case of large-translation projects as well as communicate as a team, thereby being able to see what terms the other translator(s) is/are using in order to improve consistency. In addition, it also ensures that the translator is not using machine translator and that a computer-aided translation (CAT) tool is being used to translation the documents. Additionally, it saves the burden of increased e-mail communication and server memory used because the proofreaders are able to access the very same portal to proofread the document. It sounds like a dream – ensuing quality, streamlining, as well as standardization.

There are many viable reasons for using cloud CAT applications and they are certainly going to gain in popularity in the future, but, are there any downfalls? As is the case with anything in the world, there are pros and cons to everything. First of all, I think it is a great idea to have all translators using the same tool and being able to ensure for a fact that they are using a CAT tool in the first place, but from an agency perspective, it is sometimes difficult to get translators to use new things. Upon implementing the use of the tool, there might be a lot of resistance in addition to a slight drop in quality, because, in most cases, the translators will have to learn to use that specific tool and may not be able to use all of the features as efficiently as they would in the case of their own desired CAT tool.

Although this is becoming a thing of the past, there are still some translators who are reluctant to hand over the translation memories of their projects. And despite this, there usually has to be a translation memory manager who is responsible for organizing it all. In the case of cloud solutions, a lot of this organization is automated and stored very efficiently, proving to be a plus point in favor of a cloud solution. Additionally, it saves the effort of having to send TMs for each and every language to each individual translator. The translators are also not permitted to download the TM for their own personal use. These are great aspects that are highly regarded.

As with anything stored in a cloud, there is a certain security risk at hand. Anything stored online and protected by a password can be hacked, thereby providing access to the information albeit unauthorized. If the case of accessing the administrators account, that could mean leaking a great deal of confidential data. Solution providers try to minimize the risk of translator’s accounts getting hacked or compromised in any manner by providing their users (the agencies) with the ability to regularly change the passwords for both themselves as well as their translators. Moreover, user access provided to the translators or access to the documents in question are frequently discontinued after the translation has been performed as a security measure.

Another topic with regard to security would include the fact that you never know how secure the connection is at the translator’s end. Due to the fact that the translation is being worked with online, even using a HTTPS connection, the content may still be subject to prying eyes. This is in fact the case with almost all Internet content, unless you are using a VPN connection and even that is not fail-safe. In fact, that is another downfall. Due to the fact that most of these applications require a continued Internet connection, this may pose a problem in some countries with a poor Internet infrastructure or translators with a weak connection. In cases of traffic overload, and Internet downtime, that would mean “translation downtime” as well.

In light of the fact that cloud software solutions are often offered as a service and the data being translated is in fact being stored on a third-party server, how that data is being utilized or will be utilized many years in the future is up for debate. It is a funny fact that many individuals fail to remember or are not aware of this, but the Internet was actually originally created as a military application so that information could get stored and would basically never be able to be destroyed. Another issue about using a SAAS provider would entail if a translation agency wants to become dependent on that solution over the long term. What happens if the company goes out of business or decides to raise its prices substantially? An agency working many years with the SAAS provider might find themselves starting at ground zero again with another provider. This presents a great deal of risk.

In summary, working with clouds and the CAT tools provided along with these cloud translation solutions can in fact be very beneficial, but there are still security issues to contend with. Furthermore, being too dependent on a third-party provider as well as having to have a continuous Internet connection are both associated with certain risks. Be sure to look at all this to see if such a solution is the right one for you.

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