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User Beware: Cloud-Based Machine Translation Software Comes with Major Security Risks

Posted on September 22nd, 2017

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Some machine translation services may have security risksThe free machine translation site is in hot water after Norway’s state-run oil company Statoil discovered that confidential data the company entered into the site has become searchable through Google and Microsoft search engines.

The company found that its workforce reduction plans, dismissal letters, contracts, and other sensitive information – all of which had been entered by employees into the free translation engine – were easily accessible to the general public through a simple Google search.  Further investigation reveals that massive amounts of other confidential data is currently exposed via’s defense thus far is that their home page includes a disclaimer that all translations will be sent to their translator community to improve accuracy and that some text will be indexed by Google and Microsoft as part of that process.  That is cold comfort for the thousands of people who have relied on the site for what they thought were one-time quick translation services.

The controversy highlights the extreme risk that lawyers take when they translate confidential data produced by opposing counsel by entering it into an online machine translation engine.  Avoid that risk entirely by having ILS handle your machine translation needs.  Our machine translations are generated behind our secure firewall using a closed translation engine without any reliance on cloud-based programs like Google Translate (unlike other ESI vendors).  Contact ILS for more information.



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