Context vs confidentiality
Thread poster: Natasha Ziada

Natasha Ziada  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 15:17
English to Dutch
+ ...
May 4, 2013

Hi, I am pretty new to both Proz and Kudoz, so I would like to know what other people think of this.

I recently asked a question in KudoZ quoting a complete sentence to provide as much context as possible, and, as it turned out, this sentence was traceable to the source document on Google. I should have checked this perhaps, but I didn't think of it.

What happened was that one of the answerers did do exactly that, found the source document, and copied the link to the source document into the reference field to provide even more context. This to me felt like a breach in confidentiality, ie I felt my anonymity as a translator (and my client's) had been compromised.

But in fact, even if the answerer hadn't posted the link, the sentence would have still been traceable on Google. Did I compromise my own confidentiality by unwittingly revealing the source document, and how can that be avoided in this superdigital day and age? Should I not have provided the complete sentence as context, or 'decoded' it in some way? Or is it simply a matter of 'gentleman's agreement' to not post that kind of information even if it is Googleable?

Thanks for sharing your thoughtsicon_smile.gif


 

NataliaAnne  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 03:17
Portuguese to English
Source document was already public May 4, 2013

If the entire source document is available online, I don’t think you’ve breached confidentiality. There’s usually some clause along the lines of not disclosing information which is not otherwise publicly available.

 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:17
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Embarrassment, no more, IMHO May 4, 2013

Natasha Ziada wrote:
one of the answerers . . . found the source document, and copied the link to the source document into the reference field to provide even more context. This to me felt like a breach in confidentiality, ie I felt my anonymity as a translator (and my client's) had been compromised.

I can see that it might make you a little uncomfortable, Natasha, but I don't think anything worse has come of it (or, ought to come of it), and I certainly don't see that the answerer breached anything at all. Nobody knows if you are contracted to the owner of the text directly or through some translation agency, or even through a different type of agency (communication, publishing...).

But in fact, even if the answerer hadn't posted the link, the sentence would have still been traceable on Google.

Exactly! When you ask for help on a term, you should expect others to do some research. They may have an idea from their own experience, but they still need to check and provide references. And we're all supposed to be ace researchers, aren't we?icon_smile.gif And as NataliaAnne says, information in the public domain is not, by definition, confidential. Your translation is, but you aren't revealing that. Either you have to accept that the text you're working on will be revealed, or you don't ask the question. But as I said above, I would have thought slight embarrassment would be the worst outcome.


 
I agree with you May 4, 2013

The point is not the content you publish as a reference, the problem is that you shouldn't violate your confidentiality agreement with the agency/client you are working with.

The OP is issue is that she shouldn't be telling on the net that she is the translator for the agency's client X.

Anyway, in case of doubt I'd rather provide a correct translation and publish the references in full than keeping it a secret.


 

Natasha Ziada  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 15:17
English to Dutch
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Glad May 5, 2013

to know it doesn't seem like a major issue, in this case with this type of text. That's the consequence of plastering your texts all over the internet I guess.

However, I have seen it happening a few times, answerers (being the fanatic researchers that they areicon_smile.gif) posting links to a perceived source document where the asker hadn't provided that information. I feel like that might be oversharing - even if you find the link to what you *think* might be the source document, is it yours to post?

[Edited at 2013-05-05 06:43 GMT]


 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 13:17
Chinese to English
Kudoz is public, it's a problem May 5, 2013

There's no getting around the fact that Kudoz is publication, and asking questions on there could easily breach confidentiality. I agree with Sheila that it sounds like no real harm was done here, but you do have to be constantly aware of this issue. I get some work from law firms and pharmaceutical firms; if I ever had need to use Kudoz for those, I wouldn't give any context at all. (And I'd probably get poorer answers as a result, so it might not be worth it.)

 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:17
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
This May 5, 2013

is basically why I never ask questions on Kudoz. The client doesn't necessarily want anyone to know that they are having someone else translate their text, they like to pretend that they have done it themselves. Even when it's a press release about some exciting new product, where they want as much buzz and hype and info going viral as possible, they don't necessarily want a translator posting questions in a public place. The translator's job is to remain as invisible as possible.

 

Lori Cirefice  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:17
French to English
To get around this issue... May 5, 2013

I have a few strategies:

- Post context that is similar to your context, but not from your actual text - get the context from somewhere else (google, or just make it up!)

- Give only general background context - no googleable quotes from your text. For example - this is from the annual report of a French manufacturer of liquor and wine, under the XYZ heading... this will give colleagues some information to go on, we don't necessarily need to see the actual sentence to help you.

- Change the sentence/context you intend to post so that it can't be identified, by removing any company or place names... insert synonyms where possible, etc.


 

Michael Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:17
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
The Invisible Translator May 5, 2013

The Invisible Translator wrote:
We should remain lurking in the shadows where we belong.


Invisible-Man-In-Suit-And-Tie-Posters-225x300.jpg


Indeed.

Michael


 

Catherine De Crignis  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:17
Member (2012)
English to French
+ ...
Asking in KudoZ not always allowed May 6, 2013

I've seen agency contracts with a specific 'don't-ask-in-KudoZ' clause based on confidentiality respect.
I find that KudoZ poses a number of issues. I went through a phase of contributing but I've stopped now.


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:17
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
invisibility May 6, 2013

Michael Beijer wrote:

The Invisible Translator wrote:
We should remain lurking in the shadows where we belong.


Invisible-Man-In-Suit-And-Tie-Posters-225x300.jpg


Indeed.

Michael


Clicking on "like" here, and what a snazzy tie for someone trying to remain invisible!


 


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