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MT and Confidentiality Agreements
Thread poster: TranslationB (X)

TranslationB (X)
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:36
English to Italian
+ ...
Sep 7, 2011

My best client (agency) has been updating its Quality Assurance systems and has asked me to sign a new agreement, which appears to be a standard format issued by a national association of translation companies.

This includes an absolute prohibition on the use of MT, which it is claimed would be a breach of confidentiality.

I have read various reports and discussions on Google's standard terms and conditions but nothing that clarifies definitively whether Google (or others) use the uploaded source text for data mining or other purposes.

While my finished translations are rarely recognisable as as those suggested by MT, I do use it extensively as a first step, followed by meticulous and critical post-editing.

This has been the most effective productivity tool I have yet come across and I would be reluctant to give it up just because someone feels compelled to apply a catch-all set of standard conditions.

Any ideas, evidence or strategies would be most welcome.


 

Ambrose Li  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 20:36
Chinese to English
+ ...
myth? Sep 7, 2011

I have always been puzzled about this too. People seem to have the notion that Google have been amassing all the source text we feed them, when there’s in fact absolutely no motivation for them to do so.

However, since Google Translate uses http (versus https, and I have checked that we cannot force an https connection), there is a chance that the communications can be eavesdropped.


 

German Legal
Canada
Local time: 21:36
English to German
+ ...
MT and Confidentiality Agreements Sep 7, 2011

I do agree with the agency, that using publicly available MT - focus on *publicly available* such as Google Translate and others that work in a similar manner - may very well be considered a breach of confidentiality agreements. By using these publicly available MT tools, you are feeding your client's or, rather, the end client's documents into a system that is not under your exclusive control, and one even does not know where this information goes and who has access to it.

If you have your own MT license, that's a totally different story. The information remains under your control and is protected in the manner you usually protect all of your work.

Inge,
Canada




[Edited at 2011-09-08 11:14 GMT]


 

John Robinson
United States
Local time: 20:36
Google's TOS Sep 7, 2011

http://www.google.com/accounts/TOS

“ …By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services.”

“… You agree that this license includes a right for Google to make such Content available to other companies, organizations or individuals with whom Google has relationships for the provision of syndicated services, and to use such Content in connection with the provision of those services.”


 

kalap (X)
Wow Sep 8, 2011

jmrobinson wrote:

http://www.google.com/accounts/TOS

“ …By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services.”

“… You agree that this license includes a right for Google to make such Content available to other companies, organizations or individuals with whom Google has relationships for the provision of syndicated services, and to use such Content in connection with the provision of those services.”



I am really impressed.icon_frown.gif

From the agency's side, they have to ensure that their client data are been treated in a safe and sure manner, if not there is contract breach, and I can imagine that the external translator is considered as a possible data leak. This is even true for putting your files on YouSendIt, therefore only do this if you client instructs you to do so, then it is their responsibility. Do I have to recall what happened with Dropbox?


 

Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:36
Member (2004)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Confidentiality Sep 8, 2011

Ambrose Li wrote:

I have always been puzzled about this too. People seem to have the notion that Google have been amassing all the source text we feed them, when there’s in fact absolutely no motivation for them to do so.


What Google is or isn't doing with the data is immaterial. We shouldn't be providing our clients' information to third parties, period, regardless of what those third parties do with it.

Ideally files should also be e-mailed in encrypted (or at least passworded) form, but clients aren't keen on doing that.


 

Nicholas Stedman  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 02:36
French to English
Futher clarification required please Sep 9, 2011

jmrobinson wrote:

http://www.google.com/accounts/TOS

“ …By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services.”

“… You agree that this license includes a right for Google to make such Content available to other companies, organizations or individuals with whom Google has relationships for the provision of syndicated services, and to use such Content in connection with the provision of those services.”



Does this mean that if I use Google Translate to understand an article/poem/review in Japanese, Google can then "reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute" the original text in Japanese?


 

Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:36
French to English
+ ...
Motivation Sep 9, 2011

Ambrose Li wrote:
I have always been puzzled about this too. People seem to have the notion that Google have been amassing all the source text we feed them, when there’s in fact absolutely no motivation for them to do so.


I think it's dangerous to base business decisions like this on whether or not *you* can think of Google's motivation. Your failure of imagination does not equal confidentiality...


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:36
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Simple Sep 9, 2011

TranslationBox wrote:
While my finished translations are rarely recognisable as as those suggested by MT, I do use it extensively as a first step, followed by meticulous and critical post-editing.

This has been the most effective productivity tool I have yet come across and I would be reluctant to give it up just because someone feels compelled to apply a catch-all set of standard conditions.

Then do not sign the contract and stop working for the company!

Edited to add the following:

Quite honestly, if MT is "the most effective productivity tool" for you even if you have to do extensive editing of the results, my first thought is that perhaps you need to work more on other factors that improve your productivity, like typing speed (learn to typewrite properly), hardware (get a new computer), knowledge of computing (take courses on your operating system, office applications, and any other applications involved in your work), CAT tool (get a CAT tool that is more reliable and faster to use and maintain, and take courses to learn to exploit it fully), concentration (change your working place or habits to avoid disturbance), information resources (buy more specialised dictionaries), Internet connection (get a faster one)... There is a host of things you can do to improve your productivity. Personally I just cannot believe that Google Translate helped you more than improving these other aspects would.

On the other hand there is the matter of customer agreements. You don't know what Google will do in the future with all the information they are being fed via Google Translate and the MT they send back to you (which surely gets stored somehow). And you surely knew or could suspect --given the fact that Google's business is based upon storing masses of information and processing it for usable purposes-- that the information got stored, but you probably did not want to think much about the consequences. Now you have a customer that is aware of the potential consequences and asks you to cease using MT. Honour that request, or cease working for them. Simple, right?icon_smile.gif

[Edited at 2011-09-09 05:52 GMT]


 

Jeff Allen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 02:36
Multiplelanguages
+ ...
contract agreement statement is totally ignorant about MT Sep 9, 2011

TranslationBox wrote:

...asked me to sign a new agreement, which appears to be a standard format issued by a national association of translation companies.

This includes an absolute prohibition on the use of MT, which it is claimed would be a breach of confidentiality.

I have read various reports and discussions on Google's standard terms and conditions ....


Whoever (especially a national association of translation companies) is issuing a blanket statement for translation provider contracts which completely prohibits the use of MT because of breach of confidentiality is completely off the mark.

1) It is not MT in itself that breaches confidentiality. It is Google's proprietary MT system and the way then have deployed it, with their own terms and conditions statement, which can lead to breach of confidentiality on content provided to you by your client

2) there are however several Translation Memory (TM) / CAT which use the publicly available APIs of the internet accessible MT systems, of which Google is one.

3) there are many commercial MT software packages (ranging from 50 - 500 euros/dollars, depending on the number of features needed, number of languages, etc) out there which are installed locally on your computer and locally process the content through the MT software on your machine (not by internet accessible APIs).

The problem with breach of confidential for such a technology is based on 1 and 2 but not on 3.

So this association of translation companies has completely misunderstood the issue and has twisted it to include all MT software (in addition to online MT internet engines). Which association is it?

Jeff


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:36
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
"Your honour..." Sep 9, 2011

Jeff Allen wrote:
1) It is not MT in itself that breaches confidentiality. It is Google's proprietary MT system and the way then have deployed it, with their own terms and conditions statement, which can lead to breach of confidentiality on content provided to you by your client

"Your honour, it was not me who killed the man. It was the knife, because it was sharp and cut through the man's body when I pushed it against him! I did not mean to kill him!"icon_smile.gif

To me, it is perfectly OK to use "MT" as a whole and not "Google Translate" in the clause, quite simply because very many translators can't tell the difference in privacy issues between online and desktop solutions --or between Google Translate and other online solutions, for that matter.

[Edited at 2011-09-09 09:18 GMT]


 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:36
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
The way it is actually worded - at least what I saw - is OK Sep 9, 2011

"As a condition of accepting any source materials or files from ***, you agree not to upload, transmit or send in hardcopy or electronic form, any such source materials or files to any external or web-based software, tools, repositories or services (such as, but not limited to "Google Translate") which have End User Licensing Agreements that claim ownership of material or in any way do not guarantee the confidentiality of the material. You further agree not to donate, sell or distribute in any manner, any Translation Memory to any public or private Translation Memory Amalgamator (such as, but not limited to “TAUS”) as these memories contain our client’s confidential source material."

This is how it is in a recent agreement form I saw, and I think it is perfectly reasonable.
Katalin


 

Jeff Allen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 02:36
Multiplelanguages
+ ...
this specific agreement statement is OK, but is not the same one Sep 9, 2011

Katalin Horvath McClure wrote:
"As a condition ..... any external or web-based software, tools, repositories or services (such as, but not limited to "Google Translate") which have End User Licensing Agreements that claim ownership of material... not to donate, sell or distribute in any manner, any Translation Memory to any public or private Translation Memory Amalgamator (such as, but not limited to “TAUS”) ... "


Yes, Katalin, the agreement statement you provided above (I've shortened to key statements) is OK.
But from what I understand in following up, this does not seem to be the same statement that was provided in the agreement that is mentioned at the beginning of this thread. It is more restrictive to MT software in general from what I understand.

Jeff


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 02:36
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Using Gmail (just poking) Sep 9, 2011



Allow me to stick my tongue in my cheek. So... if you're a freelancer and you're using a Gmail addresss, and the agency sends documents to your Gmail address (deliberately, knowing that it is a Gmail address and knowing that the Google TOS states what it states), how does that affect the status of what they sent?

Edited: see also my next post, which is less tongue-in-cheek, which relates to the additional terms of service of each service such as Gmail or Google Translate.



[Edited at 2011-09-09 20:31 GMT]


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 02:36
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Selective quoting Sep 9, 2011



Selective quoting will get you anywhere. Google's TOS at the URL http://www.google.com/accounts/TOS also says:

1.2 Unless otherwise agreed in writing with Google, your agreement with Google will always include, at a minimum, the terms and conditions set out in this document. These are referred to below as the “Universal Terms”. ...
1.3 ... Where Additional Terms apply to a Service, these will be accessible for you to read either within, or through your use of, that Service. ...
1.5 If there is any contradiction between what the Additional Terms say and what the Universal Terms say, then the Additional Terms shall take precedence in relation to that Service.


So let's see if Google Translate's "additional terms" contain anything about this topic that supercedes or overrides the statements in 11.1 and 11.2:

1. First, it confirms the above, namely In the event of any conflict between these additional terms and the Google Terms of Service, these additional terms will govern with respect to your use of the [Google Translate] Service.

2. You can control whether and for how long Google re-uses your submitted content:

(1)...Google will not ... make your content available on a standalone basis to any third parties without your consent.
(2) If Google displays your content to an end user, it will do so only according to the sharing rules below, and only on an [XLIFF-definition] translation unit basis.
(3) If you delete your content, Google will delete the content from its servers and will not use it for any additional improvements to the Services after the date of such deletion from its servers.


3. Furthermore, if you translate whole documents at a time...

(1) Each document is only viewable by you and users with whom you explicitly share the document.
(2) If you mark your translation memory as "not shared with everyone", each translation unit in the translation memory will be viewable only by you and users with whom you explicitly share...


So... unless you do not trust Google at all (and then quoting its TOS would be moot), your confidentiality is always intact if you use the Google Translate Toolkit to pre-translate whole files... which is what I do when I use Google Translate (I then align the texts and convert it to a match-penalised secondary translation memory).


 
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