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Is there any way to circumvent having Google Translate results made publicly available?
Thread poster: Fredrik Pettersson

Fredrik Pettersson  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Member (2009)
English to Swedish
+ ...
May 21, 2013

Is there any way to circumvent having Google Translate results made publicly available?

One of my customers doesn't approve that I use Google Translate too much as their confidentiality agreement with their end-customer would be broken, as well as my confidentiality agreement with the translation agency.

So this customer only approves that I use Google Translate for terminology searches and short search strings.

In my CAT-tool SDL Trados Studio 2011, I have the possibility to use Google Translate within my CAT-tool, and translate every sentence of a document. This is extremely effective and really speeds up my translation work with at least 50 %. Some translation agencies have even begun during the last 6 months to offer their customers combined machine translation and then human editing. So it's different from translation agency to translation agency, and from end-customer to end-customer, how they regard Google Translate.

But isn't there any alternative solution to circumvent the fact that Google Translate results are publicly available for anyone? For example, is there any other MT that is almost as reliable as Google Translate? Or could I somehow download Google Translate and use off-line? Or add any small application that hinders the "return" of translation results to Google Translate?


 

Sarai Pahla (MD) MBChB
Germany
Local time: 03:38
Member (2012)
Japanese to English
+ ...
Are you saving the files? May 21, 2013

Are you saving the files in the Google Translate translators toolkit (or whatever it is called - I read about this about a year ago)? I'm not sure how your results are mad publicly available unless you are saving them somewhere - if you're just parsing them through the translator, I don't see why they would be saved or made public. Having said that, I don't use it because I find MT quite annoying to use - the errors are probably logical in their own way but they make no sense to me and I end up having to do an incredible amount of rewriting. Hey, each to his own...

 

Steven Segaert
Estonia
Local time: 04:38
Member (2012)
English to Dutch
+ ...
MemoQ May 21, 2013

I sometimes use MT within MemoQ. The software of course sends the original segment to Google and offers me an MT suggestion. It does not send my confirmed translation back to Google.

A work-around could be to translate a document through the Google web interface, and to save the result and align it with the original. A bit of extra effort, but it should work.

On a side note: I sometimes use Google translate for inspiration, but I quite often find that the quality suffers in terms of syntax and how a text is constructed. When I re-read something translated with Google MT suggestions switched on, I almost invariably see that the translation I write on the basis of that is correct, but hardly something a native speaker would have written originally.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 03:38
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Does GT make results public? May 21, 2013

Fredrik Pettersson wrote:
Is there any way to circumvent having Google Translate results made publicly available?


First tell us why you think Google Translate makes the results publicly available.


 

Fredrik Pettersson  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Member (2009)
English to Swedish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
GT strictly forbidden by one agency May 21, 2013

In the PO from the agency I work for now, the following statement is written about GT:

GOOGLE TRANSLATE WITH XXX projects

We would like to bring to your attention some not so obvious facts and warnings concerning Google Translate.

When Google Translate is used, all the data entered into the form remains within Google databases and can be accessed publically. If you place whole sentences from projects into Google Translate then all confidential information from the clients´ documents are saved in Google for everyone to see.

This breaks our confidentiality terms and conditions from both our NDA contracts with you AND also with the client.

Use of Google Translate for anything other than Terminology searches and short search strings of words XXX projects is STRICTLY FORBIDDEN.

So I just can not use GT now for this customer if I am not certain how to prevent my translations from being sent back and made publicly available.


 

Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:38
Italian to English
Correction May 21, 2013

It is not your translations that are being made publicly available (unless you choose that option); it is your agency's client's original text in the source language that is being saved and made available (in theory at least - I would be surprised if anyone could tell me how to access it!)

 

Zoltán Kulcsár  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:38
English to Hungarian
if your agreement does not allow it May 21, 2013

you should not use it.

Besides, I see several etical problems invoicing any client for work done partly with a free translation provider (but maybe that's just me). Personally, I would not touch Google Translate in my professional work, and not just for privacy reasons.


 

Sarai Pahla (MD) MBChB
Germany
Local time: 03:38
Member (2012)
Japanese to English
+ ...
Stored indeed! May 21, 2013

It looks like the answer to your original question is no.

Russell Jones wrote:

It is not your translations that are being made publicly available (unless you choose that option); it is your agency's client's original text in the source language that is being saved and made available (in theory at least - I would be surprised if anyone could tell me how to access it!)


Yes, this discussion prompted me to search for exactly what information Google does actually store: http://www.seomoz.org/blog/the-evil-side-of-google-exploring-googles-user-data-collection

Fascinating.

Whether or not the data is made publicly available is another question, but as Zoltán says - if you agreement says "Don't use it", then don't use it.

[Edited at 2013-05-21 19:14 GMT]


 

SoerenB  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 03:38
English to Danish
+ ...
Of course Google stores (and will reuse) all data May 21, 2013

Be 200% sure that Google stores all data - and will use it where/when possible. Please.

So any source (your customer's - maybe confidential - text) you send to GT will be stored, and will be used in multiple ways now and in the future by Google.

And if you use GT in a way that also records your final, post-edited translation, yes, that will of course also be Google data.

Whether you have a problem or not sharing your improvements to GT's translation is a matter between you and Google. But the serious - possible - issue is that you feed customer source data to Google.

Noone should doubt that Google will maintain their rights to use the data. And that they will find a way to use it.

Don't worry if you cannot think of a way that could be harmful to your customer. There will always be that (the potential for unwanted use). So unless you have explicit authorization from your customer, you should never send it tg Google (read: store it for Google's never-ending desire to harvest revenue from it).


 

SofieM  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 03:38
French to Danish
+ ...
Ask yourself... May 21, 2013

why is it necessary to use GT?
Frankly, I don't get it - and especially in cases where there client specifically tells you not to use this tool (why do you want to hide this to you client?) - why do you use it - if it potentially ends up everywhere?


 

Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 07:08
English to Hindi
+ ...
The way I understand it May 22, 2013

Samuel Murray wrote:
First tell us why you think Google Translate makes the results publicly available.


The way I understand it, Google Translate is not a semantic engine, but a frequency based engine, by which I mean, it uses existing human-made translations to improve its accuracy. Which means, if a human translator uses GT to translate something, Google stores it in its vast memory and next time a similar sentence crops up, it brings that up in preference to the MT.

So, all human translations are stored in the underbelly of GT and will potentially be made public to other translators using GT.

This way, over time, GT hopes to build a sufficient base of translations done by human hands (who use GT) and to provide translations that are not exactly MT, but a mix of the two.

Since Google has infinite storage capacity, it hopes that it will be able to match, over time, the infinite capacity of human languages to churn out sentences with previously human translated sentences. So the more people use GT, the more non-MT it becomes. I wouldn't say it becomes more accurate, because, there is no knowing the quality of the human translations. It may have been done by a thoroughly incompetent hand and GT will have no means of knowing this. It will faithfully store the junk human translation and bring it up as a suitable translation next time to someone else.

[2013-05-22 03:10 GMT पर संपादन हुआ]


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 03:38
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
No, Google Translate does not work that way May 22, 2013

Balasubramaniam L. wrote:
Samuel Murray wrote:
First tell us why you think Google Translate makes the results publicly available.

The way I understand it, Google Translate is not a semantic engine, but a frequency based engine, by which I mean, it uses existing human-made translations to improve its accuracy. Which means, if a human translator uses GT to translate something, Google stores it in its vast memory and next time a similar sentence crops up, it brings that up in preference to the MT.


The first half of what you say is correct, namely that Google is a statistical machine translation system, but the second half of what you say is not correct -- Google gets its data from bilingual sources, not from monolingual sources. Google can't use the text that you submit, because it is only in one language. Google won't store its own translation of your text because that won't help Google improve the service.

This way, over time, GT hopes to build a sufficient base of translations done by human hands (who use GT)...


Yes, but that only applies to cases where the human submits his corrections back to Google. None of the CAT tools that use Google Translate do that. And if you use the online Google Translate, you don't have to correct the translation there and then -- you can copy it and paste it to your own program and fix it there, without submitting it back to Google.

The only time human users of Google Translate actually submit stuff back to Google that is stored by Google to be used for other users, is if they use the Google Translate Toolkit and if they don't specify that the global TM should be used.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 03:38
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Sarai May 22, 2013

Sarai Pahla wrote:
Are you saving the files in the [Google Translate Toolkit]? I'm not sure how your results are made publicly available unless you are saving them somewhere - if you're just parsing them through the translator, I don't see why they would be saved or made public.


This is a very dangerous reasoning. The GTT does not work the way you seem to think it works. The file that you upload to GTT is saved on the GTT workspace, and your translations are saved there as well, whenever you translate or correct a segment. If you reboot your computer and go back to GTT, your translations are still there (it would be terrible for most people if that were not so).

So, GTT does save your source text and it does save your translations. The question is whether Google also makes your source text and your translations public, and as far as I know that depends on whether you have selected the option to use the public TM or not. If I'm wrong, please tell me.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 03:38
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
The agency believes a superstition May 22, 2013

Fredrik Pettersson wrote:
In the PO from the agency I work for now, the following statement is written about GT:

When Google Translate is used, all the data entered into the form remains within Google databases and can be accessed publically. If you place whole sentences from projects into Google Translate then all confidential information from the clients´ documents are saved in Google for everyone to see.


What the agency says is simply untrue, but the agency believes it, so you have to take the agency's belief into account when you do translations for them.

I'm sure that the agency can't show you how to "publicly access" anything that you or anyone else had pasted into the Google Translate form. I have yet to see a reliable source that claims and shows that Google saves and displays the text that you paste in the form.


 

Steven Segaert
Estonia
Local time: 04:38
Member (2012)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Sometimes useful May 22, 2013

Sounds simple to me - if the client doesn't want you to use it, don't use it. If that changes your speed, workflow and pricing, then that is a business decision to make.

To add a little bit to the usefulness/nonsense of MT discussion: it seems to work best when you are working on documents of which similar and official versions are publicly available online. GT has for example aligned all documents that are made public by the European Parliament. So, if you ever need to translate a document that comes from there, GT does have benefits, and I would say even over the EU's own TM's. Then again, as I gain more experience, I find that my own TM's (especially through concordance searches) are starting to give me the best suggestions.

But if you want to end up with a good text, "as if written by a native speaker", GT isn't up to the task. And I think that is exactly how I, as a "human translator", can make the difference.


 
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