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What You Need to Know About Security in the Legal Field

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Maintaining security is extremely important for legal translations. Translators often have access to sensitive, personal and confidential information over the course of a legal translation project and it’s critical to protect this information. In some instances, there might even be laws surrounding the protection of this information.

Here are some things which should be considered when it comes to security and the legal field which could have an impact on legal translation projects.

Data Security

Translators complete all of their work using computers connected to the internet. Just like any other type of business, these computers are susceptible to data security risks, breaches, cyber-attacks and other vulnerabilities that put the information stored on these networks and computer systems at risk.

In the event that there is a data leak or breach, this could have serious ramifications for all parties involved, including the law firm, translation company and the lawyer’s clients. This includes reduced client trust, legal liability and a damaged reputation.

Personal Information

Many legal documents feature personal information about the clients and properties involved in the contracts, depositions and documentation that requires translation. In some cases, it might be possible to anonymize this data during the legal translation process in order to protect the personal information contained in the document. This can reduce some of the potential risk of breached personal information. However, this is not always possible or practical.

Privacy Laws

Depending on the location where the finished legal translation will be used and the location of the law firm, there might be privacy laws in place that govern how the data must be protected. All of the parties involved in the legal process will need to follow any applicable privacy laws that affect the project, including the translation team. With the increased prevalence of international contracts and periodical changes of privacy laws, this can be challenging. Translators and project team members must keep up to date on new privacy laws.

Offering protection for privacy laws means that many translators have to abide by the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) that is enforced in the EU. GDPR covers ethical and practical standards when working with sensitive data. It serves as a guideline for how translators should complete their work so that they can provide dependable and effective services.

Regulatory Compliance

Regulations for each type of document might also vary. For example, real estate contracts that are already executed and part of a public record would not face the same regulations regarding data protection as an unawarded patent application for a new product. Not only does the law firm involved need to know what regulations must be complied with, but legal translators and LSPs also need to know what rules they must comply with.

Security Processes

To limit the potential impact of data security risks, steps need to be taken to protect legal data. This could be as simple as creating a company-wide security process, such as data storage and confidentiality protocols, used by the LSP with every legal client. Since the LSP may be working with legal clients on opposites sides of a case, keeping sensitive information away from the wrong clients is critical. If particular clients require additional security processes, this can also be addressed with the translation team.

All staff members need to undergo regular cybersecurity awareness training so that they are prepared to protect data and report suspected security breaches to appropriate staff members. They need to know which types of data need to be the most thoroughly protected. It is not enough to participate in cybersecurity awareness training only during the onboarding process, as this is a topic that needs to be updated and refreshed in order to have the biggest impact.

Access to data should be limited to only the parties that need to have it. Teams working on a particular translation project should have access to the documents that they need, versus having access to the entire database of projects. This can serve as a step to keep documents more secure simply by limiting the ways in which they can be breached.

The way that personal information is handled varies by region. In the EU, all sensitive data is treated in the same way and has the same protections, but this may not be the case in other parts of the world. The data that needs greater security may be segmented into a different group, whereas the majority of the files which do not contain personal or sensitive information requiring extra security can be placed into a different group. In such cases, only the files that need more security will require these extra steps.

Security in the legal field comes in many forms. There’s cybersecurity, physical security for documents, security training for employees and compliance with security-related regulations. All of these different facets of security are important for everyone to understand throughout the legal translation process in order to have a secure and effective outcome


If you need help with an upcoming legal translation project, reach out to our expert team. about how we can securely translate your legal documents. For information on everything you need to consider when translating your legal content, check out our ebook, The Definitive Guide to Legal Translations.