Client Confidentiality: Lessons From 15 Years Of Providing Legal Translations From Tomedes

In 2015, the Japanese Times reported that the Nuclear Regulation Agency (NRA) stated that a translation firm leaked their classified documents. The documents contained information about how “nuclear fuel is reprocessed,” the regulations, and the details of nuclear power plants.

The document contains information on how spent nuclear fuel is reprocessed, regulations on reprocessing, and details about nuclear power plants. The leak was informed from an anonymous tip that informed them that the translation firm was looking for people to check the translated text on an online bulletin.

Based on the policies of NRA, they prohibited translation firms that they signed an agreement with having the translation project outsourced to a third party, which the translation provider violated. This news report might have occurred seven years ago, but it is still a relevant issue, especially with how common data breaches have become. 

Today, we will discuss client confidentiality with Tomedes, a legal translation services agency that has been assisting private clients to Fortune 500 companies in translating legal documents for virtually any jurisdiction in the world since 2007. 

If you want to learn more about legal translations and the crucial role of legal translators in ensuring that sensitive data is kept private, then keep on reading.

Lessons From 15 Years Of Providing Legal Translations

In writing this article, we interviewed Ofer Tirosh, the CEO and founder of Tomedes, who has managed several legal translation projects in the past fifteen years. 

Even though some might consider Tomedes as a newcomer compared to the giants in the translation industry, they have established themselves as a forerunner in this field as they provide legal translation services to everyone from private clients to large Fortune 500 companies, like Google and Amazon.    

“Communication for any field is essential. But when it comes to the legal procedures, they’re everything. Because of this, we take legal translations very seriously because any word getting “Lost in Translation” or improper format of documents could either result in wrongful convictions, denial in immigration or losing valuable property,” Tirosh explained.    

He said that compared to other forms of translations specifically for individual or corporate purposes, legal translations are the kind of service that anyone will need at least one point in their life. He also mentioned how critical it as a translated legal document directly affects their clients’ way of life. 

Translating For All Walks of Life

“At Tomedes, we value all our clients. Whether they’re translating legal documents to study abroad or translating contracts for their international businesses, at the core of why they’re seeking our services it’s because of language barriers, and we accommodate their needs with our expertise,” Tirosh said.  

He further explained that they could translate legal documents to over 120 languages and 950+ language pairs because of their strong community of legal translators that has over 20,000 translators from all over the world. Their legal translators have years of experience and training in providing legal translations to any document. 

Three Clients, Same Legal Procedure

When we touched on client confidentiality during our interview, he told us a story wherein three clients from the same legal procedure had sought Tomedes for their legal translation services. Due to their non-disclosure agreement and client confidentiality, none of them knew the situation.

“I find it amusing to think that this would ever happen. Because what are the chances that they’d all be looking to hire one legal translation provider, specifically Tomedes. But it opened my eyes to how significant the role of legal translators was in those moments,” Tirosh said.

He said that as providers of legal translation services, they have the sworn duty of remaining objective and impartial in translating documents. As proponents of the justice and legal system, legal translators shouldn’t be biased toward their clients when they assist them with communication and language barriers. 

Legal Translators Are Sworn To Provide Accurate And Impartial Translations

Tirosh explained that many who aren’t familiar with legal translations think that the translators are advocates for their clients, making them unreliable. But that’s far from the truth because what they’re advocating is for transparency of data in court by bridging language gaps.

To quote from the research paper written by Mohamed Algane and Siddig Ahmed Ali from the Taif University in Saudi Arabia, “The main role of translators is not to act as solicitors, judges, or jury to release or punish wrongdoers. Rather they help the judges and jury in courts of law to make sure that the message is accurately conveyed and justice is done for everyone.”

What’s written on the legal document, the message should be reflected in the translated text as well. And although there’s no such thing as a perfect translation, for Tirosh, legal translation services should still strive to be accurate and unbiased in their approach to interpreting the document and translating it accordingly.

Serving As A Bridge For Communication Barriers To All Legal Parties

In our discussion, we talked about an article by Slator that described the language barrier situation in UK court. In some cases having an interpreter in court to serve as a bridge between the non-native speaker to everyone in court has caused negative perception and suspicions in court due to perceiving that the non as “gaming the system.” We asked him what his opinion was regarding this issue.

“In a perfect world, we have the technology that could effectively translate speech or text to avoid these situations. However, that’s not the case, and I don’t think it’s possible because machines can’t understand cultural and legal nuisances that require human expertise,” Tirosh replied.

He referred to a court ruling wherein Google Translate isn’t reliable in determining consent, wherein a police officer used Google’s app to search the vehicle of a Spanish-speaking immigrant. He went on to say that as providers of legal translations, they must uphold this vital task, regardless of the negative perceptions or biased opinions of those in court, and continue as advocates of the law.  

Having An Unbiased Approach Goes A Long Way In Gaining The Client’s Trust

In discussing client trust, we brought up the news report that we mentioned at the beginning of this article regarding a translation firm that leaked classified documents of Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority. We asked Tirosh how Tomedes ensures client confidentiality and prevents data breaches in their legal translation services.

“All our legal translators must sign a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) before participating in any project. One of our biggest concerns as a tech-driven agency is data breaches in our systems. We ensure that this doesn’t occur by creating portals and platforms where our translators can work on a project and ensure that the data isn’t compromised,” Tirosh explained. 

He said that NDAs might not seem important, but they are vital because it establishes trust between all parties involved. It ensures that everyone agrees to the terms in the contract and that any data and information divulged will be kept confidential.

Through our NDAs and client confidentiality policies, we have developed long-term partnerships with them. For Tirosh, the trust that Tomedes has with their clients is crucial, especially in the translation process. Legal translators need all the necessary data and information to create the most accurate translated legal documents.    

Tirosh has started that because they have an unbiased and accommodating approach towards the needs of their customers, many of them have returning clients. Another reason why their clients trust them is due to their 1-year guarantee on all translation projects. With their 24/7 customer support team, Tomedes is ready to assist their clients with any document translation issues or needing some edits on legal documents to make them relevant to the original text, regardless of the time.

“It might seem contradictory to be client-oriented while at the same time being non-partial in our legal translation services. But what most don’t understand is that those seeking our services want justice. They’re not looking to spin the truth but to have their voices heard,” Tirosh said.

Final Thoughts

Language barriers might seem like a thing of the past, especially with how advanced technology has become. However, it’s an ever-present issue in our court systems regardless of your country. Because of this, legal translation services have become integral in ensuring that justice is enforced through proper legal representation of data and providing aid to language barriers, regardless of one’s biases and opinions. 

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