GDPR Compliance for Translators


white caution cone on keyboard
Photo by Fernando Arcos on

GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation. GDPR was approved by the European Parliament in April 2016. After a transition period, GDPR became effective on May 25, 2018.  Under GDPR, the definition of personal data has been much simplified to ‘any information relating to an identified or identifiable person.’

Are you ready for the new regulation on personal data? The fact that the GDPR will impact companies beyond the borders of the EU calls for better understanding of how the regulation applies to organizations based outside the EU. The GDPR will actually affect all companies, individuals, corporations, public authorities or other entities with any ties to the personal data of individuals in the EU to examine how they collect, store and process the information for business operations.

Freelance translators receiving work from a language service provider (LSP) must comply with the requirements that the LSP providing their work adheres to. LSPs should ask freelance translators working for them to sign a confidentiality agreement as a minimum standard and to abide by contractual obligations of processing that data through the translation. Freelance translators are ‘sub-processors’ of the data involved in their translation jobs and must understand their lawful responsibilities when processing personal data.

What can we do to ensure compliance with GDPR?

  • Always install the latest software updates/patches.
  • Use anti-virus and malware software.
  • Avoid the use of removable media to reduce the potential loss of data.
  • Protect and secure all data e.g. by using encryption and password protection. Public Wi-Fi networks should not be used.
  • Always protect the data that is sent, received and processes, e.g. by using secure file transfer procedures.
  • Regular data deletion is required, in particular after finishing a job.
  • Report any potential data loss or data security concern immediately.
  • Always seek advice if unsure.

Please note that this checklist does not constitute legal advice and does not prove legal compliance with GDPR. We always recommend contacting a legal professional.

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