It was nearly impossible to avoid the media coverage, and subsequent public outrage surrounding the data breach at credit reporting agency Equifax, which left 143 million people potentially exposed to the threat of stolen personally identifiable information
Equifax responded with a microsite for people to input even more of their personal details to see if they might have been affected. Simply knowing whether or not one was among those whose private information had been stolen was a critical and necessary first
step – particularly given the gravity of such an event.
But here’s a question: what happens to those impacted by the Equifax breach who don’t speak English?
A report by the Center for Immigration Studies has shown a record number of new immigrants to the United States whose primary language is not English, and that many struggle with the language. Indeed, some 64.7 million Americans are said to be non-English
speakers, with Spanish, Arabic, Chinese and many other language groups living and functioning in the United States. Notably, these people have social security numbers, bank accounts, and use credit cards in their day-to-day lives. We have to ask: what about
them, Equifax? What about the French-speaking Canadians also affected by this massive and indiscriminate data hack? One out of every two US residents was supposedly hacked, and yet, the only official source of help and information is available solely in English?
In a time of crisis, it is critical to ensure everyone affected can access updated information in real time, and in their preferred language. People expect it, yet surprisingly few companies can execute on it, and in the days of AI, driverless cars, smart
homes and Neural Machine Translation technology, that’s unacceptable.
Translation: solved with a click of a button?
When presented with an unfamiliar language it can be tempting to go online and use one of the many “quick and free” translation services available. However, last week we saw reports that Translate.com (which offers a free machine translation service powered
by Microsoft Translator) also suffered a significant privacy breach.
As it turns out, companies are unwittingly putting themselves at further risk by using such insecure “quick and free” translation services. This is not a reliable solution, and exposes companies to financial penalties in addition to the reputational damage
With so many risks inherent with the business of communicating, how can companies effectively mitigate the many number of elements that could cause undue damage both to the company and to the customers it serves?
Whether we’re providing ordinary course sales and customer support solutions, or helping companies distribute critical information in real time, globally-applicable technologies, sophisticated language translation services, and content management solutions,
can maximize a company’s reach – so key information gets to the people it needs to, when it needs to.