Solving multilingual whistleblowing with machine and manual translations

How does whistleblowing and misconduct reporting work when it comes to different languages? Thankfully, machine translations are here to rescue, but we cannot forget about human translations. Learn how using both solves multilingual case management.

Arun Yadava
February 15, 2024
5 min read

In today’s global business environment, addressing multilingual challenges in whistleblowing is not just a convenience—it’s a necessity. The EU Whistleblowing Directive underscores the need to enable communication in a reporter’s native language.

This puts focus on the vital role language support plays within whistleblowing solutions.

With this in mind, how does language support functions actually work in such solutions? And how can machine learning and professional human translations benefit both reporters and organisations? Keep reading to find out.

Automatic translation of reports: how it works and why it’s useful

Automatic translation streamlines the whistleblowing process, significantly enhancing the accessibility and immediacy of report handling. Here are why automatic translations can be useful in whistleblowing:

Adds speed in translations

Machine translations are faster, significantly reducing the time to address a report. Human translations take longer, but they're available for those cases where a machine might not capture the nuances of a language.

The rapid turnaround time of machine translations addresses the immediate needs of a report submission, easing a swift first response. This can be crucial for time-sensitive issues, where even a day's delay could have significant repercussions.

Can enhance quality in translations

The evolution of machine learning in translation has significantly elevated the quality and speed of processing reports. The advantage of ML translations today is that they often surpass what was traditionally expected of human translations.

These advancements mean that reports can be translated with a high degree of accuracy, and crucially, with a speed that manual translations cannot match.

Ensures confidentiality and compliance

A key concern in whistleblowing is ensuring the confidentiality and integrity of reports during translation. Proper whistleblowing software, for instance, ensures that all translations are conducted within a strong framework of security and compliance measures.

The SpeakUp platform does this and adheres to the highest standards of data privacy and information security, aligning with ISO certifications and GDPR requirements to keep the integrity of sensitive information – and even covers assurances for human translations, which most whistleblower softwares do not yet provide.

Can machine translations provide proof in legal situations?

In short, machine translations can serve as proof in legal situations to an extent (keep in mind that rules and regulations in different countries may differ). The necessity and extent of using translations depend on the language of the document, the specific requirements of the case, and the judge's discretion.

In the Netherlands, for example, The Supreme Courts allow the judge to request a (sworn) translation if the judge finds this necessary or desirable for the assessment of the case and the interests of the other party.

Look inside SpeakUp: how translations are handled

SpeakUp gives the choice for both machine translations and human translations. At SpeakUp, we don't rely on call handlers or real-time interpreters - we convey messages exactly as it is, word-for-word, cutting the need for added, complex interpretation layers.

Rather than offering mere summaries that might lead to information loss, we supply both the original text and its translation. This ensures full transparency and allows for easy review of the translation.

When it comes to confidentiality, SpeakUp's translations are backed by robust privacy and security standards. This includes unique assurance coverage for human translators, a feature that sets SpeakUp apart in the whistleblowing solution market.

On top of that, SpeakUp’s Privacy & Security System is audited every quarter based on ISAE3000 Type II, which includes human translations.  

‘With SpeakUp, clients can be assured of the confidentiality and compliance of their whistleblowing processes, regardless of the language of the report’ - Arun Yadava, CTO at SpeakUp

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