<span id="hs_cos_wrapper_name" class="hs_cos_wrapper hs_cos_wrapper_meta_field hs_cos_wrapper_type_text" style="" data-hs-cos-general-type="meta_field" data-hs-cos-type="text" >How to Be ITAR Compliant When Translating Sensitive Documents</span>
08/30/2022

How to Be ITAR Compliant When Translating Sensitive Documents

The International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) is a set of US Government regulations administered by the US Department of State’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC). Together they protect the US’s national security and support their foreign policy.

These regulations control the import and export of defense goods and services (including weaponry and military equipment), ensuring any private and/or sensitive information is kept secure and doesn’t get into the wrong hands. 

And they extend to wholesalers, contractors, distributors, third-party suppliers, and computer software/hardware vendors across the supply chain.

How ITAR Affects the Language Services Industry

At LinguaLinx, we have a diverse range of clients in many industries. We’re used to having to understand not only the businesses we work with but the industries they’re in. This is why we use translators with not only target language capability but also industry experience. 

Any Language Service Provider (LSP) working alongside military contractors must adhere to ITAR. 

Any and every document that needs translating needs to be ITAR-compliant, including:

  • Datasheets
  • Interface manuals
  • MSDS and PSDS
  • Multilingual presentations
  • Operation and maintenance manuals
  • Patents and engineering specifications
  • Product catalogs
  • Technical and manufacturing manuals
  • Technical documents and drawings
  • User manuals

Becoming ITAR Compliant - Can You do it Yourself?

You can become ITAR-compliant and translate documents yourself; however, with the registration fees and wait time (up to 45 days), you could be liable for civil and criminal penalties if anything goes awry. For this reason, it’s best to use an LSP who’s been down that road before.

Here at LinguaLinx, we’re registered with the DDTC, which makes us one of the few LSPs who meet the geographic personnel and infrastructure requirements to safeguard such sensitive information and protect our customers from penalties. 

In short, the simplest and safest option is to go with an LSP. We’re not saying it has to be with us, but there are a few key things you should be aware of when it comes to ITAR compliance. 

When choosing an LSP for your ITAR-compliant translation project, ensure they:

Classify Sensitive Data

First thing’s first, you need to locate and secure all your sensitive data. 

Get everything into one place and classify it based on business policy. 

By doing the prep and knowing what you have to work with, you and your LSP will be in a better place to ensure nothing is missed.

Put Robust Data Security Processes In Place

Information security should be a top priority for LSPs as it is, but when it comes to ITAR, an even more robust and stringent set of protocols is needed. 

These will help prevent data leaks and security violations, including:

  • A secure, firewall-protected network
  • Regular monitoring and testing of networks, network resources, and security processes
  • Regular updates to security protocols (particularly in response to emerging threats)
  • Unique IDs for each person who can access documents

Provide Secure File Transfers

Sharing and exporting files is a necessary part of document translation, and in a high-stakes context such as this, they must all go through a secure file transfer process that meets ITAR specifications.

This includes end-to-end encryption through a secure transfer portal, and access to the portal should be cryptographically secured too. 

These channels should also be monitored and routinely tested to check for any vulnerability that could lead to a security breach.

Ensure Complete Control Over Data

Control over data doesn’t just include the data itself (and making sure it sits on a secure network), but over the people who can access it as well. 

Be sure to identify all users and what folder and file permissions they have; create and check audit logs to see who’s accessed what and when; and identify and deactivate any users that no longer work on the project.

Conduct Background Checks On Non-US-Based Staff

Unless located in the US (and working on a US-based server), any language expert you use will need to undergo rigorous background checks and be cleared before any work can commence. Be sure to build this process into any project timelines. 

Language Service Providers, on the other hand, will have access to an extensive network of language experts who have already met these requirements.

Get A Quote For Your ITAR-Compliant Translation Project

You can be confident in our ITAR Compliant Solutions as they’re secure from file translation to delivery, and include document translation and transcription, multilingual desktop publishing, transcreation and multilingual copywriting, and audio/visual translations. 

If you have a need for ITAR-compliant translation, we’d love to talk with you about it.

Consultations are free and there’s no obligation.

With LinguaLinx, you know you're in good hands with our ISO-17100 compliance, twenty years of professional translation experience, and the organizations whose trust we've earned.

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