Tag Archives: GDPR

This translation tool not only produces the best results, but also protects privacy


Writers, readers, travelers, and anyone who wants to understand a document or a piece of text written in foreign language can access an online tool that produces a rough translation for tens of languages. The go-to tool for many people is Google Translator, but there is a new service that produces better results, and understands the importance of privacy, too: it is called DeepL.
deepl online translator screen shot
Deepl doesn’t come completely out of thin air, but its developers have a long history with Linguee that has been a widely used online translator for years. Now, the modern DeepL Translator applies neural machine and artificial intelligence technologies to produce translations. And it seems to be working.

DeepL conducted a blind test of translations for 100 foreign language sentences. The sentences were translated by DeepL Translator, Google Translate, Microsoft Translator, and Facebook. Professional translators assessed the machine translations, but they didn’t know which system had produced which results. The translators preferred results by DeepL over others by a factor of 3:1.

Another test method is known as BLEU. It is a set of predefined tests that must be translated. DeepL was the best machine translator in this test as well.

TechCrunch reports that DeepL has built a massive database of over a billion translations and queries. All that data is raw material for algorithms that conclude what is the most natural expression for a translation. In order to train the AI and neural network algorithms, the company is also extracting snippets from public web pages.

All this requires plenty of computing power and storage space. DeepL says they have the 23rd most powerful supercomputer in the world, located in cool Iceland.

The privacy perspective when using free online translators
for documents with sensitive information

A writer may need to research for sensitive information, but she also wants to translate the document to her native language to ensure she can understand it correctly. A traveler may want to read what exactly is said in the medical records that were printed at a beach resort hospital after checkup. Not everyone wants to hand over this type of information about themselves to Google when translating documents.

This is where businesses operating in the European Union have an advantage. The renowned GDPR law that concerns EU countries requires businesses to behave when they get private information in their hands. For instance, businesses are prohibited from collecting personal data without reason. If private information has to be collected – for one reason or another – user’s consent must be asked.

DeepL goes a little further with privacy in its DeepL Pro subscription service. The service guarantees it never stores the texts the Pro subscribers translate.
cartoon: pc yelling bad language to woman

Automatic translators on the internet

In addition to DeepL, other automatic translators are available on the web for free. My experience with all of them is that knowing the basics of the foreign language you are dealing with really helps in understanding the rough translations and reduce the probability of misunderstandings.

Bing (Microsoft) Translator
Collins Dictionary
Google Translate

Ebook news digest: book publishing myths, also writers need to rest, Barnes & Noble wants cheaper paperbacks


News on ebooks, writing and publishing

laptop on table with papers and pen
10 Myths Most People Believe About Writing & Publishing

These points are so true. I would like to know how have these myths been born? Wait, maybe that is an idea for a book?

Why You Need Time Away from the Computer

“Scientific American also reports that the default mode network (a circuit in the brain that comes to life when people daydream) is “more active than is typical in especially creative people… some studies have demonstrated that the mind obliquely solves tough problems while daydreaming.” I couldn’t agree more with the article’s recommendations to read, travel or exercise instead of always working.

Riggio Rallies Booksellers at BookExpo: ‘Open More Stores Than We Close’
Publishing Perspectives

Len Riggio, the chief of the great American bookstore chain Barnes & Noble, gave a speech at the BookExpo 2018 conference in New York, and claimed that the company is opening more bookstores than it is closing. He also had a direct message to print book publishers: lower the prices of massmarket paperbacks.

Travel Writing 101

The article has tips for writers who aim at specializing in travel writing for magazines, newspapers, or online publications.

5 digital privacy rights Europeans now have that Americans don’t
CBS Moneywatch

European Union is showing the way how citizens privacy must be respected online as well. The GDPR regulation is a fundamental change to the take-the-data-and-run approach businesses have treated individuals’ personal data until 25 May 2018. The new regulation will have far-reaching impact, but we must go through the first painful steps first. The GDPR has only little impact on books, but it affects the way books are marketed.

Travel guide to Portugal’s south coast, to the province of Algarve

Portugal’s south coast (the Algarve province) attracts both vacationers who enjoy the sun and the sea for a week or two, but also digital nomads and pensioners who spend the entire winter on one of the coastal towns. The travel guide covers both audiences.

10 new paradigms for digital journalism

James Breiner arguments that digital publications – many of which have a history in traditional newspaper or magazine business – should abandon the advertising business model and turn their attention to readers/users who should be the priority customers (instead of advertisers).

National Geographic Has Digitized Its Collection of 6,000+ Vintage Maps: See a Curated Selection of Maps Published Between 1888 and Today
Open Culture

There is something so fascinating with old maps. Drawn by hand, many are accurate even to today’s standards, whereas others are like maps in The Lord of the Rings. Anyhow, plenty of old maps are now available at National Geographic’s archives.

‘Native’ open access publishers propose a new publishing deal

EU has set ambitious goals for Open Access policies in academic and scientific publishing. And it is working. Some publishers have dropped prices they charge from institutions.