280 Percent Surge in Cybersecurity Translations from English in H1-2017

One Hour Translation, the world’s largest online translation agency, surveyed around 71,000 translation projects about cyber-security in 2016 and 2017

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The growing wave of cyber-attacks that is shaking countries all around the world caused a surge in demand for translations in the cyber-security field in 2017. The target languages of cyber-security practitioners include surprising languages such as Danish.  

One Hour Translation, the world’s largest online translation agency, examined around 71,000 English translation projects in 2016 and 2017 and found that the number of cyber-security translation projects in the 14 most popular languages jumped 280 percent in the first half of 2017 compared with the first half of 2016.

The most popular target languages for translations from English in the cyber-security area during the first half of 2017 are as follows: Danish (21 percent of the projects); German (19 percent); French (11 percent); Simplified Mandarin (10 percent); Italian (9 percent); Dutch, Japanese and Russian (5 percent each); European Spanish (4 percent); Turkish, Traditional Mandarin (3 percent each); Brazilian Portuguese (2 percent); Korean and Latin American Spanish (1 percent for each language).

The growth in cyber-security translations in the first half of 2017 compared to the first half of the previous year registered a surge in the number of projects translated from English to Danish (growth of 1,636 percent); Dutch (899 percent); Japanese (784 percent); Russian (634 percent); Italian (609 percent); Korean (412 percent); German (391 percent); Simplified Mandarin (382 percent) and French (145 percent).  

Most languages saw a growth in the number of translation projects in the cyber-security field in the second half of 2016 which as described continued to grow in the first half of 2017.

The surge in the demand for cyber-security translations into Danish is linked to the growth in the cyber-security threats to Denmark since the beginning of 2017, which was articulated in the Danish Defense Minister’s warning that Danish hospitals and energy infrastructure were exposed to cyber warfare from Russia.

In April 2017, the Danish government’s Center for Cybersecurity reported that Danish Foreign and Defense Ministries e-mail accounts and servers were under constant cyber-attacks in 2015 and 2017. Another prominent Danish cybercrime was the "Petya" ransomware attack at the end of 2017, which paralyzed Danish transport and logistics giant Maersk.

One unusual factor that explains the surge in the demand for cyber-security translations into Dutch was the Global Threat Intelligence Report published by NTT Security in April 2017. The report estimated that 38 percent of the world’s phishing attacks come from the Netherlands.

Another factor was the wave of DDoS (Denial of Service) attacks by groups of Turkish hackers in March 2017 on prominent Dutch websites such as NL Times, Rumag, and Versio hosted sites. These attacks likely explain the surge in Dutch cyber-security translation projects, which grew by 121 percent between the first and second quarters of 2017.

The dramatic surge in translations into Japanese is also not coincidental. For example, a Kyodo News survey found that in 2016 alone, cyberattacks on Japanese companies caused 12.6 million leaks compared to 2.07 million in 2015.  At least 600 targets in Japan were hit by the massive WannaCry ransomware attack that hit more than 200,000 computers in 150 countries in May 2017.

The severity of the threat to Japan was further illustrated when at the end of June, Honda Motor announced that it was forced to temporarily shut down operations at the Sayama Automobile Plant near Tokyo (which produces the Honda Accord, Odyssey, and Step Wagon) because of WannaCry’s damage to Honda’s computer network.

The large interest in cyber-security translations from English to Russian is explained by the fact that while Russia is considered the source of many cyber-attacks, Russia itself is also suffering from cyber-attacks.

For example, at the end of June 2017, Group IB, a Russian cyber-security company, reported that a large “Petya” ransomware attack had hit major Russian targets including airports, banks and Russia’s largest oil producer Rosneft. In addition, the Russian cyber-security company Kaspersky, which investigated the WannaCry attack, reported that Russian computer systems (including 1,000 computers in the Russian Interior Ministry) were hit more than systems in any other country.

Another illustration of the close connection between dramatic political events and cyber-security translations can be seen in Turkey. The failed coup attempt against Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan took place in July 2016 – at the beginning of the third quarter of 2016.

During the year since, Erdogan has taken a series of steps to consolidate his regime and Turkey's physical and digital infrastructures – a move that has been reflected in a significant investment in cyber defense. This is one of the reasons that the number of Turkish cyber translation projects jumped by 1,051 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016 compared to the third quarter of 2016.

One of the many examples of tackling cybercrime in Turkey is a move by the National Intervention Center Against Cyber Attacks (USOM) to recruit thousands of highly skilled young people, including former hackers, to curb the cyber-attacks that made Turkey one of the 10 most attacked countries in the cyber arena in 2016.

Yaron Kaufman, co-founder and CMO of One Hour Translation, stated: "Our survey shows that governments and companies from all over the world are equipping themselves with the best insights available in the English-speaking world in order to prepare for the rise in cyber-security threats. This is reflected in the geographic distribution of demand for translations.

"When countries are particularly affected by cyber security incidents, or where cyber events are prominent in national public discourse, such as in Denmark, the Netherlands, Japan and Russia, we have seen that these countries have dramatically increased the demand for translations that will help them tackle the cyber defense challenges.”

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