In this blog post, we will deal with a problem being faced by a great many translation companies that has a simple but little-known solution. What’s more, it might also be useful in other industries where freelancers are connected to their end clients through intermediary agencies and they need to sign in by providing an email address.
Numerous online (browser-based) CAT tools or TMS environments (Smartling, for example) require translators to sign in by providing an email address and a password. This is not a problem unless the TMS or CAT tool is owned by the language service provider (LSP) or a client in direct contact with its freelancers. But what happens in the quite frequent case when the end client is the host of the environment and the intermediary LSP does not want to disclose its freelancers’ email addresses? The translation company can have data protection and non-disclosure agreements signed, or it can wrestle with confidentiality concerns about its freelancers’ valuable personal data.
Let’s take an example. A project involves three translators and a proofreader simultaneously, and each of them needs a separate email address in order to sign in to the CAT tool. If the LSP does not wish to disclose their addresses to the client, they might think it necessary to create for each participant a “dummy” email address not used for any other purpose; for example:
In the case of a multilingual project, the number of account registrations have to be multiplied by the number of target languages. This would of course mean a lot of time and administration even if a lot of providers have a quite easy email registration process.
Gmail, however, has a small and mostly unknown (but very useful) feature that helps to avoid the inconvenience and time-consuming necessity of registering dummy addresses.* The idea is to complete the part of the email address preceding the @ sign with a string, starting with a + sign. Any emails sent to these address variations will be received by the original email address. In our example, if the LSP has only one Gmail address, e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org, all emails sent to the below addresses would be received by this same account:
email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Smartling, however, and other online environments detect these variations as separate email addresses, so they can be used to sign in different people. Thus, on one hand, you can economise on the registration time, while, on the other, you save time by not having to redirect the dummy emails to your company account. (In the first example, the LSP would have to redirect each email account to a company email address if they don’t want to check the inboxes regularly.) The third big advantage of this method, apart from automatic redirection and saving time, is that everything is seen in one account. Translators will not need to access the account since they only need the address for sign-in purposes.
With the above method, you can protect your data, save time and have fewer administration tasks involving your translators. A big thank you goes out to our Senior Project Manager, Tamás Sisák, and we wish all our colleagues good luck in using this small trick.
*According to our information, other email providers do not offer this feature, but it is advised to check if they have a similar solution.