Uncovering Vulnerabilities in Foreign-Language Files
As a global business, your firm (or client) operates in a cumbersome maze of laws, regulations, and standards that grows in complexity with each new jurisdiction. And as regulations have become ever more intricate, compliance monitoring software has been an indispensable tool to help you avoid legal risks, sustain operations, and maintain trust.
But there may be a huge gap in your compliance monitoring software tools. If your company includes multiple foreign offices, you may be at risk from serious compliance issues hidden in foreign language files that go undetected by standard compliance management software. To protect your organization and fix these vulnerabilities, there are now sophisticated multi-language semantic search and analytics tools to augment your regulatory compliance management software.
Benefits of Compliance Management Software
With all the compliance challenges that companies face, the benefits of compliance management software are many. They include:
1. Risk Management: Failure to meet regulatory compliance requirements can result in severe financial penalties and hits to company reputation. Compliance monitoring software tools help organizations to identify and manage risks by ensuring that all business processes adhere to set regulations.
2. Streamlined Reporting: Regulatory bodies often require detailed reports about a company’s operations, especially in sectors like finance or healthcare. Compliance software can automate and standardize the generation of required reports, saving time and minimizing errors.
3. Auditing Ease: Internal and external audits are a reality for many companies. Regulatory compliance software provides a unified dashboard of all the compliance-related activities, making the auditing process more manageable and transparent.
4. Continuous Monitoring: Instead of relying on periodic checks, compliance software tools can provide real-time insights into compliance status, alerting organizations to potential breaches before they escalate.
5. Employee Training & Management: An often-overlooked aspect of regulatory compliance is ensuring that employees are aware of and trained in relevant regulations. Compliance monitoring software often includes features to track and manage training.
Compliance Management Software Capabilities: The Basics
To execute a compliance management program, in a single source-language such as English, your basic compliance management software should include the following capabilities:
• Real-time Monitoring and Alerts: One of the primary advantages of compliance monitoring software is the ability to receive instant feedback. The software should be able to continuously monitor operations and generate real-time alerts for any potential violations. This proactivity can help prevent breaches and mitigate risks.
• Integration with Other Systems: Regulatory compliance doesn’t operate in isolation. Your compliance management software should integrate with other systems in your organization, such as HR platforms, CRM systems, or accounting tools to help ensure a cohesive compliance strategy across all business functions.
• Customizable Dashboards: Different organizations, even different departments within the same organization, might have varying compliance needs. A customizable dashboard allows stakeholders to view relevant data and metrics pertinent to their operations, ensuring everyone is on the same page.
• Document Management: Regulatory compliance often involves a slew of documentation – from policies and procedures to licenses and certificates. Having a centralized repository where all these documents can be stored, managed, and retrieved can simplify compliance management.
• Regulatory Change Management: Regulations aren’t static. They evolve with time, and it’s imperative for businesses to stay updated. Some advanced regulatory compliance software can notify users of regulatory changes, ensuring that the organization remains compliant even as norms shift.
• Data Analytics and Reporting: Compliance management software should provide robust analytics capabilities, helping your business understand compliance trends, potential risks, and areas of improvement. Automated reporting, with easy-to-understand visual data representations, can also make the compliance reporting process more efficient.
• User-friendly Interface: Like any software solution, the value of compliance monitoring software increases when it’s user-friendly. It should be easy for your employees across different departments to understand and use — ensuring that the tool is widely adopted throughout the organization.
• Security: Given that regulatory compliance often deals with sensitive data, it’s crucial that the compliance management software includes robust security measures. Features like data encryption, multi-factor authentication, and regular security updates are essential to protect your organization’s data.
Compliance Software Ultimate Upgrade: Multi-Language Semantic Search and Analytics
As a global organization, you undoubtedly have foreign offices where English is not the only language used for communications, contracts, due diligence, employee policies and training, internal investigations, local media reports, and other business compliance support evidence. Therefore, it is critical that your compliance management tools include foreign language search and analytics capabilities.
Ai Translate Analytics (originally STAR Semantic Search) is a suite of software tools that adds a powerful foreign-language component to your compliance management software capabilities. Here are the essential unique capabilities that would be the ultimate foreign-language upgrade to your compliance monitoring software.
1. Cross-Lingual Semantic Search: Perform cross-lingual semantic search across multiple languages enabling identification and precise location of elusive content of utmost importance to compliance efforts. Prioritize the most relevant content for human translation so that quality, costs, and delivery times are optimized to improve legal and financial outcomes, and business reputation.
2. Real-Time Monitoring: Observe and monitor multiple live text feeds for specific terms, expressions, concepts, or activities that may pose risks. Identify which files or documents matched the searched terms in multiple languages.
3. Categorization: Receive dynamic inventories and quick categorization of what’s in each file system database. Includes number of files, sentences, and languages — even instances of when the language changed within a post or file. Identifies organizations, people, or other entities mentioned across numerous languages.
4. Redaction: Find any PII (Personally Identifiable Information) across multiple languages so it can be redacted from content analysis efforts. Enables instantaneous redaction of names, email addresses, personal IDs, phone numbers, addresses, organizations, locations, nationalities, religions, or any other PII while original files are retained.
5. Scoring: Display (and score) the number of sentences, posts, or files that meet or exceed the semantic query criteria. Includes instances of concept occurrence separately from instances of relevant posts or files occurrence. Queries can be in English (or one language) and performed against many languages.
6. Integration with Translation Solutions and Related Platforms: Analytics software should integrate with proven, sophisticated translation solutions like Ai Translate by LSI or dominant eDiscovery platforms like Relativity. Compliance software search and analytics tools should also offer ISO-certified security and quality management practices.
7. Access to Expert On-Demand Services: Sophisticated software often requires knowledgeable support services. Ai Translate Consulting Services can assist clients with user guidance or a full managed-service relationship.
Compliance Efforts Most Likely to Encounter Foreign-Language Content
There are several global compliance monitoring efforts that often encounter foreign language (non-English) files. This is most likely when dealing with operations, affiliates, or third-party partners in non-English speaking countries. Here are some examples:
• Due Diligence on Third Parties: Background checks, audits, or risk assessments of third-party vendors, agents, distributors, or partners might produce local contracts, records, and other materials in the local language.
• Employee Training and Policy Acknowledgements: Training materials, compliance policies, or codes of conduct tailored for local employees in the local language. The feedback, queries, or acknowledgements from employees regarding these materials might also be in the local language.
• Internal Investigations: When examining potential FCPA violations, emails, internal reports, notes, or other communication from foreign affiliates or branches might be in the local language.
• Financial and Accounting Records: Invoices, receipts, ledger entries, and other financial documents from foreign operations might be in the local language.
• Contracts and Agreements: Local contracts with customers, partners, agents, or government entities in foreign countries are often written in the local language, potentially with an English counterpart.
• Communications Monitoring: Emails, chat logs, social media posts, and other forms of communication involving foreign employees, or third parties might be in the local language.
• Whistleblower or Anonymous Tips: In non-English speaking regions, tips or reports about potential FCPA violations might come in the local language.
• Regulatory or Government Communications: Official communications or inquiries from foreign regulatory bodies or government departments might be in the local language.
• Local Media or Open-Source Intelligence: News reports, blog posts, or other public sources that provide insights or alerts about potential risks could be in the local language.
• Local Legal or Compliance Documents: Local regulations, laws, or guidelines that relate to anti-bribery and corruption might be in the local language, requiring translation to understand the full compliance landscape in that region.
Given the high likelihood of encountering foreign language materials in these areas, it’s crucial for your compliance management operation to have access to reliable translation services.
Ai Translate Analytics (cross-lingual semantic search and analytics) works in conjunction with Ai Translate by LSI™ which includes:
• Machine translation in 90+ language pairs,
• Human translation and post-editing in as many as 120+ languages via a network of 7,500 professional translators,
• Custom bilingual glossaries of industry-specific terms, acronyms, company and product names, and other outlier expressions that enable faster, more accurate translation,
• ISO-certified security and translation quality management.
A Forward-Leaning International Approach
For global corporations with operations in multiple countries and doing business in multiple languages, it’s essential to upgrade your compliance monitoring software to include multi-language semantic search and analytics tools. An investment in Ai Translate Analytics can help mitigate risks and ensure that your global business operates safely and efficiently within its required legal frameworks.
Compliance Management Use Case #1: FCPA
What are some of the use cases that generate compliance obligations where compliance management software is essential? Here are three significant examples, starting with the United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) — perhaps the most imposing for global corporations. This is a federal law intended to combat bribery of foreign officials and bring transparency and accountability to international business practices. Its requirements include:
1. Anti-Bribery Provisions:
• Foreign Officials: FCPA Prohibits the offering, paying, promising, or authorizing of anything of value to foreign officials, political parties, or candidates to obtain or retain business.
• Jurisdiction: FCPA applies to all U.S. persons and businesses, foreign persons and businesses while in the United States, and public and private U.S. companies including their officers, directors, employees, and agents.
• Affirmative Defenses: The FCPA allows certain defenses to an alleged violation, including demonstrating that a payment was lawful under the laws of the foreign country, and reasonable expenses directly related to the promotion, demonstration, or execution of a foreign government contract.
2. Accounting Provisions:
• Books and Records: The FCPA requires companies registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to make and keep reasonably detailed records and accounts that accurately and fairly reflect their transactions.
• Internal Controls: Companies must devise and maintain a system of internal accounting controls sufficient to ensure management’s control, authority, and responsibility over the firm’s assets.
Both individuals and entities can face significant fines and penalties for compliance violations — particularly those related to FCPA. In addition to monetary penalties, individuals can face imprisonment, and companies can face other sanctions.
The FCPA is also subject to the interpretation of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the SEC which influences their inclination to go after non-compliant organizations. Global companies must include these agencies’ interpretive guidance as part of their compliance strategy.
Compliance Management Use Case #2: ESG
Global organizations in numerous industries now face a plethora of new compliance obligations if they wish to qualify as ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) investments. This refers to a set of company behavior standards used by “socially conscious investors” to screen potential investments.
Environmental criteria consider how a company safeguards the environment, including corporate policies addressing climate change. Social criteria examine how it manages relationships with employees, suppliers, customers, and the communities where it operates. Governance deals with a company’s leadership, executive pay, audits, internal controls, and shareholder rights.
Unlike the compliance obligations of FCPA originated by the U.S. federal government, ESG compliance obligations are often imposed by huge global asset management firms such as Blackrock, Vanguard, Fidelity, Morgan Stanley, and others on behalf of, and in coordination with, some major pension fund investors such as the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS), New York City Employees’ Retirement System (NYCERS), State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB), and many more. So, although the penalties of non-compliance may not be legal, they are more likely to represent missed financial opportunities from reduced investment.
Because ESG mandates have not always originated from representative government legislation (although that is changing more recently), there has been significant backlash in recent months from State legislatures curbing the perceived overreach of ESG demands. However, for global corporations which still need to track ESG performance, compliance monitoring software is a necessary tool.
Compliance Management Use Case #3: Global Content Monitoring and Remediation
If your business is the creation and management of public networks (such as social media platforms and communities) as it is for one of our clients, another use case is content monitoring and mediation across the user base. It is an enormous challenge to remain vibrant as a platform, still enable free speech, and yet identify and moderate harmful or illegal content.
The reasons to moderate content are varied and include:
- Adherence to community standards (e.g., sexually suggestive content, hate speech, and direct threats may not be allowed).
- Age- and interest-appropriate content: Must be appropriate for the age group or interest group.
- Accuracy and engagement concerns: Spreading of intentional and harmful misinformation.
Threats will always exist: Content will be generated that infringes civil rights, threatens users’ well-being, or compromises national security. For social media platforms to avoid legal jeopardy and public/user dissatisfaction, compliance strategies are required to identify and mitigate harmful content. Meanwhile, harmful content often hides in foreign languages, so cross-lingual semantic search and analytics tools like Ai Translate Analytics are essential to this process.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Ai Translate by LSI™ is a translation solution from Linguistic Systems. The solution uses a combination of advanced proprietary machine translation technology, ISO-certified processes and security, and Linguistic Systems' network of 7,500 skilled, certified translators to deliver high-quality translations in up to 120+ languages. Linguistic Systems offers 50+ years and billions of words of experience serving 25,000 clients, including many Fortune 100 and AmLaw100 firms.