Multilingual Butterfly

I’m in class all morning but then I got an urgent request for a translation from Ukraine. And you know how it is these days. I have to deliver the translation while there’s still electricity on the other end. Even the best translation will fail if the client is incapable of receiving it because the power was cut off.

Thankfully, the students were writing a test in one of the classes, so I could flit from the classroom to my office and back like a crazy multilingual butterfly. The translation is from English to Ukrainian, while the classes are in Spanish.

My earlier diagnosis of “fuck Russia” feels more relevant than ever.

One thought on “Multilingual Butterfly

  1. You clearly aren’t a very good Nancy Drew or you’d know how to use Drops. 🙂

    Here’s the general rule: a Drop is a communications point in which the transfers are made asynchronously, usually with one person filling the Drop and another taking what’s there.

    Communications about what’s in the Drop can be done by any means at any time, such as an SMS to the recipient saying to check the Drop, or this can be done by a schedule in which checking the Drop happens after a minimal interval or at predetermined times.

    A Dead Drop works like that, plus there’s also usually a set of covert signals that involve whether the Dead Drop has been tampered with, whether it’s been picked up, whether to expect more in the Dead Drop, and so on.

    But you don’t need that kind of Drop, just a regular one.

    So what you’re working on is usually a Microsoft Word file, right?

    Find a private hosting company in Europe that has excellent bandwidth to Ukraine mobile networks and elsewhere, along with the ability to assign individual user accounts.

    Then use that as your Drop.

    Avoid the big file sharing companies since they’re often covertly scanning files for things that they can use, such as actionable information for marketing, user activity profiling, and so forth.

    Using VeraCrypt containers to work around this disclosure scenario is a problem in and of itself because the minimum file size for a storage volume is typically much greater than the size of your document. (I think our smallest transit file container is 4 MB and it’s formatted as a FAT12 volume with long file names (LFN) enabled, so this would be worse with FAT32, NTFS, or exFAT, and it requires the person creating the container to jump through non-trivial hoops to create it like that.)

    The ideal private file sharing would involve the ability to create individual SFTP accounts (which use encrypted secure shell, or SSH, in file transfer mode) so that you can keep all of your translation projects separate.

    Your recipients can then pick up the files and any notes you leave when it’s convenient for them rather than when it’s convenient for both of you, and when you’re done with a project or a customer, archiving and purging the data is something you control.

    They can use an SFTP client on a mobile phone, such as FX or Solid Explorer for Android, and pull the files down using their phone instead of requiring a computer with its much higher power consumption requirements.

    A USB OTG cable to a USB flash drive or a local file transfer from the phone via LAN when the power’s back up gets it the rest of the way. If all else fails, local Bluetooth file transfer from the phone to a laptop is also an option.

    Even when the power’s out, the mobile network is still mostly up over there, isn’t it?

    Doing this also keeps you from having to use insecure mail to do the transfers, and you can also use it for bidirectional notes.

    There’s no reason for you to be on their clock.


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