2018 Language Industry Trends
After more than 10 years in the industry, including five years heading up marketing and communications at Donnelley Language Solutions, I would like to share my overview of the main trends in the language services and technology industry in 2018. My role at Donnelley Language Solutions includes driving their go-to-market strategies for a range of language technologies. I am now entering my second year serving on the GALA Board of Directors.
Neural machine translation and AI
Neural machine translation has just landed and it’s clear to all of us in the industry that it’s here to stay. Although it's not yet the Swiss Army knife of machine translation tools, for certain types of content the raw output is definitely an improvement on statistical machine translation (SMT) – especially when clients want the overall tone and feel of the content to be captured in the target text.
Of course, this doesn’t spell the end of the road for human translators. While it’s true that machine translation will eventually take the place of linguists in some cases, it’s also true that MT post-editing (PED) will become more important than ever. PEDs will be able to devote more time to previously marginalized aspects of the translation process, enhancing the overall quality of the output and meeting higher standards of localization.
On the back of this trend, AI-driven PED tools will give human editors even more creative scope in adapting content seamlessly to different target audiences; a complex and demanding task even for highly skilled linguists. These technologies rely on natural language processing techniques that uncover hidden relations between words, so PED tools will give the human editor better text matches and context.
Another trend that looks like it’s here to stay is Translation Management System (TMS) connectivity. Traditionally, TMSs have been pieces of software that are typically isolated from other content management solutions living in desktop environments. Now that the cloud is driving software connectivity in general, TMSs, especially those that live in the cloud like MultiTrans®, will need documented connectors to make document sharing as automated as possible.
On the language service side of the market, I see transcreation becoming more relevant than ever. Content that lives in the web needs to rank high in search engines. Even app content is now indexed and discoverable through searches. Mobile searches are growing year on year (fun fact: Google has stated that 15% of the daily search queries they receive – around 500 million – are completely new to their engine!) and voice searches are increasingly relevant. Content for translation needs to be adapted in a way that captures the multi-layered cultural nuances in each market, so app and web content localization is more important than ever for our industry.
Audio and automated interpreting technology
Offering real time content translation, Google’s new headphones are blazing a trail for publicly available automated interpreting solutions. The technology is taking us closer to a future in which machine translation combined with text-to-speech technology meets the needs of clients looking for ‘good enough’ interpreting solutions. The coming year will undoubtedly see further investment and development in this arena.
Unstoppable demand for multilingual digital content and videos
The Internet of Things and Big Data are driving new content and new technology forward at a dizzying pace. As new products come to market, the demand for translation and localization of digital content is set to become unstoppable in the near future. Consequently, the demand for multilingual digital content is set to increase exponentially, with the happy result of consolidating our industry’s strong growth still further.
A report from Cisco predicts online video comprising 80% of the Internet’s traffic by 2019. Which means, of course, a vastly increased demand for video content in a whole range of different languages. At the same time, e-learning platforms, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and YouTube are building muscle fast, driving a demand which in 2018 is likely to skyrocket.
On that high note, I’d like to take the opportunity to wish you a very happy, productive and successful new year!