The State of Our Industry
Language and localization really became an 'industry' forty years ago. That's when professionals began to organize into language service providers, professional quality became tantamount and companies began to respect the value of project management and translators with subject matter expertise. The industry has grown very successfully since then. There are more than 5,000 LSPs internationally. Technology providers support the industry and have developed constantly evolving tools to make work flow better and more efficiently. As an industry, the market for outsourced language services was over US $9 billion worldwide in 2006, growing at 7.5 percent per year to US $12billion in 2010 (according to Common Sense Advisory).
Yet the tough economy and technological advances sometimes stand in the way of growth. So what is the true state of our industry? Hans Fenstermacher, an industry leader and founding member of GALA, asks many questions about the industry: "The industry is having an identity crisis of sorts: in-source or outsource? humans or machines? professionals or crowds? desktops or clouds? more technology or better services?" He adds, "These questions have always been there, but they seem to be more insistent today. How should language service and technology providers position themselves today? One thing seems clear, we need to be much more diverse in our approach to the language business than ever before. To satisfy growing requirements, we need all elements of our industry. So, translators: start your MT engines! LSPs: get your workflow game on! Clients: stop insisting, and start collaborating!"
Hans' engaging questions and answers set the state for a major discussion on our industry at GALA 09, 14 - 16 September, in Cancun, Mexico. Joining Hans, who will represent GALA, will be the executive director of LISA, the president of ATA and the head of the Localisation Research Centre. Don De Palma, industry leader and analyst at Common Sense Advisory, will moderate the session. It promises to be the most complete overall discussion of the language and localization industry ever presented.
GALA 09 will also feature Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist, as the keynote speaker as well as a plethora of other speakers focused on everything from managed crowdsourcing to automated translation to public relations and marketing in the industry. Early registration for GALA 09 runs through 25 July. You can register and learn more about speakers at the conference website.
As for the state of the industry, comments are welcome! We may use questions and discussions from this blog and from Linked In discussions as fodder for our panelists...we'd like to hear your perspective.