In the past 20 years I’ve witnessed how language trends are constantly evolving and the market never stands still. But with the driving forces of the digital revolution, it’s now changing even faster. I see a convergence of several trends reaching an inflection point. The amount of content has exploded, there’s an emerging class of global consumers, and they expect to access content when they want it, how they want it – in their language and format of choice.
Having recently joined AMPLEXOR to lead content technology R&D, when I look at the market today and the challenges posed for businesses, I see three major opportunities for strong differentiation.
Digital Transformation and the focus on Customer Experience are redefining the market. For over a decade, globalization has pushed the need for translation as companies expanded and started selling their products across geographies. Today, being multilingual is no longer a competitive advantage, it’s a basic requirement. The emerging class of consumers is savvier and more demanding than ever. They expect content to be delivered in a certain language, format and speed.
As organizations transform themselves to engage with their markets and stakeholders digitally, content has become a recognized asset of strategic importance and is now owned by business process owners. This Digital Transformation not only drives content to be more customer centric but also brings a shift in its ever-expanding types and formats.
Another trend is the rise of the machines, with MT being the most visible example. The recent availability of Machine Learning (ML) and Neural Machine Translation technology has triggered an unprecedented automation of what used to be purely human intellectual activity.
The days when every word was translated by humans are long gone. Of course, we still need humans. On the one hand, the new translation and technology requirements, in particular Neural MT, open up new opportunities to the role of translators. It’s all about the hyper-personalization of content. The post-edited machine translation (PEMT) process ensures the ideal accuracy, clarity and even the tone and style to the target public. And getting to put yourself in the audience shoes and understand what relates to them is much more interesting than just turning one language into another. On the other hand, we need people to move the value chain, to configure, check and curate the machines that do the translations. Someone has to design, build, deploy and monitor the technology. All in all, machines will simply replace humans on the less valuable human work, and the human intervention when turning one language into another becomes more intellectually interesting, beyond the automated process of translation.
ML frameworks are also evolving to support more and more automation in content workflows, terminology management and content analytics. For example, they can distribute the tasks between machines and humans, as well as select the most qualified translator for post-editing, according to content scope (e.g. marketing, technical, scientific, etc.), languages and linguists’ expertise.
In the end, all these technologies are interrelated and we need them all to keep up with content explosion – ensuring content is personalized, optimized and relevant for each target audience.
Finally, there is a change of paradigm with the translation model. While demand was traditionally project and compliance driven, as companies expanded, started selling their products across geographies or needed to adjust to market regulations. Today, most organizations have already implemented Content Management Systems and other technologies which help them to leverage content and optimize the localization process. Translation procurement/needs are no longer project or document driven, but rather a more agile, continuous localization process. Translation today is becoming more of a utility, just like electricity - we expect multilingual content to be something as swift as turning on the light.
Just as content evolved, organizations too need to evolve in how they address the rising demand for hyper personalized, real-time content, in its ever-expanding formats and languages. If you’re struggling to handle the “content explosion” or just need support for your expansion efforts, leave a message through the comments below or check our free on-demand webinar to learn how we helped CrossFit make their global move with confidence.
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Marcus Casal is VP Content Solutions Technology at AMPLEXOR, based in the United States. He’s a native speaker of Spanish and English and fascinated by the morphological richness of language and by linguistic evolution over time. As a 20+ years content industry veteran, Marcus has lead product and development teams in the content, language and machine learning sectors. In addition, his career journey ranges from founding a startup and serving on the TAUS advisory board to localization consulting, production engineering and operational management. In his free time, he’s often found chasing after his twin three-year-olds, enjoying a game of rugby or scuba diving. He’s also a fan of old-school Dungeons & Dragons session.