Five movements to watch out for in 2019
The translation and localisation industry is constantly evolving and innovating so it’s important for both language service professionals and translation buyers to stay up to speed with the latest trends sweeping the sector.
To save you the task of trawling through pages and pages of content, we here at Ultimate Languages have summarised five localisation movements we think are the ones to watch in 2019.
Although still in its infancy, there are several ongoing projects within the translation and localisation industry that are incorporating blockchain technology and cryptocurrency into existing processes. You’re probably thinking “So what? How is this going to benefit me?” so let’s start by having a closer look at what Blockchain is:
“Blockchain is an infrastructure technology. A distributed database – a ledger – that provides a way for various parties to reach consensus about facts in a secure, decentralized way without the need for a trusted intermediary. In particular, it distributes the same data to all parties so they can hold and use identical copies of a particular file, thereby increasing their mutual trust because the data cannot easily be faked or illegally duplicated.” (Joscelyne, 2018)
As summarized by Andrew Joscelyne in his article for TAUS, Blockchain technology allows data to be shared in exchange for tokens for particular services and/or privileges. These tokens are only truly valued in the system to which they belong. For example, the exchange of tokens between the language service provider and their freelance resources. Whether the technology will be adopted across the whole industry is still to be seen, but one day we could see mutually beneficial information exchanged between parties for tokens.
Some suggestions of where this technology could be utilised in the language service industry include:
- Sharing Translation Memories and other assets
- Translator/linguist payment and/or royalties
- Improved back-office processes and efficiencies
- Improved quality assurance processes
Blockchain isn’t going to disrupt the industry in the next year, but it’s definitely one buzz word to keep an eye on. You can find out more on this subject from the Slator 2018 Blockchain and Translation Report.
2. Artificial intelligence
You can’t escape artificial intelligence nowadays with almost every industry adopting some form of AI technology. If we think about the language service industry the present state of AI and localisation looks something like this…
- Neural Machine Translation engines
- Automated image and video captioning
- Voice recognition
- AI-powered CAT tool / Translation Management System features. For example:
- Non-translatables (NT) tool in Memsource TMS
- Machine Translation Quality Estimation (MTQE) tool in Memsource TMS
But what about the future? Where can we see AI being applied in our industry in 2019? As well as improved efficiencies, faster performance, and innovative new features to the technologies listed above, we can expect there to be further research and development in the following areas:
- Automated interpreting technology for both simultaneous and consecutive applications
- AI-generated content creation
- Creative Neural Machine Translation that can handle human nuances
One organisation that is really leading the way in AI-localisation applications is Memsource. CEO and Founder, David Čaněk, commented on the potential impact of AI on the translation industry, saying:
“As an industry, we have barely scratched the surface when it comes to applying artificial intelligence. At the exponential rate of technology innovation, how long will it take for AI-powered features to be as integral to the translation pipeline as translation memory – 5, 10 years? I expect sooner…Every single advancement in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning within translation and localization is a step closer to frictionless globalization. It’s thrilling to consider that our industry might be unrecognizable in a few years time”. (Čaněk, 2018)
It’s clear to see that AI technology continues to enhance our industry and we’re excited to see what happens in this field this year.
3. Collaboration for standardisation
Launched in 2016, TAPICC (Translation API Cases and Classes) is an initiative developed and supported by GALA with the goal to develop a standard API specific to the localisation industry.
The purpose of TAPICC is to produce an open-API structure for the whole industry that can be used by anyone and everyone to connect multiple systems using the same language and methodology, resulting in a unified standard API will not only benefit LSPs but technology providers, clients and freelance translators.
Over the last year GALA’s workgroups have been working on the first of four tracks, focusing on what is required in order to automate the supply chain, with great progress. The deliverables of the first track were discussed in great detail in a free webinar back in June 2018, however, the overall consensus is that the initiative is progressing incredibly well and not losing traction, unlike other attempts at creating a standard API.
As the initiative moves on to the second track, 2019 is looking to be another success for the TAPICC contributors. Expect more updates at the annual GALA conference in Munich this March.
4. Specialisation vs. diversification
In June 2018, Slator reported that 150 new language service providers had been registered in the UK in the first six months of last year, bringing the total number of UK-based translation agencies to almost 2,000.
Given the current state of the industry – particularly in the UK – many LSPs are finding themselves with a bit of a headache in order to find a way to differentiate themselves from the competition; to specialise or to diversify?
Regardless of whether a translation company chooses to expand their service offering or become a specialist agency, one thing is for sure, there is still room for further mergers and acquisitions within the localisation space. If M&As are part of your exit strategy then choosing to specialize or diversify will not hurt your chances of attracting a buyer.
It will be interesting to see whether there are more M&As in 2019, and the industry players involved.
5. Interpreting technologies
As with translation, the interpreting field is adapting to new technologies and although a lot of them are still at the early stages of their journey, these are the three most widely talked about advances in interpreting tech, and the ones Ultimate Languages will be watching in 2019.
Virtual interpreting technology
This is technology that is enabling simultaneous and consecutive interpreters to work anywhere at any time. With over 60 interpreting technology companies in the field, it is definitely an area that deserves attention. The existing players are constantly updating and relaunching newer versions of their products to make the user experience better and faster.
Wearable interpreting devices
The popularity of wearable technology has soared in recent years and more companies are looking to develop new and innovative solutions to solve our problems on the go. Many are turning to portable technology that helps to break language barriers, particularly targeted at international travellers.
There are a number of products already on the market which offer a limited number of rudimentary expressions to help people get by. This is likely to improve in the coming years as AI-generated translation improves and can be incorporated into existing wearable devices.
AI- generated interpretation
Alongside wearable devices, there are companies who are solely working on ways to improve automated interpretation through AI and deep learning. This sees AI-powered tech being integrated with other tools/systems with the aim to reduce the need for human interpreters.
Although we are quite a way off from having multilingual robots and systems interacting with humans through natural conversation, it’s clear that there are some interesting developments in the field that could be used to assist human interpreters in the near future.
And there we go! Our top five translation and localisation industry trends to watch in 2019. To keep up to date with how these trends develop over the next 12 months, follow Ultimate Languages on our social media channels.
Bond, E. (2018). 150 New UK Language Service Providers so far in 2018 Take Total to Nearly 2,000. [online] Slator Language Industry Intelligence. Available at: https://slator.com/features/150-new-uk-language-service-providers-so-far-in-2018-take-total-to-nearly-2000/ (Accessed, 11th January 2019)
Čaněk, D. (2018). The Momentum of AI Innovation. [online] Memsource Blog. Available at: https://www.memsource.com/blog/2018/08/06/the-momentum-of-ai-innovation (Accessed, 11th January 2019).
Joscelyne, A. (2018). Blockchain: When the Token Economy Meets the Translation Industry. [online] TAUS the language data network. Available at: https://blog.taus.net/blockchain-when-the-token-economy-meets-the-translation-industry (Accessed, 11th January 2018).