Responding to Language Industry Trends: Experts Talk About What to Expect

As we continue celebrating 20 years as your trusted language partner, we can’t help but think about the future of our industry and language industry trends. This is no time to rest on our laurels! We are taking proactive steps so we can continue to provide unparalleled service for the next 20 years and beyond.

language industry trends

We have been carefully monitoring what the experts are saying. Now we’re ready to share what we’ve learned and the positive steps we are taking to position ourselves for the evolution. So, let’s look at the language industry trends experts are predicting.

Industry Experts Discuss Language Industry Trends

 The Globalization and Localization Association (GALA) is one of the best resources for language industry news and getting the scoop from industry leaders. Alpha Omega Translations is a proud member of GALA—CEO, Dimitra Hengen, appears here.

Ahead of the annual conference, taking place in Boston this coming March, we recently revisited a podcast recorded during last year’s meeting. The podcast features CEOs discussing language industry trends. So many interesting and useful gold nuggets here!

1. The Enormous Potential of Neural Machine Translation.

 It is no longer acceptable for LSPs to bury their heads in the sand about machine translation. While during the past 10-20 years, we have seen only incremental improvements in machine translation, experts agree that we are on the verge of seeing a revolution in MT software.

Experts also agree that although the hype about machines yielding translations comparable to humans has been mostly overblown, a time is coming (probably very soon) when machines will be able to replace human translators for some types of translation tasks.

Experts disagree, however, about how the MT revolution will affect the work performed by individual translators. We certainly will see more of a trend toward humans editing machine translations in order to speed up the translation process. We may actually begin to see human translators working with MT engineers to improve their MT engines too, especially as language service providers begin to embrace the benefits of MT.

The timeline for seeing these big changes impacting the language industry is still anyone’s guess. MT has been around since the 1950’s and back then experts were predicting machines replacing human translators in 3-5 years. So, while there’s likely no need for panic, developing a strategic plan for using MT as a more central part of your work is a must.

AOT Lessons Learned:

We can choose to see advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine deep learning as a threat to our work or we can focus on the positive side and consider how to innovate to get ahead of the trend. At Alpha Omega, our team is focused on the positives and adjusting our service offerings to take advantage of new technology.

Benefits of Neural MT:

  • Greater access to translation tools, including automatic translation software, means greater access to information.
  • Building awareness of available translation and globalization tools also means an expanded marketplace for language services.
  • Better machine translations means human beings will be free to focus on customization and providing higher quality products to their clients.

How we’re adapting to meet this trend:

  • We’re focusing on building our service offerings in areas where a human touch is especially valuable (e.g., health care, legal services, and on demand interpreting).
  • We’re looking to hire language experts who also have more technical backgrounds.
  • We’re updating our client and customer profiles to figure out whom we best serve and in what capacities.

2. Continuous Delivery and Content Creation.

As we figure out how to lean on machines more and more for rote translation tasks, a world of possibilities opens up for humans to use their zones of genius to provide added value to their clients. Accordingly, we are seeing the demand for continuous delivery of translation, interpretation, and localization services becoming a growing niche for LSPs, as well as an increase in the demand for content creation.

We are not likely to see a contraction of social media or the dominance of new media any time soon. And these trends in digital marketing open many doors for LSP’s. Increased demand for video content means more opportunity for live translation and interpretation. This is an area where machine translation will likely never be comparable to what a human translator could provide.

This means we are likely going to see a trend away from traditional translation workflow, e.g., delivering a package of written content once per month, and toward continuous delivery of smaller bits of information and/or on-the-fly video interpretation.

In addition, the more quickly we are able to deliver translations, since machines will make it possible to translate billions of words per year, the greater the demand for content creation.

AOT Lessons Learned:

We believe all of this is great news for smaller LSP’s. Clients will continue to demand customized translation, interpretation, and localization services. They will seek out smaller companies who can work closely with their own in-house teams to produce innovative content. Smaller language service companies will benefit from being able to offer services and products that are flexible and personalized.

How we’re adapting to meet this trend:

  • At AOT, we have a team dedicated to business development. This task force is committed to finding ways to make AOT more of an end-to-end provider.
  • We aren’t just a team of fabulous translators, we’re language and localization consultants offering a full range of cultural services.
  • We offer our clients more than just translations. We can take a deep dive into their business goals and offer a complete globalization strategy based on our years of experience.

3. Video Translation Services with Expand.

The demand for video translation and video editing services, such as voice-overs and dubbing, is already a huge share of the language translation market. But experts see video translation services expanding even further in the near future. In the hospital and health care arena, we are already seeing video translation solving patient and health care provider interface problems.

There’s nothing stopping this trend from expanding into other arenas such as hospitality, travel and tourism, and even retail. Imagine a native Chinese speaker walking into her favorite retailer in NYC and renting an iPad with interpreting services or a video personal shopper who speaks her native language.

Again, while we’re far from seeing robots and machines take away all jobs performed by human beings, it makes sense for human translators to consider how to adapt their skills in a world where these types of changes are likely not far off.

AOT Lessons Learned:

These new language industry trends make innovation more challenging, but this comes with the territory when you are part of a dynamic industry. At AOT, we have always adapted to new language industry trends. So, this is nothing new for us.

We plan to take the lessons we’ve learned over the past 20 years and apply them to the changes that come our way. One of the most amazing benefits of being part of such a close-knit community of linguists and language experts is that we realize there is more to be gained by working together, than tearing each other down.

How we’re adapting to meet this trend:

  • We know we can’t be all things to all people. We are always looking for new strategic partnerships, especially those that complement our expertise.
  • We are always open to sharing ideas and learning new skills from our peers. There is room for everyone to grow as long as we all focus on our differentiating areas of expertise.
  • We would love to talk with other Virginia area small businesses looking to expand into global markets.

Concluding Thoughts

These big language industry trends are so exciting! While we recognize that these trends will impact the way we serve clients going forward, we also think it’s important to embrace change. There is simply no sense in pretending that we can do business in the exact same ways we always have. The future is here!

What has allowed our business to grow over the past 20 years is first and foremost, our ability to adjust to a dynamic industry. Will you be a part of our exciting future? Join us by reaching out for your free quote today!

Category: Translation Services

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