Recently, the memoQ 2019 trend report went live. For those of you less familiar with memoQ it’s our computer assisted translation (CAT) tool of choice at tone. Each year they produce a trend report for the industry about what Language Service Providers (LSP’s) should keep an eye on in 2019. Tone’s unique identity as a language provider that is a division of the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees creates an interesting dynamic with these trends outlined in the report. In today’s Industry News, we’ll be exploring these 2019 trends from our perspective.
Video Killed the Radio Star
The first trend that memoQ’s team highlights is the shift in translation services towards audiovisual media. While Tone isn’t necessarily striking any deals with Netflix or Hulu any time soon, we have seen a number of smaller projects reflect this trend. Many businesses and organizations are seeking more audiovisual teaching tools for employees, clients, and other associates. Originally, when we first launched our services, we made sure that we were ready to include support on these fronts. We have been providing voice over recording and transcription since launch.
Last year’s trend report indicated a shift towards less wordy translation, and media was relying more on simple images, but it appears that there is a middle ground. If you were to go on Facebook at all recently, you would see that many videos, by default, have captioning to avoid the reliance on sound. We are not surprised by the increase of this trend, and we are already anticipating projects in this vane. Tone will begin using the preview plugin offered by memoq for subtitling. We look forward to working with SRT files and assisting you to communicate with diverse audiences.
Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger
In any successful business, quality is the most winning factor of a product. In the translation industry, an exceptionally skilled work force coupled with computer assisted translation creates quality and consistency. Undoubtedly, the skill of a translator makes them a valuable asset to any team, but there are other factors that are becoming equally weighty in terms of a successful translation professional. The volume of text to translate is continually increasing in correlation with the increase in information available via digital venues.
Efficiency makes up a huge margin of what determines success in the translation industry. As the volume of text increases, there is pressure on the market to translate more information at a faster rate. It is equally important for translators and clients to understand this trend.
Clients should expect slightly faster turn around times for translations, exceptional those with repeated information or text (not highly technical information). However, organizations requesting translations should also be prepared to answer questions about having term bases, access to previously translated material, and style guides.
Translators looking to find work and be successful should seek to improve their use of CAT tools, machine assisted translation, and personal efficiency. They should expect to see lower word volumes, but more overall projects. Translators may also need to be flexible with price, especially if they are using tools to assist them and completing more projects faster, the market will push down prices.
A translator that is flexible and willing to engage in technology trends in the industry will be more successful. Here at Tone, we are constantly looking at how we can improve efficiency. We are making a shift towards relying on the translators and tools that complete projects in this fashion.
Do I Wanna Know?
Introspection and analysis are often vital tools to improve a business, but trends indicate that analytics reporting has room for improvement in the translation industry. Simply put, LSP’s and their clients are not sufficiently mining their own data or tracking ROI appropriately. If you have had information translated recently, ask yourself, have you or your company tracked the impact of the translated material? Even before you requested a translation did your team ask “What are our goals for this translation? What do we hope to accomplish and how will we measure this?”
Translation companies want to know the return you are getting on your investment. We understand that the effectiveness of a translation means different things to different sectors. We want to be able to provide better services to help you reach your target audience and improve use of services or products. Work with us to put in place measurable outcomes ahead of your translation project.
Speaking of figures and data, we will be releasing a ‘Tone News’ blog in the near future that examines our own year trends and year in review . By reviewing our year, we’ll be able to see what language pairs were most common, compare it to events in the global community, and better support demand.
One of the most popular, and to some people, disconcerting topics, is the relationship between translators’ employment and the advent of more advanced machine translation. It turns out, as the trend report indicates that machine translation is creating more jobs. In our own experiences, machine translation removes much of the tedium of manual translation, but allows the translator to devote their focus to improving accuracy while much of the speed is done for them. On a larger scale, with more machine support, we will be able to take more projects allowing for more translators space on the team. So contrary to popular belief machine translation will not kill the human translator star, it will actually result in higher demand and job creation. As the trend report says, “machine translation is here to stay” and our appraisal of it is that it is a great development in the language service field, rather than the prologue to a dystopian disaster.
Don’t Speak…I know just what you’re saying…
The final section of the trend report indicates that there is a shift towards speech recognition being used as a translation tool. This isn’t something that we at Tone have experienced much of, but we are beginning to form our own impressions about it. Translators of more widely spoken languages could utilize the voice to speech technology speed up their translation since many people speak faster than they type. Then they can edit the spoken text.
We believe business can utilize this technology to assist with the creation of training material or instruction. Often it is easier for us to say what we are thinking of to record our instruction of a task to a team. Typing out this task seems challenging. Why not use this speech to text technology to assist? Then edit the text later for translation. This could result in faster turnaround times for training material.
However, we caution the use of this tool writ large. Objectively speaking, it is possible that speech recognition could be a potent tool, but there are definite differences in spoken language and written language. There are also matters of timing, spoken error, and other nuances that would need to be addressed as the technology progresses. Currently only the most spoken language pairs can use this technology efficiently.
As suggested in the report, tone agrees that this technology will be most useful for those with different impairments or disabilities. But as the technology improves will become yet another tool to increasing efficiency. Memoq suggests that more companies will create voice recognition products in the coming year. We are interested to see where this particular trend will go.
The Final Countdown
The language industry is a living, organic industry, and whether it is a year from now, ten years from now, or one hundred, the industry will undoubtedly change, adapt and evolve. In order to dance to this tune, it requires flexibility, grace, and being informed of one’s position on the stage. For at the root of all language is human contact and that is what makes the industry so dynamic. At Tone, we’re committed to dancing to our tune and seeing what the next album brings.