Tone Trends

To Know Where You’re Going, Know Where You’ve Been: 2018 Translation Industry Trends

In order to understand where an industry will go, we must know where it has been. We should know what to expect and understand the patterns we have seen to anticipate where they will take us in the future. Tone may not be the lead trend setter of the translation industry, but we want to share with you news about nearly everything. We present our perspective on the 2017-2018 Translation Industry trends.

Presenting the Trend
Trend data on language pairs (translating from one language into another language) is the most frequently cited data. This is important data, especially for the demand side of business. Tone’s language pair statistics from 2017 are split into the two main categories, individual requests and commercial requests:

  • Top 5 language pairs for individual personal documents (i.e. birth, marriage, death certificates or transcripts and diplomas)
    • Spanish to English
    • Bosnian to English
    • Arabic to English
    • Burmese to English
    • Russian to English
  • Top 5 language pairs for commercial documents (i.e. letters, handbooks, flyers, powerpoints, handouts, posters)
    • English to Burmese
    • English to Karen
    • English to Spanish
    • English to Arabic
    • English to Nepali

Our most frequent language pairs reflect our local demographics and do not necessarily reflect the trends in global language pairs. (All markets are local aren’t they?). Also keep in mind that these languages are not the only languages we offer. We always encourage you to contact our office for any language pair you may need (

In addition to language pairs, it is important to recognize that translation trends use several other types of data. Just like other industries, the machines are coming...or maybe they have already arrived. The technology used in the translation industry is heavily researched and mined to anticipate trends. Kilgray, the team behind the computer assisted translation tool (CAT) memoQ, preferred CAT tool of Tone, released a trend report with a number of fascinating insights into the rapidly evolving innovations in the translation industry.

According to their report the major trends for 2018 will be:

  • AI (artificial intelligence) and ML (Machine Learning) in Translation
  • Convergence and Connectivity
  • Improving User Experience
  • Web-apps and Cloud support
  • Business Management and Terminology Control
  • New Media in Translation
  • Factors in the Translation Process

Understanding the AI / ML Trend
The most important trend from the list is an increase in the use of machine translation and machine learning (ML). If you are unfamiliar with the concept of machine learning, you may be familiar with the alternative term, “Artificial Intelligence” or A.I. You may be unsure as to how this applies to translation, but machine learning is frequently being incorporated into the translation process. A common fear is that human translators will be replaced by machine translators. Many feel this is unrealistic because humans have a more flexible mastery of language and are naturally creative in a way machines cannot replicate. To be on top of this trend, tone will be introducing a new blog topic, “The CAT’s Meow”, specifically dedicated to informing you about trends in translation technology.

Another major trend is the movement away from text to video sources of translation. This past November at the LocWorld35 Convention, Erica Orange of the Future Hunters discussed that there is a growing shift away from text. Many users nowadays prefer communication via images and short videos. MemoQ’s Gonzalo Fernández, Zsolt Varga, and Sándor Papp also expressed their own observations and opinions regarding this shift. They state that 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute while 5 billion hours of content on YouTube is watched daily. Ultimately, they feel that video translation will be on the rise in 2018 and that the combination of video and computer assisted translation (CAT) is imperative to meet the demand this trend suggests. Tone already offers voice recording and transcription for subtitling, and transcription for non English language videos. (Maybe we are trend setters…)

Mastering the Trend
All of this boils down to one major point: just like other professions and fields, translators and the translation industry will need to work with technology to be more effective and efficient. Five of the noted topics deal directly with technology; machine learning, web-apps, and mass video consumption of today’s society are all being integrated into translation. By increasing our flexibility or or as memoQ writes, “agility”, we will be better prepared to adapt and change to a diversifying market.

Check back in regularly. We will have more news for you concerning these and other trends. If you’d like to look over the full memoQ trend report you can do so by following this link memoQ Trend Report 


No one has commented on this page yet.

Post your comment

View All Posts