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The Future of the Translation Industry

When speaking at the recent SlatorCon in Zurich, I stated that the language industry has reached an important, and exciting new juncture, as digital technology becomes ever more prevalent in our lives. By leveraging digital innovation, localization activity is more intelligent and automated in service, process and delivery to meet the 24/7 nature of today’s business needs — providing continuous improvements to data self-sufficiency, scalability, availability, quality, and productivity. I continue to be excited by the opportunities that such innovation presents, which is why at SDL our focus is relentless on developing premium solutions to further enhance how content is created, localized and delivered.

Neural Machine Translation (NMT), for example, is now firmly entrenched in our present, not just our future. With more than 25 years of experience in the translation and localization field, our neural network technology enables deep and representational learning, significantly improving translation quality and fully embracing artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to help solve very complex language translation issues. At SDL, we possess the unrivaled expertise to help companies localize content to make meaningful connections with the tens of millions of customers (and potential customers) who our browsing content off and online on different types of devices, all over the world, every single day.

For businesses, the online market opportunity is huge — and it’s only increasing. As an example, China and India have the highest number of internet users, with around 738m and 462m users respectively. By 2030, it’s been estimated that these figures will increase and over 1bn Indians will be online. As a priority, companies looking to operate effectively in these emerging, high-growth markets will need technology to help quickly and efficiently localize their content to reach these new potential customers.

Looking to the future, a practical requirement will be that localization processes need to be integrated into core business systems to create efficiency in execution of translation. SDL’s NMT and localization services are integrated throughout our content management and digital experience offerings (SDL Tridion DX), which, among other things allows individuals at a company to work collaboratively with subject matter writers, reviewers in one controlled environment and format.

Similarly, while the application of AI to translation is fundamental to enhance translation services, at SDL we also believe in the human touch alongside machine learning to achieve the best results in translation. In our view, there is still no better way to provide meaningful, accurate, high-quality language services.

Therefore, as we proudly offer the most technologically advanced language services and digital content management software available, SDL’s language and consulting services team includes more than 1,100 in-house translators and an additional 15,000+ tested and qualified freelance translators to provide unparalleled local solutions and insights for corporations. From Sydney, Sao Paulo and Beijing to Zagreb, Mumbai and Bangkok — and everywhere in between — SDL has offices and language services professionals ready to serve a business at a moment’s notice.

As an industry pioneer, we have been evolving our technology, building our knowledge base and collecting an immense amount of data to gain significant expertise, over a far longer period of time than any recent entrants (including the tech giants). This fact matters because even the smartest machine in the world can only be as good as the quality of the education it gets — and that education is born of experience. In fact, we’ve recently introduced Hai, SDL’s AI assistant that helps clients create, translate and deliver content — think of Hai as your devoted and exceptionally skilled friend.

There is a lot to look forward to in the coming year, and I am excited and grateful to be a part of the company that will lead and shape the industry into the future.

Watch out for more from us in the coming weeks!