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Written by Steven Bussey
on December 09, 2019

As globalization continues apace, more companies and brands are going to have to start offering their services and goods to multicultural markets if they want to stay competitive. As technology advances, new and improved translation technologies are arriving on the market at a breakneck pace. Here are some of the top themes and trends in translation technology that we predict will make a big splash in the upcoming year.

New frontiers of Machine Translation (MT)

Language translation via technology has long been a goal of developers, but the technology itself has only recently gained the intelligence necessary to deal with the complexities. Machine Translation Post-Editing (MTPE) is the process of clarifying translations  generated initially by machine. Post-editing differs from editing in that it refers specifically to a human revising the work of a machine. In contrast, editing is a process in which a person reviews work generated by another person. 

When artificial intelligence is used to generate a translation, there is a higher risk of certain types of errors. The difference between a technically correct translation and a good translation depends on the ability of the translator to use not only the text but the context, as well. When the context is ignored or misunderstood, a translation may be technically correct but functionally incomprehensible to readers in the target demographic.

The post-editing process has been crucial in MT processes because automatic translations could not  fully comprehend the broader scope of the translations. Human post-editors have been essential to making sense of something that may have otherwise been incomprehensible.

The introduction of the next level of MT, Neural Machine Translation (NMT), is so exciting for those in the translation tech industry because of the previous failings. The thing that makes NMT different from former MT is that it uses a neural network, a learning algorithm that helps machines figure out solutions in a more generalized context rather than the direct approach necessary for old technology. NMT is faster, more adaptable, and has the potential to translate more naturally than previous systems could. NMT will still need MTPE, especially while the technology is still relatively new, but the future already looks promising for those using NMT.


Integration into other technologies and services

New translation management systems (TMS) and terminology management solutions are also introduced to the market regularly. However, it seems that within the next decade, standalone translation tools will be less attractive as more content management systems (CMS) will offer translation and terminology management as one facet of functional tools and properties. 

Localization services will be a large part of this, as well. While the AI revolution is underway, human translators have the sensitivity that robots, as of yet, do not. However, to stay competitive in the global market, human translators will need to have an entire packet of skills to offer that goes beyond fluency in multiple languages. They will need to understand various cultures and be able to use a variety of operating systems and CMS.


Culture matters

Flexibility and ambiguity are built-in traits of human language. This is true of all dialects; the variances come from cultural as well as grammatical nuance. It’s easy to find examples of mistranslation. Often, it is just funny or, at worst, slightly confusing. At other times, it can completely undermine the intended message.

This is why transcreation (a portmanteau of translation and creation) is one of the significant trends to watch. As brands become more globalized, they are learning the importance of translating in a way that keeps the message consistent across cultures. The difference between transcreation and pure translation is that transcreation takes into consideration cultural sensitivities, idioms, and other subtleties that word-by-word translations may miss.

Though it accounted for only 4% of the market in 2016 and is offered by only 30% of Language Service Providers, transcreation can make a huge difference for businesses. Instructional or strictly informational texts may not benefit from transcreation over translation. In such cases, transcreation may be an unnecessary investment of even more time and money. But for successful marketing across countries, languages, and cultures, transcreation could well be worth the ROI. 

The future of translation technology is bright—but complicated. That is why more and more brands are looking to partner with companies that offer multi-faced services, such as text translation and content creation, as well as localization of websites and software. Andovar provides all that and so much more! Get in touch today to see which of our offerings are right for you and don’t get left behind in the new global marketplace.

Find out more about this and other localization technology in our Automation technologies Ultimate Guide.

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