At Xplanation, we do not make crystal balls, but we thought we would share the trends we expect in the translation and localisation business in 2014.
1. From compliance to revenue driver
More than an obligation forced by regulators, language is increasingly viewed as a revenue generator.
With translation as a necessary evil and a hard-to-predict roi, c-level executives were not convinced that language drove value in their organisations. Forward-thinking companies are, however, investing in solutions to drive efficiency, accuracy and safety internally and customer loyalty externally. In 2014, banks, corporations and other organisations will consider language as a way to add value. As demonstrated in the CSA report multilingual websites*, language support correlates to higher ranking by revenue and traffic volume.
On the "inside", multinationals manage an increasingly global workforce, especially in regions where English is not widely spoken. Companies will focus more on delivering business systems in local languages to ensure efficiency and quality.
2. The rise of the machines: MT
It is now fact: automatised translation is here to stay. Partly driven by spending sobriety, but also a viable option for time-critical projects, machine translation (mt) will also keep proving its potential to boost quality. As with translation memory technology, automatised translation is now a feature in the environment of every technical translator around the world. Translation providers will position themselves more and more as mt advisers to ensure customers' goals regarding end use, quality, cost and turnaround times are met.
3. Cms integration driving efficiencies
Cms integration is also motivated by reduced time-to-market (content flows from cms to the translation management system) and pushed by teams who need to get more languages online, faster. With cms integration, it is no longer necessary to supply source files, order each individual project and manage the language files coming back from translation, thereby saving hundreds of hours of work.
Translation management systems with open api:s will be the winners here as well as lsp:s with solid technical capabilities.
4. Content marketing
In addition to social media, other content marketing avenues will take precedence, including live events, case studies and branded content tools. These channels deliver much more value and brand awareness than a simple social share. Smart organisations will use these tools to approach customers from a new angle and will not miss the chance to be global. Language support will not be a product feature, but a core differentiator. This phenomenon will keep fuelling the demand for multilingual content creation tools and content management systems integration (see point 3).
5. Internal translation teams, where to?
Internal localisation and translation departments may well revisit the division of activities. They will concentrate on planning, centralising translation needs and work on projects such as terminology harmonisation to drive consistency across the organisation, leaving translation of words and hands-on tasks to savvy lsp:s. Lsp:s will work with their customers to develop flexible arrangements, including cloud technology and cms integration, enabling them to offload more work.
Will these predictions come true? Here is to 2014!
* Source CSA, Multilingual websites, languages as an indicator of success on the web, October 2012.