Gala2012 Monaco Is Technology Replacing Smaller Ls Ps Christopher Carter
Is Technology Pushing@GALA_global@GALAconf Small and Mid-sized LSPs out of the Translation Supply Chain? Chris Carter
What is the future of human communication? Where are we going?Technology is helping our industry. For now.But eventually, we will just replace ourselves with technology. One day, no one will need translation companies at all. One day, we will all have one of these....
Sir, I am fluent in six million forms of communication.Okay. Maybe not.
Confidence in LanguageMy name is Chris Carter.General Manager ofaLanguageBank- language service provider- based in New York City- translation, interpretation, au dio and video localization, and various types of consulting services
I have loved languages and linguistics since I was a little kid. I started studying linguistics when I was 11, and when ¡Hola! I was 12 I started studying Spanish and Japanese. When I was 13, I decided that I お would study linguistics at 元 university, and I 気 did. で And I still study linguistics and す languages for fun. か Every week. ？
Translation industry is trying to make text available for everyone, regardless of language. But thegoal here is not translation, it is communication. Communication is the transfer of information, ofthoughts. Communication may not even use any text but still need translation. It might not even include words at all! Emotions can be communicated too, without words. Examples: dance, theatre, ….. or even mime.
CONTENT TRANSFORMATION REVOLUTIONWe are beginning to realize that we are starting a “content transformationrevolution”. Not about translation or interpretation. Not about technology. It’sabout content.Okay, that is a bit of an exaggeration. This revolution is slow.Actually, it is very slow. But the changes are there. We can already see itstarting.
Google is already allowing search browsers to search by reading level. Making content available in aformat they want. This has nothing to do with language. It is about letting people access content in theformat that they chose.Similarly, META-NET in the EU has 54 research centers in 33 countries, investigating how technologycan unify Europe across languages. It pursues language technology research and engineering to makecontent available as quickly and easily as possible in all aspects of daily life.
Professional Trainer and Consultant Mark Proffitt has a methodology called Predictive Innovation.One simple aspect of it is that technology improves in cycles. Until the “perfect solution” is reached. (If ever.) For example, machine translation. The general market definitely knows about it now. It’s not perfect. The market wants it to be better. We keep trying to improve it. MT is not perfect, but no one wants to admit that neither is human translation. The real question is not if MT is perfect. Rather, do the end users care?
So what is going to happen in the near future? More commoditization. This will continue, and it will continue to commoditize localization services. You can’t fight it, accept it.In fact, free general purpose MT, like Google and Bing, and trends such as crowdsourcing aremaking clients think that translation is cheap. “This is your invoice?! Oh just use machinetranslation on it.” But they are also making the end users, the general public, think that translationSHOULD BE FREE. Commoditization is not going away any time soon.
We are also going to see much more technology integration. By “integration”, I mean the combination of different types of technology, inside and outside our industry. Technologies that manage content, transfer content, or convert content. All content storage and even processing off data is moving into the cloud. And we are accessing the cloud more and more from mobile devices. We all want to interact more, with either each other or with technology, and that all involves content. And it all involves integration of technology.
There are now more ways to access the cloud or the internet. And all this can change whatwe take for granted.For example, intelligent searches on mobile devices, such asApple’s Siri, use geo-location with GPS on our phones or tablets.With Siri, people are arriving at web sites or mobile content withoutusing a standard search engine.They ask for something, Siri uses key terms to decide which app touse to get the answer. And when location-based questions orrequests are made, Apple admits that Siri relies more oninformation in sites such as Yelp or Foursquare.People are accessing mobile content without ever using a searchengine like Google.The more we use intelligent software, or these intelligentcomputer assistants, the less effective SEO is.
One major change we are seeing already is the shift of who is demanding our services.The growth of our market is motivated not by clients, but by the general population – the end users. USER This has also led to the shift of who determines quality. Clients or LSPs have always decided what quality means in translation. But now users are telling us. They tell us when they need perfect translation, when they need “good enough”, or when they need something in between.
Another change I see is the shift fromwhen translation happens.Up until now, most translation happens And this leads to translation, and contentwhen it is sent out to the users. Now conversion, becoming a background step andthough, users are receiving content and not always a process by itself. Users justthen deciding they want it translated. Now decide how they will receive content, anyusers look for any content, in any content.language, and they decide if they want itconverted, and when. This could be in their settings on whatever technology they use to receive content. They won’t even have to click a “Translate Me” button. One day, the master profile on your iPad 13 If your client can offer technology that lets will just know to automatically translate all their customers translate content after content from any language, into the language receiving it, that client doesn’t need an that you chose. You wouldn’t even know (or LSP to translate it. care) what language it was originally written in.We are already seeing this “featurization” of translation. Facebook now uses Bing Translate to allowusers to translate comments. Several companies offer some form of instant chat translation.
“These things kind of sneak up on us. By thetime they are revolutionary, they’ve beenaround,actually, for 20 years.” —— Ray Kurzweil
Here is the basic supply chain for documenttranslation or localization. I separated Small and Mid-sized LSPs (SMEs) from Large LSPs. Why? There are technologies that could possibly threaten the way LSPs do business. But Large LSPs are big enough to provide the services that SMEs do, and also to provide technology. Some of the technology that threatens SMEs actually belongs to Large LSPs. They are large enough to invest in or develop them. Examples: - Lionbridge’s GeoFluent offers clients MT for chat (using IBM’s “real time translation”) - SDL offers their EasyTranslator and BeGlobal software options that do not use any humans in the translation process.
One way new technology companies will say thatthey can offer lower rates is by removing all ofthat expensive, wasteful project management.These companies are not offering “good enough”translation. They are trying to compete againstyou by saying professional translation can bedone without any human project management.The general market sees new web sites such asMyGengo, WebTranslateIt, Bewords, andCloudwords and they think that translation canbe done extremely fast and extremely cheap.Venture Capital is investing heavily in thesetechnology companies.- Cloudwords: several million (including over $3 million in April 2011)- myGengo: over $5 million late last year- Smartling: $14MM in less than two yearsBut most of these companies that say theyremove project management still use humantranslators. Whether TEP or MTPE, humantranslators are used.
It appears that these new technologies that don’t use PMs are connecting our clients directly to the linguists. These companies areBut this model doesn’t saying clients don’tactually remove Project need PMs. You needManagement. It just to tell your clientsshifts it to the client. why they do need PMs. That is how youSome sites ask the compete.client to uploadglossaries, upload What does a PMTMs, clean TMs, search offer? Why is it betterthrough large databases than these sites? Theto choose the answer depends onappropriate your own company’stranslators, review and process, and thequality assure each clients you serve.step, and manage Look at your clients.accounting paperwork. This new modelSee, no PM! You just might be better for asaved money. few. If so, concentrate on your otherMaybe your client’s time clients, and tell themis more important than a why they needlittle money. project management. And then keep reminding them.
These new technologies still use human translation with TEP or MTPE.But most of the growth in market demand in coming years will not be human translation.Users (not clients) will require automation of translation. It is what the market, users, nowrealize that they want and are not getting. Now they want it and will want it more and more.Technology companies dominate this area and always have.
Integration of technology will especially be seen in thegrowing industry of fully-automated translation.WordLens, for example, lets you point your mobile phone camera at something with text on it and it willtranslate that text. It uses optical character recognition to scan the image, then uses MT to translateit, then it covers up the original text in the image on your screen, and finally places the translation in theimage where the original text was. Amazing!Of course, it only works with English to and from Spanish. And the MT isn’t great. But users see theidea of what this kind of technology could be. And we’re back to the technology cycle. They wantmore. Now we have to deliver.
已经看到 sa pou yo 了，但是 Some technologies even let you speak to kout zegwi someone on the phone in one language, while 我兴奋看 sou a, Se the other person hears a translation in another 又。 这是 konsa fin pa language. I said translation, because no interpreters are used. The technology uses voice recognition software to transcribe what you say. Then it uses MT to translate. And then a text-to-speech software “speaks” that translation into the other phone.Speaking AND hearing Speaking AND hearingLANGUAGE #1 LANGUAGE #2 Voice Recognition + Machine Translation + Text-to-speech The idea sounds great! There are still a lot ofNTT Docomo and problems with the software.Lexifone are But users will want more.examples of this.Microsoft isdeveloping their These are a great example of multiple types of technology comingown version of this together to create a user experience from daily life where contentas well. conversion happens in the background.
Households all over the worldhave those boxes that can seeand read your body movements.One example is Kinect for XBox.It was created for gamingsystems. But why can’t we usethat technology to transcribe signlanguage? Capture the movements, transcribe the gestures using one of the many existing sign language notation systems, translate that notation into another language, and use text-to- speech to “speak” that translation to a hearing person. Machine Interpretation for Sign Language.
For many At the beginning Then Demand for our Tech companiesdecades, o of commoditization services is and LSPs have tour clients globalization, cli started, and growing, especially by educate thethought all ents wanted to prices started to users. More new clients and thetranslation start reaching fall. technologies will try to users about thewas the other support that. We are differencessame. cultures, so they (And they still entering a time of between theQuality was sought out are.) experimentation. different kinds ofjust quality. specialists. Us. Everyone trying to localization. LSPs raised determine what Some is free, and their prices. everyone wants. some is not. Commoditization Educating clients Globalization Experimentation / Separation / Tech integration As everyone finds their match, the definition of translation will split, and thus pricing models will split. Yesterday Tomorrow
People will eventually understand betterMost daily content will be translated that human translations are at a higherby machines, creating rough but standard. They will know that they need tousable translations. People will pay big money for this high qualityknow that it isn’t perfect. translation that automated technology does not provide. Commoditization Educating clients Globalization Experimentation / Separation / Tech integration MT and tech integration could actually one day De-commoditize human translation. Yesterday Tomorrow
For the past few years, the assumption has been that theindustry would split. But between TEP and MTPE. This is whatlinguists have been afraid of and fighting against. But as different technologies keep providing new and different solutions, the market will separate in new ways. This will create a new kind of segmentation.
The market will split between fully-automated translation, and what Icall “human touch” translation. Thatis translation that still requiressome human linguist to work on it.TEP, MTPE, even linguistic orsubject matter QA. Anything that isnot completely automated usingtechnology. And if this data deluge is coming, or is just starting, there will be more data than we can handle. With more and more data, and more people will want more access to more data more often. New jobs will be created. Jobs that don’t exist today will be created to manage the large amounts of data, to sift through the data and focus in on only the relevant or needed data. We will see more cross-over between the localization industry and text analytics and data mining.
continue educating yourclients on the differencesbetween human translationand automated translation. LSPs providing human translation will need to show their value over automated translation. And the best places to do this are areas where the standard of quality must remain high. Most SMEs are currently on the human touch side of the industry and will want to stay there. Large LSPs might be big enough to be on both sides.
LSPs should specialize in certain industries or fields to create an advantage.Be experts, not general full-service LSPs. This will be especially important if you add MTSo many companies do everything. into your workflow. Each MT takes a large investment of time and money. The more workThe future is specialization. you do in one industry, the more return you can get on one investment with an MT engine.That doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’tprovide other services. But become well- Stay with fields that need accuracy orknown for 1-2 specialties. It is harder for craftsmanship, likeclients to see a small company as a marketing, medical, financial, or legal localization.“one-stop-shop” for everything. Regulated industries, high-stakes content, or confidential and sensitive content will also be good for specialization.
And where is all of this going? Technology will continue to work together. We will find more ways to put the pieces together to do more. But the tech cycle says we will keep improving these new ideas. Imagine combining TM with MT with Voice Recognition software with Intelligent Search or even artificial computing programs. A computer could listen to us and understand more than just verbal commands. Communication includes both verbal and non-verbal information. A computer could understand context. If we also add Facial Recognition software or movement scanning technology like the Kinect for Xbox, it could read our body language and know that we mean more than we are saying. Or it knows when we’re lying. A computer could even have an intuition.The historian and linguist Nicholas Ostler has said that MT is becoming the world’s lingua franca. Theremay be some truth to that.Humans are shifting their interactions with each other more and more to technology. Phones. Email. Textmessaging. Instant messaging. Chat. Social media. I have friends who will call someone just to get themright away, and they say “Text me” and then they hang up. And the person texts them, and they have anentire conversation in text message. ......... But you were just on the phone!
More and more of the freelance translatorsthat my company works with want us toinstant message them in chat instead of callthem on the phone.I see young people everywhere havingconversations in text messages, when theyare in the same room next to each other.(My nephews love to do this.)Is technology becoming the middleman forall human interactions?“Oh no, Chris. That’s ridiculous. Technologyis cold, distant. Human interaction is IBM scientists are already working in the field ofspecial, intimate.” bioinformatics. They are trying to develop ways for machines to read brain waves. This research had aTwenty years ago, computers were very medical beginning, scientists trying to create a prostheticcommon. But who knew back then that arm that the person could control by thinking.today so many people would be having sexthrough a computer. But why would we stop with prosthetic arms and legs. If we can control and communicate with computers with our thoughts, and those computers talk to other computers, which talk to people’s brains.
Just remember:Content is merging, technology is merging. The future is a crazy mix of possibilities, but thatwon’t happen tomorrow.The amount of fully-automated translation being used in the world is going to growexponentially in the next few years.Don’t be afraid of technology that goes around LSPs. Look for markets that cannot or shouldnot skip the expertise of an LSP, or industries that honestly do need to be managed by humans– some form of project management or guidance.And if a client or an industry needs the expertise and human management that an LSPoffers, do us all a favor, and educate them. Keep educating them. We have to education ofthe market about the differences before we can de-commoditize localization and translation. Answer The only SMEs that will be pushed out of the translation supply chain are the ones that will keep trying to do the work that automated technology will soon be able to do.
Thank you Chris Carter aLanguageBankChrisC@aLanguageBank.com