Signals of Shift in the Language Industry: Are You In or Are You Out?

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First, translations were handwritten. Then, there were typewriters, computers, and translation memories. Each milestone demanded a shift in the way translation work was done. We are on the threshold of a major paradigm shift where old standards and ideas are being left behind. Translators and language services providers who are ready to make the shift now will stand to profit and grow. Those who like the status quo and accept "the rules" will wonder why they just don't make money like they used to. This will be an engaging presentation that is guaranteed to make you think. You've been warned!

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  • This brilliant idea probably came from the founders of Trados in the early nineties. While an excellent argument to sell tools, this concept is a fallacy. In fact, translation memories have no intrinsic value -- they are only useful if there is a match and when the translator knows how to use it -- it is impossible to assign an economic value to them. Translation memories are at best a cost-saving tool and fulfill their purpose more efficiently when widely shared.
  • The TEP (translation-editing-proofing) process is so ingrained in the collective mind that even industry standards like the EN 15038 have been designed around it. The reality is that any quality system states that more steps in a process increase the probability of incorporating mistakes and invite human error. The solution is not “catching mistakes,” but finding and paying the best resources to “translate it right the first time.”
  • The fact is that most of the consistency issues in translation are related to style and terminology standardization. These are elements that can be agreed up front and even automated, so that as many translators as available should perform a translation. There will be 30 to 40 writers who write the content in English, but we still believe that only one or two people should do the translation. More and better trained translators working together will produce good translations faster and cheaper.
  • Signals of Shift in the Language Industry: Are You In or Are You Out?

    1. 1. Signals of Shift in the Language Industry: Are You In or Are You Out? <br />Renato Beninatto<br />CEO – milengollc<br />ATA Conference<br />New York 2009<br />Twitter.com/renatobeninatto<br />#ATA50<br />
    2. 2. Deodorant Test<br />How many of you are on Twitter?<br />Who was born after 1984?<br />Who used WordPerfect?<br />Who used 3½” floppy disks?<br />Who used 5¼” floppy disks?<br />Who used typewriters?<br />Who did handwritten translations?<br />YOU ARE OLD!<br />
    3. 3. Recap from Previous Conferences<br />Translation is like toilet paper:<br /><ul><li> Cheap
    4. 4. Only important when absent</li></ul>Quality doesn’t matter:<br /><ul><li> Good haircut or bad haircut?
    5. 5. Not a differentiator
    6. 6. Human-delivered service
    7. 7. Not all translations equal</li></li></ul><li>Dominant Model: Focus on Catching Errors<br />Human nature: introduce errors<br />Unbalanced skills<br />Translator has more information than reviewer, when it should be the opposite<br />No real teamwork<br />The blind leading the ignorant<br />New Model: Do it Right, Always!<br />
    8. 8. Evolution and Innovation<br />Competitive markets resist innovation.<br />Companies investing in the existing technologies, processes, and standards don’t think that change will happen and feel safe with their offerings.<br />
    9. 9. Three dogmas prevented innovation in translations<br />
    10. 10. Dogma #1:Translation memories are an asset. <br />
    11. 11. Dogma #2:More eyes improve quality. <br />
    12. 12. Dogma #3:Fewer translators produce more consistent output. <br />
    13. 13. Resources Don’t Grow In Trees<br />Translators are scarce<br />Formation takes time<br />Demographic and cultural limitations<br />Aging population in advanced economies<br />Can’t buy Norwegian translations in Uganda<br />Volume<br />Productivity<br />Price<br />Translators<br /><ul><li> Can double volume in one year, but not resources.
    14. 14. Natural environment for automation</li></ul>Time<br />
    15. 15. Disruptive innovation comes from players outside the industry.<br />
    16. 16.
    17. 17.
    18. 18. Just as we don’t use typewriters anymore, we won’t use Trados.<br />
    19. 19. Slide on GTT<br />
    20. 20. Just as we got used to using Google for search, we will all use Google Translate.<br />
    21. 21. Predictions<br />Before 2015, Translation Memory Tools will be free or irrelevant.<br />Most large translation projects will be collaborative in nature, with multiple people working on the same files, online and in real-time.<br />Translator productivity will be measured in tens of thousands of words per day.<br />Companies that get it: Google, Lionbridge, Lingotek, Sajan, Elanex.<br />Biggest loser: SDL<br />
    22. 22. The paradox of the visionary<br />“The closer your vision gets to a provable future, the more your are simply describing the present. In the same way, the more certain you are of a future outcome, the more likely you will be wrong.”<br />Wacker& Taylor, The Visionary’s Handbook<br />
    23. 23. Thank you.<br />Renato Beninatto <br />renato.beninatto@milengo.com<br />+1 (617) 398-0880<br />Blog: http://renatobeninatto.blogspot.com<br />Twitter: renatobeninatto<br />

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