The End of the World for Translation as We Knew It


The beginning of 2013 marks a new evolution in translation. Companies used to translate content one document at a time, and now the cloud will enable bulk translations and easy scalability. Where businesses used to enter global markets with little insight into the nuances of that market, cloud-driven Big Data analytics will make such entry a calculated and strategic proposition. Here are my predictions on how a global company strategy will look different in 2013, thanks to the cloud:


Prediction #1: Companies Will Integrate Translation Into Their Global Brands

English content today only reaches roughly one-third of the world’s consumers, according to Common Sense Advisory. Those users are worth an estimated $50 trillion, and most of them reside outside of the United States. Businesses must translate content into 48 languages if they want to address 98 percent of global online users.

Apple, one of the world’s most successful brands, proved the value of global marketing, translation and localization with its iPhone. The iPhone experienced revenue growth of more than 1,400% outside of the United States between 2008-2011. The company’s markets in Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, India and Africa drove that phenomenal growth, which CEO Tim Cook said was “only on the surface” during a conference earlier this year. With the right strategic markets, combined with cloud-based translation technology, any global brand can be translated and localized to potentially achieve Apple-like returns.

Prediction #2: Enterprises Will Optimize Translation and Localization Across Web, Social and Mobile Channels

Social media and mobile devices are driving the creation of more content than ever, from videos to blog comments. People are developing and consuming information 24/7. Companies must also evolve and deploy their content around the clock, and 2013 will be the year they do it.

The amount of content in a company’s workflow doubles every time a new language is added. Scaling global content effectively requires a web experience management (WEM) system in which companies can translate, review, edit and synchronize content in a single workflow. Driven by the cloud, this kind of WEM enables companies to quickly translate and localize content in geographies around the world, with real-time results. This globalized WEM enables companies to save time and energy by repurposing and re-using translated content. As the data load around the world continues to grow, a globalized WEM will be the only real option for companies wishing to establish their brand abroad.

Prediction #3: Cloud-Based Analytics and Big Data Will Become Essential to Globalization

Analytics will be integral to 2013’s new global WEMs. No longer will companies have to make key decisions, such as which new markets to enter, how current markets are performing, and which content audiences in each locale prefer to visit with blinders on. Instead, predictive analytics, fed by Big Data, will provide detailed information that will drive global content and marketing strategy. Companies will be able to translate content in a way that generates the highest returns and traffic.

Big Data will play a role in building translation memories by incorporating data from all kinds of sources, from mobile SMS messages to company news updates. Cloud-based translation, whether done by machines, a human crowd or a professional translator, will enable the translation of that content, in turn creating and building translation memory that encompasses all kinds of content.

2012: The End of the World for Translation As We Knew It

As an increasing number of companies globalize their brands, they’ll seek cloud-based tools to manage their translation and localization efforts. Old ways of translation simply won’t scale, and there’s no point in guessing at potential and performance across borders if Big Data applications can easily generate that information for you. Thanks to Big Data and the cloud, 2013 will be the year that translation and localization truly evolves.

As President and CEO of Lingotek, Rob Vandenberg is driving the vision of a company that is looking to change the future of translation.

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