Yet another Localization World has gone by; this time it was held in the always enchanting London. A lot of interesting (and, frankly, some not so interesting) sessions, all about the Language Services industry. After two days of proceedings and a safe return home, here are a few thoughts that accompanied us on the red-eye flight back home.
- Interesting fact (Thanks to Paula Shannon, Lionbridge): The volume of words to translate has decreased by 40% within the last 10 years BUT this has not been as evident for some LSPs as the number of languages has increased by a similar percentage.
- During one of the Unconference sessions, which included participants both from the client and the vendor side, it was mentioned that there are basically three categories of “translation”: MT, regular translation and brand transcreation. We see an increase in the first and the third categories and a decrease in the middle. Why? Well, have you read the user manual or any kind of user assistance for your smartphone lately? For your PC? For your tablet? For your Smart TV? No! User interface is taking care of that.The Internet and social media are taking care of that also! When you have a problem with your software, do you open the manual or Google it? And this trend will continue as more and more of our lives shift to the “social/visual/touch” model. Even in industries where the stakes are higher, e.g. the medical industry, it will not be long till all doctors, physicians, nurses, etc. are running around with a tablet in hand, or with all patient data on their (Google?) glasses or (Apple?) iWatch! Do you think they will be reading user manuals for these devices? It’s touch and GO!
- A new service is on the rise (thanks to Aida Martirosyan from Haymillan for the valuable input). Clients care a lot more about their product or service turning up higher in a Google search than translation quality (at least as we are used defining it). A new type of transcreation – SEO content adaptation – is a service that can provide added value to clients in services offered by LSPs. We are not talking about keywords but the whole source text transformation to the target language. Paul Doleman of iCrossing provided this amazing slide below where you can see what a difference a phrase makes!
- For client content that is really important: Give your LSPs some extra time to go through your material and let them express their feedback. Allocate a few hours each week and let them wander around your collateral. Be it your web site, your software UI or an iPad app, the additional cost for this adventure will pay off rapidly. Besides actually spotting errors or necessary improvements, this really engages your LSP (and all resources involved) into your product. Something priceless for your brand.
For the past decade it was all about quality: definition, metrics, etc. This is not the case anymore. It is content that defines quality.
Summing it all up:
To translators: Don’t get left behind. Translation is not what it used to be ten years ago and it is definitely not what you study in the universities. You should think out of your box, broaden your horizons, take up extra courses in different disciplines, be computer-savvy, don’t get stuck in the 100% match review or not duel!
To project managers: Same as above. Your job description changes fast. Change and adapt. Adapt and change.
To LSPs: Traditional translation services are not the way to differentiate. Innovate or...
To clients: Work with your LSPs (where P stands for Partner). Tell them what you want from a project, what the target audience is (thanks to Johannes Purer of Puretrans for insisting on this), don’t just throw them chunks of sentences. Listen to what they have to say and follow their advice.