Transformative Translation
by Donald A. DePalma, Benjamin B. Sargent
October 25, 2013
October 25, 2013

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Translation is at a crossroads. The traditional model stresses linguistically perfect output for a small amount of information. Enterprises decide which content is most likely to be required, rendering that into other languages "just in case" someone needs it. The competing model argues for making any content available in translation, on demand, when people actually need it. The most successful programs will incorporate both approaches. 

This report analyzes this conflict between content quality and availability - and the role that machine translation (MT) plays. It outlines the behavioral transformation that will accompany a decision to make information available when needed rather than obsessing on linguistic perfection. It discusses the growing no-translation zone and the push to provide content in languages of increasing demand. 

Once it is more widely deployed, MT will play a major role in helping people communicate across linguistic barriers. MT will help enterprises with their plans for improving the global customer experience, enabling on-demand marketing in multiple languages, and bring them closer to the concept of truly unified communications for employees.

This report contains the following sections: 
  • Findings. We present the results of a Common Sense Advisory survey of organizations using MT.  This section answers the questions of which materials they translate, which issues motivate their use or impede their progress, how they deal with quality issues, and how they measure success. 
  • Analysis. We analyze the results of our study, discuss the quality-availability conundrum, and outline the three stages of MT adoption.
  • Implications. We describe five initiatives representing near-term, mid-range, and long-term opportunities for machine translation.
  • Information Sources. We describe the survey methodology and the demographics of respondents.
  • Related Research. We recommend other Common Sense Advisory research related to machine translation. 

  • Global Leaders
  • Technology Vendors
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Pages: 44

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