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Blockchain's Future in the Language Industry
Blockchain is a method for concatenating blocks of transactions, which are stored securely using encryption in a distributed system that prevents bad actors from unlawfully changing records. Most media reports focus on blockchain’s use in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, where it originated. However, the language industry will be more directly

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The United States Reverses Course on When Translators Are Employees: Sort of…
Note: This blog post is not intended to provide legal advice. For clarification of your legal obligations and rights, please consult with qualified legal counsel. Labor law is usually not the sexiest of topics, but once in a while something happens that has profound effects on the language industry. Following a series of state-level legal decisions

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New Vendor Payment Option for the Language Services Industry
Paying vendors across borders has long been an issue for language service providers. These companies often use bank wires (through SWIFT codes, ACH transfers, or EFTs) to process payments to linguists in other countries. But these options are riddled with bank charges that eat away at the profitability of the recipients – LSPs or freelancers –

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LSP Metrix™ Helps Buyers Better Select and Manage Language Partners
Language service providers come in all shapes and sizes — no single element defines the best LSP. Buyers often ask CSA Research how to identify the most appropriate vendors for their needs and what they can do to assist suppliers that seek to meet evolving requirements and expectations. Based on the successful adoption of the Localization Maturity

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Sanctions Against Iran End, Increasing the Value of Persian
On January 16th, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) negotiated between Iran and six world powers took effect. This ended years of economic and financial sanctions against the Islamic Republic. It also undid the pariah status of Iran which began with its 1979 revolution. Besides decreasing political and nuclear tensions, the JCPOA has significant

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How Strong is Your Vendor Management Function?
Many language service providers use their ISO 17100 certification (formerly EN 15038) to bolster claims of process strength when it comes to supply chain management. In CSA Research’s recent interviews on vendor management at LSPs, we found wide variations in terms of organizational maturity of the function – regardless of certifications

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Can LSPs Become the Exclusive Language Service Vendor for their Clients?
Becoming the go-to supplier or preferred language partner is a core goal of many language service providers. To do so, most LSPs prefer what we call the “asphyxiation route.” They provide any language service under the sun in order to keep competitors off their turf. But the route to becoming the vendor of choice is quite different. In

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Smaller, More Frequent Transactions Will Drive Translation Market Growth
The need for translation comes in many forms. It may be a brochure, a user’s manual, a contract, or an e-mail. Some jobs are big, but most are small. They may be fully predictable, tied to formal marketing campaigns and product launches. Or they might be last-minute reactions to new market requirements. Demand varies greatly in terms of languages

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Can Fair Trade Translation Exist?
Is it fair for a project manager (PM) at a language service provider to have to work 120 hours in a week – and without extra pay – to meet a deadline? In our recent research on project management, we learned that 11% of respondents regularly work more than 50 hours per week. Some reported chronic or severe overtime. Likewise, is it fair

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Low-Cost Solution Arrives for International Payments
Cross-border payments create challenges for language service providers (LSPs) as well as the freelance community. Beyond simple payment terms, when an agency decides to work with a translator in a different country, the linguist has to agree to a preset payment currency, payment method, and bank transfer fees that are often to their disadvantage. The

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Groups Seeking to Set Translation Standards Seek Input
Reaching buyer-supplier agreement on what constitutes a translation service offering was the first topic on the agenda at a presentation at this year's ATA- TCD conference in Orlando, Florida. Former ATA president and CEO of CETRA Language Solutions Jiri Stejskal and Brigham Young University professor Alan Melby presented an overview of the work taking

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There’s Big Money in Crowdsourced Translation – Or Is There?
In our ongoing stream of research on crowdsourced translation, we’ve noticed a steady wave of investment pouring in from people who believe there is money to be made by harnessing the power of multilingual crowds. Here are a few of the organizations that have recently attracted attention in the crowdsourcing arena, particularly from investors:

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It’s Time for Buyers to Re-Think RFPs
Buyers and suppliers of language services may not always see eye-to-eye on every issue, but there is one area where they do agree: Both sides continue to experience a high level of pain with the request for proposal (RFPs) process. Common Sense Advisory conducted a detailed analysis of 91 RFPs collected from buyers and providers representing the private

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ALS Experience Highlights Global Lack of Governmental Procurement Know-How
The language services industry reacted vocally and viscerally to the £300 million interpreting contract awarded last year to Applied Language Solutions (ALS). The negative response was largely due to the fact that the U.K. Ministry of Justice (MOJ) awarded the contract to a translation vendor with minimal experience in interpreting which subsequently

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Translation Demand-Supply Mismatch
Given the US$31.4 billion in language service revenue booked in 2011, it may seem counterintuitive to state that high-quality human translation may soon become a scarce, if not more expensive, offering. However, in our recent report on translation providers, we saw a coming shortage caused by burgeoning demand for translation, a chronic shortfall of

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New Year’s Resolutions for Global Businesses
Rather than list our predictions for 2012, we’ve prepared a set of resolutions that any director, manager, or vice president responsible for translation and localization can adopt without further ado. “Get onto our CEO’s radar with globalization.” In fact, how about meeting directly with your CEO? Begin by reading

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A Review of Language Service and Technology Predictions for 2011
Predictions are a popular pastime for industry analyst and research firms in every sector, and the market for language services and technology is no different. How did we fare with our predictions for 2011? Marketers of everyday products feature built-in language support. Based on our research on global product localization, we predicted that

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Google Announces Paid Version of Translate API
When Google deprecated its Translate API at the end of May 2011, we wrote that "we suspect Google's plan for the next few months is to quietly wind down the free service while the company puts the finishing touches on its Translate API 2.0, the new no-longer-free sequel." Yesterday, Google announced the availability of Translate API v2, the paid

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Online Marketplace Set to Debut for Language Services
Way back at the dawn of eCommerce, several industries launched electronic marketplaces for their buyers and sellers. These auction-based business-to-business (B2B) platforms from the late 1990s brought together the buyers and sellers of products such as metal or industrial components. The marketplace operators gathered product and inventory information

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What Suppliers Think about Requests for Price Concessions
On October 29, Lionbridge VP Didier Helin sent a mass-mailing to the company’s many contractors, freelancer and other language service providers. Citing continuing economic woes, the letter “required” the contractors to give the company a 5% discount through the end of 2010. Not surprisingly, this letter lit up the tweetosphere

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Buyers Join Forces to Tackle the Translation Quality Measurement Conundrum
We've written extensively about translation quality from the buyer's perspective, arguing that companies purchasing translation services should assume a more proactive role in defining their requirements, developing their own metrics, and communicating with suppliers about how they intend to evaluate their performance. Last Friday, we convened approximately

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Lionbridge Translation Workspace Aims to Disrupt Industry
This week, Lionbridge announced the upcoming release of Translation Workspace, the long-promised production management system that it says will be available early in 2010. The company will offer its software as a service (SaaS) product to freelancers, translation agencies, and enterprises -- although it's aiming its initial marketing effort squarely

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LSPs Must Adapt and Adopt, or Be Assimilated
The 10th annual conference of the American Translators Association Translation Company Division (ATA-TCD) was held this past weekend in Quebec City, Canada. At first glance, the titles of the presentations seemed to cover familiar topics, but in the actual discussions, both the speakers and participants evoked a sense of urgency and a need for "something

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Freelance Translators Clash with LinkedIn over Crowdsourced Translation
This week, LinkedIn sent a survey to language professionals to capture their feedback on potential participation in what Common Sense Advisory calls "CT3" -- community, crowdsourced, and collaborative translation. What was the reaction among freelancers to LinkedIn's call for volunteers? Outrage, mixed with ample confusion. Professional translators

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SDL Clarifies Trados Licensing Policy
In our just-released report on how freelancers work and their attitudes toward computer-aided translation tools, we received a lot of feedback about how "this CAT software works" or "that one doesn't." One of the complaints was about licensing terms and conditions. The new version of Trados, released last week as SDL Trados Studio 2009, added a new

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