As enterprise content grows at a monumental rate and more and more businesses expand internationally, how can companies address the need to translate enormous amounts of information? A new report from market research firm Common Sense Advisory, “The Business Case for Machine Translation,” describes the findings from interviews with 31 decision-makers at companies and government organizations on their usage of automated translation technology.
Both global business and immigration mean that that many organizations will face the question of translating huge volumes of their valuable content for speakers of foreign languages at home or abroad. “Interviewees reported that they opt for machine translation in order to cope with the daunting volumes of content they produce,” comments Don DePalma, Common Sense Advisory Chief Research Officer and lead analyst for the study. Speed is also a top consideration. “What we set out to do for this report was determine what and how corporate and government users are actually doing with machine translation – rather than what the MT suppliers would like them to do.”
According to the 37-page report, machine translation is not free, and may cost more than many organizations think. “It takes time and money to configure and properly train a machine translation engine,” adds DePalma. “The overall costs depend on the level of quality needed and the amount of human work – such as post-editing – that is required. However, for the right companies, machine translation can help to cut costs and reach a larger multilingual audience on- and offline.”
The report found that for every one million words of content, fully automated machine translation could cost as much as US$220,000 less than human translation. For a company that needs to translate one million words into five languages, the savings quickly reach one million U.S. dollars. “However, when you add human post-editing to bring quality back up to acceptable levels, the cost savings are reduced significantly,” cautions DePalma. “Fully automated translation is not yet a realistic option for companies with smaller amounts of content or a need for high levels of quality. However, rapid, low-cost automatic translation of some content should be on everyone’s agenda to help them provide more information for customer care and other knowledge-based applications. Increased use, tuning, and user feedback will accelerate overall quality rates and prove its value.”
“The Business Case for Machine Translation” continues Common Sense Advisory’s ongoing research and insight into the areas of automated translation technologies. The report is available to members of Common Sense Advisory’s research.