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On the Ground at LocWorld: Augmented Translation, AI, Gender, and More
Posted by Arle Lommel on November 8, 2017  in the following blogs: Translation and Localization
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CSA Research predicts the market for language services and technology will hit US$43.08 billion in 2017 and findings show it won’t be slowing down in 2018. This year represents an inflection point in the industry as many new technologies and approaches are starting to come online. Localization World is a tremendous opportunity to connect with professionals from all industry segments and to learn and share in open and frank discussion. CSA Research’s presentations gave LocWorld’s record number of attendees a sneak peek into how their world will change. In four sessions – plus an off-site program hosted by technology developer Lilt – we presented the latest in research on radical changes to the localization technology stack, gender and family issues, and discussions about how language professionals discuss and define their activities. Here is a summary of highlights from on the ground at LocWorld.

CSA Team in Santa Clara

Buyer Colloquium: The New TechStack
In this session for buyers only, Ben Sargent and Arle Lommel discussed changes in the translation technology stack. Our analysts shared the emergence of a new class of translation management system (TMS) called the “Enterprise Content Bus” that will enable language resources and tools to be plugged together in a configurable fashion that adapts to the needs of particular content. This approach stands in contrast to the master workflows found in most current translation management platforms that require content to follow rigid scripts. This forthcoming generation of TMS will enable more rapid and agile production of translated content. We also shared independent findings on the various technology components found in augmented translation workflows and how those relate to the concerns of buyers of translation services. Although enterprises will not usually interact directly with these systems, they will help make multilingual content more useful and relevant – and improve quality – all while decreasing cost and time to market.

LSP Session: The Augmented Translator
For several months, CSA Research has shared – based on comprehensive primary research – how emerging technologies are changing the role of translators. This session focused on how these new types of systems are affecting LSPs and their business models by eliminating overhead and making production more efficient. Discussion with the audience emphasized the need for pricing and production models to change. It addressed the ways in which LSPs will need to prepare for a world in which adaptive neural MT, automatic content enrichment (ACE), updated translation memory and terminology management, and lights-out project management are requirements rather than science fiction. These topics were complementary to the Buyer Symposium and were designed to highlight how they affect LSPs and their buyers in different ways.

Benchmarks in Language Services: Understanding the Role of Gender and Family in the Workplace
Loy Searle (Women in Localization) led a discussion with Fabiano Cid (Ccaps), Anna Schlegel (NetApp), and Arle Lommel (CSA Research) about the recent pro-bono CSA Research report on Gender and Family in the Language Services Industry. The panel covered key findings and discussed ways to improve gender equity, continuing a discussion that the data has sparked in the language industry. The audience was often deeply impassioned and offered suggestions and observations about the issues, but also recognized that the language industry is in many ways much better off than other areas where women face more difficult battles. In the panel, CSA Research also announced that between now and the end of 2017 that it will release a total of 16 data sets of independent, objective, and comprehensive research that show how the survey results vary by geography, employer type, and size of employer. These visualizations will allow visitors to explore the data in greater depth.

The Making of the Book, “The Language of Localization”
CSA Research analysts Don DePalma and Arle Lommel contributed sections to The Language of Localization, a collection of definitions of key terms for the language industry edited by Katherine Brown-Hoekstra. In a panel at the launch of the volume, Arle Lommel joined Brown-Hoekstra, Diana Ballard (STAR), Lydia Clark (Acclaro), Fabiano Cid (Ccaps), and Richard Hamilton (XML Press) to discuss the book’s production and the need for common terms and understanding across the industry. The audience discussion focused on the new trends in localization and ways in which lack of common understanding has held back the industry.

Panel Discussion on Machine Translation
After LocWorld, Arle Lommel moderated a panel discussion on the current state of machine translation at an evening event hosted by Lilt, with about 100 attendees. This panel included: Franz Och, creator of Google Translate; Robert Munro, VP of Machine Learning at Crowdflower; Melvin Johnson, Software Engineer at Google and author of the paper on zero-shot translation; and Katie Botkin, Managing Editor of Multilingual. The participants explored the current hype around neural machine translation and the ways in which adaptive machine translation changes the value of MT. The participants all agreed that humans will continue to play a vital role in language services for the foreseeable future and that the road ahead will involve humans in the loop rather than systems in which a Skynet-type intelligence can understand and translate on its own.

The rapidly shifting world of localization requires constant monitoring. Our comprehensive research into LSPs, linguists, technology vendors, buyers of language services and global consumers connects their concerns and promotes the flow of better-informed decisions and ideas.


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