The translation industry can’t stay still for long, constantly needing to adapt to evolving trends. Due to the range of clients a language supplier works with, it’s not only the trends within our own industry, but also the trends affecting our clients’ industry that we need to stay ahead of.
Thankfully, trends rarely catch us by surprise and we have been working towards 2020’s biggest trends for a number of years already. In this article, we are looking at seven key trends for the translation industry in 2020 – all of which we have a proven history of delivering.
What are the trends for the translation industry in 2020?
Unsurprisingly, many of the key trends for 2020 are technology-driven, as is the case for most industries in the digital age. As we hinted at in the intro, technology is more of an evolution than a revolution and this means we have been able to implement these technologies over the years and refine our own systems to deliver the best results.
These technologies are now at a point where they are ready to make a real impact in 2020, but we have already got years of experience in developing and refining them.
- Artificial intelligence (AI): AI isn’t going to take over in 2020 (if ever), but it is now smart enough for translators to use in a variety of situations for faster results.
- MTPE (machine translation & post-editing): Where language companies/linguists use machine translation for rapid first-drafts and then conduct the editing stage to achieve perfect translation – this also happens to be an ideal application of AI translation.
- Automated translation: With technologies like machine translation and translation memory automating repetitive tasks, translators can focus on the tasks that maximise quality.
- Tech-driven consistency: With translation being so open to interpretation, technology is helping translators remain consistent, which is crucial for large projects with multiple linguists and long-term projects where team members may change.
- Content strategy localisation: Instead of simply translating individual pieces of content, brands in 2020 need to localise their entire content strategy to ensure the needs of each audience are being addressed.
- Emerging industries: Global emerging industries like cryptocurrency, green energy and artificial intelligence create more demand for translation services, making the best companies more in-demand than ever.
- The B-word: Sadly, there is no getting away from it. Brexit will result in regulatory and trade changes that affect international businesses around the world and a huge pile of legal documentation that needs translating.
So those are the trends that will matter most in the translation industry in 2020, but what do they mean for the businesses we work with?
Tech-driven translation is the only way forward
While technology trends are driving innovation in the translation industry, they come at a time where demand is only increasing. For one thing, companies like ourselves work with a growing list of clients every year as the demand for translation (and other language services) continues to increase. Without the latest technology, increasing these workloads simply would not be possible.
We are approaching a point where the demand for translation is larger than the supply of quality translators and the only way to close this gap is with technology.
It is not a case of replacing human translators with machines (the technology simply isn’t there yet), but giving translators the tools they need to maximise efficiency. For example, AI translation isn’t great in terms of accuracy or dealing with complex language, but it can handle basic sentences and simple documents with a certain amount of accuracy.
Even if AI only translates 20% of a document with enough accuracy to work with, that is 20% human translators can simply quality-check and approve. This percentage is gradually increasing every year, especially when it is combined with other tools (not only translation tools, either) and automation is the key technology that allows us to deliver 100% quality in shorter time-frames.
This allows us to take on more clients without compromising on quality and it also drives down turnaround times and costs for our existing clients. Which is precisely why the trends we have looked at in this article are so important for 2020 and beyond.