The global language service market reached $62.6 billion in 2021 with a CAGR of 7.5% forecast between 2022-2027. Despite uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and mounting global economic issues, the language service industry continues to stay strong, demonstrating resilient growth metrics.
In fact, demand for language services including translation and localisation has only increased during the difficulties of recent years. As a result, language service providers are gearing up to play an even bigger role this year – and this article discusses some key trends that will drive the language industry in 2023.
Translating multimedia content strategies
Content marketing has been the core business strategy for companies and brands around the world for many years now. However, as the web continues to incorporate a richer variety of media types and technologies, companies must also produce a wider range of content types for different platforms. Allowing them to capture their audiences at every step of their journey, no matter where they are.
For this reason, companies today need a complete multimedia localisation content strategy in order to cover every key channel, such as: website, social media, search, e-mail, TV, out-of-home, as well as other content formats too. This includes: blog posts, videos, images, data visualisations and podcasts, amongst other types.
Generative AI: pushing boundaries in AI & machine learning
Artificial intelligence plays a large role in the language industry and continues to advance every year. That being said, the translation quality output provided by AI translation tools is progressing at a slow rate.
What is advancing rapidly though is the computing power of machines and algorithms, particularly, how much data they can process at any given time.
The AI buzzword for 2023 will probably be ChatGPT, as its impressive capabilities and technology were featured in plenty of headlines by the end of 2022 (quite literally writing them too). ChatGPT has been around for several years now, but its recent updates and open user access to an enormous pool of data that other platforms do not have access to, or are not able to provide yet, is what have made it gain such high-profile press coverage, putting it firmly in the spotlight.
Essentially, ChatGPT’s machine learning model can generate content on the spot, and all users have to do is put in some prompts in order to further transform the auto-generated text. The hype is very much real, and it is easy to understand why just by looking at its impressive output.
Its algorithm is capable of writing codes and grammatically sound text (quite impressively so!), including SEO-friendly headings and solid meta descriptions. In terms of formulating genuine arguments or injecting a bit of authenticity into the auto-generated text, ChatGPT can struggle a little bit. However, it can still provide an overall good first draft for its users, and for copywriters to use for research, review and to further build upon to ensure the output always has a human take to it.
Output quality aside, we now live in a world where anyone can generate AI content in one language and then translate it into several others with the use of machine translation for example.
Back in 2022, Google insisted that AI-generated content violates its quality guidelines. In contrast, Microsoft has recently decided to embrace the power of generative AI, as it launched a new version of its search engine ‘Bing’, which is powered by an upgraded version of GPT 3.5 – the AI language model that powers ChatGPT. This could well signal a new era in Search, with Google announcing (almost at the same time) its very own experimental conversational AI service called ‘Bard’.
Technology makes translation faster & cheaper
AI and other technologies have plenty to offer language service providers and the industry as a whole. It is not the technology itself that causes problems; it is how people choose to use it that defines the good and bad.
Language professionals use a variety of tools, including AI translation tools, to automate the first stage of translation projects and create drafts. The accuracy and quality of these tools aren’t anywhere high enough to use as a standalone translation solution, but they can help a lot of professionals to complete jobs faster.
Apart from achieving faster turnaround times, this also helps reduce company costs when hiring professional translation services. As AI technology, including language technology, continues to play a larger role in 2023, this speed advantage will also increase.
Translation as a public service
The COVID-19 pandemic also highlighted the importance of translation as a public service. The provision of translation services within the medical field was (and continues to be) vital to the world’s collaborative response in dealing with the pandemic.
Fast and accurate translation was essential for sharing vital information as we learned more about the virus and how to deal with it. As well as when lockdown measures and travel disruptions left thousands of people stranded in foreign countries – many of whom struggled to access local information in their native language.
Although this has been the reality for millions of non-native speakers living in countries for many years, the pandemic highlighted the importance of translating public information, but this has been a long-standing issue in multicultural societies since before the COVID-19 pandemic era.
Whether it is about people travelling in foreign countries or non-native speakers living overseas, translation will always play a paramount role in delivering public information during times of global crises (e.g. disease outbreaks, natural disasters, etc.) and for communicating vital information across the world with key services for healthcare and legal representation.
From translating sustainability reports, DEI content and legal policies to localising multimedia content for different channels and purposes, investing more in language services is always a good idea – and 2023 is the year to do that.
To discuss language services and how we at translate plus have been using AI and machine translation technology to improve project turnaround times, in addition to serving the public sector through our translation services, please get in touch.