Over the years there have been many exuberant predictions of change that would fundamentally alter the localization business. However, most of these dreams of the industry have never come to pass.
Trends that never arrived: All translation will be done online, for free
This is Wikipedia-style translation, done “in the cloud” by volunteers—either for free or with micropayments. This is really the holy grail in the industry. It is the dream that translators can be removed from translation process while still charging clients nearly the same rates. This is the driving of profits through increased margins.
Online translation platforms are already boasting huge savings and professional levels of translation work and service by tens of thousands of “linguists.”
This concept suffers from a misunderstanding of the most basic tenants of the art of translation—that not everyone who speaks two languages is naturally a translator. The idea that every person with English as a second language can log on and competently complete translation work (or edit MT) is wishful thinking. Just because a person is reasonably competent in a second language does not mean they have the knowledge, dedication, skill and ear for the language to handle translation.
It is also hard also to understand why proponents of such a system would believe that casual contributors to the process would ever take the work seriously, respect deadlines, or bother to make themselves available to cover the client queries--let alone the inevitable client complaints.
NEXT: Trends that never arrived: All translation will just be editing of machine translation