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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

CSA predictions for 2011

Interesting predictions from Global Watchtower: Predictions for 2011: Increased Visibility for Language Services (Global Watchtower is the blog of Common Sense Advisory).

Most localization industry predictions have not had a good record of success. For instance, throughout the 2000’s predictions of CMS and TM systems somehow turning the industry into a mature corporate-dominated arena were a bit far fetched at the time, and have subsequently not come true. (This was expected by many savvy agencies who work at the coal face of the industry :) ).

While it is true that "workflow systems" are still a vision presented as a marketing ploy to corporate clients, the reality is that the back end of the localization industry largely remains a commodity driven cottage industry preformed at home by the cheapest resources available.

Still, the phenomenon of machine translation—and in particular the involvement of Google into the equation (the only player with scale enough to make a dent in this process)—is changing the possibilities in the industry as well as how work is done.

CNS is picking up on this and several other issues, such as:

Instead of just squeezing suppliers for better pricing, they’ll start to look at the big picture, turning to more sophisticated solutions, such as automation and process optimization to address the need to offer multilingual content and services without breaking the bank.

With some top vendors pressing receptionists into project manager duties, the top down push for lowering costs and raising margins must indeed be severe. The conflicting desire for ever higher quality at the same time is what is pushing the move to computerized systems for automating the process and giving higher ups in the organization the illusion they have control of the process.

The one concept missing here is the fact that so many major localization vendors have gone through big external infusions of cash and near brushes with death (and this was even before the economic downturn of the last few years) that shaving sourcing costs continues to be a mania and a necessity.

Another trend:

Internal localization and translation departments will question whether they should go the route of outsourcing wholeheartedly, and whether a large internal staff is truly critical for efficiency in managing their language activities. Smelling the opportunity, savvy LSPs will work with their customers to develop more consultative arrangements, enabling them to offload more work.

This is particularly interesting to us at Admerix as this is at the core of what we are set up to do—provide industry veteran project management that is affordable. We allow major LSPs in expensive locations to offshore their production to an affordable location while maintaining industry expertise. This thinking runs counter to what most companies are trying to do—cut project management expertise and somehow make up for it with expensive online process-management systems.