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Friday, October 21, 2016

Localization Trends That Never Arrived: Translation is no longer a commodity

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: Translation is no longer a commodity

This is the idea that translation will drift away from the “per word” model and be seen more as a service that requires skilled project managers and other technicians to deliver. This idea has mainly been promoted by salesmen and the owners of small MLVs who saw themselves being compared to emerging Chinese and Indian vendors offering cut rates on per word pricing.

Of course, the opposite has happened. Translation is more commoditized than ever with an attempt to eliminate translators entirely in favor of systems that auto-translate. While such “solutions” are far from mature and probably will never fully replace the nuanced work of human translators, it cannot be denied that the per-word rate continues to dominate with prices at or below what they were a decade ago.

NEXT: Trends that never arrived: An industry leader (a “Microsoft of translation”) will emerge with several companies growing by buying up mid-sized players