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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Localization Trends That Never Arrived

Anyone in the industry for a few years will pick up on some of these "coming trends" that never seem to arrive:

* There will be an industry leader (think the Microsoft of translation)

Instead we have companies growing by being bought up and merging (think, "we are all out of ideas of how to add value and gain customers thus we can just buy other company's customers")

* All translation will be done online, for free (Wikipedia style) by the cloud

This is a misunderstanding of the most basic tenants of the art of translation—that not everyone who speaks two languages is instantly a translator.

* All human translation will just be editing of machine translation

Most professional linguists will not work for a cut rate to edit often substandard machine translation—"first we have to spend thousands on translation tools so we can get paid a lower rate for our work. Now MT means an even more fragmented rate."

* Maybe not said, but suspected: Translators will get smart, work directly with end clients and cut out the middleman (after all, programs like Trados include each linguist's email right in the TM)

This thought goes hand in hand with the dream that online systems will eliminate the need for the project manager, the SLV, etc. Linguists cannot work directly with clients because they cannot take the incessant (and sometimes crazy) demands of end clients--as well as the big MLVs and their frazzled intern project managers.

Of course our industry will change and is changing, but it really seems that over the years there has been an exuberance of declaring some new trend will fundamentally alter the business--and then we never see that trend arrive.