Tag: Translation Project Management

Creative Destruction in the Localization Industry

Creative Destruction in the Localization Industry

Excerpts from an article with the same title, written by Ameesh Randeri in Multilingual Magazine.  Ameesh Randeri is part of the localization solutions department at Autodesk and manages the vendor and linguistic quality management functions. He has over 12 years of experience in the localization industry, having worked on both the buyer and seller sides.

Te concept of creative destruction was derived from the works of Karl Marx by economist Joseph Schumpeter. Schumpeter elaborated on the concept in his 1942 book Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy, where he described creative destruction as the “process of industrial mutation that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one.

What began as a concept of economics started being used broadly across the spectrum to describe breakthrough innovation that requires invention and ingenuity — as well as breaking apart or destroying the previous order. To look for examples of creative destruction, just look around you. Artificial intelligence, machine learning and automation are creating massive efficiency gains and productivity increases, but they are also causing millions to lose jobs. Uber and other ride hailing apps worldwide are revolutionizing transport, but many traditional taxi companies are suffering.

Te process of creative destruction and innovation is accelerating over time. To understand this, we can look at the Schumpeterian (Kondratieff) waves of technological innovation. We are currently in the fifth wave of innovation ushered in by digital networks, the software industry and new media.

Te effects of the digital revolution can be felt across the spectrum. Te localization industry is no exception and is undergoing fast-paced digital disruption. There is a confluence of technology in localization tools and processes that are ushering in major changes.

The localization industry: Drawing parallels from the Industrial Revolution

All of us are familiar with the Industrial Revolution. It commenced in the second half of the 18th century and went on until the mid-19th century. As a result of the Industrial Revolution, we witnessed a transition from hand production methods to machine-based methods and factories that facilitated mass production. It ushered in innovation and urbanization. It was creative destruction at its best. Looking back at the Industrial Revolution, we see that there were inflection points, following which there were massive surges and changes in the industry.

Translation has historically been a human and manual task. A translator looks at the source text and translates it while keeping in mind grammar, style, terminology and several other factors. Te translation throughput is limited by a human’s productivity, which severely
limits the volume of translation and time required. In 1764, James Hargreaves invented the spinning jenny, a machine that enabled an individual to produce multiple spools of
threads simultaneously. Inventor Samuel Compton innovated further and came up with the spinning mule, further improving the process. Next was the mechanization of cloth weaving through the power loom, invented by Edmund Cartwright. These innovators and their inventions completely transformed the textile industry.

For the localization industry, a similar innovation is machine translation (MT). Tough research into MT had been going on for many years, it went mainstream post-2005. Rule-based and statistical MT engines were created, which resulted in drastic productivity increases. However, the quality was nowhere near what a human could produce and hence the MT engines became a supplemental technology, aiding humans and helping them increase productivity.

There was a 30%-60% productivity gain based on the language and engine that was used. There was fear that translators’ roles would diminish. But rather than diminish, their role evolved into post-editing.

The real breakthrough came in 2016 when Google and Microsoft went public with their neural machine translation (NMT) engines. Te quality produced by NMT is not yet flawless, but it seems to be very close to human translation. It can also reproduce some of the finer
nuances of writing style and creativity that were lacking in the rule-based and statistical machine translation engines. NMT is a big step forward in reducing the human footprint in the translation process. It is without a doubt an inflection point and while not perfect yet, it
has the same disruptive potential as the spinning jenny and the power loom. Sharp productivity increases, lower prices and since a machine is behind it, the volumes that can be managed are endless. And hence it renews concerns about whether translators will be needed. It is to the translation industry what the spinning jenny was to textiles, where several manual workers were
replaced by machines.

What history teaches us though is that although there is a loss of jobs based on the existing task or technology, there are newer ones created to support the newer task or technology.

In the steel industry, two inventors charted a new course: Abraham Darby, who created a cheaper, easier method to produce cast iron, using a coke-fueled furnace and Henry Bessemer, who invented the Bessemer process, the first inexpensive process for mass-producing steel. The Bessemer process revolutionized steel manufacturing by decreasing its cost, from £40 per long ton to £6–7 per long ton. Besides the
reduction in cost, there were major increases in speed and the need for labor decreased sharply.

The localization industry is seeing the creation of its own Bessemer process, called continuous localization. Simply explained, it is a fully-connected and automated process where the content creators and developers create source material that is passed for translation in continuous, small chunks. The translated content is continually merged back, facilitating continuous deployment and release. It is an extension of the agile approach and it can be demonstrated with the example of mobile applications where latest updates are continually pushed through to our phones in multiple languages. To facilitate continuous localization, vendor platforms or computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools need to be able to connect to client systems or clients need to provide CAT tool-like interfaces for vendors and their resources to use. The process would flow seamlessly from the developer or content creator creating content to the post-editor doing edits to the machine translated content. The Bessemer process in the steel industry paved the way for large-scale continuous and efficient steel production. Similarly, continuous localization has the potential to pave the way for large-scale continuous and efficient localization enabling companies to localize more, into more languages at lower prices.

There were many other disruptive technologies and processes that led to the Industrial Revolution. For the localization industry as well, there are several other tools and process improvements in play.

Audiovisual localization and interpretation: This is a theme that began evolving in recent years. Players like Microsoft-Skype and Google have made improvements in the text-to-speech, speech-to-text arena. The text to speech has become more human-like though it isn’t there yet. Speech-to-text has improved significantly as well, with the output quality going up and errors reducing. Interpretation is the other area where we see automated solutions springing up. Google’s new headphones are one example of automated interpretation solutions.

Automated terminology extraction: This is one that hasn’t garnered as much attention and focus. While there is consensus that terminology is an important aspect of localization quality, it always seems to be relegated to a lower tier from a technological advancement standpoint. There are several interesting commercial as well as open source solutions that have greatly improved terminology extraction and reduced the false positives. This area could potentially be served by artificial intelligence and machine learning solutions in the future.

Automated quality assurance (QA) checks: QA checks can be categorized into two main areas – functional and linguistic. In terms of functional QA, automations have been around for several years and have vastly improved over time. There is already exploration on applying machine learning and artificial intelligence to functional automations to predict bugs, to create scripts that are self-healing and so on. Linguistic QA on the other hand has seen some automation primarily in the areas of spelling and terminology checks. However, the automation is limited in what it can achieve and does not replace the need for human checks or audits. This is an area that could benefit hugely from artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Local language support using chatbots: Chatbots are fast becoming the first level of customer support for most companies. Most chatbots are still in English. However, we are starting to see chatbots in local languages powered by machine translation engines in the background thus enabling local language support for international customers.

Data (big or small): While data is not a tool, technology or process by itself, it is important to call it out. Data is central to a lot of the technologies and processes mentioned above. Without a good corpus, there is no machine translation. For automated terminology extraction and automated QA checks, the challenge is to have a big enough corpus of data making it possible to train the machine. In addition, metadata becomes critical. Today metadata is important to provide translators with additional contextual information, to ensure higher quality output. In future, metadata will provide the same information to machines – to a machine translation system, to an automated QA check and so on. This highlights the importance of data!

The evolution in localization is nothing but the forces of creative destruction. Each new process/technology is destructing an old way of operating and creating a new way forward. It also means that old jobs are being made redundant while new ones are being created.

How far is this future? Well, the entire process is extremely resource and technology intensive. Many companies will require a lot of time to adopt these practices. This provides the perfect opportunity for sellers to spruce up their offering and provide an automated digital localization solution. Companies with access to abundant resources or funding should be able to achieve this sooner. This is also why a pan-industry open source platform may accelerate this transformation.

The Language Industry According to LinkedIn

The Language Industry According to LinkedIn

Professional networking site LinkedIn has continued to grow since it was acquired by Microsoft for a whopping USD 26.2bn in late 2016. The site now has more than 500 million users and reportedly generated USD 1.3bn in revenues in the first quarter of 2018.

While many people continue to see LinkedIn as an online version of their resume, an increasing number of professionals find the site useful for personal branding, sales, business development, and research. Different from other social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn generates much of its revenue not from ad sales but from subscription services for recruiters and business development professionals. Paid subscribers are able to search LinkedIn’s extensive database in much more granular detail, which is useful for targeting potential recruits or prospective clients.

Some premium subscriptions such as Sales Navigator enable searches based on industry categories. One of the 147 such industry categories featured on LinkedIn is Translation and Localization. While not among the top categories – that honor goes to IT and Services(15m profiles), Financial Services (8.5m) and Computer Software (7.6m), the Translation and Localization category still lists an impressive 603,700 professional profiles and 21,400 so called “accounts”, i.e. LinkedIn company pages.

For what it’s worth, we sliced and diced that data and compiled a list of the top 50 countries by professional profiles and top 50 countries by company pages.

LinkedIn: Top 50 Countries in “Translation and Localization” (Personal)

Total number of personal LinkedIn profiles per country as of May 2, 2018 (top 50 countries) under industry category “Translation and Localization”

On a continental scale, Europe takes a clear lead over both North America and Asia. To the 11 translators apparently typing away in Antarctica, we salute you.

Language Industry on LinkedIn by Continent

Company pages and professional profiles in the “Translation & Localization” category by continent

Finally, let’s look at a selection of leading language industry providers and their following on the social network. Just as in real life (i.e. in terms of revenue), Lionbridge and TransPerfect battle it out for number of profiles and followers. Employees at SDL, meanwhile, seem to be more present on LinkedIn in general since, despite the relatively lower number of staff in the real world, SDL beats both TransPerfect and Lionbridge when it comes to LinkedIn profiles.

LinkedIn Presence of Large Language Service Providers

Profiles and Followers of 10 large language service providers

Of course, data from LinkedIn does not present a fully accurate picture of the size and distribution of the language industry in the real world. In Germany, to name just one example, LinkedIn struggles to gain a dominant position, competing with local alternatives such as Xing. Furthermore, translation and localization professionals working internally at large corporations may not choose Translation and Localization as their category but rather their employer’s industry.

That said, crunching LinkedIn’s Translation and Localization numbers is still interesting since it enables you to get a feel for just how big and widely-distributed this industry is.

Reference: https://bit.ly/2JP7iCa

2018 European Language Industry Survey Results

2018 European Language Industry Survey Results

GALA published the 2018 survey results for European Language Industry. In the preamble, it appears to be one of the most successful  surveys from its kind.

With 1285 responses from 55 countries, including many outside Europe, this 2018 edition of the European Language Industry survey is the most successful one since its start in 2013.

This report analyses European trends rather than those in individual countries. Significant differences between countries will be highlighted if the number of answers from those countries is sufficiently high to draw meaningful conclusions.

Objectives of This Survey

The objectives of the survey have not changed compared to previous editions. It was not set up to gather exact quantitative data but to establish the mood of the industry. As such it does not replace other local, regional or global surveys of the language industry but adds the important dimensions of perception and trust which largely determine the actions of industry stakeholders.

The questions concerning the market as well as the open questions regarding trends and concerns are identical to those in the previous editions in order to detect changes in prevailing opinions.

The survey results report covers many aspect in the language industry. We chose the below aspects to highlight on:

Certification Requirements 

Companies report an increase in certification requirements in 2017 and consequently adjust their expectations for 2018 upward. Although most responding companies expect the requirements to stay at the current level, 25% of them expect an increase. Nobody is expecting a decrease.


Security Requirements

According to the respondents, the real increase in security requirements exceeded even the 2017 expectations, which led them to further increase their expectations for 2018.

Operational Practices

Outsourcing remains a popular practice among language service companies, with 40% indicating that they want to increase this practice. Only 2% report a decrease. Even more popular is MT post-editing this year. 37% report an increase and an additional 17% indicate that they are starting this practice.

Crowdsourcing and offshoring, both often debated in language industry forums, remain slow starters. This year 5% of the companies report to start with crowdsourcing and 4% to increase their use of this practice. Offshoring has already a slightly higher penetration and 11% of the
companies report to increase this practice, compared to 5% in 2017. An additional 3% want to start with the practice.

Note: the graph above does not represent actual usage of the practices, but the level of their expected development, determined as follows: [start * 2] + [increase] – [stop * 2] – [decrease].

Technology

Machine Translation

We will remember 2018 as the year in which more than 50% of both the companies and the individual language professionals reported that they are using MT in one form or another.

The technology cannot yet be considered mainstream, because only 22% of the LSC’s and 19% of the individuals state that they are using it daily, but the number of companies and individuals that are not using it at all has dropped to respectively 31% and 38%.

This does not mean that MT users are enthusiastically embracing the technology, as the answers in the section about negative trends testify, but it is a strong indication that the market has accepted that machine translation is here to stay.

The survey results also show that using MT does not necessarily mean investing in MT. The most popular engine is still the free Google Translate. 52% of all respondents report that they are using the site, but we see a clear difference between the various categories of respondents. While more than 70% of the respondents in training institutes report that they are using the site, only 49% of the translation companies and 52% of the individual translators state the same.

CAT and Terminology Tools

This year’s results confirm the 2017 statement that the use of CAT tools is clearly more widespread in language service companies than in the individual professionals’ community. Less than 1% of the companies report that they are not using CAT tools, compared to 13% of the
individual language professionals.

This year the survey tried to ascertain the level of competition on the CAT market. The survey results indicate that this CAT landscape is becoming more complex, but they also show that the SDL/TRADOS product suite still has a leading position in terms of installed base,
with 67% of the respondents using one or more versions of the product (ranging from 56% of the training institutes to 79% of the translation companies).

MemoQ can currently be considered as the most serious contender, with approx. 40% penetration. The top 5 is completed with Memsource, Wordfast and Across, which all remain below the 30% installed base mark.

Not surprisingly, Multiterm (the terminology tool linked with the SDL/Trados suite) is the most popular terminology tool around – except for the basic Office-type tools that are used 50% more often than Multiterm, which itself is used 6 times more often than the next in line.

Translation Management Systems

The level of penetration of translation management systems in language service companies has not significantly changed compared to 2017, with 76% of the responding companies using some type of management system.

The most popular 3rd party system in this category is Plunet, followed by XTRF. SDLTMS on the other hand seems to be more often selected by training institutes and translation departments.

Recruitment and Training

Skill Level of  New-Master Level Graduates

The results below refer to training institutes, translation companies and translation departments (359 respondents).

A majority of these respondents rate all skills of new graduates as either sufficiently developed or very well developed. Translation tool skills score lowest, despite the stronger cooperation between universities and translation professionals, and the efforts made by translation tool
providers.

10 to 15% used the “not applicable” answer, which indicates that the person who completed the survey is not involved in recruitment and therefore was not comfortable giving an opinion.

Investment in Training or Professional Development

Which Type of Training Have You Organized or Attended in 2017?

The following chart presents the popularity of the various types of training across all respondent types.

Not surprisingly, the respondents representing training institutes, translation companies and translation departments report a higher than average number of trainings organised or followed. Given the importance of lifelong learning, the 15% respondents that did not organise or follow any training in 2017 can – and should – be considered as a wakeup call for the industry at large.

Return on Investment

Training institutions, translation companies and translation departments report a considerably higher impact of training on their performance than the individual professionals, which make up most of the respondents.

Trends for The Industry 

In this edition of the survey, the open question about trends that will dominate the industry has been split to allow the respondents to distinguish between positive and negative trends.

The fact that both language service companies and individual professionals see price pressure as a prevailing negative trend but at the same time expect a status quo on pricing indicates that they are fairly confident that they will be able to withstand the pressure.

Across the board, the increase of translation demand is the most often cited positive trend for 2018, with 16% of the respondents. Advances in technology in general (including CAT), machine translation, increased professionalism and a higher awareness by the market of the importance of language services complete the top 5. Interesting to note is that quite a few respondents, in particular individual professionals, expect that the lack of quality of machine translation can lead to an increased appreciation for the quality of human translation.

That same machine translation clearly remains the number 2 among the negative trends, almost always correlated with the factor price pressure. The traditional fear that machine translation opens the door to lower quality and more competition by lower qualified translators and translation companies remains strong.

The report also includes some insights. We chose the below insights to highlight on:

1-  Most European language service companies (LSCs) can be considered to be small.
2-  The number of individual language professionals that work exclusively as subcontractors decreases with growing revenue.

3-  Legal services remain undisputedly the most widely served type of customer for both respondent types; companies and individuals. 

4-  Machine Translation engines that require financial or time investment have difficulty to attract more than minority interest.

5-  Except for “client terms and conditions” and “insufficient demand”, language service companies score all challenges higher than individual professionals.

Conclusion

This 2018 edition of the European Language Industry survey reinforces the positive image that could already be seen in the 2017 results. Virtually all parameters point to higher confidence in the market, from expected sales levels, recruitment plans and investment intentions to the expectation that 2018 prices will be stable.

2018 is clearly the year of machine translation. This is the first year that more than half of the respondents declare that they are using the technology in one way or another. On the other hand, it is too soon to conclude that MT is now part of the translation reality, with only some
20% of the language service companies and independent language professionals reporting daily usage. Neural MT has clearly not yet brought the big change that the market is expecting.

Changes to the technology questions are giving us a better view of the actual use of CAT, MT and other technologies by the various categories of respondents. New questions about internships have brought us additional insights in the way that the market is looking upon this
important tool to bridge the gap between the universities and the professional world.

Reference: http://bit.ly/2HOJEpx

How to become a localization project manager

How to become a localization project manager

Excerpts from an article with the same title, written by Olga Melnikova in Multilingual Magazine.  Olga Melnikova is a project manager at Moravia and an adjunct professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. She has ten years of experience in the language industry. She holds an MA in translation and localization management and two degrees in language studies.

I decided to talk to people who have been in the industry for a while, who have seen it evolve and know where it’s going. My main question was: what should a person do to start a localization project manager career? I interviewed several experts who shared their vision and perspectives — academics, industry professionals and recruiters. I spoke with Mimi Moore, account manager at Anzu Global, a recruiting company for the localization industry; Tucker Johnson, managing director of Nimdzi Insights; Max Troyer, translation and localization management program coordinator at MIIS, and Jon Ritzdorf, senior solution architect at Moravia and an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland and at MIIS. All of them are industry veterans and have extensive knowledge and understanding of its processes.

Why localization project management?

The first question is: Why localization project management? Why is this considered a move upwards compared to the work of linguists who are the industry lifeblood? According to Renato Beninatto and Tucker Johnson’s The General Theory of the Translation Company, “project
management is the most crucial function of the LSP. Project management has the potential to most powerfully impact an LSP’s ability to add value to the language services value chain.” “Project managers are absolutely the core function in a localization company,” said Johnson. “It is important to keep in mind that language services providers do not sell translation, they sell services. Project managers are responsible for coordinating and managing all of the resources that need to be coordinated in order to deliver to the client: they are managing time, money, people and technology.


Nine times out of ten, Johnson added, the project manager is the face of the company to the client. “Face-to-face contact and building the relationship are extremely important.” This is why The General Theory of the Translation Company regards project management to be one of the core functions of any language service provider (LSP). This in no way undermines the value of all the other industry players, especially
linguists who do the actual translation work. However, the industry cannot do without PMs because “total value is much higher than the original translations. This added value is at the heart of the language services industry.” This is why clients are happy to pay higher prices to work with massive multiple services providers instead of working directly with translators.

Who are they?

The next question is, how have current project managers become project managers? “From the beginning, when the industry started 20 years
ago, there were no specialized training programs for project managers,” Troyer recounted. “So there were two ways. One is you were a translator, but wanted to do something else — become an editor, for example, or start to manage translators. The other route was people working in a business that goes global. So there were two types of people who would become project managers — former translators or people who were assigned localization as a job task.”

According to Ritzdorf, this is still the case in many companies. “I am working with project managers from three prospective clients right now, all of whom do not have a localization degree and are all in localization positions. Did they end up there because they wanted to? Maybe not. They did not end up there because they said ‘Wow, I really want to become a head of localization.’ They just ended up there by accident, like a lot of people do.”

“There are a lot of people who work in a company and who have never heard of localization, but guess what? It is their job now to do localization, and they have to figure it out all by themselves,” Moore confirmed. “When the company decides to go international, they have to find somebody to manage that,” said Ritzdorf.

Regionalization


The first to mention regionalization was Ritzdorf, and then other interviewees confrmed it exists. Ritzdorf lives on the East Coast of the
United States, but comes to the West Coast to teach at MIIS, so he sees the differences. “There are areas where localization is a thing, which means when you walk into a company, they actually know about localization. Since there are enough people who understand what localization is, they want someone with a background in it.” Silicon Valley is a great example, said Ritzdorf. MIIS is close; there is a

localization community that includes organizations like Women in Localization; and there are networking events like IMUG. “People live and
breathe localization. However, there is a totally different culture in other regions, which is very fragmented. There are tons of little companies in other parts of the US, and the situation there is different. If I am a small LSP owner in Wisconsin or Ohio, what are my chances of finding someone with a degree or experience to fill a localization position for a project manager? Extremely low. This is why I may hire a candidate who has an undergraduate degree in French literature, for example. Or in linguistics, languages — at least something.”

The recruiters’ perspective


Nimdzi Insights conducted an interesting study about hiring criteria for localization project manager positions (Figure 1). Some 75 respondents (both LSPs and clients) were asked how important on a scale of 1 to 5 a variety of qualifications are for project management positions. Te responses show a few trends. Top priorities for clients are previous localization experience and a college degree, followed by years of experience and proficiency in more than one language. Top criteria for LSPs are reputation and a college degree, also followed
by experience and proficiency in more than one language.

Moore said that when clients want to hire a localization project manager, the skills they are looking for are familiarity with computer assisted translation (CAT) tools “and an understanding of issues that can arise during localization — like quality issues, for example. Compared to
previous years, more technical skills are required by both clients and vendors: CAT tools, WorldServer, machine translation knowledge, sometimes WordPress or basic engineering. When I started, they were nice-to-haves, but certainly not mandatory.”

Technical skill is not enough, however. “Both hard and soft skills are important. You need hard skills because the industry has become a lot more technical as far as software, tools and automation are concerned. You need soft skills to deal with external and internal stakeholders, and one of the main things is working under pressure because you are juggling so many things.

Moore also mentioned some red flags that would cause Anzu not to hire a candidate. “Sometimes an applicant does not demonstrate good English skills in phone interviews. Having good communication skills is important for a client-facing position. Also, people sometimes exaggerate their skills or experience. Another red flag is if the person has a bad track record (if they change jobs every nine months, for example).” ‘

Anzu often hires for project management contract positions in large companies. “Clients usually come to us when they need a steady stream of contractors (three or six months), then in three or six months there will be other contractors. Te positions are usually project managers or testers. If you already work fulltime, a contract position may not be that attractive. However, if you are a newcomer or have just graduated, and you want to get some experience, then it is a great opportunity. You would spend three, six or 12 months at a company, and it is a very good line on the résumé.”

Do you need a localization degree? 

There is no firm answer to the question of whether or not you need a degree. If you don’t know what you should do, it can certainly help. Troyer discussed how the localization program at MIIS has evolved to ft current real-world pressures. “The program was first started in 2004, and it started small. We were first giving CAT tools, localization project management and software localization courses. This is
the core you need to become a project manager. Ten the program evolved and we introduced the introduction and then advanced levels to many courses. There are currently four or five courses focusing on translation
technology.” Recent additions to the curriculum include advanced JavaScript classes, advanced project management and program management. Natural language processing and computational linguistics will be added down the road. “The industry is driving this move because students will need skills to go in and localize Siri into many languages,” said Troyer.

The program at MIIS is a two-year master’s. It can be reduced to one year for those who already have experience. There are other degrees
available, as well as certification programs offered by institutions such as the University of Washington and The Localization Institute.

Moore said that though a localization degree is not a must, it has a distinct advantage. A lot of students have internships that give them experience. They also know tools, which makes their résumés better fit clients’ job descriptions.

However, both Troyer and Ritzdorf said you don’t necessarily need a degree. “If you have passion for languages and technology, you can get the training on your own,” said Troyer. “Just teach yourself these skills, network on your own and try to break into the industry.”

The future of localization project management

Automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning are affecting all industries, and localization is not an exception. However, all the interviewees forecast that there will be more localization jobs in the future.

According to Johnson, there is high project management turnover on the vendor side because if a person is a good manager, they never stay in this position for more than five years. “After that, they either get a job on the client’s side to make twice as much money and have a much easier job, or their LSP has to promote them to senior positions such as group manager or program director.”

“There is a huge opportunity to stop doing things that are annoying,” said Troyer. “Automation will let professionals work on the human side
of things and let the machines run 
day-to-day tasks. Letting the machine send files back and forth will allow humans to spend more time looking at texts and thinking about what questions a translator can ask. This will give them more time for building a personal relationship with the client. We are taking these innovations into consideration for the curriculum, and I often spend time during classes asking, ‘How can you automate this?’”

Moore stated that “we have seen automation change workflows over the last ten years and reduce the project manager’s workload, with files being automatically moved through each step in the localization process. Also, automation and machine translation go hand-in-hand to make the process faster, more efficient and cost-effective.”

GDPR. Understanding the Translation Journey

GDPR. Understanding the Translation Journey

“We only translate content into the languages of the EU, so we are covered with regards GDPR clauses relating to international transfers.”

Right? Wrong.

The GDPR imposes restrictions on the transfer of personal data outside the European Union (EU), to third-party countries or international organizations. While there are provisions that refer to your ability to do this with the appropriate safeguards in place, how confident are you that you’re not jeopardising GDPR-compliance with outdated translation processes?

Let’s consider the following:

  1. 85% of companies cannot identify whether they send personal information externally as part of their translation process.
  2. The translation process is complex – it isn’t a simple case of sending content from you to your translator. Translating one document alone into 10 languages involves 150 data exchanges (or ‘file handoffs’). Multiply this by dozens of documents and you have a complex task of co-ordinating thousands of highly-sensitive documents – some which may contain personal data.

With different file versions, translators, editors, complex graphics, subject matter experts and in country reviewers the truth is that content is flying back and forth around the world faster than we can imagine. Designed with speed of delivery and time to market in mind these workflows overlook the fact that partners might not share the same compliance credentials.

Where exactly is my data?

Given that we know email is not secure – let us think about what happens when you use a translation portal or an enterprise translation management system.

Once you’ve transferred the content for translation, the translation agency or provider downloads and processes that data on its premises before allocating the work to linguists and other teams (let’s hope these are in the EU and they are GDPR compliant).

Alternatively, the software you have used to share your content may process the data to come up with your Translation Memory leverage and spend – in which case better check your End User Licence Agreement to ensure you know where that processing (and backup) takes place.

After that has happened the content is distributed to the translators to work on. Even if all the languages you translate into are in the EU – are you SURE that your translators are physically located there too?

And what about your translation agency’s project management team? How exactly do they handle files that require Desktop Publishing or file engineering? Are these teams located onshore in the EU or offshore to control costs? If the latter what systems are they using, and how can you ensure no copies of your files are sitting in servers outside of your control?

These are just some of the questions you should be asking now to fully understand where your translation data is located.

What can I do?

If you haven’t already – now is the time to open a conversation with your partner about your data protection needs and what they are doing as a business to ensure compliance. They should be able to tell you exactly which borders your data crosses during the translation process, where it’s stored and what they’re doing to help with Translation Memory management. They should also provide you with a controlled environment that you can use across the entire translation supply chain, so that no data ever leaves the system.

Of course, there are many considerations to take into account when it comes to GDPR. But looking at the complexity of translating large volumes of content – are you still confident that your translation processes are secure?

Reference: https://bit.ly/2vmKKX5

Europe’s New Privacy Regulation GDPR Is Changing How LSPs Handle Content

Europe’s New Privacy Regulation GDPR Is Changing How LSPs Handle Content

GDPR, the General Data Protection Regulation, is soon to be introduced across Europe, and is prompting language service providers (LSPs) to update policies and practices relating to their handling of all types of personal data.

The GDPR comes into effect on 25 May 2018 and supersedes the existing Data Protection Directive of 1995. It introduces some more stringent requirements on how the personal data of EU citizens are treated.

Specifically, LSPs must demonstrate that they are compliant in the way that they handle any type of personal data that at some point flows through their business. Personal data means any information by which a person can be identified, such as a name, location, photo, email address, bank details…the list goes on.

Therefore, LSPs need to ensure that all data, from employee records and supplier agreements to client contact information and content for translation, are handled appropriately.

What personal data do LSPs handle?

Aside from the actual content for translation, an LSP is likely to possess a vast array of personal data including Sales and Marketing data (prospective client details, mailing lists, etc.), existing client data (customer names, emails, POs, etc.), HR and Recruitment data (candidate and employee data including CVs, appraisals, addresses, etc.) and Supplier (freelance) data (bank details, contact details, performance data, CVs, etc.).

In this respect, the challenges that LSPs will face are not significantly different from most other service businesses, and there are lots of resources that outline the requirements and responsibilities for complying with GDPR. For example, the Europa website details some key points, and ICO (for the UK) has a self-assessment readiness toolkit for businesses.

What about content for translation?

Content that a client sends you for translation also may contain personal information. Some of these documents are easy enough to identify by their nature (such as birth, death, marriage certificates, HR records, and medical records), but personal data might be also considered to extend to the case where you receive an internal communication from a customer that includes a quote from the company CEO, for example.

Short-term challenges

It is important to be able to interpret what the GDPR means for LSPs generally, and for your business specifically. The impact of the regulation will become clearer over time, but it throws up some potentially crucial questions in the immediate, such as:

  • What the risks are for LSPs who continue to store personal data within translation memories and machine translation engines;
  • What the implications are for sharing personal data with suppliers outside of the EU / EEA, and specifically in countries deemed to be inadequate with respect to GDPR obligations (even a mid-sized LSP would work with hundreds of freelancers outside the EU);
  • How binding corporate rules can be applied to LSPs with a global presence;
  • Whether obliging suppliers to work in an online environment could help LSPs to comply with certain GDPR obligations

Longer-term considerations

While the GDPR presents a challenge to LSPs in the short-term, it may also impact on the longer-term purchasing habits within the industry.

For example, if LSPs are penalized for sharing personal data with freelancers located within inadequate countries (of which there is a long list), LSPs could be forced to outsource translation work within the EU / EEA / adequate countries only or even insource certain language combinations entirely, potentially driving up the cost of translation spend for some languages.

Or, if a client company is penalized for sharing personal data with a subcontractor (i.e. an LSP or freelancer) without the full knowledge and consent of the person the information relates to (known as the data subject), will they be more inclined to employ alternative buying models for their language needs: e.g. to source freelancers directly or via digital marketplaces, or implement in-house translation models of their own?

Get informed

Although most LSPs are well-acquainted with data privacy, there are a lot of unknowns around the impact of GDPR, and LSPs would be wise to tread especially carefully when it comes to handling personal data, in particular post-25 May.

Perhaps the noise around GDPR turns out to be hot air, but with companies in breach of the regulation facing possible penalties that the GDPR recommends should be “effective, proportionate and dissuasive”, it is essential to get informed, and quickly.

Reference: https://bit.ly/2Jwh9g6

How Lingotek Uses AI to Optimize Vendor Management

How Lingotek Uses AI to Optimize Vendor Management

Language Services Vendor Management is a complex management task. It requires vetting multiple language services providers (LSPs), requesting multiple bids and comparing different rate structures. It can include literally hundreds of projects to monitor and manage to ensure on-time delivery. Adding to the complexity, LSPs typically use  several different computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools and maintain multiple linguistic assets in various offline locations. How well translation is managed has a direct effect on the company’s globalization goals and its ability to execute an agile go-to-market strategy.

No one makes vendor management easier than Lingotek. Our groundbreaking artificial intelligence (AI)-driven app inside our industry-leading translation management system (TMS) is a cost-efficient localization platform that simplifies vendor management, enhances efficiency, accelerates delivery, and optimizes budgets and costs to reduce your translation spend.

What is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is simply technology that learns. AI uses data and experience to perform tasks that would otherwise require human intelligence and effort. When applied to Vendor Management, it creates a foundation for trigger-based automation, rule-driven systems, and data collection.

How does Lingotek use AI to optimize vendor management?

Lingotek continues to spearhead innovation in the translation industry with a Vendor Management app that brings AI-driven automation and multilingual business intelligence to translation management. The entire process for managing vendors: vendor selection, tracking costs and spending, vendor performance is now easier and more automated. With this data, organizations can easily and repeatedly select vendors who provide the highest translation quality and who consistently deliver jobs on time.

Integrated & automated vendor selection

The Vendor Management app simplifies and consolidates the process for requesting quotes, setting rates and pricing, choosing vendors, managing deadlines, tracking spending, and measuring translator quality and performance. The dashboard displays all of the information needed for tracking and evaluating which vendors are providing the highest quality translation and meeting deadlines. This gives project managers insights to better manage workloads and resources for maximum throughput.

  • Automatic vendor assignment based on language, industry, timeline, and more.
  • Automated bid requests, rate charts & invoicing.
  • Monitor costs and billing information within the TMS.

Centralized tracking of rates, costs & spending

The Vendor Management app automates many of the steps required for creating a language services purchase order and to closely track translation spending. The app also tracks the leveraging of translation memories (TM) to gauge the efficient reuse of linguistic assets across the enterprise. At-a-glance rate charts for quick reference of:

  • Integrated cost reporting inside the TMS.
  • Total translation expenses by date, job, or vendor.
  • Aggregation of data to simplify invoice creation.

Automatic cost calculation

Lingotek’s vendor management includes auto-calculation of costs, even when specific jobs have been skipped or cancelled. A project manager can manually skip or cancel a phase, target, or entire document.

With the active monitoring offered by our Intelligent Workflows, jobs can also be auto-skipped or auto-cancelled in order to ensure on-time delivery. When this happens, our AI-driven Vendor Management system is able to proactively alert vendors of the skipped and/or cancelled job, ensure that additional work cannot be performed on those skipped and/or cancelled jobs, and then automatically calculate the the costs for the work that was completed before the job was cancelled.

This makes invoicing a breeze, as project managers and vendor managers no longer have to worry about notifying vendors of changes made to the project mid-stream, or figure out how much work was done after the fact in order to manually calculate their costs.

Intelligence & insight to optimize your supply chain

Get more data-driven insight and control over your localization supply chain. The dashboard displays tracking and evaluating information on vendors, so you can easily select vendors who provide the highest translation quality and consistently deliver jobs on time. This gives you much-needed insight to better manage workloads and resources for maximum throughput.

  • Vendor-specific intelligence.
  • Evaluate vendor performance & quality through SLA compliance metrics.
  • Monitor project delivery & efficiency by vendor.
  • Get key metrics on costs, turnaround time, word counts, missed deadlines.

As the technology improves, we recommend that all providers review their operations to learn where they could take best advantage of AI.

–Common Sense Advisory, “The Journey to Project Management Automation”

Discover the Benefits of Lingotek’s AI-Driven Vendor Management

The new Vendor Management app gives enterprise localization managers, vendor managers, and project managers revolutionary new tools for managing multiple language services providers (LSPs) and projects. Automating vendor management provides critical operational efficiency to enable more scalable globalization strategies and to optimize your localization supply chain to create a more cost-efficient localization network.

Lingotek’s AI-driven Vendor Management can reduce the need for project managers to perform routine, automated tasks. Instead, they can use that time for solving problems that AI can’t solve. When you implement better process automation, that leaves time for project managers to perform tasks that are more valuable to the organization. They can focus their time on exception management–problem solving and responding to urgent issues.

Reference: https://bit.ly/2wONm0C

XTM International Announces XTM Cloud v11.1

XTM International Announces XTM Cloud v11.1

London, April 16, 2018 — XTM International has released a new version of XTM Cloud. Building on the success of XTM v11, the new version adds many new features requested by users.

The integration with Google Sheets is a breakthrough achievement. XTM Connect for Google Sheets is intuitive and collaborative. Localization managers can push content for translation directly from the chosen columns or entire sheets. Completed translations are delivered into specified cells, and can be instantly shared with the rest of the teams. The process is fully automated and does not involve copy/pasting nor file exports. Translation takes less time as an outcome, and there are no version conflicts between the localized documents and their newer versions updated by copy writers.

Projects in XTM can now be assigned to language leads or in-house translators. The new user role has the rights to view and manage projects for their specified target languages. By doing so, in-house translators can translate texts in person or outsource them depending on the needs and the workload. In effect, they can reduce the turnaround time and gain extra flexibility to manage source text overflow.

“Our development strategy is focused on enhancing XTM with features that provide maximum value to our Enterprise and LSP users. We are delighted to release XTM Cloud v11.1, as it delivers a very useful set of enhancements to our growing customer base.” – said Bob Willans, CEO of XTM International.

Other main features include a new connector for Kentico, support for markdown (.md) source files, options to color or penalize language variant matches, and new REST and SOAP API methods.

For additional information about XTM and its new features, please visit https://xtm.cloud/release-notes/11.1/.

Reference: https://bit.ly/2HvnQS7

BOUTIQUE TRANSLATION AGENCIES: THE NEW GENERATION

BOUTIQUE TRANSLATION AGENCIES: THE NEW GENERATION

There was a time when dinosaurs dominated the world of translation: huge great lumbering beasts of companies with offices in every major world city and thousands of contractors at their fingertips. They offered every language pair, every specialism and every service under the sun, all overseen by huge teams of project managers in vast offices filled with piles of paperwork. But things don’t stay the same forever, and with the rise of the internet and a new focus on niche services a very different kind of professional translation service is on the rise: the boutique translation agency.

They may be small, but don’t underestimate their appeal to translators and clients alike.

What are boutique translation agencies?

LIGHT ON THEIR FEET

Boutique translation agencies take their cue from boutique advertising companies, the new form of PR that aimed to offer something different to the behemoths of the ad world. Just like their marketing forerunners, boutique translation agencies are small, nimble and fast-paced. Unlike the larger firms that worry so much about economies of scale, boutique agencies offer specialised services with a high degree of personalisation and flexibility.

Boutique firms have staff that can react quickly and flexibly to any new challenge, because they aren’t spending their time churning out huge amounts of repetitive work. They’re free to follow opportunities, evolve and change rapidly through time, leaving big global corporations in their dust. They don’t have a vast translation team of unknown and untested contractors, but rather they work with a small and trusted group of contacts, so the relationships within the agency tend to be closer. This means that quality control is not a matter of ticking boxes as it is with larger companies, but rather comes down to close working relationships where managers have in-depth, detailed knowledge of all their staff’s skills and strengths, and can draw together the perfect team for each project.

 EXACTLY WHAT YOU NEED

Specialisation is also one of the biggest strengths of these new and nimble agencies. Unlike massive international companies, they aren’t Jacks of all trades and masters of none. No one can truly specialise in everything, and larger companies run the risk of spreading themselves too thin at the expense of quality. Boutique agencies are at the other end of the scale, offering very specific niche services. They know their strengths and they know their target market’s needs, as well as having a comprehensive understanding of the language, culture or industry they specialise in.

Different firms have different ways of narrowing down to a specialisation. Some focus on a particular subject area or industry, for example legal, marketing or technical translations. These agencies focus on hiring translators who are experts within that industry, many of whom will have had a previous career elsewhere before becoming translators. Other agencies specialise in particular languages, amassing a team of native Russian translators, for example, but with a wide range of interests, knowledge and skills. These teams offer particular advantages because they can combine the different subject specialisms of their translators in line with the client’s needs. Many of these agencies also offer specialised services such as localisation, DTP or web services like SEO and web marketing, all in combination with translation. This allows a team of different professionals, all with a comprehensive understanding of your language pair or industry, to work together fluidly and produce an excellent finished product exactly to your specifications.

THE PERSONAL TOUCH

In line with the fantastic opportunities for specialisation that boutique agencies offer, clients and staff alike tend to find these firms are much more personal than the big multinationals.

Smaller agencies can offer a highly tailored and personalised service built around your needs rather than the company’s ‘way of doing things’. Instead of forcing you to fit their box, they will shape their work to suit your needs. You’re likely to experience less bureaucracy and paper pushing, because a smaller team can find common sense solutions instead of having to rely on endless protocols. And you’ll have access to the people that matter. Often a smaller translation company will be directly managed by the CEO, who isn’t a fat cat investor sitting in a board meeting or playing golf, but is more likely to be a translator him/herself. At the very least you’ll have a regular, designated contact person within the company over time, so you’ll have an opportunity to build a good working relationship with your own project manager. And with a smaller company the team that wins your business is the exact one that will work on your project; unlike some of the less scrupulous bigger companies they won’t impress you with the CVs of excellent translators and then farm your work out to untrained, poorly qualified individuals.

A by-product of all this is that boutique agencies tend to be more detail-oriented and creative than their larger cousins. Unbound by pointless rules and procedures they’re free to offer the kind of personalised service that has clients returning year after year.

THE CLIENT IS KING

Whereas big multinational corporations are bound by the bottom line, long-term relationships, reputation and old-fashioned business values mean everything to smaller companies. As they thrive by word-of-mouth and often keep their client list short, boutique agencies are heavily focused on client satisfaction and building trust. For smaller companies no account is too small to warrant their care and attention, and communication tends to be personal, efficient and meaningful.

Boutique agencies aren’t staffed by managers from other sectors with no real understanding of translation, and they don’t take on new translators with little evidence as to their skills and abilities. They tend to be run by passionate linguists who view their business as a vocation, not just a moneymaking exercise. That’s why you’ll often spot all kinds of added extra value when working with a boutique agency, along with a willingness to source additional services or skills in accordance with your needs. In short, they will go the extra mile for your business, because they know that’s how to win and keep custom.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Finally, you’ll get more bang for your buck with a boutique translation agency, as many of these companies offer outstanding value for money with no compromise on quality – in fact, often providing a more specialised and personalised service than a big provider of ‘off the peg’ translation solutions. They will be able to offer flexibility over rates and often have much lower overheads than multinationals. Some are based in countries with low tax rates and rents, while others save by managing their team online instead of assembling them in an office. Bearing all this in mind, a small budget to a global firm can often be quite a substantial one to a small agency, meaning you can get more for your money.

What aren’t boutique translation agencies?

EXCLUSIVE SERVICE, EVERYDAY PRICES

Boutique translation agencies needn’t be expensive. Although the term conjures an exclusive tailor-made experience, owing to the nature of these smaller companies you needn’t pay through the nose for it. For a start, they are less profit-oriented and more concerned with providing an excellent service, which is, after all, their unique selling point. Low overheads and innovative working practices also mean that if money is tight in your office a boutique agency might be just the right service provider for you.

FOCUSED, NOT LIMITED

Boutique translation agencies needn’t be limited in scope. Don’t confuse their emphasis on specialisation with a narrow focus. Any good small agency will have a network of highly skilled individuals on call, and can put together teams to tackle any text. The difference between these smaller translation agencies and the corporate giants is that boutique agencies know their limits and will not take on work on spec without knowing they can deliver. They also don’t keep huge numbers of staff on their permanent payroll just to cover any eventuality, so they can really save you money.

MIDDLEMEN BEGONE!

Small translation firms know that you want to pay for fantastic translation, not layer upon layer of middle management. You’ll have a project manager, whose role is to know the team inside out and be able to pick out the best individuals for your project. Good project managers are indispensable after all – but you won’t be paying for heads of business development, corporate strategists, marketing gurus, IT departments or any other of the staff members so indispensable to bigger clients. Instead you’ll find your team is flexible and diverse enough to tackle any of the challenges that come their way.

UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL

Boutique translation agencies are the very opposite of corporate. You’re not just a number on a spreadsheet and you won’t receive formulaic service – rather the whole experience will be shaped around you. These firms don’t tend to be concerned with growth at any cost, but rather they prioritise building and maintaining a cast-iron reputation in a specific field. There are no economies of scale, which means every client matters, and customer service is by nature at the very heart of everything they do.

It easy to see why these agencies are becoming more and more popular, and in some sectors are now starting to corner the translation market. Bigger companies are running scared and looking to find ways to streamline their service offerings, but savvy clients are still abandoning impersonal companies in their droves, looking for something different. In the battle of David and Goliath you’d be forgiven for betting on the big guy, but don’t rule out the underdog. Putting meaning and value back at the heart of the translation process, it looks like these plucky contenders are here to stay.

Reference: https://bit.ly/2og0aWS