Today more and more businesses are operating in an international marketplace – whether they want to or not! With the internet breaking down national borders, companies face competition from foreign companies in their domestic markets. And many are looking abroad, often towards emerging markets, for new opportunities.
One key question at the recent Localization World conference in London was how businesses can cope with the “explosion” of content in the global economy. Not only is the internet more multilingual than ever before, but there’s a growing demand for very rapid – or even instant – communication.
Machine translation (MT) helps meet this demand. According to Professor Andy Way, Lingo24’s Director of Machine Translation, recent significant advances mean it’s increasingly useful in a wide range of circumstances. His presentation at the conference focused on The rapidly evolving use of machine translation and post-edited machine translation within global businesses.
In some cases, such as live chat or real time translation of stock market reports, it’s not feasible to use human linguists. Advanced MT engines (which can be customised to clients’ requirements) now produce “good enough” results for this type of scenario. They’re also a good solution for translating huge volumes of user-generated content, such as product reviews or social media posts. A company might not have the budget for professional translation, but the content gives added value for readers.
Professor Way uses the term “fit for purpose” translation. What this means in terms of quality will often depend on the “perishability of content”. For example, if an email will be read once and then deleted, the most important factor is that it can be understood. An online help manual (that is regularly updated) will need accurate information, but it’s fine to ignore stylistic niceties. A “light post-editing” of the raw MT output is the best option.
In other situations, where the content has a longer life-span, or style is a more important consideration, then it’s worth investing in “full” post-editing. Although these are the most common choices, many providers are now offering more customised levels of post-editing, tailored to fit clients’ needs.
Quality was also a hot topic in other parts of the conference. Another highlight was the session by Smith Yewell, of Welocalize, exploring The Evolution of the Time, Cost and Quality Equation. He discussed how the traditional ways of balancing time, cost and quality in translation are shifting.
Now quality levels can be can be defined in more flexible ways, depending on the type of content and business requirements. Quality can be assessed by the end users or buyers, instead of in-country reviewers. Lingo24’s Coach technology is designed to offer fully customisable quality levels – and can be combined with machine translation as required.