Does Language Technology Impact Scale? LocLeaders Forum 2014 Vancouver
Welocalize VP of Language Tools, Olga Beregovaya, hosted one of the panel sessions at the Welocalize LocLeaders Forum 2014 event that took place in Vancouver, British Columbia. The main theme of the panel discussion was “Does Technology Impact Scale?” In this post, Olga sums up the main discussion points from the session and what we learned in a vibrant exchange with localization business leaders.
We could have not wished for a more engaged and diverse team of panelists, representing companies who are at different stages of their localization and globalization journey, with very different business objectives and localization program goals.
The question of whether and to what extent technology can help enterprises scale up their global operations is of utmost importance for small and large companies alike. Selecting and implementing the right technology solutions to match strategic goals is crucial.
The solutions necessary for the companies’ global success are divided into two distinct categories:
- The language and translation technology that automates the ways natural language is handled.
- The business process and infrastructure optimization tools that help reduce project management effort and costs.
Everyone agreed that both technologies are of equal importance to the success of a globalization program, each of them contributing to efficiency gains and cost savings. As we are witnessing an unprecedented “context explosion,” it is essential to be able to handle the variety of content types, formats and publishing methods without relying on increasing your workforce and without significant increases in your budget.
There is a lot to consider even outside of the desired technical capabilities. For example, what are the system’s scalability, integration points and interoperability? Shall we host ourselves or go with a SaaS solution? With the amounts of information you receive about various products and service offerings, how do you actually make an educated decision? How do we guide the industry to develop tools and features that we really need? And the answer is – conversations! We should be more connected. We should initiate informal information exchanges which will fall outside of the usual marketing pitches. It allows us to access from real experiences and application – good and bad.
The panel also discussed the need for integration with content authoring tools. With constantly changing quality and delivery requirements, a lot of decisions are best made at the source. What workflow will be best suited for your content type(s)? What features of your source content will or will not warrant the use of machine translation? What can be changed in your content to optimize it for translation and benefit from cost savings?
And, on the subject of machine translation – while some of the LocLeaders attendees are not planning to implement it immediately, the shared consensus is that this technology has become an essential piece of the localization technology ecosystem.
Then there was “the big question” from our panelists and our audience to us, language service providers: What are the most valuable differentiators for LSPs: technology or people?
My own answer is – you really need both. It takes the best industry talent to build and implement the state-of-the-art technology; only a combination of the two will make an LSP a truly valuable strategic partner.
If you would like to know more about this panel discussion and the information shared, please reach out to me direct at Olga.firstname.lastname@example.org.