Top 5 Takeaways from TAUS Annual Conference 2013

by Robert Zessar, Director, Market Strategy, Welocalize

robertzessarThe 2013 TAUS Annual Conference took place October 14-15 in Portland, Oregon this year.  Over 100 industry thought leaders convened to discuss and share both practical and leading-edge ideas, aligned to TAUS’ proposition that translation is becoming a utility.  In the words of TAUS, “Becoming something similar to electricity, the Internet or water.  Always available.  Real-time when needed.  Destined to be embedded in every app, on every screen.  Every bit of information delivered in the languages we understand.”

The benefits are clear for the buy-side.  Reach, support and help more customers with a broader global content strategy, in more markets and on more platforms but in less time, cost and friction.  The task at hand from the industry-side is daunting. If we don’t innovate and evolve in line with demand, we lose. We have to run fast.

The setting of the conference was not lost on me.  We were sitting in the ballroom of a hotel, listed on the US National Register of Historic Places, discussing how we preserve the past yet evolve the industry into the future.

The TAUS conference centered around six themes: Growth, Innovation, Strategy, Quality, Automation and Standards.  Here’s five things stood out to me:

  1. Belief that by 2017, CMOs will outspend CIOs.  In a hyper-connected and always-on world, marketing will be leading the way in content generation and curation needs.
  2. In the past, quality and capacity were defined by the industry.  Today, buyers have more control and require flexible and agile supply chains. They are also defining value.
  3. Content is not just text.  Video is a rapidly developing content type that will require new ideas such as the technology behind text-to-speech.
  4. According to Vladimir Weinstein of Google, one-third of Android developers have localized their apps and another third plan to in the next six months.  Thus Google has developed a common translation API to simplify the process.
  5. It will no longer be enough for  single and multi-language vendors to define technology based upon their back office.  Buyers will demand innovative technology driven front-line solutions.

It was also good to see how TAUS has evolved into a key industry think tank and away from primarily focusing on MT and standards.  Big data will yield big language challenges and only through collaboration, sharing, bold new ideas and standing together, will we face the incoming wave of demands for innovative ways to preserve our future.