4 Localization Trends to Watch in 2022
Even in times of global crisis, the localization industry continues to grow at a rapid rate. After it recorded an estimated market volume of 58.3 billion US dollars in 2021, analysts at Nimdzi are now forecasting an increase to 73.6 billion USD for the industry by 2025. Take a look at our pick of the localization trends for 2022 to find out how you can continue to make smart investments in translation and get the most of this thriving environment, as well as which developments will definitely be worth keeping a close eye on.
1. Machine Translation: Evolution, not Revolution
Save for a few unfortunate cases where the technology hasn’t been implemented properly – like the botched launch of Amazon’s Swedish website – experts agree that the quality of modern machine translation (MT) is now largely excellent. It is getting harder and harder to reliably distinguish between automatically generated texts and those translated by humans.
Even though 99% of all the world’s translations are already being produced with the aid of MT, many businesses are still hesitant to implement the technology across the board. Can MT guarantee consistently high text quality? Will the translations still need touching up before they can be published – and if so, how much work will this entail? Aren’t human translators still the safest bet all-round?
Well, we’ve got good news for you: 2022 is going to be the year when machine translation finally becomes widely accessible to businesses, thanks to a number of intelligent new developments:
- Greater customization: In future, innovative MT solutions such as ModernMT will learn in real time, optimizing their output while a human translator is working on the text. This means that company-specific terminology and preferred writing styles can be taken into account right from the word go.
- More context: Until now, MT algorithms have generally worked through their texts sentence by sentence. As a result, coherency has suffered. In future, these systems will be able to “think” in relation to a larger context, such as paragraphs or even whole documents. This will lead to a tangible improvement in consistency.
- More languages, better-quality translations: 2022 will see the addition of new niche languages and language varieties to the MT universe. In addition to this, quality is set to improve significantly. As things stand, machine translation still often uses what is known as a “pivot language” as the basis for many language pairs. For a German-to-Bulgarian translation, for example, the text might need to be processed into English first before the system can produce the Bulgarian version. Such a ”detour” will soon become a thing of the past, as direct translations become the norm and quality levels become even more reliable as a result.
Strategy for success in 2022: Machine translation is the future. Start looking into what this technology can offer you today so you don’t get left behind by the global expansion.
Translations have become an important factor in the growth of businesses all over the world. When it comes to navigating the complex world of translation planning, an experienced language provider like Milengo can act as your compass, making it easier for you to achieve global communication.
2. Don’t Take Quality for Granted
Getting famous off the back of a translation isn’t easy. Netflix’s smash hit Squid Game is one of the few examples that has succeeded in recent years – albeit for the wrong reasons. Audiences complained in their droves about the crude translations used in the English subtitles, the loss of cultural nuance, and a dubbing track that amounted to little more than a bad joke.
And incidents like this are by no means one-offs, either. Yet they remain significant – less for how they reflect on the quality of an individual translation, and more for what they tell us about unscrupulous practices throughout the industry. The American Translators Association, ATA, recently went so far as to publish an open letter highlighting the fundamental problem of how its members and their colleagues are compensated for their work, with many receiving less than the minimum wage. If this trend continues, there is a very real risk that the industry will experience a mass exodus of highly trained language experts. Mainstream media such as the UK’s Guardian newspaper have also reported that many businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to source qualified, professional translators.
With this in mind, businesses need to exercise more caution than ever before when procuring translation services in 2022. Place your trust in a provider with proven experience who works to recognized industry standards. In order to be deemed qualified in accordance with ISO Standard 17100, translators must possess a recognized university degree or five years of experience in the industry. It is also important to check whether your provider of choice uses standardized quality assurance mechanisms like multidimensional quality metrics (MQM). Last but not least, you should make sure your translation agency follows ethical payment practices. You can avoid the “black sheep” of the industry by researching a company’s reputability using relevant community portals, such as the Blue Board on ProZ.
Strategy for success in 2022: Work exclusively with ISO-certified translation providers who use standardized language quality frameworks.
3. Localization – but Smarter
For years, businesses saw translations as a necessary by-product of global expansion that wasn’t worth thinking too hard about. Now, however, customers around the world are no longer happy to be merely informed – they want to engage with brands across a huge variety of channels. According to Walker, customer experience is set to eclipse price and product as the most important USP for brands in the near future.
So what can decision-makers at businesses do to help them deal with the complexity this adds to the translation planning process? If you want to be smart with your translation procurement in 2022, we recommend using data and KPIs to give you a more precise idea of how much added value your translations give you, and increasing your efforts toward the cultural adaptation of content for local markets. These two resources are a good place to start:
- The Globalization Strategy Playbook (GLP), published in 2021, offers a comprehensive introduction to every aspect of globalization, localization and internationalization – perfect for businesses that are looking to make their translation practices more professional.
- Nimdzi’s Language Technology Atlas provides a much-needed overview of the current translation technology landscape.
Need help bridging the gap between theory and practice? An experienced translation provider like Milengo can provide advice on how to set up the right localization strategy for your business.
Strategy for success in 2022: Use the latest industry expertise to refine your localization strategy and get the most out of your translation budget – for translations with both reach and impact.
4. No-Holds-Barred Global Learning
As we enter the third year of the pandemic, the majority of our social interactions are now conducted remotely, digitally and online. The education sector is no exception to this rule. Hybrid learning is the future – in order to ensure equal opportunities for all students, training materials need to be made available everywhere, regardless of the learner’s physical location. This is a huge market – according to Statista, businesses alone spent more than 82 billion US dollars on L&D in 2020. Here too, the demand for translations is on the rise, as businesses translate learning tools and training materials into a wide range of languages so they can supply them to international teams who are increasingly utilizing remote work structures.
One technology that is sure to enrich e-learning initiatives in 2022 is text to speech (TTS), which enables computers to convert text into spoken language. Thanks to the use of AI, such synthetic voices no longer come with the discomforting “robotic” undertones of years gone by – instead, they can mimic human stresses on words and sentences and “speak” with a natural cadence. (Don’t believe us? Watch our video and see for yourself!) As a result, this technology now offers a groundbreaking alternative to traditional voiceover solutions, and is the perfect fit for multilingual e-learning initiatives. Curious? Here are some of the benefits at a glance:
- TTS can enable you to save up to 70 percent compared to the cost of using human voice artists. This frees up resources, allowing you to add high-quality language output to a wider range of multimedia content and make more of your content accessible to everyone.
- In e-learning and learning management systems (LMS), TTS-based voice interfaces have been proven to improve teaching results.
- TTS also makes it easier for you to edit audio recordings after the initial session, as you will no longer need to chase up and rebook voice artists or redo expensive studio takes.
Strategy for success in 2022: Use AI-powered text-to-speech technology for selected projects in order to make multilingual multimedia content one of the cornerstones of your international training program.