The translation industry is growing, but not fast enough! The amount of content published every day vastly exceeds the amount that can be translated by the few hundred thousand translators in today’s workforce. Machine translation seems to be a part of the solution, yet the world is still waiting for this technology to mature. How do we scale up the translation industry’s capacity for the massive potential opportunity?
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Once upon a time in Land of Translations...
... we wanted to know how many words we could produce per month, per day, per hour. How much time we needed to craft human quality translation, post-editing machine translated segments. And we wanted to track the edit distance. Why on Earth?! To find ways to profile translators and post-editors, to set prices, to compare vendors, to categorize content, evaluate MT engine performance... the list is endless but are we doing it right?
Recently, one global player in translation bought out a competitor. Another key player was court-ordered to break up and sell their company. These business developments—and more—set me to thinking: What, exactly, does the buyer get when acquiring a translation company? What is the market value of a given translation company as a whole? And how does the market put a price on a company’s individual assets?
In part I, we defined the pivot language approach, discussed briefly its major drawbacks, referred to factors regarding the selection of the pivot language and explored two areas where pivoting can be deployed i.e. the relay interpretation (oral) and the human translation (written), including translations from audio recordings with or without script. In part II of this blog article, we will discuss more areas where pivot languages can be deployed, namely in building and enhancing bilingual lexicons, translation memories, machine translation systems and machine transliteration systems.
A pivot language is a third or intermediate language that can bridge the gap between language pairs. For example, if there are translations between English to French and the same English to Spanish available, through the pivot language English, translations between French and Spanish can be generated.
The translation industry is quickly becoming a high-tech industry. So we say… But fear not. Translators' jobs are not going away. Although Google Translate may be considered a big innovation, the company keeps hunting for more and better human translators who can produce the most readable and best localizations of its products.
After decades of funding of European research in language and translation technology, the new European Commission wants to turn off the money tap. European researchers are staggering and they wonder why. One theory is that the politicians feel it is money wasted. Despite a diligent European investment program in machine translation, US corporations seem to have won that battle.