Last year, I did some New Year's predictions in my post Wishing you an innovative 2015! reflecting on topics that would keep us awake in 2015. To continue writing on these expectations (calling them predictions might be too pretentious), making this a tradition, here is my two cents again on some of the new topics that will dominate this year’s blog posts and translation conferences. Last time, I talked about big data and business intelligence becoming the buzz words of the year. I also mentioned a new direction in the industry towards dynamic pricing based on quality and productivity results. And of course, translation quality will be a popular discussion topic everywhere you go. Just read on to see why...
In 2016, more and more companies will see transparency as a necessary development in our industry. It is beneficial to everyone in the supply chain from buyers through vendors and technology providers to the individual translator. We live in the disintermediation era, more and more buyers are purchasing translation services like they book hotel rooms: directly from the translators using dedicated on-line services like Say Hello, Unbabel or Gengo. User reviews are becoming major indicators and, as a result, information asymmetry is going to belong to the past. Vendors need to become more transparent about their productivity, efficiency and quality in order to survive in a highly competitive and disintermediated industry. It's not enough to say we are fast, we are efficient or we provide the best quality. A proof of excellence is what counts. Everything measurable should also be visible. What is your productivity score? What is your efficiency score? What is your quality score?
Together with transparency, another trend will start popping up, putting its stamp on our industry: the rise of the start-ups and small companies that are employing new technologies and agile workflows enforcing these practices on their suppliers. And they will definitely buy translations like hotel rooms. While these companies work using scrum methodologies, their internal processes will have a major influence on how they order and want these translations delivered. As a result, agile processes will affect our industry too. We are localizing products that are always improving, and translating content that is ever-changing with a short shelf-life. These challenge existing workflows. À propos workflows. Can we still talk about workflows at all, flow being a unidirectional process? Or replacing the river analogy with that of a sea waves would be a better way to illustrate today's translation process. The pebble tossed back and forth among the waves towards final perfection.
The landscape of sending and receiving information has changed dramatically in the past 25 years. The communication process is changing from being unidirectional to multidirectional because consumers are becoming active participants by creating, seeking, and sharing information using a variety of channels and devices. Translation quality is being reshaped by the consumers and it is dynamic. Even productivity becomes dynamic due to this agile approach.
Efficiency & Transparency
Finally, believe it or not, translation departments in the public sector will embrace new technologies and translation processes in an even more accelerated fashion than before. The reasons for that are harsh budgetary restrictions and a call for more efficiency and transparency. When it comes to communication, governmental institutions and international organizations always had an exemplary role by offering their audience top quality in terms of packaging and content. Today, in a new reality of immediate communication and user-generated content, these institutions will also need to switch from a linear model to a more agile process. Just to mention one example: they will also abandon their homogenous view on quality and replace it with a more heterogenous one where multiple quality levels exist based on the purpose, the content type and the communication channel. Will that endanger their example-giver status or, on the contrary, will it reinforce it?
TAUS QE Summits
Whether these topics will dominate this year's industry meetings, it remains to be seen. One thing is evident, TAUS will discuss them at events such as the TAUS Translation Quality Evaluation (QE) Summits held on 8 June in Dublin (hosted by Microsoft) and on 26 October in Portland (hosted by Intel). The TAUS QE Summit is recommended to buyers of translation in different industries and government and non-government organizations (director level and vendor and quality management functions), and to small and large language service providers (CEO, director and quality management functions). Participants discuss relevant topics, recommend best practices and outline collaboration plans to further the industry in quality evaluation practices. The breakout sessions provide opportunity for networking and interaction.