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AI-Enabled Translation Services are Changing the Localization Landscape

By Bern Elliot | February 18, 2021 | 0 Comments

I published the first ever Gartner report on the topic of translation in 2018, refreshing it in mid-2020: Machine Translation Improvements Justify Re-examining Your Options. The response was good and this encouraged me and some colleagues in December to publish the Market Guide for AI-Enabled Translation Services. The response has again been very good, with high readership and increasing Inquiry in just 2 months.

The need for translation is ubiquitous and growing. Translation is used in many different types of use cases, as per the four groups below. And it is used in many different areas of the enterprise, e.g. documentation, marketing, web site, sales, legal, etc. As a result, it is of broad enterprise concern. AI-enabled approaches is changing how translation is approached within enterprises.

It has been very satisfying to bring this new coverage area to Gartner’s clients. And importantly, to see it grow, from zero Inquiry 2 years ago, to a steady increase through 2019, to a more rapid increase in 2020 and now 2021. It is also satisfying to see growing Gartner coverage on this with Anthony Mullen (in EMEA) and Adrian Lee (in AP) joining me on this beat.

Gartner has a different take and perspective than other firms because we focus what the technology advances brings to the translation industry. In the Market Guide for AI-Enabled Translation Services, I outline trends to expect over the next 3-5 years. These are divided into 4 areas. Here is one of the major trends from each area:

  • Industry trend – Enterprises rethink their localization strategy, shifting toward total life cycle models for globalization processes. For instance the adoption of common tools and models across departments, such as marketing, sales, website, R&D, etc.
  • Translator role trend – AI tools increasingly used to augment translator tasks where translator is essential (e.g. post-editing), and using translators to assist in improve those tools via HITL methods where the tools can do more with training. E.g. MT model customization.
  • Enterprise process trend – Processes and organizational changes are required to effectively leverage new services. E.g. shift from entirely departmental focus, to a mixed departmental and centralized approach.
  • IT & Tech trend  – Content stores and applications designed to integrate directly into localization workflows on demand. E.g. content creation tools integrated with stores that integrate with production that integrate with market feedback.

Researching these reports has been a wonderful experience, both from a learning stand point and from the meetings and interviews with such a wealth of subject matter experts.  They were so insightful, engaging, and generous in sharing their knowledge, that I cannot thank them enough. And while I can’t mention them individually, let me take this moment to do a little shout out – thank you all.

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