Yuka Nakasone, Globalization and Localization Director at Intento, a cognitive AI curation platform company, joined us at XTRF Summit #online 2021 to discuss tomorrow’s global business landscape and localization in the AI/MT era. This article is based on that session.
Society, industry, and technology have all evolved at an increasingly rapid pace. But what does the future hold for global business, and what does it mean for localization?
Towards industry 5.0
We are now embodying a super-smart society with Industry 4.0 where IoT, digitization, and automation are taking over human labor and physical existence. Industry 4.0 sounds already futuristic but there is more to come. Industry 5.0 has been on the horizon for a while now. It will push the super-smart society to the next level. There, we’ll see bionic technology, with direct communication between humans via technology, and between humans and AI. IoT will come together with IoH (Internet of Humans) to create IoE, or the Internet of Everything. The internet will be available for everyone and everywhere. We’ll see the introduction of 6G. And blockchain will grow as quantum computing becomes more widespread.
The 2020 effect
Our path seemed set. Then along came 2020 and the Covid pandemic. Without a doubt, this caused massive global disruption. But if we think of human evolution, it actually resulted in a mare acceleration of Industry 4.0. From the Nielsen Company’s report, between 2019 and 2020, eCommerce sales grew by more than 80% in both France and Italy, and by 60% in Spain. It was just before all these countries went into lockdown. People started to use more and more online services, for work, education, and entertainment. Then, the pandemic hit to accelerate this go online and go digital process in an unpreceded way. Our society became exponentially digital. We experienced an explosion of content. And because this content was published online, it was automatically global and borderless.
Localization aims for enterprise
In a super-connected and digital society that emerged as a result, companies now need to do even more with localization. They need to:
- Produce a dynamic array of content
- Provide the right local context and experiences
- Be global in scale
- Instantly deploy content for everyone
However, enterprise companies face several barriers to achieving these goals. Typically, these organizations are made up of siloed departments and functions, which may each use different software, platforms, and tools. For instance, the localization team may use a TMS, the marketing team a CMS, the support team a ticketing system, the sales team a CRM… And yet, despite these challenges, they need to be able to serve a global audience inside and outside the company.
Machine Translation – can it help?
Over the past few years, Intento has regularly evaluated commercial MT engines and listened to those in the MT supply chain. Each year, this independent research is collated into annual reports that summarize key developments and attitudes in machine translation. And we’ve noticed a distinct shift in the industry.
We found that MT quality is much better than everyone expects. For example, in a real case, 70% of the segments of an MT output was qualified as ‘perfect’ by linguists, while 97% of segments of the same output said to be understandable by end-users.
With such a high level of quality, MT presents many new opportunities for companies, from supporting communities of the global audience to enabling office productivity inside the company, facilitating customer service in multiple languages, and of course, accelerating localization. Some examples include:
- On-the-fly MT for user-generated content
- Community portal translation
- On-the-fly MT for Websites
- Translation of chatbots
- Translation of support tickets
- Translation of product information management systems
This trend also raises concerns to many people in our industry. Primarily, they are worried about lowered fees without decreasing efforts in some parts of the supply chain and decreasing work for human linguists.
However, when it comes to pricing, we’re starting to see the adoption of a new pricing model. And we’re actively discussing how we can make pricing fair for all.
As for less work for humans, as we saw in the Summit talk 2020 in review: A market analyst perspective, there is more demand for translation than there is supply. So this concern is unfounded. What’s more, it’s essential to have good feedback for MT work. And for this we need humans. So there’ll be additional review and linguistic work in this area.
An interesting era
We’re entering an interesting era. One where MT will help not only with text but also with speech. One where AI is used for a whole host of functions, including service desks. See an example of this in the Intento demo, where you’ll see we can even adjust the tone of voice.
Mature, high-quality MT technology, coupled with AI, will enable enterprises to provide more global content than ever before.
So, while there has been a definite shift in the industry, there’s nothing to fear.
We need to keep moving toward a fair pricing model with MT and to keep providing information and education to make linguists aware of and shift towards much-needed new linguistic tasks in the industry.
The future is now.
Let’s do this together.