Sunday, July 11, 2010

Some Trends in the Localization Industry

In preparation for the Vendor Management Seminar that will be held in Las Vegas later this month, I have been doing some thinking about trends in the industry that affect the services provided by companies like Milengo, and thought you might be interested in them.

There are three trends that I have identified:

  • Disintermediation and Collaboration: The vast improvement in the quality and reduction in cost of online collaboration technology -- combined with the widespread availability of affordable bandwidth -- is leading LSPs to redesign their production workflows to remove unnecessary steps and activities from their processes. A clear result of this trend is that larger LSPs are going back to working with individual translators instead of using single language vendors as intermediaries, especially in projects involving time-sensitive or dynamic content.
  • Productivity Boost: The incorporation of machine translation engines and shared translation memory environments into the desktop productivity tools of translators will result in a massive increase in the number of words that a professional translator can process in a day. Averages will jump from 2,500 words to 15,000 to 20,000 words per day in the first stage, reaching even higher numbers in the near future.
  • Role and Cost of Technology: Translation technology tools like translation management systems and desktop translation memory software are unusually expensive for the value that they provide. As Chris Anderson points out in his book “Free," software and content want to be free. What creates value are the services provided around technology, not the technology itself. So, I have predicted that Translation Memory technology will be free or become irrelevant by 2015.
What are the implications of these trends for buyers? In a nutshell, more words will be translated in a shorter period of time at a lower total cost.

In general, I believe that because Milengo positions itself as a technology agnostic and customer service-focused organization puts it in the right position to succeed in this new market reality.

If you haven't registered yet, don't miss the opportunity to send your vendor managers to the IMTT event in Las Vegas. IMTT consistently organizes the best training events in translations industry.


  1. "I have predicted that Translation Memory technology will be free or become irrelevant by 2015."

    Absolutely. "irrelevant" is a more interesting discussion than "free". Free alternatives are already available to make up for a full blown (almost) translation management system if you have the technical knowledge. As they move faster towards standards based implementations, future of "free" alternatives look much brighter than the proprietary solutions.

    I would love to hear about your "irrelevant" discussion in a different post.

  2. I believe that incorporating machine translation in our professional translation business is a waste of time.

  3. A max. human reading speed of 180-200 words/minute gives a max. daily word rate of 86400/90000 words. (

    Translating will soon be comparable to the work of those poor bastards sitting behind light boxes, checking the glass bottles flashing by for deficiencies.

  4. Averages will jump from 2,500 words to 15,000 to 20,000 words ...
    I'll bet!
    haste makes waste so the sole result will be a higher raise in garbage produced ... in addition to the fact that after 20,000 words our eye-brain engine will burn out for a couple of days

  5. Have a close look at points and of the EU report on the translation industry accessible at as it seems that the Price versus Quality problem is more untractable than it seems.
    I believe that widely cirulating this report to translation consumers might go a long way to raise awarenesss of the importance of a good translation and the hidden costs of saving pennies on the translation, thus saving us from the dreadful future predicted by Nicolas!