Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Localization trends for 2013. No news, good news?

(This article was originally posted in the Moravia blog)

Every year, around December or January, I have written a blog entry with predictions and trends for the next year. We are now two weeks into the new year, and I didn't find anything special to write about 2013.

So, it ocurred to me that this might be a year when things are settling down. A year for evolution, rather than revolution. A period when trends tend to consolidate and take ground. There are five movements that have started sometime ago, but that I feel are now part of the gestalt of the localization business.
  • Content style is moving from formal to informal in all languages. Companies are not doing major rewrites of their manuals, but new products are written in a friendlier tone. Another way to put this: "All localization is marketing related."
  • The job of localization managers is expanding beyond language and culture. Global customer satisfaction and business requirements demand other activities like support, community moderation, usability adaptation, and local relevance. The relationship with vendors changes accordingly.
  • Voice and video content become more localization-friendly and language-aware, now that it actually became "normal" to use your voice to control your phone, car, computer and even your TV.
  • Continuous localization or on-demand translation becomes the norm, not the exception.
  • African languages appear on everybody's radar, especially when it comes to the localization of mobile devices and apps.
Of course, nothing prevents a revolutionary product like holographic telepresence for interpretation services or a pill that makes you speak Chinese from being launched this year or next, but it feels like 2013 will just be another good year for the language services industry.