Web 2.0 technologies are becoming prevalent everywhere we look on the web. More people are blogging, more are joining social networks, more companies are building online communities, more corporate executives are embracing the potential that Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay Per Click (PPC) and other marketing and sales channels on the web are achieving or promising.
So how will Web 2.0 affect the localization industry?
Here are some of the changes that we at GlobalVision International have identified and are taking advantage of:
1. Technologies like XML-APIs, Wikis, RSS and others are becoming more feasible and easier to use with Web 2.0. They are helping facilitate the creation of virtual work-teams and improve communication and collaboration among them. These technologies can be effectively utilized by the localization industry to help simplify project staffing all over the world, help disseminate project information and assets, and improve overall efficiencies. For instance, the ad-hoc process of sending emails back and forth between translators, project managers and the client to answer translation content queries can now be effectively handled via online wikis connected to a SQL database (see gvCollab for more info). Over the long run, those queries and responses will turn into a powerful online knowledge base that help localizers better meet the needs of end-users.
2. Communicating with clients is becoming easier and more transparent as corporate barriers are fading on the Web. With the advent of dynamic websites, blogs and RSS feeds, customers and prospects can stay tuned, or even better yet, get engaged in an industry dialog uncensored by the usual press or corporate public relations filters and gatekeepers. This and other Translation and Localization Blogs are examples of the power of blogs.
3. Winning new clients, local and international, is becoming less costly with Web 2.0. With powerful analytic tools that tie directly into Pay-Per-Click (PPC) and Search-Engine-Optimization (SEO) campaigns, marketing decision makers have immediate access to the latest conversion numbers and pertinent statistics. Companies are more willing to experiment with international PPC and Search Engine Geo-Optimization campaigns when they can better gauge and measure their economic impact. RSS feeds are also making it easier for companies to communicate their value propositions directly to their clients and prospects worldwide, thus avoiding the press, snail mail, and email limitations and pitfalls. With Web 2.0, websites no longer serve information locally, and have become a cost-effective two-way communication channel between vendors and clients all over the world.
4. Demand for localization is increasing with Web 2.0. The more blogs, RSS feeds, PPC campaigns, Wiki knowledge bases and increased overall content on the web there are, the more localization requirements will grow. The more web-based communities grow in numbers and size, the more global will their requirements become, and the more localization and translation services will be required. The immensity of the need can be gauged by the growing worldwide demand for translators and localization experts.
Over the past 10 years, it has been Translation Memory that was the leading technology enabler of the localization industry making the most concrete and tangible impact on the industry’s production processes and efficiency. Over the next 10 years, we believe Web 2.0 technologies, particularly the ones facilitating community creation, collaboration, and communication, are the ones that will have the most impact on the localization industry. And this impact will not just be in a production capacity, but in marketing and sales capacities as well.