Translation & Localization in 2008 and Beyond

Predictions for the Translation and Localization Industry

Chrystal Ball

While the focus in ’08 was on major events like the U.S. presidential elections, energy prices, the economic turmoil and the crash of worldwide stock markets, in the localization industry the usual clamoring was going on.

Crowdsourcing Translation

For the second year in a row, Localization World kicked off with a keynote address on crowdsourcing. While the phenomenon of crowdsourcing has gained recognition in some industries, its application in the localization industry has been very limited. The cost to setup a crowdsourcing process, from a tool and human resources infrastructure perspective, far exceeded the budgets and time tables of most companies, rendering crowdsourcing less useful to the crowds.

Free Translation Services

Also, industry pundits continued to be unchallenged when prophesying the end of the current localization paradigm. They foresaw changing tides that are overtaking the translation and localization industry, washing away existing proven processes and replacing them with free translation communities, free machine translation technologies and free shared translation databases. While industry initiatives toward this new paradigm have started, so far, we have not seen any real impact on current tested methodologies that rely on professional translators, competent localization experts, robust translation management systems and strong project management practices.

Open Source Translation Technologies and Standards

Open-source technologies were also touted as the possible end to proprietary tools and solutions in localization. When we looked in ’08 at what is out there, we could not find anything impressive enough to adopt. Unlike successful open standards like TMX, XLIFF and DITA, localization-specific open-source technologies are still severely wanting.

Meanwhile, diverse standards and technologies have been making inroads into the translation and localization industry for decades; they will continue to do so in ’09. Long established standards and technologies like XML, SQL, Java, .net, Ajax, and new emerging standards like Silverlight, complemented by recent trends in Web 2.0, vetted by much larger industries than ours, are the foundation that will continue to make the slow, laborious and evolutionary progress in our localization methodologies, year after year.

XML Adoption

We will also continue to see a significant increase of XML content and its influence on our processes and technologies. We believe that the next paradigm shift will be in content formats and authoring tools, driving necessary process changes.

Given the current economic conditions, our industry in ’09 will be called upon to help create new markets and opportunities for struggling companies and industries. Emphasis will be placed on solutions and methodologies that work and that can reliably be put to use by companies, large and small, not just in niche markets or by the unique or privileged few.

Most certainly, clients will continue to expect their products released on time, on budget and based on acceptable quality standards. Looking into the crystal ball, we will never lose sight of that.

One behalf of everyone at GlobalVision, we wish you a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

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