Translation industry disruption: keys and future
Birth, growth, evolution and revolution. That’s the natural order of things in this industry. As professional translators, we’ve been bridging the gap between markets and cultures around the world for centuries, always laboring in the background and focusing our attention on cultivating the relationship between sales/marketing departments and businesses (our clients) and ourselves, a translation company.
The interactions in this relationship, however, haven’t always been as smooth as they should be in order to achieve the common goal: ensure that the bridge between markets is well enough designed to allow for the maximum number of consumers to cross it unimpeded and access, in their own language, the content they’re looking for.
In the past, this relationship had been severely crippled by the lack of active communication between the clients and the translation companies: a text would be sent to a company, they would translate it and send back a hard copy or, later on, a digital copy. The client was responsible for sending the projects’ content and characteristics a priori. But all of this began to change with the birth of CAT tools, software programs designed to make our jobs as translators easier.
Like everything that is born, these tools grew and developed over the years. Work flows improved, shared translation memories began to appear, and our job became less complicated. However, the relationship with clients struggled to follow suit. It’s true, most clients were now using CAT tool to send and receive their files. And yet, some never quite made it that far. All corrections were done a posteriori, when the client had already seen the final text and would request some sort of change.
We didn’t truly begin to see the evolution of the relationship between translation companies and their clients until translation tools morphed into translation platforms. It’s important to mention that the internet was the driving force behind this evolution. Platforms leverage the advantages of our current state of connectivity. As a result, translators can collaborate on the same project, see changes in real time, send queries and clear up any doubts they may have in medias res, all they need is an internet connection. With that, they can receive files from their clients, translate them on one of these platforms, and then later download them in the desired format and deliver them.
Given the situation, revolution was the next logical step. The merger of translation and management platforms into a single tool has indeed been revolutionary for our sector. Clients and translation companies can finally share not only a workspace, but also direct channels where they can communicate with each other in real time. On the client side, they can upload and download the content for translation to and from a single platform, interact with the translation team, ask and answer questions, modify the project on the go and much more. On the other side, the translators themselves continue to enjoy all the perks of working in an online environment. Many of these platforms even provide companies with the option to customize their portals and integrate a database of translators they want to work with.
From the company’s point of view, these benefits cut costs and save time by consolidating multiple processes into a single platform. Moreover, since the entire translation team can access the same terminology resources, the translation process becomes much smoother and more consistent resulting in a product that perfectly suits the client’s needs. It’s never been easier. In today’s world, these types of platforms have greatly facilitated working from home. And thanks to global connectivity, translation teams around the world have overcome the situation caused by the pandemic using cloud-based translation and management platforms. This has been a growing trend in recent years, and our experience tells us that it is one that will continue for many years to come thanks to the advantages these platforms offer.