Where is the human perspective in machine translation?

The world is getting smaller every day, and it becomes increasingly easier to communicate and conduct business on a global scale. Technology plays a big role in building stronger relations across the globe, and the proliferation of devices, cloud computing, big data, social media and machine learning are big drivers of this change.

IDC forecasts that by 2020 there will be nearly 45 zettabytes of data, or almost 20,000 times the total amount of data that existed in the world less than three decades before. In addition, 20% of all workers will use automated assistance technologies to make decisions and get work done. This development will affect the market for web and translation services, which is becoming more automated, as systems get more intelligent.


“By 2018, IDC expects at least 20% of all workers to use automated assistance technologies to make decisions and get work done.”

Meredith Whalen, Senior vice President, IT Executive and Industry Research


However, technology brings challenges too. Culture and language remain different across borders, and with information overload it becomes increasingly difficult to get people’s attention using the right content and the right messaging. In effect it becomes harder for companies to gauge interest in their products and in what they can offer – in a personal and relevant way.

Language remains the key to communicating across borders, and with today’s technologies it becomes easier to use machine translations, algorithms and automated workflows to create efficiencies and save costs. Content grows, while the price on translation services goes down. This benefits the customer, who gets more for the buck.

But what happens to the personal touch and the quality of the translated content?

You still need human perspective and personal competencies to create compelling and relevant content in different languages. Competencies and knowledge that translators use years of training to obtain. The essence of today’s translation services lies in combining the advantages and efficiencies of machine learning and technology with human intelligence and perspective. That’s where the magic happens, and you get your customers attention, which – in the end – leads to sales and strong customer relations.

Web and translation services is becoming a C-level decision

The strategic significance of communication with a global audience is increasing, and stakeholder management is key to attracting attention and building a strong image. Today the CMO has a place at board level in many companies, and the CMO becomes the decision maker of which CRM system, website and digital channels to use to reach a global audience.

The CMO of today is a digital ambassador with big data, content and machine automation on the agenda. This includes being in charge of the CMS system, which becomes the umbrella for all company activities surrounding social media, e-commerce, web as well as partner and customer communication. Web and translation services play a key part in ensuring that content and messaging is consistent in all markets.

The future lies in cloud-based solutions and increased automation and machine learning when it comes to creating content on a global scale. The technological platform is an important part of making this a reality and to creating efficiencies. That combined with the right network of intelligent human beings, that can add quality, knowledge and perspective to the content.