Is Your Business Prepared for the Languages of the Future?
April 10, 2019
by U.S. Translation Company, business advisory member and blog sponsor
With time comes change, and for the world that means shifts in population, economics, and internet usage. A recent study conducted by Arle Lommel and Benjamin B. Sargent of the Common Sense Advisory (CSA), “Forecasting Global Language Priorities: 2022 and 2027”, explored the languages that will be required to reach 97% of the global online market in 2022 and 2027. This information is pertinent to any organization looking to expand their global reach over the next decade and for those businesses that want to be proactive and ready for the changing market.
What causes a worldwide language shift you might ask? The primary reasons identified by the CSA included internet penetration, increased use of mobile/wearable technology, growing populations, and expanding gross domestic product. With more financial means to buy and use new technologies as they become available, paired with an increase in headcount, languages are bound to grow and shrink accordingly.
However, not all Language Service Providers (LSPs) are equal, and neither is the technology they leverage to satisfy (or not satisfy) their customers. Potential clients of any product or service are in a nonstop cycle of balancing costs, quality, time and effort. When it comes to working with an LSP to represent your business’ image, the entire company’s reputation is on the line, making quality a factor of priority.
EXAMPLE: MACHINE TRANSLATION ISN'T EVERYTHING
Recently, an independent statutory office focused on the Fair Work Act in Australia, Fair Work Ombudsman, translated their website in 40 languages to expand their reach to the many migrant workers in the area. The site offers comprehensive information on employee/employer rights and covers topics such as pay, leave, redundancy and taxes. Important information, right?
As Lance Ng covered in Slator, soon after launching, it appeared that the quality of the translations had been overlooked as the site was quickly criticized for incorrect and misleading translations. Several local LSPs voiced concern about using machine translation for such a large and important government resource.
CEO of Melbourne-based EthnoLink Language Services, Costa Vasili, stated, “The implementation of machine translation on such a high profile Australian Federal Government website is unprecedented and worrying. Predictably, the results of this machine translation are poor and feedback from our professional translators is that for many languages the translation is nonsensical. We stand firm in the view that implementation of machine translation on such a high-profile government website, dealing with workplace rights of Australians is inappropriate and dangerous.”
Ng noted that Fair Work was relying on Microsoft Translator to communicate with its audience, with a Help Hotline and “Language Help” section of the website as an afterthought. Wouldn’t it make sense to have the site translated correctly from the get-go? (Yes, the answer is yes).
TOP LANGUAGES IN 2022
As we approach 2022, the CSA predicts that businesses will require 16 languages to reach 90% of the total online population (considered in this research as “Tier One” languages). Here are the top seven provided by the study, organized by largest online GDP share worldwide. The chart below displays how languages will compare in total online audience share (on the right) to their GDP status (on the left).
Having this in mind, some big changes that companies should keep their eyes on include:
TOP LANGUAGES IN 2027
In 2027, we see the same top seven languages and similar patterns, with all decreasing in online GDP shares AND audience shares except for Simplified Chinese.
Noteworthy findings include:
HOW TO LEVERAGE THIS FORECAST FOR YOUR BUSINESS:
- Which languages need to be added to your portfolio? Leverage the online GDP rankings above to determine languages will give you the best return on your investment as you expand your global reach.
- Which countries should you enter? Assess both short-term and long-term viability and growth as you consider where you will need on-the-ground operations to capitalize on opportunities.
- How will you prioritize current spending? Keep in mind that your budget allocations may shift as economic opportunities shift as well.
- How does this alter marketing plans? Each language has a set of requirements and nuances. Be mindful of which marketing techniques work well for spoken languages in small countries versus written languages targeting a widely distributed audience.
- How will you take spoken language into account? You may need to embrace interfaces and technology that is centered around speech to reach markets with high illiteracy rates and lack of technology. Text localization for emerging languages can be a challenge, but reaching your audience through speech will raise the bar.
TIPS FOR YOU, THE CUSTOMER
Translating a site, let alone many sites, can be incredibly complex. It’s of the utmost importance to translate content correctly AND ensure your message stays intact. On top of that, all imagery, files, media and associated credentials must be converted and accessible. That is a lot for a mere machine translator to take on (if it can) and relying on solely that can leave your business susceptible to incorrect translations and messaging, along with mismatched languages and confused prospects.
When translating your online content, it’s good to take the following factors into account:
Your site isn’t going to be very helpful if a machine converts words into various languages that rely on context and nuances to truly get the message across. Verify that your LSP leverages the best machine translation technology available paired with human follow-up (Machine Translation Post-Edit) to ensure your content converts accurately.
The worst thing is when you have a good setup going and then you hit a limit you weren’t aware of and everything comes to a halt. Before you sign on with a LSP to translate your website, make sure that they can grow and change with your business.
3. THOROUGHNESS & FOLLOW UP
Now, your website has been translated beautifully and is up and running. However, you need to make changes to the original site on an ongoing basis, which then needs to be translated across each additional language page. Sounds tedious. Search for LSPs that can automatically detect and update each language you need (in-context) to remove the burden from your team.
HOW US TRANSLATION CAN HELP
You have a language that needs to be translated or interpreted? We do it.
- US Translation Company offers a variety of translation, interpretation and localization services that are guaranteed to connect you with your audience, all through a seamless process with our experienced project managers.
You have a site that needs to be translated in a variety of languages? We do it, and we make it EASY.
- US Translation Company offers web translation services that guarantee accuracy and will keep your budget and IT department happy. Visit our Proxy Translation site to learn more and get your translation journey started.
Contact us today to learn how we can expand your business.
Phone: (801) 393-5300
- Forecasting Global Language Priorities: 2022 and 2027
- Digital Opportunity: Top 100 Online Languages for 2017
- Backlash Against Australia’s Workplace Regulator for Machine Translating Its Website
- Letter Blocks Image: Pixabay
- Laptop Image by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash
- Icons by Vectors Market
ABOUT THE U.S. TRANSLATION COMPANY
By offering written translation, live voice and remote interpretation, hybrid and machine/neural translation, website proxy translation, foreign language voiceover, interpretation equipment rental and purchase, project management, translation memory and language data management U.S. Translation Company has built an ironclad dependable reputation in the translation industry. U.S. Translation Company certifications: ISO 9001:2015, NMSDC, GSA, SBA and ATA accredited. Audits through an independent ISO auditing company are performed annually to maintain full transparency for 100% quality. Client data security along with privacy are an integral part of maintaining a 98% client retention rate.
ABOUT DAVID UTRILLA, U.S. TRANSLATION COMPANY PRESIDENT & CEO
As a Weber State student, David Utrilla founded U.S. Translation Company in 1995 to provide translation and interpretation services to help organizations break down communication barriers. Today, his company is one of the premier language businesses in the world, with over 4,000 linguists located around the globe, and has been listed six times in Inc. 500/5000 for fastest growing companies in America. Mr. Utrilla also serves as the Honorary Consul of Peru and is the upcoming president of the Utah Consular Corps.