As machine translation technology advances at unprecedented rates, translation and localization agency Acclaro educates global businesses about its cost-saving opportunities and potential risks. Acclaro predicts machine translation will offer even more efficiency in the coming ten years and urges businesses to start optimizing content in the immediate term.
New York, NY, May 15, 2013 – Translation and localization agency Acclaro responds to increased demand for machine translation services with the article, “Isn’t the Future Now? Machine Translation and Global Business Growth” published on the company blog. Highlighted are the cost-saving potential and preparatory measures that will become necessary for technical documentation-reliant businesses that currently have, or aspire to have, a profitable global presence in the next 10 years.
Machine translation (MT) has started to have more practical use over the last decade as a cost-effective method for processing large volumes of content. Global companies have increased profits using MT to translate content that is highly controlled in the way it is written and is of a high volume — content such as service manuals, support databases and legal documentation.
The greatest benefit of machine translation is its speed and cost-cutting potential, with savings as high as 50% after human post-editing. However Acclaro warns that current machine translation technology has limited accuracy for complex, high-context material such as consumer-facing marketing and advertising copy. Using MT on the wrong type of source material will yield inaccurate meanings and awkward sentence structures that require re-translation. Businesses must also consider the costs of training the machine translation tool, which requires a substantial investment up front.
“The key to machine translation is knowing when and how to use it. In the right scenario, it’s a cost effective solution with good potential for a quality product. In the wrong scenario, machine translation will not be faster or cheaper than traditional human translation,” said Michael Kriz, founder and president of Acclaro.
Good candidates for machine translation are documents of one million words or more with frequently updated content or large internal documentation that only need to be “draft” quality. The source material must be written in a way that is easily translatable, employing a limited vocabulary and a highly controlled writing methodology
“The quality of your translation depends entirely on the quality of your original content. Forward-thinking businesses can start training technical writers to use simplified sentences, an active voice, and consistent core terminology. Defining a style guide with a controlled, limited vocabulary will pay off exponentially in the long run,” said Michael Kriz.
Acclaro predicts that in the coming five years, hybrid MT technology will reach a level of advancement that significantly impacts the bottom line for well-prepared global businesses. Fifteen years from now, Acclaro foresees machine translation will be the primary tool for high volumes of content on the low end of the return on investment scale (such as product documentation). Purely human translation will be reserved for customer-focused pre-sale material and other high-context, high-value content, according to Acclaro.
“Global businesses, and fast growing businesses that have potential to expand into the global market, must prepare now for the future of machine translation. Failing to address today’s changing technology will lead to exponential costs down the road,” said Michael Kriz.
“At Acclaro, we help businesses choose the translation methods that are best for their current and future translation and localization strategy. We keep our clients ahead of the curve by anticipating technology advancements and preparing now for where the industry is going.”
Acclaro is an international translation and localization agency that helps the world’s leading brands succeed across cultures. With its global headquarters in New York and offices and affiliates in San Francisco, Boston, Buenos Aires, Bangkok, Tokyo and Paris, the agency translates websites, marketing campaigns, documents and software for global enterprises, giving clients an authentic voice in key language markets.