We envision translation as an ubiquitous service — so goes the TAUS mission statement. However, this reality will likely only be possible with systems interoperability. This occurs when diverse systems can exchange and process information without human intervention. For ubiquitous translation we would need wide-scale systems interoperability across the industry. We are far from that right now.
Before diving into the interoperability landscape, let’s first examine the value of having translation as an ubiquitous service. The idea is that in a knowledge-driven, interconnected and globalizing world, translation is a basic human requirement — the communications oil to smooth and fuel the workings of commerce and society. Most sales funnels aren’t the same vertical drop they used to be. McKinsey & Company has done a good job of articulating this change through its work on the consumer decision journey. We’ve adapted this exhibit to create Figure 1. From the top blue arrow we see that consumers’ decisions are affected by their search and review processes. With Web 2.0, we’re firmly situated in a user-driven rather than publisher-driven world, and most companies are still playing catch-up to this reality. The bottom blue arrow outlines the range of relationship management tools that companies need to employ if they want happy and loyal customers.
At each stage in the consumers’ journey, there are established and new opportunities for the language services industry, from multilingual search engine optimization to sentiment mining, all the way around to real-time multilingual chat. It’s clear that there are tremendous growth opportunities in the years ahead.
The usual progression for most new revenue opportunities is that they are accepted as labor-intensive tasks for a while before the pressure to automate comes to the forefront.
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