We’re at an interesting inflection point in the translation industry. The technology to develop and enhance business processes is already here and works — but the global enterprise is still catching up. Amazing opportunities await you in MT, if you’re able to recognize the potential.
At LocWorld 48 in Silicon Valley earlier this month, Intento Co-founder and CEO, Konstantin Savenkov, was joined by two MT veterans — Jeff Beatty (Executive Director, Project Management — Localization at Disney +) and Rolf Hecken (Manager, Outreach Stakeholder Engagement, Translation Bureau of Canada) — for a discussion about the industry shift toward MT; particularly on why it’s hard to embrace change and the success that often follows when you do.
Deciding to Get Started in MT
A common driver leading to MT is a lack of human resources in the face of large volumes of content to be translated. This leads to an inflection of deadline delays and a burned-out workforce. As a government organization, the Translation Bureau of Canada has a mandatory obligation to provide top-quality translations for both official languages along with indigenous languages (about 350 million words per year) — but at the same time, they still have to maintain strict adherence to deadlines. In their case, the level of work to be done drove them to experiment more with MT. After looking at the proof of concept, they found themselves very impressed with the results.
Even if you are a small enterprise, your ultimate goal is to grow and build a large customer base. These days, that inevitably means globalizing to some extent. Eventually, the time will come when you either need to compensate for resource constraints (for example, the availability of translators) or increasing volumes. You’re not going to be able to slow down the content machine, no matter how much you’d like to.
“It’s not really a question of if you should get into that space; at some point, you are going to have to get into that space” — Jeff Beaty, Disney +
Convincing Your Team to Embrace MT As a New Tool
One element you may have to deal with is misinformation about the nature of AI and machine translation. Many companies need help with the workload and pressure their translators are under but don’t get help from machines because they’re worried about permanently replacing their translators. This isn’t the case. MT is a tool that can help your translators do their jobs more efficiently — not a replacement for their role altogether.
“We’re building a tool to help our translators get regular working hours” — Rolf Hecken, Translation Bureau of Canada
So, you might need to do a lot of mentoring to get your team to understand what machine translation will mean for your business case. For the Translation Bureau of Canada, this meant putting together a start-pack of proof of concepts to get employees to understand where they were heading.
To do this, they tackled the same project in two ways — once with just translators and then the same project, but this time Intento connected them to several stock engines. Training these engines for their specific use case gained them around 70% efficiency. That meant they could not only give their employees much-needed relief but also start attacking their content backlog without overloading the translators. Once the team saw these results, they began to ask to help improve the model even more with glossary support for specific terminology.
This shows that even if a team is hesitant at first, some exposure to the potential results will help get them enthusiastic about the benefits MT will yield once they own the product.
Learn More Best Practices at the Intento MT Playbook Webinar on December 13th
So you think you’re ready to take the leap into MT? Learn more MT best practices from companies like Nike, Stripe, GAP, AstraZeneca, and NetApp at this year’s flagship Intento webinar, The Enterprise Machine Translation Playbook 2022/2023. Save your spot here.
This two-hour webinar will mix real-life customer stories with deep dives into MT ROI, machine voice, the expanding role of loc teams, and centralization vs. sharing. We’ll also look at MT as a force for inclusivity and accessibility when thinking about customer and employee experience.
It’s a great opportunity to learn about major developments in MT over the past year, the latest on pre-processing and automatic post-editing, and MT trends going into 2023. Hope to see you there!