The language industry has decidedly shifted toward technology over the past five years; a trend accelerated by the productization of AI-based technologies within translation and related language services. Yet despite increasing automation and a drop in unit rates, the industry continues to prosper as demand for multilingual content and communication grows rapidly and providers embrace new business models created by the need for high-quality language data.
Staying informed about the many moving parts of the USD 23-billion language industry is challenging for vendors, buyers, and investors. At SlatorCon, we discuss what matters: Do you grow organically or by M&A? As a buyer, do you consolidate vendors or not? How is new technology creating an impact on the industry? What are the blind spots business owners need to be aware of as the language industry moves into a phase of extreme automation? And which emerging markets have been created by changes in technology?
SlatorCon San Francisco 2019 is built for maximum return on time. Held in the city’s central SOMA district at the W Hotel, it is a half-day conference featuring seven 20-minute presentations and a panel discussion. Speakers and panelists represent many of the key industry stakeholders: service and technology buyers and providers, investors, and technologists. SlatorCon San Francisco is a unique platform to hear from and meet with over 120 industry decision-makers.
Slator Managing Director Florian Faes will open the conference by outlining the key 2019 trends and stories that will shape 2020, including M&A, Big Tech, NMT, and NLP. He will examine who wins and who loses as NLP and MT research is applied to products. Hosting SlatorCon in the world’s technology startup capital, Faes will look at how startups are faring in language services and tech.
One of the backbones of the Internet is fast-growing San Francisco-based Cloudflare. Ranked as one of the 50 most innovative companies, Cloudflare’s future growth relies, in part, on how well it adapts to global markets. Claire Tsai, Cloudflare’s Head of Globalization, will talk about how she is helping shape the billion-dollar company’s global journey.
Next up is Phil Shawe, owner and CEO of the world’s largest language service provider by revenue, TransPerfect. His sprawling organization employs over 5,000 people and serves some of the most demanding accounts in the industry. At SlatorCon, Shawe will discuss how he and his team manage complexity on a scale few other organizations in the industry have reached.
Venture Capital and Private Equity have been instrumental in shaping the language industry over the past decade. Nearly half of the top 20 LSPs are owned by private equity, while a growing cohort of VC-funded startups are attempting to disrupt the existing ecosystem. Knowing how investors perceive the language industry is vital and SlatorCon has assembled an exceptionally high-caliber panel featuring Tomasz Tunguz from Redpoint Ventures (an investor in Lilt), Point72 Ventures’ Sri Chandrasekar (investor in NLP startup PolyAI), and Charles Stubbs, whose firm MSouth Equity Partners recently teamed up with industry veteran Jeff Brink to launch Big Language Solutions. Anyone looking for insights into what drives VC and PE funding and M&A cannot miss this discussion.
After an extensive networking break, Slator Research Director Esther Bond will give an overview of the current areas of focus for Slator’s research desk — from a granular look at the industry’s top verticals to a macro view of the language industry market. Bond will unpack how Slator’s research goes beyond our news-led editorial coverage to shed light on the most relevant areas of the language industry, providing language industry professionals with added value through proprietary data and insights.
NVIDIA Senior Deep Learning Engineer Chip Huyen will then provide an update on what is, perhaps, the most disruptive technology the industry has seen in the past three years: neural machine translation. Chip also teaches the TensorFlow for Deep Learning course at Stanford University. TensorFlow is one of the key machine learning frameworks in neural machine translation.
No wonder it has been called one of the hottest tech stocks on the Australian Stock Exchange. Sydney-based Appen has seen its shares rise an astonishing 4,400% since IPO’ing in 2015, and the company currently weighs in at a market cap of nearly USD 2 billion. Leading Appen’s rise as a provider of high-quality training data for machine learning is CEO Mark Brayan. At SlatorCon San Francisco, Brayan will examine why high-quality language data is critical to solution performance, outline real-world use cases, and discuss the importance of experienced linguists in solution development.
Meredith Stegall, Director of Language Services at Dallas-based Parkland Hospital also deals with large numbers. Her large team of on-staff and external interpreters manage over one million interpretation assignments annually. Stegall will discuss how she navigates the complex and changing regulatory environment, manages costs, and where she sees opportunities in innovation.
Jack Welde, CEO of Smartling and a pioneer of cloud-based translation management, will highlight the key role technology and analytics play in scaling localization. Welde argues that foundational technology, robust analytics, and dedicated people are co-dependent on one another, and each is designed to amplify the success of localization.
Slator Commercial Director Andrew Smart will close the conference by summarizing the event’s key takeaways and providing an update on recent changes to Slator’s service model and new subscriptions as well as the launch of the SlatorCon 2020 events calendar.
Courtesy of Networking Partner memoQ, participants are invited to join the networking reception at the W Hotel’s fantastic Social Terrace after the conference to continue the conversation with industry peers.