The development of technology will change the nature of all work in the future and the translation industry is no exception. This development should not, however, be steered by the translation industry’s internal motives, let alone happen on the terms of technology itself. What it should be steered by are the wishes and needs of the customers. The importance of language and translation technology, for example, lies in the way it helps service providers meet current and future demand.


What, then, does this mean for translators and translation industry from today’s perspective? In addition to our own opinions and experiences, this reflection is based on the speeches given in November 2016 at the Translating Europe: Kielityö 2020 seminar. The speakers at the seminar were Rudy Tirry, the President of the European Union of Associations of Translation Companies, Maria Leinonen, the ‎Chief Operating Officer at Lingsoft Language Services, Jari Herrgård, the Chief Operating Officer at Synble and translator Kristiina Ådahl from Delingua Language Services.

Large-scale translations quickly

We live in a mobile world where everything is expected to happen ever more quickly. This accelerated pace is now part of working life everywhere. It also means that completed translations have to be made available more quickly than before.


What does delivering completed large-scale translations quickly mean in practice? That they must be divided to be translated by more than one translator simultaneously. This has resulted in creating new working methods as well as developing tools to support these processes.


– Producing a successful shared translation project requires the right kind of processes. It calls for highly integrated tools, efficient communication and clear instructions, said Jari Herrgård at the Translating Europe: Kielityö 2020 seminar. Kristiina Ådahl also thinks that, due to the size of the translation team, in large-scale projects the importance of the translation tools, such as translation memories and glossaries, is emphasized. Which is no wonder, since special attention must be paid to maintaining the consistency of the translation.


Cloud-based applications, which are also used at the translation agency Translatum, are particularly suitable for working on shared projects. The advantage of using these tools is that information is updated automatically in real time. This way all the fruits of the team members’ labour are immediately accessible to all of them. This improves both speed and quality at the same time.


This subject is also discussed in our earlier article Navitep takes translation process to cloud.

Let’s deliver what’s needed

For a provider of translation services, it is crucial to be sensitive to the customer’s situation during the order process. – In the translation industry it is necessary to focus on the needs of the customer. This may seem obvious in all sectors, but it is not, noted Jari Herrgård. Herrgård was referring to a state of affairs which has been prevalent in the HPAC sector for a long time: a piping renovation in a block of flats can take as long as three months and complicate the lives of the residents significantly. And yet, none would complain.


In the translation industry, however, this is not an option. The person receiving the quote request must be able to recognize the customer’s current need and respond to it. Sometimes this means prioritizing staying on schedule over revision of the content. This, on the other hand, has to do with the above-mentioned skills and resources related to shared projects. Sometimes, however, the customer values the content, fluency and correct tone of the translation the most. But even then the translation agency has to be able to select the right translators and proofreaders for the job and instruct them properly.

Automation provides time savings in the translation industry

– The technologies are not important in themselves, but because of the value they can produce in the client’s processes, reminded Maria Leinonen in her speech. She also encouraged the listeners to consider further how language technology can make the production of language services more efficient.


In the translation industry, the term ‘language technology of the future’ is most commonly used to refer to machine translation. This technology has advanced in great leaps recently, since Google introduced its latest version of Google Translate, which utilizes neural machine translation technology. With the help of this new method, the error rate has been reduced by as much as 85 percent in the most important language pairs of the service.


We will still have to wait for decent Finnish machine translations, though. Technology can, however, produce value in translation services in other ways, for instance by making different working phases more efficient. One example of this is the automated ordering system of Translatum based on our translation management system.

The service portfolio of translation agencies diversifies

Digitalization of communication has opened up new opportunities for operators in the translation industry. The demand from customers as well as the increased competition directs the providers of translation services to include new services in their selection.


The know-how in the translation and language sector is easily integrated with service production in related industries. These include online communication and digital marketing. According to the keynote speaker of the seminar, Rudy Tirry, such new services could be, for instance, SEO of multilingual content and other tasks related to content management of websites and other online services. Furthermore, wide international networks and resources bring additional benefits for the client.


In order to serve its clients as comprehensively as possible, our partner Translatum also offers services related to SEO Translation and translation content management.


If there is something else you would like to receive from your language service provider? Let us know and we’ll find the best way to meet your needs!