Business globalization and localization industry research and consulting firm, Common Sense Advisory (http://www.commonsenseadvisory.com), has released its technology and business model predictions for the language services and software industries for 2008. From machine translation to the impact of the shrinking U.S. dollar, the analysts include the following as globalization and localization trends for the coming year:
1. Foreign exchange drives more translation and shifts production centers. The shrinking U.S. dollar signals an opportunity for companies in markets with strong currencies to get more translation for less money. Meanwhile, the same euro-dollar exchange rates will cause pains for language service providers billing in dollars but paying for staff and utilities stronger currencies; many LSPs will bill even their American customers in euros and look for translators they can pay in dollars. While they’re shopping for bargain-basement iPods and Hermès scarves in New York and Chicago, non-American LSPs will look to buy U.S. vendors. Meanwhile, a weak dollar may translate into more exports for American companies – thus increasing the need for translation services in the United States. But with U.S. rappers flashing euros instead of Benjamins, it’s time to hedge your dollar-denominated investments.
2. Technology from new sources breaks traditional translation molds. The wave of new language technology that started in 2005 will continue, productizing new approaches from East and South Asia, Eastern and Central Europe, and the Middle East. Besides the switch in geography, firms closer to the corporate mainstream like acrolinx and MadCap will add multilingual functions, thus enabling cross-border marketing, CRM, and customer service applications. Open source devotees will add even more options to the multilingual support mix. Meanwhile, mash-ups will plant the seeds for a gmail-like translation memory software as a service.
3. Terminology pushes to the forefront. Terminologists will start to be seen as the druids of the translation process in 2008. Early adopters at IBM, Medtronic, and SAP will feel vindicated in their long-term, systematic attention to terminology. Companies at the third and fourth level of the Localization Maturity Model will begin paying for full-time terminologists. In fast-moving companies, Wiki technology and other collaboration tools will move terminology from a fervent hope to more of a mainstream function. Vendors of terminology management tools will feel pressure to open their product’s application programming interfaces.
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