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Smith's Blog



Posted Dec 14, 2010 at 1:39 PM by Smith Yewell

We recently celebrated Thanksgiving here in America, and Welocalize surely has much to be thankful for this year.

  • Riverside Partners has invested $34 million to support our expansion plans
  • We now have an outstanding team located in the United Kingdom through our merger with Lloyd International Translations (LIT)
  • Q3 marked another great quarter for Welocalize with sales increasing 32% through September over the same period in 2009
  •  GlobalSight now powers translation matching for the 2.7 billion word TAUS TM super-cloud

Not only is the Riverside investment a great vote of confidence in Welocalize, it is a great vote of confidence in our industry. While many industries around the world are still struggling from the recession, we are fortunate to be in an industry that is growing at a double-digit rate! The credit for this great news goes to our staff, clients and translation partners all around the world.

The changes happening in our industry are equally exciting. The quality process is becoming more community oriented; there is a strong groundswell for openness and technology interoperability, and collaboration across competitors is growing in order to best serve client needs. On top of all of that, content on the internet is doubling every 18 months. Someone is going to have to translate the ever increasing volumes of this content – which means amazing opportunity for all of us!

I want to thank our clients, partners and staff for all that we have achieved this year, but we have even more great things to come!  My vision for the future is one where our products and services enable any content, on any device, in any language – at any time. The “always-on” world in which we live is requiring “on-demand translation” in order to keep up with the increased pace and volume of content demanded by end-users the world over. I believe our industry is still coming up short in creating an easy-to-use multilingual end-user experience, and we want to revolutionize the way translation is performed and delivered.  I see the revolution primarily being fought at two points in our supply chain which I call the first mile and the last mile.

The “first mile” revolution in our supply chain is at the point of connecting with translators.  We need to make it easier for translators to be an integrated, productive and profitable part of our supply chain.   I don’t think we will be able to keep pace with the changes in the world until we bridge this first mile gap in our supply chain. We need to make it easier and cheaper for translators to deliver quality work on time. Translators should be able to select an inexpensive or even free tool of their choice and have it easily connect to any other tool in the supply chain. Translators should be able to openly collaborate on a shared platform – even across competing multi-language vendors. We need to enable translators to be more efficient and more profitable. Otherwise, the number of high-quality translators in our supply chain will decline.

There is also a revolution happening in the last mile of our supply chain. I describe the last mile as the connection to actual end-users of the translated content.  The same lack of interoperability in the first mile of our supply chain limits our connectivity in the last mile to end-users. Community technologies are bringing buyers and sellers ever closer together in other industries and improving the user experience. However, in our industry, the traditional translation quality/review process rarely includes end-users. Instead, the process is limited to a closed loop of linguistic review by additional linguists. Yes, this step is necessary, but until we know the true value perception of end users it is hard to determine the appropriate budget for this step by language. This closed loop of translation QA is being perpetuated by what I call the SDL “walled garden.” Until we can create open and seamless connections at both ends of our supply chain through open APIs and standard data exchange protocols, we will not achieve the necessary interoperability to improve time, cost and quality.

I describe our current supply chain as a series of black boxes of service providers and tools that are disconnected from each other. I think our industry has reached a state of maturity where it is imperative to open and connect the boxes and create a better user experience for each constituency in the chain. The result will be time, cost and quality improvements, and all boats will rise on the changing industry tide.
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