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Smith's Blog

Posted May 16, 2011 at 2:05 PM by Smith Yewell

The Multi-Screen Opportunity

What is the biggest driver of growth in our industry right now?  I believe it is what I refer to as the “multi-screen” opportunity.  Let me explain.  In the past, accessing many forms of content was cumbersome and slow.  Finding what you wanted in a printed manual took a long time.  Renting or buying a video required a trip to the store.  Accessing various forms of content required specialized devices, and connecting these devices was either challenging or nor possible.  These factors contributed to limits in growth and subsequently growth in the translation industry to support multilingual versions of that content and its underlying applications.

But this has all changed, and the change is accelerating.  The TV, the music player, the phone, the game console, these devices are all converging in exciting ways all over the world in nearly every language.  Content is now doubling on the internet every 18 months, and millions of new users are becoming connected every day.  Thus, the way they are accessing information is changing.

I can’t remember the last time when I referenced a hard copy version of content to answer a question.  Like many people, I just Google it.  And I Google it from any screen: my desktop, laptop, phone or TV – and even more so now, my iPad.  The convenience is great, and it is not just content; I am using more and more applications on a variety of screens.  What I am looking for in both content and applications is simple: a great user-experience supporting anything I want, on any device, on-demand, at any time of day and at any place in the world.  And I am not alone.  Look at video as an example.  I recently read that  25% of video is already viewed on mobile devices and internet-enabled televisions, and that number is growing rapidly.

This change as it relates to our industry is centered on two main themes: in a cluttered world with myriad choices, quality content is king, and people will pay for a better user experience on their devices.  Higher quality content and a stronger economic underpinning mean one thing to our industry – more words to translate!  The challenge is how?

Given the momentum in convergence across the information technology spectrum, our industry risks being left behind.  Our technologies must also begin to converge.  Our user experience must become simpler and on-demand.  The quality and speed of our services must progress through collaborative innovation.

There are a variety of innovation efforts being lead by our associations such as GALA and TAUS.  I recommend getting involved.  Change is afoot.  Greater adoption of standards and interoperability benefit all of us in the industry.  If we don’t innovate together, we risk missing an enormous opportunity for our industry as a whole.


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