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A Year of Recovery in the Language Industry – and Just About Everywhere Else

2020 disrupted nearly every human activity on the planet. The pandemic, lockdowns, and economic consequences blocked the expected growth in language services that we forecast for that year (“The Language Services Market (2021)”). In stark contrast, 2021 was a year of recovery for most of the language services and technology companies that responded to the survey for the 18th CSA Research Global Market Study. They got back on track from the pandemic body slam, optimized and rethought their busi...
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Curves Ahead: MT and the Future of Language Technology

Technology developments tend to follow a typical pattern of improvement over time, known as an S-curve. Although it is a familiar pattern, it is worth unpacking its five phases and considering how they apply to language technology and forecasts about it. Examining how they have played out with successive generations of machine translation points to a future in which other advanced natural language processing technologies have tremendous potential to deliver useful and innovative capabilities.
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Advance Your Language Strategy through Perfecting RFP Execution

Organizations often fail to leverage their RFPs as an opportunity to advance their language strategies. Instead, they focus on cost, delivery dates, and punitive measures to be taken if benchmarks aren’t met and thus end up replicating the status quo. But it doesn’t have to be this way year after year. By recognizing underlying goals for launching RFPs and defining specific goals that are tied to corporate-wide initiatives, localization teams can leverage RFPs to advance their strategic object...
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July 19, 2022| Rebecca Ray | Procurement | For Buyers | |

Mind The (Language) Gap

“Mind the gap!” A phrase often heard at railway stations or on the subway: voiced during announcements or indicated by signs, it encourages people to avoid falling between the train and the platform. It refers to a physical distance and a dangerous hole that suitcases, legs, and small children might disappear into. It is the moment of moving between one customer experience and the next: the starting point and solution, the vehicle and the destination, the expectation and the reality. But are t...
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Sentient AI: Parrot, Parity, or Parody?

Last week, the Washington Post published an article about Blake Lemoine’s claim that his employer Google’s LaMDA language model/chatbot system had achieved sentience and had a “soul.” Lemoine, an engineer in the company’s responsible AI group, based his assertion on a dialogue in which LaMDA expressed human-seeming sentiments and concepts. Google placed Lemoine on leave, thereby sparking renewed discussion about what machine sentience is and what it means. What can the experience of the lan...
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The LSP Journey to Digital Transformation

“Digital transformation” has become an inescapable buzzword. The COVID-19 pandemic sped up the shift to everything digital – even for predominantly paper-based language service providers. However, what LSPs call digital transformation (DX) ranges from eliminating every scrap of paper in their business to reinventing their whole business model. As a result, providers are all on a different step in their journey.
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Mastering Globalization in the De-Globalization Era

For the last few months pundits across the political spectrum have written op-ed columns and long articles questioning whether geopolitical events such as war and polarized politics signal the end of globalization. This post considers those concerns of policymakers but contends that activities to address the growing complexity of a de-globalizing planet raises the bar for any organization operating in multiple countries – and that this reality will create new opportunities for anyone who can ma...
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Swiss Cheese and Customer Experience

In the late 19th century my great-grandfather, Otto, smuggled the culture for Gruyère cheese from Switzerland to the United States. Thinking about him reminds me of the “Swiss Cheese Model,” an approach to accident prevention that focuses on putting up multiple barriers that should collectively prevent major mishaps even if one or more of them has a hole in it. A similar “Reverse Swiss Cheese Model” applies to international customer experience. To see how, imagine an English-centric company ...
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Software Developers – Yes, You!

To put it bluntly, your latest and greatest product feature or code fix may only be applicable for a minority of your customers. If your company’s international revenue is approaching or has already surpassed 50% – but customers outside of the home market cannot use all product functions – there’s a problem. The product that you work so hard to perfect can’t be considered world-class until the world beyond your primary market can gain 100% access to features that make sense for their user e...
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How to Perfect Your Cold Emailing Technique

Cold emailing is the equivalent of cold calling – the solicitation of a potential customer who had no prior interaction with a salesperson – and is simply handled by email. It means you reach out to a sales target without them having made the first move. And that’s why it amounts to shooting an arrow in the dark. Why? The prospect doesn’t know you. Your email may land in a spam filter or remain unread even if it was delivered. Cold emailing is a tough exercise. Sometimes your arrow will hit,...
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