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Archive by author: Arle LommelReturn

Senior Analyst

Focuses on language technology, artificial intelligence, translation quality, and overall economic factors impacting globalization

Recognizing a Pioneer in Language Teaching

Early in my career, my wife and I lived a few houses down from a truly extraordinary woman named Lorna Call Alder. Born in 1906, Lorna was the first person to develop a now-ubiquitous approach to foreign-language education that emphasizes the deliberate and careful introduction of vocabulary in context and repetition in use within instructional materials. Almost every translator today who has learned a language through formal education owes a small debt of gratitude to this humble woman, who pas...
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Responsive Machine Translation: The Next Frontier for MT

CSA Research’s recent survey-based examinations of machine translation deployment at language service providers, enterprises, government agencies, and among freelancers revealed an ever-widening engagement with the technology. Although it didn’t surprise us, we also found widespread skepticism of claims that MT has reached human parity with numerous calls in open-ended survey comments for “truth in advertising.” Just as significantly, we saw widespread desire for MT to be more suitable for t...
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What Does Talking to Whales Tell Us about Machine Translation?

Recent advances in machine translation (MT) have been truly astounding. Even if claims that the technology has reached parity with human translators are premature and an artifact of particular methods of evaluation, it is clear that the results are much more useful than they were even a few years ago. Now researchers are pursing approaches similar to MT to facilitate communication with animals. In April, National Geographic described Project CETI, an attempt to use the same fundamental technolog...
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Building a Comprehensive View of Machine Translation’s Potential

It is no secret that machine translation (MT) has gone from a relatively niche solution to seeming ubiquity in just a few short years. A forthcoming report from CSA Research on MT use at language services providers shows a 51% increase in adoption since 2019, with over two-thirds of LSPs now using it openly. Similarly, cloud TMS developers reported that 2020 was the year when the majority of segments that they process involved MT. To help develop a comprehensive view of the technology’s role in...
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Big Opportunities in Domestic Language Needs

Populations that do not speak the dominant language are often ignored in the United States and elsewhere, with the exception of certain regulated industries, such as insurance and healthcare. Of course, Spanish is the major non-English language in the U.S. If treated independently, it would be the world’s eleventh-most-significant tongue in economic terms, just behind Italian and just ahead of Dutch. An additional 12 languages spoken in the U.S. surpass at least one official EU language in popu...
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Making the Best of a Bad Year: Five Lessons for 2021

As we look back at the annus horribilis that was 2020, what are some things we can learn and take forward to improve 2021 and come back stronger than ever? In this post, I summarize some of the lessons CSA Research has learned from our conversations with professionals working in enterprise localization departments, at LSPs, or as freelance linguists.
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Microsoft Custom Translator: A Big Step Forward

In late 2015 most developers still treated Neural Machine Translation (NMT) as a future technology that would come someday, but by the middle of 2016 several developers had released functional neural systems that seemed to outperform even the best statistical MT (SMT) engines. Since that point, momentum has shifted decisively in favor of NMT because it delivered better fluency in its output and seemed to promise the end of incomprehensible MT output. Eventually, this rate of stellar progress slo...
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Augmented Translation: Are We There Yet?

In 2017, CSA Research introduced the concept of “augmented translation,” a technology-centric approach to amplifying the capabilities of human translators. Although companies such as Lilt, SDL, and Unbabel had already implemented portions of this model – namely the tight integration of human and machine capabilities, we predicted that more technologies would be folded in over time to create an AI-driven platform for linguists that would make them far more efficient and capable by offloading r...
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TMS Is Dead. Long Live TMS.

A recent examination of how computing power has changed over time calculated how much it would cost today to rent all of the computer capacity that existed at various points in the past. Up until 1968 all the worlds computers’ combined capabilities fell short of what a single server could do in 2018. It was not until 1974 that the then-current capacity (roughly equal to 0.43 teraflops) would exceed £100/month to lease in today’s costs. This exponential drop in the real cost of computing power ...
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Arabic: To Localize or Not to Localize, That Is the Question

With over 222 million Arabic-speaking web users, and an online economic opportunity of 2.5 trillion US dollars in 2020, Arabic is an attractive option for global brands. Nevertheless, it appears on far fewer sites than its potential would indicate. Part of the reason is that localizing into Arabic is not a simple task as it is not a single digital language for content marketing and customer experience. The languages used in the Arabic-speaking world for conversation, social networks, messaging, ...
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