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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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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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Headless Global Content Doesn’t Happen by Magic

In recent years, there’s been a lot of buzz around “headless” systems – whether for content creation and management or for the translation workflows that feed the global customer experience. The concept being that rather than having a traditional front- and back-end (publishing and creation), these systems allow content to be magically managed, extracted, repurposed, and delivered through a myriad of end points, from mobile apps to corporate websites integrated with a partner’s own custom p...
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Do B2B Buyers Value Localized Experiences?

“Would you pay more for a localized product?” That’s been a core question in CSA Research’s long-running “Can’t Read, Won’t Buy” (CRWB) series of survey-driven reports. Since our first analysis in 2006 we’ve seen a strong preference for local language and localization, even if it costs the buyer more. That partiality for a user experience persisted in our 2020 survey for B2B buyers of technology products but was less of a factor for our B2C respondents whom we quizzed on more than 20 pu...
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MT as a Platform Service

Last August when I delivered the opening keynote at the MT Summit on “responsive MT,” one trend that I identified was the emergence of MT as a platform-level service provided by creators of enterprise ecosystems. Although this move has just started, it will be one of the biggest drivers for growth of language services in the coming years as it creates an expectation of ubiquitous multilingualism across a wide variety of services.
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When Localization Audits Aren’t Enough

CSA Research is well-known for its Localization Maturity Model™ (LMM) and Localization Maturity Assessments, based on 15 years of longitudinal data collection and analysis from observing organizational behavior around the translation and localization functions within global organizations. The LMM has enjoyed widespread usage and validation ever since its release as evidenced by its many references and adaptations throughout the localization industry. We have enhanced the original model based on...
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Changing Language – Inclusive Terminology in the Enterprise

Language constantly evolves. We all know words from our childhood that today’s kids don’t understand (or laugh at), and teens constantly introduce us to new slang and acronyms. Marketers develop new concepts; community and culture drive changes in what is current, acceptable, or outdated. People working in localization know that this translates to human effort in finding the right way to convey the same concept in a multitude of languages.
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Flurry of Language Industry Investments and Mergers & Acquisitions Wrap Up 2021

Four noteworthy announcements over the last two weeks provide several object lessons in how the language services and technology industry works and is evolving: Smartling and Lokalise both received substantial infusions of venture capital (VC), while Summa Linguae Technologies and Unbabel each revealed an acquisition (M&A). Although each announcement was individually interesting, in aggregate they are instructive. In this post we focus on global content management and full-service LSPs, tying th...
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