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Archive by tag: TechnologyReturn

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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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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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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Happy 30th Birthday, Unicode!

In October 1991, Unicode 1.0 was first released. In the 30 years since that publication an entire generation of language workers have been educated and started work, never having had to know the “joys” of trying to ungarble text that had gone through multiple encodings. The introduction of Unicode has simplified life for many of us and allowed millions and millions of people to access digital resources in their own languages.
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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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Challenges in Continuous Localization

Our current research into continuous localization shows that the lines have begun to blur between what it means for localization teams to support a traditional Agile model versus one that is more continuous. However, the 53 people who granted in-depth interviews generally agree that the end result remains similar. Organizations must automate as much of the localization process as they can in order to deliver services for mushrooming volumes of content and code that come to them in ever smaller p...
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How The Pandemic Accelerated Change at LSPs

Ask people working in the localization industry if the move to working from home affected them, and many will tell you that they were already “remote” – set up to work from home, due to the nature of their jobs. Language service provider have no physical products to ship, no warehouses to store goods, and no fleets of trucks or ships to coordinate for deliveries. Coordinating language services in this day and age is essentially an ebusiness. On the surface, the switch to working from home app...
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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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Augmenting Human Translator Performance

In the first episode of an iconic sci-fi television series, a NASA test pilot was seriously injured in the crash of an experimental aircraft. The emergency medical team replaced three of his four limbs and one eye with nuclear-powered bionic implants, while a voiceover intoned, “We can rebuild him. We have the technology. We can make him better than he was. Better...stronger...faster." The resulting six-million-dollar-man worked as a secret agent, using his now superhuman powers to battle ...
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The Language Sector in Eight Charts

To understand the effect of the pandemic on the language industry, CSA Research began quarterly surveys of the CEOs of LSPs in March 2020 and expanded regular primary research to LSPs in China, freelancers, langtech vendors, and enterprises. Here we present datapoints to close out 2020 and identify what to expect in 2021.
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