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Our Analysts' Insights

Archive by author: Arle LommelReturn

Senior Analyst

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

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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China Shows the Way into the Post-COVID-19 Future

In late April and early May, CSA Research partnered with the Institute of Language Services, Hebei Normal University for Nationalities to survey 135 language service providers in China about their experience during the period when COVID-19-related restrictions were in force and what has happened since they were relaxed. As the first country to have experienced stringent limitations on movement, social activity, and work – as well as the first to emerge from them – the experience of Chinese LSP...
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Global Customer Experience Is Yesterday

How companies respond to COVID-19 is showing just how seriously they treat the customer experience. Those that had good systems and processes in place before the pandemic have fared well, while others are finding that their costs are higher and their customers angry. The pandemic has revealed what companies should have been doing all along but had neglected. Although the current situation will challenge even the best run companies, those that have shown that they are there with their customers w...
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Caring for the Linguist Supply Chain

In a separate blog post ("AB5, COVID-19, and the Plight of Freelance Linguists"), we examined some of the challenges that freelance linguists face right now on two fronts: COVID-19 and changes to labor law – focusing on the situation in California – that have created difficulties for individuals who work as contractors for many LSPs or clients. In this post, we turn to some of the concrete actions that LSPs, end buyers, and linguists themselves can take to improve the situation of th...
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AB5, COVID-19, and the Plight of Freelance Linguists

The COVID-19 pandemic and uncertainty about California Bill 5 (AB5) and similar laws have created turbulence for freelance linguists. Together, they show both the strengths and challenges that the translators and interpreters who power the industry face. COVID-19 has shown how precarious a position many of them are in, including highly successful professionals. Regardless of whether linguists are employees or freelancers, the current situation demonstrates how interconnected all parties are and ...
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The Multilingual Conversation Challenge, Part 2: Logistical Challenges

In our last piece on this topic, we examined some of the technology challenges that stymy enterprises as they try to build conversation agents, such as chatbots, for multilingual audiences. Many developers express a pessimistic outlook about their ability to deliver them in multiple languages. One of the largest developers stated that it assigned the likelihood of success for these projects at less than 30%. In this installment, we discuss some of the business and conceptual difficulties that en...
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The Multilingual Conversation Challenge, Part 1: Technology

Chatbots, machine-authored text, and automated information retrieval and summarization are increasingly important to global businesses seeking to interact more efficiently with customers and meet their needs. Recent developments in this area have been spectacular and AI-driven intelligent agents (chatbots and virtual digital assistants, such as Siri, Cortana, and Alexa) are among the most visible success cases for machine-generated content. Enterprises look to these applications as ways to reduc...
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