Emerging Market Trends In Localization & The Impact Of Technology

emerging market trends localization technology impact translation services

What is localization? Localization is all about adapting your content, product, and/or service to a particular audience. Localization is becoming a staple in many industries and can’t be argued anymore as supplemental. 

With its newfound place as a fundamental strategy, especially in a globalized economy, every business ranging from multinational corporations to bootstrap entrepreneurs are now heavily employing localization. If you’re looking to upgrade your localization strategies to new heights, then here are market and technology trends in the localization industry that you should know. 

Market Trends In The Localization Industry 

Before we understand the impact of technology in the localization industry, here are two general market trends in localization industry. It’ll give you a broad but clear understanding as to what kind of new markets do localization services matter. And with the development of new technologies in a regular basis—most of the Anglo-Saxon markets are already saturated, hence the need for localization services to stay ahead of the game and further reach unexplored territories. The industries catered by the localization industry are vast ranging from legal, technical, healthcare, marketing, to even the automotive, technology, app, and the IT industry. The list grows bigger as markets grow and new industries emerge. 

A. In-Demand Markets For Localization 

A major market trend in the localization industry is the shift towards East Asian language markets, predominantly the Chinese market. Although the Japanese and Korean market still are important markets for the localization industry, their numbers dwarf in comparison to the Chinese market. In addition the Chinese demand for foreign consumer goods remains strong, these points alone should encourage you on localizing your brand into in-demand markets. 

As the second largest economy in the world, the Chinese economy is composed of diverse small-to-medium businesses to conglomerates that are keen on expanding their operations worldwide. This notion also applies the other way round. Multinational corporations also want to establish their own presence in the Chinese market and to localize their content, products, and services. 

B. Localization In Emerging Economies 

In emerging economies, particularly in South Asia and Southeast Asia, rising internet access and mobile device usage presents new opportunities for the localization industry. Multinational corporations will need the services of both the localization and translation industry as they are looking to expand in emerging markets to establish and maintain their own foothold in South Asia and Southeast Asia. 

Catering to these emerging economies will bring new surge of fresh ideas in market research. South Asian and Southeast Asian cultures are extremely diverse which warrants a new understanding as to how to localize to a country when interregional cultures are vastly different. 

Instead of adopting a blanket policy for the whole country, a good localization strategy would involve narrowing the focus to cities. You can observe this by yourself. For example, examining the consumer culture and lifestyle of New Yorkers is going to generate different market research as opposed to San Franciscans. 

Emerging Trends In Technology & Its Role in The Localization Industry 

Now that you understand the emerging market trends in the localization, we can now get a clearer view as to how technology ought to help localization efforts in new markets. 

1. App Localization 

App localization is more than just providing multilingual features and language presets. Emphasizing the importance of user experience, app localization involves optimizing the app’s features and content that is appropriate to an app developers target audience. The app industry is big business worldwide, so it's no surprise that app localization exists. 

2. Cloud Collaboration Software 

Cloud collaboration software does wonders for industries worldwide. Particularly for the localization industry, cloud collaboration software allows for easier and faster coordination between clients. The software can allow multiple parties, regardless of their location, to have access to a central framework for a project. In short, cloud collaboration software reduces the overall cost and time spent in localization and translation transactions. 

3. Computer Aided Transcription Systems 

This is more involved in the translation aspect of the localization industry. Computer Aided Transcription Systems (CAT) is when a human translator uses software to aid their translation process. CAT tools and features such as translation memory and terminology management allows human translators to improve their productivity and accuracy—particularly necessary for companies that receive more than ample localization and translation contracts. 

4. Machine Translation 

CAT is often confused with machine translation. The simple difference is that a human translator is involved in CAT. In machine translation, it is all software. A popular example is Google Translate. When you input a source text, the software instantly translates it. The problem with machine translation is its accuracy. 

Even though their capabilities and accuracy are augmented by AI with deep machine learning capabilities, machine translation still cannot rival the level of accuracy and contextual accuracy of a human translator. 

Although machine translation is the cheapest option, so much meaning and context gets lost in translation and it is a shame to just lose the clever content and wordplay that you and your team have worked on. 

Conclusion: The Impact of Technology on the Localization & Translation Industry 

Instead of joining the bandwagon discussion of technology eventually replacing humans, perhaps we need to look at it in another way. Indeed, some jobs in the language industry will be made redundant, but not all jobs will be replaced. Human translators and localization consultants are still needed for cultural and nuanced contextual understanding; a quality which serves as the foundation of the entire localization industry. 

Another silver lining is that although some jobs will be lost, there will also be new and expanding career choices in the language industry. New specializations such as app translation never existed two decades ago. As technology continues to evolve, instead of asking the question which jobs will disappear, perhaps we need to look at new career opportunities that will emerge.

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