The localization local: June news in translation

Here at Sajan Blog we love to continuously read up on the latest localization and translation articles. In an ever-growing global industry, and on an Internet that seems to be more connected than ever before, the amount of content on these topics seems to be increasing by the hour – some relevant, some subpar and some downright astonishing.

So we thought, instead of reading these articles ourselves and sharing them on our Twitter feed, why not open them up for discussion, highlight a few of our favorites or just share with you what we came across? If you care to listen in, here are a few article headlines and overall trends that caught our interest this month and why we think they’re a good tie into the localization industry.

85 Percent of the World Will Have High-Speed Mobile Internet by 2017

Woah – hold up. Is this for real? According to Mashable.com it is – they shared this article earlier in the month. Based off of the latest statistics from Ericcson’s Traffic and Market Report, Mashable summarizes the rising demands of mobile connectivity. It’s estimated that by 2017 there will be 9 billion mobile subscriptions, half of the world’s population will have access to 4G connections and there will be 3 billion smartphone subscriptions. So if these mobile marketing predictions do come true, what does it mean for the localization industry? Well, a lot.

First and foremost, it would bring about a rising demand for software and mobile device localization. As more and more people gain access to smartphone subscriptions, they’ll want to leverage applications and other devices that are tailored to their liking. App developers and other device companies will also likely take this as an opportunity to expand into new markets and make their platforms more readily available to international users.

Second is the necessity of website localization. The rise of high-speed mobile Internet availability will further increase the surge of Internet users – and if there’s one thing that most global marketers understand (or at least they should) it’s that Internet consumers are more likely to relate, interact and purchase from a website in their native language. With high-speed Internet reaching more people in the next few years, global corporations (or even companies looking to expand internationally) will seek more advanced localization of their websites in order to maximize consumer satisfaction and profitable gain.

What do you think – will mobile advancements have an impact on the localization industry? Or will mobile access only address the markets that global corporations are already aware of?

The Times Is Introducing a Chinese-Language News Site

This last Wednesday night (Thursday morning in China), The New York Times introduced its Chinese language website as part of an effort to expand their reach to international readers and “draw readers from the country’s growing middle class.” And when they say “growing” middle class, they aren’t kidding. According to a recent article by CNNMoney, China’s middle class is estimated at 300 million people – more than the entire population of the U.S. With numbers like that, many companies are thriving in the country where a good majority of people are able and willing to spend money. Seems as though expanding into China would be a “no brainer” for most – but don’t be blinded by the statistics.

While many have labeled The New York Times’ latest move as “about time,” it paints a clear picture for those interested in expanding into new markets. Successful global expansion isn’t something that can be accomplished overnight. It takes thorough evaluation and a lot of planning – even for a world-renowned news source like The New York Times. The smallest of localization needs could make a big difference in the success in new lands. For example, The Times plans to have one-third of their Chinese site’s content written by Chinese editors and local freelance journalists – showing they understand the importance of in-country relevance and localization. They’ve also considered the whole Chinese censorship thing, noting “while the Chinese government occasionally blocked certain articles from nytimes.com, [Joseph Kahn, the paper’s foreign editor] was hopeful that the Chinese government would be receptive to the Chinese-language project.”

We look forward to hearing about the reception of The Times’ Chinese site and in the meantime, we give them praise for what seems to be a well thought out plan to a localized website.

Universal Speech Translator App Ready for Olympics

NewScientist.com released an article this last Wednesday discussing the Universal Speech Translation Advanced Research Consortium’s (U-STAR’s) latest development, VoiceTra4U-M – a new speech translation iPhone app. The app, which seeks to better connect the world’s greatest athletes and spectators at this summer’s 2012 Olympic games, lets people converse with foreigners in their own tongue. It supports 13 different languages, with text translation for a further 10.

This certainly isn’t the first translation app introduced to that market; earlier developments include Google Translate’s app and iSpeak – which include more languages and native accents. However, VoiceTra4U-M (while a mouth full) does include its own perks and is the first to be marketed at the Olympic Games. A smart endeavor, considering that the Olympics is no stranger to language diversity – expecting to host roughly 14,000 foreign athletes and over a million visitors in London this July and August.

While we haven’t tried the app out ourselves, we can only imagine that there will be hesitation from language experts. Real-time machine translation has often beared the burden of much resentment in the localization industry due to its sometimes inaccurate language renderings. Yet this application does show the remarkable capabilities of machine translation in real-time. While it may not be perfect (only time will tell), it does break down barriers in an event commonly separated by its language differences. It will be fascinating to see how much traction VoiceTra4U-M will have at the games – and what innovators of machine translation (real-time or not) will come up with next.

Do you think VoiceTra4U-M will be a hit at this summer’s Olympic Games? Or better yet, what country will you be cheering on?

That concludes this month’s Local on Localization news. Feel free to share any of your opinions on these articles with us below. Have you seen another article this month that you think is worth mentioning? Tell us about it in the comments section.

2 Comments

  1. I love this article and had no idea the NYT is starting up a Chinese website. Awesome!

    Reply
  2. Hi, thanks for sharing this article. Really loved the translation news you have shared. Awaiting for more blogs like this.

    Reply

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