Article in partnership with Day Translations. What are the most noteworthy trends in language translation and what do we need to pay attention to?
Are All Trends Made Equal?
When we talk about trends, are we actually focusing on what is likely to stay in the long term or just a short term fad?
Some trends can go in and out of fashion while others are here to stay.
Even the word “trend” in itself has staying power. In fact, the British and American English word “trend” is a term used in many languages. Here is a list of languages that use “trend” in every day conversations, in alphabetical order (source Collins Dictionary):
On a side note: I am an Italian native speaker and as such I just wanted to share an interesting fact. While ‘trend’ is a word commonly used both in print and in conversation, ‘tendenza’ is the Italian language equivalent and at the time of writing there is draft legislation being discussed to replace English language words with their Italian equivalent particularly online and in print, with a very specific focus on job descriptions as many vacancies include roles normally identified with English words (for example, Marketing and Chief Executive Officer, see article in Sole24Ore which mentions that non-compliant companies and organisations can potentially be fined up to 100k euro).
What Translation Trends To Look For
The obvious trend is Artificial Intelligence, because machine translation has been around for years
(see related article about machine translations). While it is often expected that machine translations are supposed to be cost-effective, their varying degrees of accuracy (which can be as low as 60%) require the added editing and contextualising of professional translators. We could probably call A.I. a historical trend at this point, bearing in mind that the technology keeps becoming more sophisticated through machine learning.
Remote translations have also gained in popularity, particularly since 2020 as global lockdowns due to Covid19 caused millions of people to stay at home. While Zoom has become pretty much the default for distance meetings, when it comes to translations (and instantaneous interpretation) some proprietary platforms may be the preferred option, especially when highly confidential business is being discussed. Remote translations have been around for decades but remote interpretation has emerged from 2020 onwards as a result of the pandemic and as a way to meet the demand for language interpretation without having to arrange in person meetings.
It is no longer enough to offer translation services if the translated text does not reflect specific local knowledge and culture. It’s all about providing an immersive and engaging customer experience that is seamless and frictionless. If we take Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) as an example, they enable users to view content from different countries with different IP addresses. The customer experience is the same as that of users viewing the content originated or broadcast from a different country. Localisation also takes into account branding and how to adapt it to local taste and cultural references.
Search engine optimisation is an art in itself, requiring constant learning as the search algorithms shapeshift to capture user intention and render results that match search terms. When translating a website into one or more other languages, it is vital not to lose all the work done to select specific keywords. Simple machine translations don’t have the necessary awareness of cultural environments, sensitivities and caveats that a professional translator has. Going over search terms and giving them the correct context and translation is absolutely essential to translate a website and for its translated web pages to display when users are searching in their local language.