Entry of Big Data into Translation

Last Updated October 5, 2015

Big Data can help process translation and localization projects quickly and efficiently.

With each passing moment, the amount of accessible data in our worlds is increasing.

Although quantifying it exactly is no mean feat, it has been established by an academic study carried out by the W.P. Carey School of Business that all known human data doubles around every 1.2 years.

The term ‘data’ here may refer to facts or figures from both traditional and digital sources. That includes interactions on social media platforms and product transaction information at a retail store, for example.

‘Big Data’ emerges from all the data we obtain from all available sources, traditional as well as digital.

That’s the large, complex, voluminous amount of data, both raw and otherwise, that provides unprecedented insights.

What the link between big data and translation?

“If your business is not on the internet, then your business will be out of business.”

Bill Gates.

In this era where e-commerce thrives beyond measure, it’s the online customer who is king.

A study carried out by the Common Sense Advisory estimates online consumers all around the world together have a spending power of fifty trillion dollars. In real figures, that’s equivalent to 50 followed by twelve zeroes.

Taking into account all the internet users on this planet, just about one-third speak or understand English. The rest encompasses the spending potential of almost 98 per cent of online consumers. You can tap it into if you translate content into other languages spoken by people all over the world.

And this is precisely where big data enters into the world of translation today.

The Best Way Forward

Let’s assume that company ‘X’ is looking to make it big on the global front. The best way forward is to translate content into different languages. Base this work on target languages spoken by your intended

audience in a particular region. This lets the audience/consumer know about the product/service that it’s pitching.

Then, company ‘X’ must efficiently manage and prioritize the flood of global information available to it and seek to decipher the needs and wants of consumers.

This efficient management comes from cloud-driven Big Data analytics. Additionally, qualified human judgment interprets the large pools of data and come out with logical insights.

Big Data has the ability to pave the way for more explicitly tailored products and services, customized for the needs of a particular target audience.

And in a world which is driven by this Big Data, it’s a prerequisite for businesses to be able to translate millions of words on a continuous basis in order to reach the masses.

How do we get there?

The most an expert human translator can manage is around 2500-3000 words per day. And even though machine translations are supposed to be faster, they have the limitation of having only a limited number of phrases to draw upon, resulting in somewhat fragmented translations at times.

How then can the world of translation keep up with Big Data in tow?

The answer lies in cloud-based platforms, which are still somewhat in a stage of infancy, but emerging fast. Offering access to a large number of translators at one go, these platforms help build up translation memory at a rapid pace, leading to an improved quality of machine translation.

No doubt, considerable human intervention and intelligence is still a necessity to even out the inconsistencies (say, between raw numbers and those that depict actual business value) even in this case to ensure that the final translations are up to the mark.

But this presently evolving human-meets-Big Data way of functioning holds great promise as companies think of expanding their operations on a global level.

Let Us Help Navigate This New Terrain

As we step into a machine translation-driven future controlled by cloud-based tools which manage translation and Big Data all over the world, here are two major predictions for the coming years from the czars of the translation industry:

  1. As mobile devices and social media continue to rule the roost in content creation, a WEM (Web Experience Management) system will be the next thing to come up, enabling businesses to optimize translation and localization across all online, mobile and social platforms.
  2. Predictive analytics, thanks to Big Data-driven cloud platforms, will be the next big thing to give birth to and build translation memory encompassing all kinds of content. The onus will be on Big Data analytics and not companies to translate content in order to drive a global marketing strategy and generate highest returns in terms of traffic and otherwise.

In the words of Patrick P. Gelsinger, CEO of the US cloud and virtualization software company VMware, “Data is the new science. Big Data holds the answers. Are you asking the right questions?”

Contact us today to learn more.

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