SDL. The SDL Automated Translation Solutions tool attempts to solve the language barrier problem by providing instant translations of web content, Microsoft Office documents, instant messages, and emails. It also allows for integration of automated translation into corporate intranet infrastructures and business applications. Has the global language barrier just been broken?A new tool for businesses dealing with the issue of multilingual communications was launched this week from a company called
Machine Translation - Still A Work In Progress
Last month, a post by Marissa Mayer on the Google Blog pointed out the necessity of machine translation for the future of search, saying that the idea of machine-assisted translation is "an incredibly empowering idea" that could "change the way users experience the web and communicate with each other."
That same concept of empowering communications has been incorporated into the new SDL Automated Translations tool, too. The difference with SDL's tool is that instead of just focusing on translations for the web, it also translates documents, emails, chats, company intranet sites, and even internal business applications. Thanks to the tool's open nature, it can be incorporated into anything from customer-facing content on the web to an internal wiki or blog.
The quality of translations can be adjusted to fit your needs, too. For example, you may want your homepage to offer perfect translations of your text, but would rather have on-the-fly, instant translations for use in IM and email. For those quick translations, the tool simply gives users an approximate understanding of sentences and phrases by using something the company calls 'gist' translations.
Why This Is Big
According to Gilbane Group analyst Leonor Ciarlone, technology advancements and pure computing power have made machine translation not only viable, but also potentially game-changing. A global economy, the volume and velocity of content required to run a global business, and customer expectations is steadily shifting enterprise postures from "not an option" to "help me understand where MT fits."
In their group's Multilingual Communications as a Business Imperative report, they discovered that participants in the study, content management practitioners in multinational organizations, identified machine translation as one of the top three most valuable technologies for the future. Also of note is global communications company Language Weaver's prediction of a potential $67.5 billion market for digital translation, fueled by machine translation. That predication takes into account how new technologies now provide translation at dramatically lowered costs than before. This opens up new, untapped markets, asserts Language Weaver CEO Mark Tapling.
Markets and making money are obviously the focus for the companies involved in these ventures, but we're excited to see machine translation going beyond Google Translate and opening up the business world, too.