SDL Research Reveals Surprising Statistics on the Challenges of Rapid Growth within the Translation Industry

Five key insights unveil technology trends and forecasts for the market future

Maidenhead, UK


MAIDENHEAD, U.K. & WAKEFIELD, Mass. – May 19, 2016 – SDL (LSE: SDL) today announced the release of its Translation Technology Insights research study, examining the role of technology in the translation industry. With nearly 3,000 respondents across 115 countries and nine languages, the survey findings are comprised of responses from freelance translators, employees of translation agencies and translation-related roles within business – making this the largest and most expansive within the translation industry to date. 

With 30 years’ experience in the industry and over 70% market share, SDL is keen to better understand trends within the localization space and the challenges that stifle progress within it. The findings from this survey provide a realistic view of the issues, direct from the people within it. Centered around the role of technology within translation, SDL uncovered the following five critical insights:

  1. Quality is king: Quality of translation is 6x more important than cost, and 2.5x more important than speed
  2. Productivity tools need significant investment: 72% of respondents believe they would lose competitive advantage without translation productivity tools
  3. New ways to work are required. The industry needs to invest in collaboration and sharing: 79% of agencies and freelancers work with remote teams
  4. There is a need for systems and workflow integration: 79% of respondents use two or more categories of translation productivity software
  5. The future lies in personalization and better user experience: 59% of respondents like to customize their software

The analysis of the findings brought to light some unexpected realities within the industry. For translation quality, there is a strong disconnect between the importance of quality and standardization measurement in the market. This poses the question on the need for the industry to adopt an objective approach to consistent quality standards. Additionally, the report highlights the value of machine translation – though it is by no means a universally welcomed or leveraged technology currently. This indicates that the integration of machine technology may be a natural next step for improving translation efficiency.

As an industry driven by technology, the survey emphasizes a clear reliance on different types of translation productivity technology, however it also showcases the need for this technology to better integrate with and support user preferences and behaviors. As the market growth continues to accelerate, efficiency and productivity need to be matched by the industry truths that are turnaround times, remote working and siloed translation projects.

“The results from this survey identify several areas where the translation industry can take direction for the future,” said Massimo Ghislandi, VP Translation Productivity SDL. “As a technology leader in translation, it is our responsibility to dig into each of these key indicators and we are committed to driving the conversation around the development of and the future of the translation market. We look forward to sharing more insights and working with the translation community to enhance overall processes and the resources available to the market.”

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RWS Holdings plc is the world’s leading provider of technology-enabled language, content management and intellectual property services. We help our customers to connect with and bring new ideas to people globally by communicating business critical content at scale and enabling the protection and realization of their innovations. 

Our vision is to help organizations interact effectively with people anywhere in the world by solving their language, content and market access challenges through our collective global intelligence, deep expertise and smart technology. 

Customers include 90 of the globe’s top 100 brands, the top 10 pharmaceutical companies and 18 of the top 20 patent filers worldwide. Our client base spans Europe, Asia Pacific, and North and South America across the technology, pharmaceutical, medical, legal, chemical, automotive, government and telecommunications sectors, which we serve from offices across five continents. 

Founded in 1958, RWS is headquartered in the UK and publicly listed on AIM, the London Stock Exchange regulated market (RWS.L). 

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