Farewell Localization: Welcome to the Brave New World of AI
icons-action-calendar7 Feb 2019
6 minute read
This year at TAUS we are saying farewell to localization. A new sensation, a form of artificial intelligence (AI) that can exist outside our human brain and mimic our intellectual tasks is here. Together we can design new pipelines: automated, data-driven, and self-learning. We can make translation and localization invisible and reinvent ourselves as the Global Content Industry.

It happens rarely: the moment you wake up to a new world. Perhaps once or twice in a lifetime. For instance, when you have just become a parent. It’s a moment of truth, full of excitement and anxiety. You need to redefine yourself, who you are, what you do.

A similar sensation is shaking up the translation and localization industry. A sensation of a form of intelligence that can exist outside our human brain and mimic our intellectual tasks. We saw it coming, but we couldn’t tell what to make of it until it really had arrived.

This year at TAUS we are redefining the localization industry - who we are and what we do. We are giving a welcome to the brave new world of AI. Together we can design new pipelines: automated, data-driven, and self-learning. We can make translation and localization invisible and reinvent ourselves as the Global Content Industry. We can share our surprises about the exponential changes and accelerating returns. The shift will be monumental with new careers on the move, and an abundance of new business opportunities to create abundance.

Global Content Summits & Conference

Each of our Global Content Summits – in Amsterdam, New York, Silicon Valley, Tokyo, London, Istanbul – will be full of excitement and anxiety. The journey we started in December 2017 with the Nunc Est Tempus book (Now is the Time to Redesign Your Translation Business) brings us finally to Salt Lake City in the last week of June for the CEO Forum and the Global Content Conference & Exhibits.

Any new design comes with interesting questions and dilemmas. Where is the technology taking us? How do we upshift our skills and fix the knowledge gap? How do we optimize our content streams? Can we ensure equal access to data for everyone? How do we manage content integrity? Can we agree on standard metrics for measuring quality and performance? As a buyer, what do I use now - CAT tool, a GMS workflow system or a platform? As an LSP, where do I look for new business while ensuring my bottom line? These, and many more questions, will be addressed at TAUS this year.

See below for just a small selection of the themes, companies, and speakers at the TAUS Global Content Summits & Conference. Check out the actual programs as they take shape on the TAUS Events pages. And respond to the Call for Proposals for the Global Content Conference in Salt Lake City if you want to play an active role in the conversations.

The Human Parity Conversation

Claims have been made that machine translation is reaching human parity. Is it really? In which context is this a useful idea? How big are the gaps? Each advance in quality opens up new applications for MT. Not to speak of natural language writers that can generate the original content. What’s next in this exciting era of advancement?

At TAUS, the leaders in MT and AI traditionally come together to exchange the latest ideas and most recent discoveries. Come and meet the giants (Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Facebook), compare them with all the large and small industry suppliers that have set up their own full-service and secure MT solutions (SDL, Welocalize, Lionbridge) or with dedicated MT providers such as KantanMT and Iconic. How is the MT battle going to play out?

LSPs at the Crossing-point

One thing is sure: No LSP in this world can ignore the advances made in translation automation. Even though adoption of MT is still relatively low – according to the DQF numbers in Q4 of 2018 ‘only’ 13.9% of the output was sourced from MT – the power and potential of MT is universally acknowledged. Raw MT output exceeds human translation in volume by a factor of more than a thousand.

Owners and managers of LSP companies come to TAUS conferences to learn from the successes and failures of others. To decide where to focus their business, on quantity or quality, or both. To redirect their business towards new value-added services. And to sell out perhaps, before it’s too late. We may be reaching that ‘Kodak’ moment. And industry consolidation may be just what we all need in these crazy times.

The Buyers Dilemma

Then there are the buyers facing the challenge of managing ever more content. Static product content usually runs smoothly through traditional CAT and TMS systems. But for dynamic content – customer support, social media, FAQ’s, e-commerce – new translation platforms are much more attractive. They can integrate everything in a simple few clicks on an interface: Neural real-time trainable MT, gig workers, dashboards, and content filters.

Big and smaller buyers from the technology, automotive, life sciences, games, and other verticals come to TAUS conferences for a safe place to discuss innovation and disintermediation strategies, to resolve their dilemmas, and learn how storytelling drives global expansion. Buyers constitute 50% of the audience at TAUS events.

CEO Forum

TAUS’s biggest cohort are the CEO’s and decision makers from a broad range of global content-buying companies. They are playing for the highest stakes. The AI revolution is forcing them to work together to educate language workers around the world, establish common metrics, and ensure equal access to data. Around sixty CEO’s and global content buyers will come together on June 25-26 2019 in Salt Lake City to build common ground around a prosperous global content industry. The TAUS manifesto Fixing the Translation Ecosystem is the brief for this highly interactive industry summit.


Jaap van der Meer founded TAUS in 2004. He is a language industry pioneer and visionary, who started his first translation company, INK, in The Netherlands in 1980. Jaap is a regular speaker at conferences and author of many articles about technologies, translation and globalization trends.

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