In the first in the series of our ‘Team Talks’, we interviewed our MD Antonio Tejada, quizzing him on how marketing departments across businesses and sectors can use language technology to increase their global presence and find more customers in international markets.
Marketing technology is continually improving in accuracy and quality – we’ve witnessed huge leaps in recent years, in terms of virtual assistants, voice search and personalized search results depending on your location, likes, dislikes, browser history – well, the same is true for language technology. What started as a more generic service has now transformed into a bespoke, tailored output, that is also becoming widely available to marketers. What’s more, there are now more opportunities to use and deploy language technology in different scenarios and services, with a view of having less human interaction prior to publication.
For the past 2 decades, the top global brands have been working with translation providers to integrate language technology with the human part of content creation, in order to create a multilingual strategy.
Despite often being leaders and owners of technology, marketers have often been consulted right at the end of the localization process, or occasionally, not consulted at all. The possibility to integrate language technology changes this though, as marketing teams can work alongside the technology and localization can be utilized earlier on in the content creation process.
Now is also a great time to integrate technology not only in the content process but in the customer experience side too. Capita TI is working on areas such as chatbots, sentiment analysis and social media monitoring allowing marketers to further develop global programs.
Some of the major technology giants have released virtual assistants, or chatbots with multilingual features – such as Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Microsoft Cortana – which just goes to show the opportunities available to marketers for global expansion – breaking down language barriers with new markets or improving the communication with an existing one.
On top of this, there is the opportunity for machine-generated content to be used in initial interactions with audiences – for example, using machine translation content to publish product descriptions on international marketplaces, like Amazon and eBay. There is obviously a consideration of “fit for purpose” – with auto-generated content, the quality may not be suitable for building customer engagement, but more suited to simple, ‘gist’ purposes.
In addition to standard translation and localization service, we also offer in-context review – where subject matter experts local to the target market review the translated content to ensure it meets your own brand guidelines, multilingual SEO – which ensures your multilingual sites can be found and ranked by search engines in other countries, and transcreation – where our linguists re-create phrases that are complex to translate (slogans and puns) to sound natural in other languages. These 3 services are perfectly adapted for marketers to help them protect and grow their brand internationally.
When it comes to technology, we have created our own in-house technology suite, SmartMATE. This includes automation features to help deliver different levels of responses to the globalization challenges, our own NMT technology which can be deployed into many models, and an integration feature that allows us to connect to CMS systems as well as other content via APIs.
We have also developed Capita LiveLINK, which allows for remote interpretation via a mobile app or internet browser in over 150 languages, allowing companies to better communicate with the markets in stages where the customer may not have access to local language resources.
I think the future of our industry relies on automation, integration and diversification of language services and this is what we are trying to work towards with our approach to technology and services.
Firstly, I think we will see a shift in recruitment – as an industry, there will be a growing need for data experts with language capacity in order to support the increased use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Neural Language Processing (NLP).
Most importantly, we will also see the role of the linguist changing, with quality assurance, machine learning/editing skills becoming more desirable.
I also predict that we will see new language requirements that don’t match the typical profile of a translator. This could be experts on other fields, population samples or just language locales.
Look for honesty and appropriateness on the technology proposition – don’t be drawn in by how ‘innovative’ a technology is and look out for false promises, such as using machine translation for slogans or creative materials – it’s not fit for purpose and could cause issues further down the line.
Stay away from assumptions and work with proof of concepts. The important part is how the technology or service you are offered can improve your customer’s experience.
Technology & machines will always need human input – if you provide solely a machine experience, there is no competitive advantage or added value. Look at how you can integrate and automate as much as possible with the partner – by being smart about the way processes are set up and investing a little time on the implementation/planning phase, costs and time savings can be achieved long-term.
There is no doubt that these technologies are ground-breaking and re-shaping our industry, but it’s important to not just get caught up in the technology, but also consider the rest of the customer/user journey. It’s still important to consider how to differentiate in your sector – employing a new piece of tech won’t do that on its own, you’ll still need to deliver an excellent user journey/service to your customer.
In terms of future predictions, there is a lot of work happening around sentiment analysis and social media monitoring, which I believe will pick up more in multilingual environments with automation.