Translation Model Disruption

Being disruptive in translation business is an exciting idea. Many of the translators want it, and having a revolutionary approach and using a market share from competitors is a glamorous idea. A number of topics have been dedicated to this subject, but we as a business or industry seems stuck up on speaking about innovations, enhancements in APIs, cloud-based translation memory, machine translation, instead of disruptions.

Innovations are difficult in addressing customer desires for automation, improved processes, and technology integration. We as an industry need to do what the client ask to keep the business and make our business efficient day to day. On the other hand, innovation does not flip or disrupt the idea of how localization or translation is managed.

You have to keep your clients happy who takes most of the resources. Going through the process of reinventing, your company uses a number of resources and investment. Your 1st prototype, 2nd release and major launch would not be mature to serve your clients – it does not provide the services which client needs.

Helene Peilmeier from CSA said: “LSPs see themselves as the keepers of a proven method to produce translations and often push back on what they see as unreasonable customer requests. They strive for stability and predictability instead of providing solutions that will rock the client’s world.”

Business models are less durable as they seem. The core rules of the game for capturing and creating as well as capturing economic values were once fixed for years, or even decades, as companies have tried to execute the business model better than the competitors do. Now, business models are under rapid displacement and disruption, and in most cases, outright destruction. A few examples are:

  • Bitcoin has bypassed traditional banks and is clearing houses with block chain technology.
  • Uber sidesteps the license system and protects the taxi/ cab franchise in almost all the cities of the world.
  • Coursera and edX, threaten business schools with open online courses.
  • Tencent outcompetes in the Internet services via microtransaction.

These examples are numerous and familiar. What is unfamiliar is how, exactly, latest entrants achieve the disruptive power. What thing enables them to exploit unseen possibilities and skirt constraints? In short, what is the method of business model innovation?

For an incumbent, this innovation is normally hard. Some struggle can help to recognize the options. Another shrink from the profit streams.

Traditional notions and translation practices are vulnerable to the technology. The advent of machine translation has affected the visibility and agency of all the professional translators. An increased emphasis on the low cost and speed is putting too much pressure on the translators. They are facing the challenges of defending, incorporating, and Chrono diversity in their practices regarding near instantaneous communication and time, space compression, which is not only about working circumstances but part of ethical challenges for the translators.

We need to be aware of the technology shapes and the translator practices. If technologies shape our human psyche, latest technological developments influence how we are producing, dealing and perceiving. The tools shape us as we shape them.


Maryum is a freelance writer and IT Professional living in Pakistan. Her technical and transcription blogs about software solutions have been published on various websites. With her hands on experience in translation tools like CATMATE, OMEGAt and TRADOS and advisor of technological tools for big transcription and translation projects. Maryum has the capability of delivering high-quality knowledge in just a few words on her articles and blogs.

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