All indicators point to the fact that the language services industry is doing well. In the United States, the total headcount nearly doubled over the past decade. Investment bankers are bullish about the sector’s prospects. Even venture capitalists see opportunities. And over 200 private investors participated in a Finnish language service provider’s recent EUR 0.7m crowdfunding.
Nearly three quarters of Slator readers who participated in a poll conducted among our email newsletter subscribers concur that business is good. Only a small minority of 9% see their businesses deteriorating fast.
To balance all the talk about disruption and the hype around neural machine translation, we wanted to know if there are still buyers who do not ask for discounts generated by the use of the good old translation memory.
There are a million ways to fine tune this question and make it more specific. But the point was to get a sense of whether translation memory use has become ubiquitous or if there is still a considerable number of buyers who do not ask for potential discounts generated by repeat content.
The results created an interesting discussion on social media. On LinkedIn, the ever combative Tom Hoar of Slate Desktop criticized the poll using words such as “fake” and “misleading”, while Bill Lafferty of Lafferty Translation, LLC, commented that he doesn’t see “why this is alarming.”
Lafferty continued, “CAT tools aren’t always the best option. For instance, clients may not want confidential data to reside in a TM database. Or redundant text might be readily identifiable using MS Word’s compare tool.”
David Altmann from nlg GmbH commented that “I can only assume that we are mostly talking about (small) companies that don’t know what TM is and the supplier doesn’t care to tell the client, to make more profit.” Altman suggested that a good follow-up question would be to ask how many small LSPs are not passing on TM savings because clients don’t ask.
French, Japanese, and Arabic share the crown of being perceived by our readers as the most difficult major languages to find highly qualified translators for. Fewer respondents mention Korean, German, Portuguese, and Chinese as tough to source. And only a handful think Italian and Spanish present the greatest sourcing challenges. Happy hunting, Vendor Managers!