Every good “lost in translation” story starts with a bad, rather inaccurate, pronunciation, interpretation, or understanding of the language. For many of us, this experience is personal. Whether it’s traveling or moving to a new country for work or growing up with parents who immigrated to a new country, language is the key to understanding and connecting with one another. And for companies with offices and or customers around the world, translation is a complex and costly process.

In Part II of this three-part series on “Artificial Intelligence and the Connected World,” we examine the role of Linguistic AI in content translation and how for global marketers, this means more meaningful, timely and actionable content.

An AI-first approach to content will reduce bottlenecks in the translation process

Remember the childhood game of telephone — how long it took and how distorted the original message was by the time it got to you? For many companies, marketers face similar speed and accuracy challenges with content translated for numerous markets in hundreds of languages — we’re only human.

Presently, the process around translation is limited by human capacity. People can only move so fast, especially when you have a range of voices, experiences, and opinions influencing what content is translated, who translates it, and how it is translated. Factor in a multitude of other decisions that go into what approved content is to be translated, and the process slows down considerably.

However, this is where AI resolves the challenges. Linguistic AI will analyze the impact of content and determine if it merits human involvement, initiating handoffs between content management and translation management systems.

It’s “man working with machine” instead of “man versus machine.” In fact, it’s more of a symbiotic relationship between humans and technology. One will never replace the other, and each continually pushes the other forward. 

AI improves the digital experience and ability for content to impact more people

A machine-first translation approach will reduce more menial human tasks around the translation process while optimizing the content for someone on the receiving end to improve the digital experience. But let’s be clear, this does not mean linguists will no longer be needed. 

On the contrary, human linguists are essential to ensure the AI technology involved is helping the team work smarter, not harder. Linguistic AI will pre-translate the content using neural machine translation (NMT), retrieve useful complementary texts, contact human linguists and send them a translation kit. The human linguists who edit pre-translation will then improve future machine translations since the AI learns from their edits. From there, AI will extend to even the management and billing around the translation process.

People will be reserved for high-value content which the technology already knows it is ill-suited to translate, such as highly creative content, marketing and educational material that requires a cultural and contextual understanding of language versus a word-for-word translation. 

And communicating with timely and culturally-relevant translated material around a global roll-out of a product or service makes sense, quite literally. To put this into a financial context, the report, Going global: the importance of translation for companies highlights research that underscores the value of relevant content translation:

  • Buyers with no or low English skills were six times less likely to buy from English-only websites, compared to their countrymen who could read and speak English 
  • 9 out of 10 buyers in non-English speaking countries prefer to buy products available in their native language 
  • 75% of international customers spend all or most of their time on sites in their own language 

The future is now

The efficiency AI brings to the content translation process means people can be more productive and strategic in other areas, without wasting time or money on translating content AI can handle. For any global campaign or product launch, it creates a reality where your message impacts people faster and at scale regardless of language. 

For many companies embracing AI, this is already happening. Technology is aiding the localization process around internal and external content and multimedia whether it’s for 12 countries and languages or 120, where Linguistic AI is helping support:

  • Translation workflow automation 
  • Terminology management 
  • Connectors to enterprise applications (e.g., Microsoft Word, Salesforce) 
  • Access to NMT insights 
  • Multilingual A/B testing to determine which translations require a more human touch

To learn more about how Linguistic AI impacts global companies and how they share content, stay tuned for my next article on “AI in the Connected World.”