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The pain of managing a multilingual product

I used to be the Operations Director at Lingo24 – overseeing the operations that delivered millions of words of translation to a range of clients and applications every year. I’m now running the Operations at what3words – though this time I’m a buyer of translation services (mostly from Lingo24). Buying and managing translation is really a bit of a headache – even when the services provided by the translators/translation agency are hassle-free. There is so much more to managing the translation process than that which goes through the linguists and their project managers. Imagine a business that has a website, iOS app and Android app – pretty easy, as this is not a particularly unusual combination of things for a business to have. Now imagine that each of these are in, say, 10 languages. Again, not that uncommon. (what3words is in 25


Machine Translation Gold Rush

The dozen or so companies in the translation industry that are investing heavily in machine translation tools have a major opportunity for about 1-2 years to make a lot of money out of post-edited machine translation (PEMT), and then the margins will shrink. Let me explain my thinking. The Chinese Anomaly About 10 years ago, typical pricing in the translation industry for Western European companies looked a bit like this (using very approximate rounded numbers to illustrate the point): En > FIGS, Portuguese etc.: £100 per k [fair enough: not necessarily the cheapest combinations – although some of them are fairly cheap – but lots of supply and demand] En > Eastern European: £120 per k [fair enough: cheaper combinations to source, but perhaps lower demand, so at least some explanation or higher prices] En > Scandis + Asian including

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