Editorial

Dear Readers,

As the Editor of Indovox, I am taking the liberty to also pen this article as the Secretay of CITLoB. When you keep changing your hats, at times it gets really difficult to separate the two portfolios.

First of all, CITLoB would like to thank you all for supporting, participating and helping us make SAMVĀD a successful marquee event in South Asia.

Every small and big event goes through a lot of planning, discussions, and humungous amount of background work. I cannot thank the EUATC, ATC, GALA, ELIA, Women in Localisation Secretariat, and our media partner SLATOR and Multilingual enough for continuously guiding and supporting CITLoB and ensuring that the conference receives its due traction and visibility. The cherry on the cake was that the event could bring in so many leading faces of the language industry globally on one platform.

All the registered participants at the conference must have by now received full access to the conference video recordings along with the login credentials. If not please feel free to write to secretary@citlob.in. The ones who missed out on registering for the conference but would like to access the videos could do so at a nominal charge. Please write to secretary@citlob.in for further details.

In this month's issue the CITLoB’s President has systematically and comprehensively covered the entire SAMVAD conference so effectively that I will not want to say anything differently. Do give it a read.

Our very own member Mr Senthilnathan, Founder of Ailaysa, gives us some useful inputs on “How to survive the storm of AI In translation? - A no-fear guide to professional translators and LSPs. Mr Senthil was awarded at the recent SAMVĀD for his untiring efforts in the field of AI translations.

I hope you enjoy reading the October issue of INDOVOX

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Asavari Tamhane

Secretary | CITLoB

Presidents Address

Namaste! It is a privilege to write for INDOVOX covering our annual event SAMVĀD 2022.

This year, SAMVĀD became a marquee event in South Asia for professionals connected with language services and technology industry, with representations from all the stakeholders of the industry including Language Service Providers, language technology developers, translators, interpreters, language professionals, institutions and students aspiring a career in language industry.

The line-up of sessions on diverse subjects delivered by global luminaries of the language industry as speakers ensured that there was a takeaway for each stakeholder of the industry. This year's theme of Samvād "Future-proof your language business" made the conference all the more relevant with the industry facing the unprecedented challenges of a VUCA world.

CITLoB's objectives are focused on creating an ecosystem that facilitates the members to share knowledge, adopt best practices and collaborate. However, I also believe that the objectives should also align with the larger objectives like providing support to job seekers, engage with policy makers to help them understand the industry's perspectives and contribute to the overall development of the industry which will result in economic growth of the country.

I am forever indebted for the cooperation extended by our international partner associations GALA, ATC, EUATC, Women in Localization, Elia and media partners Slator and Multilingual and community partner LocLunch. CITLoB was proud to have FICCI-ILIA leading the session on Natural Language Translation Mission, one of the key Missions of Government of India. I would like to make a special mention of our institutional partners like Pune University and other institutions across the country who have been training students and creating a sustainable ecosystem for the language industry.

CITLoB is forever grateful to our platinum sponsors PepperContent, and silver sponsors, Reverie, Ailaysa and Fidel Technologies, and supporting partners BITS, Braahmam, Crystal Hues, Fidel Technologies, Process 9, Flatworld Language Solutions and Summa Linguae.

I would also like to thank our interpretation partner vSpeeq who made the Keynote session and President's speech available in Hindi and Spanish. 

No Associations can function without an able secretariat, so here is a shout-out to Asavari Tamhane and Rasika Gumaste for their untiring support and an equally effective Board Vidushi Kapoor, VP North, Deepak Sahu, VP East, Swati Bhaskar, VP South, Saumitra Mahajan, VP West and Kalyani Gadre VP ALP, for making Samvād 2022 a great success.

I would also like to convey my special thanks to Madhu Sundaramurthy and Vidushi Kapoor who hosted the conference flawlessly. 

Thank you and happy reading!

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Sudheen M

President | CITLoB

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How to survive the storm of AI in translation?

A ‘no fear’ guide to professional translators and LSPs

Professional translators, especially in India and other countries with rapidly expanding language services markets, tend to be skeptical of and confused by machine translation. The worry is that machine translation will cut into their income now and eventually eliminate their jobs.

Are we making progress or losing ground, they wonder. Today, AI seems to instill the same feelings of loss and dread across nearly the entire business world. The fact that machines are replacing human labour is an undeniable reality. With each passing day, machine translation systems improve in intelligence. Is it possible that current jobs, such as post-editing, will be eliminated in the future?

Despite my 20+ years of experience as a professional translator and LSP founder, I admit that I am afraid. Our business has already been disrupted by machine translation. With the introduction of neural machine translation in 2017, MT in Indian languages has become a reality. Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Meta, and other companies have already left their mark on the major Indian languages. After conquering the major ones, they advanced to the next set of languages such as Tulu and Bhojpuri. Dogri and Mizo.

Have you heard the name of Meta's (Facebook's) new project? It reads fantastically, "No Language Left Behind"! Yes, they want all of the world's languages to be spoken in the metaverse they are creating. How? AI language generation, machine translation in text, voice, audio, and video, AR/VR, and so on. Every language is an oil well if data is new oil. As AI approaches its goal of conquering languages, a brave new world is taking shape in which everything we know about the language industry today will be forever altered. Is my job safe in this paradigm shift?

Our poor LSPs and translators are confused. What should be done if we are to exist in the industry at all, let alone profit?

In the early days of the AI era, predicting is dangerous in a fast-changing and unpredictable world. However, we can clearly see some industry trajectories. Technology may be changing overnight, but only in the labs and in public relations. In reality, there is always a period of transition. Machines require humans desperately during this transformative stage.

Consider the simple case of text translation: MT works its magic, and texts are translated in real time. However, in the real world, any content that is seriously considered reliable and/or publishable requires humans to be involved. Professional human translators and editors with strong translation, copy-editing, and proof-reading skills are required.

The collaboration between man and machine is then divided into three stages: pre-translation, translation, and post-translation. Professionals are required for pre-editing the source content, creating styles, and building glossaries for large and branded content. As previously stated, we require human editors to post-edit the MT output for accuracy, fluency, quality, and, more importantly, brand consistency. All quality checking and integrational tasks must be completed after translation and editing.

Even for short-lived content such as news or social media posts, branding and accuracy are non-negotiable. Style and glossaries are unavoidable in larger projects. Even if the machines are fine-tuned and re-trained with human-perfected copies, their contribution will never be completely eliminated. Focus will shift from ‘number of words’ to ‘overall contribution’.

As a result, good post-editors are in high demand. In fact, even terms like post-editing and post-editors are in flux. Today, we simply call them "language experts." These specialists will collaborate with the MT or multilingual text generation environment at all stages of content processing and management.

Furthermore, as MT lowers the cost of translation and AI makes it available to anyone at a lower cost, the customer base is expanding in every direction. The future unquestionably belongs to multilingual content makers, and monolingual content makers would have to be satisfied with the local market or perish. The race has already begun, and every company worth its salt is developing their own multi - language strategies. There will be no language left behind because the companies do not want any market to go untapped.

No language professional will be left behind too, because the language game is and will continue to be a man-machine combination. You only need to know how to win the game as an LSP or freelancer. The major decision to stay alive is to improve one's skills. More than that, understanding and accepting change is critical because it is how evolution works.

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The author is the founder of Ailaysa, a platform for AI translation and multilingual content. He is the CEO of Langscape Language Solutions Pvt Ltd and the former Vice President of Citlob (South). Send an email to senthil.nathan@ailaysa.com.

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Senthil Nathan

Founder | Ailaysa

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