The Future of Translation is Automation

Jun 26, 2019 12:06 PM

Localization is undergoing a massive change. Many technological inventions like NMT are discussed at length, but the biggest change is more subtle and has an even bigger impact. Let me explain:

One of the favourite topics of any industry is to rank them. For LSP’s it is no different. I studied the top 100 to find out what differs the top from the rest. Is it quality, is it price, is it relationships, is it sales power, is it ability to deliver, is it investments into NMT? Probably all of the above is important, but there is one overwhelming difference between the top 5 and the rest of the field.

The percentage of business that started with an automation driven RFP.

An automation driven RFP is an RFP that contains a request for a minimum of one connector to a content mngt system.

Based on interviews, discussions and Financial year statements, I came to the following division. Pls note this is not a scientific study. It is about generics.

Top 5: >30% of business originated from an automation driven RFP
Top 6-30: 5-10% of business originated from an automation driven RFP
Top 31-100: 1-5% of business originated from an automation driven RFP
Above 100: <1 % of business originated from an automation driven RFP

This is a staggering insight. Look at the difference between the second category, Top 6-30, to the first category. They make 3-6 times more revenue as a percentage on automation driven RFP’s.

So, what decides who is top 5 and who is not. Your automation story!!

And that makes total sense. Because what is the subtle change that is impacting the localization industry profoundly? The answer is that at many Enterprises, localization is pulled into a digital transformation team. And that is changing the purchasing dynamics! Localization sellers and buyers think in quality metrics, turnaround times and costs. But digital transformation managers think differently. Quality is important and always will be, but a digital transformation manager thinks in terms of automation. Digital transformation is about dealing with the new normal, with the digital omni-presence. Without automation, that is simply not possible. To a digital transformation manager, you are simply not even considered an option if you do not have an automation story.

Few LSP’s truly understand this. Few examples: While at Gala in Munich discussing with a few hundred LSP’s the state of the localization industry for the 324th time, one LSP was not there. Transperfect. And where were they? At Adobe Summit! See here the answer why they are number one, growing organically by over 20% per year.

Or, more Xillio self promoting J, what was one of the first things Adolfo Hernandez did when joining SDL? Indeed, he partnered with Xillio and added 20+ connectors to the SDL automation story. And what was one of the first things Marcus Casal did when he left Lionbridge and joined Amplexor. Indeed, he closed a premiere partnership with Xillio to improve Amplexor’s automation story!

So, to all LSP’s currently ranked 6-30. The secret to grow in the next years is the quality of your automation story. Is yours good enough?