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Term of the Week: Machine Translation

What is it?

A software-based process that translates content from one language to another.

Why is it important?

Accelerates the process, and reduces the cost, of translating content and increases the availability of translated content. Linguistic quality and accuracy levels vary depending on how well the software is tuned and whether the content is post-edited by humans.

Why does a content strategist need to know this?

Why a content strategist should care about machine translation (MT) is simply a matter of numbers. There is far too much content being created and far too few translators or money to translate it all—or even a small fraction of it—into the dozens of languages that are required to address global markets.

Translation automation tools such as MT promise to increase the volume and accelerate the pace of words rendered into other languages. Content strategists who understand this dynamic will be in a better position to take advantage of what’s happening with this core technology.

Translation strategies that rely on human output alone have already been overwhelmed by the explosion in content and the imperative to rapidly enter new markets. If translation managers are going to meet the needs of their many users, they will have to evaluate how to integrate MT into their global content strategies—regardless of the type or size of their organization.

About Don DePalma

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Don DePalma is an industry analyst, author, and corporate strategist with expertise in business- and marketing-focused application of technology. Don regularly publishes syndicated research, authors articles, and contributes to a blog at
 He lectures and writes on the topics of global business, cross-border marketing, application and content management, global customer experience, and globalization.




Twitter: @CSA_Research