Andrew Joscelyne, Senior Technology Advisor at LT-Innovate conducted an interview with Arthur Wetzel, CSO at 24translate, the Hamburg-based global Language Service Provider winner of the LT-Innovate Award 2019.

What is the greatest technology challenge today in your particular translation business?

Right now Machine Translation (MT) and Neural Machine Translation (NMT) are all over the place and we are making them accessible to all our clients in 2020, with the best engines, a streamlined workflow and with the highest quality standard ever. With our new products „24|free“, „24|quick“ and „24|smart“, we will enable every client to get the right quality for the best price. In ordert to achieve this goal, we are not only working on processes and quality insurance, but we are also recruiting post editing staff, which will be able to quickly work out the best deliverable for our client base. Putting all that in line and into a powerful and scalable product, that is our challenge for the upcoming months.

What will be the most important tech/business change ahead in the industry in the next ten years?

Our marketplace is in a huge change process – wthin the next 10 years, everything that we knew in our industry will have changed. Technology and digitization will take business away from smaller Language Service Providers. Main language pairs, especially in central Europe will be run by NMT engines, that will be accessible for everybody. Traditional translation will be reduced into specialized verticals and certain niches. Those who are able to build business models on MT and keep their niches will be the winners, the others will be gone.

What kind of trends are you seeing in terms of a) new types of content, b) new language pairs, c) new types of clients with growing or different translation requirements?

Right now we see East Asian languages arising and very specialized high quality translation needs in certain verticals on the one hand and on the other hand we recognize the need for translating low key content, such as for social media and blogs, which needs to be translated quickly and inexpensively. More content for a quick translation, which is good enough, and more specialized high quality translations for emerging markets. We also see a tendency from procurement to improve the supply chain of translation services from an end-to-end perspective.

Have you identified any key gaps in the language technology palette currently on offer that you would like to see closed/developed?

The gap is obviously there – it is between the old and the new world, between humans and machines, that will take over more and more tasks in day to day work. We need to conduct that change, embrace new posibilities and work out the future business set up for our industry.

How do you negotiate the pathway between developing & owning your own tech and benefiting from a tech “market” of offerings in Europe?

We are specialized on running our own processes fully automated. This is our technical expertise and we are lucky to have the right specialized technology partners with us, when it comes for example to elaborating MT requirements. The problem most language technology companies have is, their limited market access – we have that and we have been actively selling for years.

What do you believe industry groups such as the LT-Innovate could do to improve industry effectiveness, clout, and collaboration in the coming years?

LT-Innovate is the right platform to get people and companies connected. For us it is vital to hear and feel the pulse of innovation and new technologies. We think that we need to intensify our work with the LT-Innovate working groups and with our partners in Benelux, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe even more. We have a great market and we should all benefit from the new developments and innovations that we see ahead now.