One of the wonders of the modern I.T. era is the extent to which technology has shrunken this world. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has given industry a global reach that can be traversed in mere nanoseconds. It is a brave new world. A reality that would have been the stuff of science fiction only a few short decades ago. I am off the vintage where myself and my co-workers had neither the worldwide web nor email to communicate with, and the cloud was just a fluffy white thing in the sky.
In the past, localisation/translation companies used the model of housing a team of translators in a central location. The languages most in demand were FIGS (French, Italian, German, and Spanish). Those were the languages required by companies targeting a much narrower marketing need. It is the market that drives the demand for products in local languages, and at that time the demand had a European focus. Localisation/translation companies relied on a crude workflow of Excel spreadsheets, the telephone, and the fax machine, as well as couriers, to supply customers. It was a clunky system by comparison to today, but it worked although at a higher cost and slower delivery. But the volumes for translation were low in comparison to today’s Big Data driven quantities. Although speed of delivery was always a demand, the concept of real-time translation was not considered realisable for large bodies of work.
The revolutionary change in workflow practices was brought about by the introduction of the internet and email. Overnight, the localisation workflow model changed. No longer was it necessary to house teams of translators. In fact, it made economic sense not to. People eat up space – space needs money for overheads – overheads get added to the costs, and prices rise. Added to that dynamic of change was the evolution of a new communications paradigm including the Cloud, the Edge, the fibre optic highway and super powerful and cost-efficient computers. Suddenly the virtual world shrunk.
Today, instead of sitting in an office in Dublin, London, or Amsterdam a translator can be virtually anywhere and still be available for work. Ironically, this translation model has reverted to that of a 19th century cottage industry practice. Most translators now work from home. In fact, if they want to, they can sit on a beach and work. The important thing is they have connectivity, and they deliver a quality product on time at the right price. With modern lightweight laptops and the ubiquitous WIFI, no translator is restricted to where and when they translate.
This workforce of ever present highly professional translators is a worldwide community. It is a potent web of highly trained and experienced individuals. In addition, this community is available as a source of productivity 24/7/365. It is this flexible resource that KantanStream has been designed to harness. The KantanStream model can be best described as a human-powered machine translation platform. It uses a global crowd-sourcing model to invite qualified translators to edit and improve on machine translated texts. Using advanced AI-based technologies, KantanStream evaluates the quality of machine translated texts and routes low-rated quality texts to human translators for them to improve. These improvements are then fed back into translation engines to fine-tune them to provide improved machine translation results. This circular process allows the MT (Machine Translated) engines to continuously ‘learn’ from human input and so improve the quality of MT produced texts.
The drive to develop a platform such as KantanStream came from the demand by customers to meet the challenges presented by Big Data. Today, huge volumes of information are available online which customers are anxious to parse and understand in real-time. Data Analytics has become the driving force of sales and marketing across the globe. Dexterity and speed of analysis plays a crucial role in directing a company’s product development, product placement, and marketing focus. Speed is of the essence. If you snooze, you lose. The challenge is to meet with speed and precision the huge volumes of data requiring translation. The volumes are such that they can only be handled by AI-driven machine translation platforms. The KantanStream platform has been developed to meet this demand by marrying the strengths of machine translation with the precision of human translators. The KantanStream platform allows for these huge volumes of data to be translated at high speed and then refined by translators editing in real-time.
The KantanStream platform now has a network of world-class translators who are available night and day. This community of translators is continuously growing as more translators join the virtual team. These translators can work from anywhere in the world and meet their own needs and schedule. It is a win/win situation for both the customer and the translator. The power of AI, allied with the Cloud and the hybrid platform that is KantanStream, is changing the translation paradigm. Big Data has created a demand for cost efficient and speedy solutions that only a platform such as KantanStream can provide.
Aidan Collins is Marketing Manager at KantanMT.