Despite the increasing ability to reach foreign customers, the lack of quality translation methods is still the most challenging aspect of global expansion. Currently, even using the most advanced software services are an expensive, complicated, and inaccurate process. The result is that too often, businesses sacrifice millions of dollars in profit because marketing to global consumers is too complex to be worthwhile.
That’s why we need an era of “Big Translation,” to leverage our existing technological tools and scale up translation capabilities to a level that actually matches global communication needs. Big Translation, a large-scale translation efforts by people speaking two or more languages, would allow businesses, individuals, and even tweeters to get what they want translated easily and affordably.
The idea is banking on the fact that the world certainly isn’t lacking in translation talent. Nearly half the world speaks two or more languages–that’s 3.65 billion people with the potential to contribute to translation. Presently, a number of innovators are trying to tap into our world’s language talent. Chief among them is the groundbreaking idea that bypasses traditional translation tools and moves to a more accessible mobile app platform.
In just six years (2020), there will be 6.1 billion smartphone users. If even just a fraction of these users were to be bilingual, the sheer human translation power we would be able to tap into through mobile translation platforms would far exceed the computational capacity of any machine translation system. Translation could finally be fast and inexpensive but also guarantee the complete accuracy of human translation. Allowing smartphone users to provide quality translation in real time will help shape the on-demand marketplace–a marketplace that has has already attracted more than $4.8 billion in investment. Companies like Uber, AirBnB, and now translation startups like my company, Stepes, are defining the competitive edge in the sharing economy.
Big Translation would fundamentally change how we can do business internationally. Downstream, it will affect how we access information, receive entertainment, and spend our free time. In other words, Big Translation has the potential to change the way we live our lives. In a world where anyone could get fast and easy translations, what could we accomplish?
Read more: Fast Company