Planes, Trains and Automobiles

If you’ve never seen it I highly recommend the cult 80’s movie Planes, Trains & Automobiles with Steve Martin & the late John Candy. In a nutshell it chronicles the journey of two men who try every conceivable way to get home for Thanksgiving. In particular there is an exchange between the two main characters, Neal and Del, that goes something like this:

Neal: As much fun as I’ve had on this little journey, I’m sure one day I’ll look back on it and laugh.

Del: (giggles) are you sure?

Neal: (starts chuckling) Oh God. I’m laughing already.

I mention this because it really reminds of all the fun (adventures) we have had in the past two months running our Autumn SDL Roadshow, it also reminds me of all the things that attempted to inhibit us on our way, fog, late flights, early mornings, broken cables, no working audio, internet problems, getting off at the wrong train stations and many others.

But like the character Neal, myself and my colleagues can also now look back with fondness at all the people we have met, the wonderful conversations we have had and the incredible locations we have visited as the Roadshows come to an end. From October to the end of November we visited 17 different cities, spread across two continents. From Madrid to Miami and from Montreal to London, I don’t think we could possibly pick a favourite.

For this series of the SDL Roadshow we started the day by posing a question to our attendees, “Are you aware of the Internet of Things (IoT) and how it will affect our industry?" With the help of our interactive polling app we discovered 44% of our audience had never heard of the IoT trend and an additional 36% that had heard of it but were not aware of the potential impact on the industry.

This was no real surprise to us, IoT is an upcoming trend and may take time to fulfill its full promise but it is one we feel demands some attention now. (We will be following up with more details on this in a follow-up blog)

Our purpose for the rest of the day was to help people grasp the potential of IoT from both their own and their client’s perspectives and how we as SDL could support them.

There are probably four key pillars to think about for IoT and for the translation industry. These are not new but they will see increased relevance as the IoT trend drives increased content from Big Data sources.

Speed, Efficiency, Price and Quality

Under-pinning these four pillars, Terminology, Machine Translation, new work processes and proactive localisation are areas that were discussed throughout the day and with our audience engaged through the interactive polling, collectively we saw some interesting feedback.

Did you know for example that in London if people could be granted a superhero power 51% would choose the ability to read minds whereas controlling the weather is a priority in Brussels and in Milan margherita is the favourite pizza topping!

But seriously, in addition to the fun parts we discovered that nearly 30% of people are still not using any type of terminology tool and were not even sure how to get started. The biggest reservation about using Machine Translation was quality of output (50%), closely followed by ‘it takes too long to post-edit’ at 23%. What we also found very interesting was 25% of our Roadshow audience had downloaded 3 or more apps from our OpenExchange App store! It’s great to know our audience is taking advantage of the apps to extend the functionality of their SDL Trados Studio experience.

These findings made for very interesting discussions during the presentations, which delved deeper into the specific areas and looked at how we as an industry could face up to these challenges.

By the end of the day 76% of people had a clearer idea of what the IoT was of which 54% had a better understanding of the potential impact on the translation industry. We feel that given these results we have helped people understand the tools we have available to help them.

Thanks to all our fabulous attendees without whom these days would not mean anything and I look forward to seeing you all again in Spring 2016.

Did you miss one of our Roadshows? Catch up on the story of the Autumn 2015 SDL Roadshow here.