Today, we live in a world where communication knows no borders, and reaching a global audience is a dream of every business, regardless of its size and niche. However, language becomes a hurdle because people from different countries speak different languages.
The world has over 7,100 spoken languages. Forbes
That’s where localization made its debut! In the ancient world, translators were called upon to translate messages, literary works, diplomatic messages, and religious texts from one language to another.
In the Middle Ages, translation was integral in transmitting knowledge between languages and cultures. However, it was in the 19th century that it became a mainstream profession.
As technology developed, and the Internet came into existence it further shrank the boundaries. At present, businesses around the globe strive to engage with an international audience to expand their reach and boost their sales.
According to a survey with more than 8,000 global consumers, 79% of the respondents in 29 countries said they prefer buying a product if they have information about it available in their native language. Whereas, 40% of global consumers rarely or never purchase from websites in other languages. CSA Research
Contrarily, the media industry is trying hard to ensure that its produced content is available in different languages so it can entertain the masses globally.
One example to emphasize the importance of media localization is Netflix – the streaming service’s subscribers in international locales increased by 98 million between 2019 and 2020, representing a 33% year-over-year growth.
Now, take a moment to comprehend that this guide is not going to walk you through the history of how the world globalized or when localization came into existence. It will be more of an unbiased discussion on the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) in media localization and then concluding whether the technology is a friend or a foe based on solid facts!
So, let’s not stall the discussion and dive straight into it!
How AI Is Changing the Dynamics of Localization and Translation
AI is gaining traction with time and changing the world as we know it. One area where the impact of AI advent is most prominent is the localization and translation industry. The translation and localization tools available today are more refined thanks to the advancements in machine learning (ML) and natural language processing (NLP).
These tools are now capable of translating entire texts and generating subtitles through voice recognition. The advanced features of AI tools are enough to make many people in the industry go GAGA. They are thinking of cutting costs by firing the human workforce and employing AI tools as they are capable of handling large volumes of data at once.
If you were also sailing the same boat, then it is time you slow down a bit and weigh in cost-benefit analysis, since like any other shift, AI also has its fair share of advantages and challenges, especially in the localization industry.
And if you are on the other side of the bridge, a translator or subtitle editor dreading the future of your job, then you need to reel back a little and calm down your nerves, as this guide will answer all your queries proceeding forward!
The Benefits of AI-Powered Localization and Translations
Implementing AI in video translation has proven to be an effective approach to overcome linguistic barriers and to connect with a wider audience.
It provides the advantages of automation, instant translation, and customization. However, it demands thorough quality control and thoughtful consideration of ethical, legal, and data privacy concerns. But, these will be covered later.
First, let’s look into some of the key benefits of AI video localization and translation.
1. Real-time Translations
With the help of AI translation tools, hosting events, webinars, or conferences with participants from different linguistic backgrounds has become possible. These tools offer real-time translation of spoken content in videos, bridging the language barrier and enabling effective communication.
2. Improved Accuracy
AI video translation has evolved tremendously over time when it comes to precision and reliability given the latest developments in neural network models and ML. Yet, it’s worth noting that AI translation is not error-free, and there may be instances where it falls short, particularly with idiomatic expressions, colloquialisms, or other intricate language nuances.
3. Increased Efficiency and Speed
The technology has come across as a game-changer for businesses looking to connect with their global audience. With its remarkable speed, AI can translate entire texts in a matter of seconds, enabling businesses to communicate more efficiently and effectively across different languages.
4. Enhanced Productivity
Buckle-up! The benefits list is not going to be a short one. So, the next benefit you can leverage with AI integration is that it can help you generate a greater volume of content, providing a competitive edge in the market.
5. Voice-Overs and Subtitles
AI is not limited to providing text-to-text translations anymore; it has evolved. There are AI-enabled video translation tools that let you choose between voiceovers and subtitles.
The voiceover model uses a synthetic voice to narrate the translation, while the subtitles display the translated text on the screen. This is a ground-breaking feature, helping you offer an unmatched streaming experience for your global audience.
AI is a cost-effective solution in the long run. It can automate the work, reducing time and the need to hire multiple human translators.
7. Greater Accessibility
AI-powered video translation has opened new doors for content creators to reach a broader global audience by providing translations in multiple languages. This advancement can offer significant advantages in education, entertainment, and marketing.
Another benefit of AI in localization is that it can help organizations scale to meet their unique business needs, making it feasible for both large and small enterprises.
9. Improved Customer Experience
If you want to create a positive customer experience localization can be a game changer. By coupling it with AI-enabled tools, businesses and brands can localize content easily for their target market segments, ultimately helping them to boost engagement and enhance overall customer satisfaction.
As we hinted at, there are some constraints and moral concerns that need to be taken into consideration. Yet the benefits of AI-driven translation and localization are undeniable.
By implementing AI, businesses, and individuals take their communication up a notch and engage with global audiences effectively, overcoming language barriers and promoting worldwide comprehension.
Decoding the Constraints to AI-driven Localization and Translation
Like any other technological shift, AI in media localization also comes with some roadblocks that need a plan to steer clear of if you want to leverage the technology to your advantage. Otherwise, it can become a nightmare that might take a while for your business to overcome.
On that disclaimer, it is time to discuss the challenges associated with AI-powered localization and translation.
1. Lack of Personalization
AI is not able to account for when it comes to a tailored approach to accommodate the unique demands and behaviors of different individuals and market segments. Therefore, AI-enabled localization tools generally fail to generate personalized content in alignment with individual preferences.
2. Contextual Understanding
Context plays an integral role, whether it is a conversation, written text, or video. However, AI often struggles to translate and localize content concerning the environment, situation, metaphors, colloquialisms, and idioms, leading to inaccuracies and mistranslations.
3. Quality Control
Even though AI has advanced a lot in the last couple of years, it still requires effective quality control mechanisms to ensure that the translated or localized content is culturally appropriate and accurate.
4. Over-Reliance on Machine Translation
In some cases, you need to proactively oversee the converted content to ensure that machine translations are not over-utilized. Since they are not mature enough, a human translator is needed to oversee the work to avoid inaccuracies and cultural blunders.
5. Limited Language Support
While AI tools are constantly advancing and supporting multiple languages, there are still languages and areas that it needs to explore and get acquainted with.
For example, if a niche or language is not studied extensively and has little to no literature available online, chances of error are high. The reason is that AI tools are generally trained on publicly available data.
AI-Driven Localization-Related Ethical Considerations
Without a doubt, the introduction of AI-powered translation and localization has revolutionized cross-cultural communication in many ways.
Despite that, it is imperative to consider the ethical implications of implementing these technologies to ensure compliance with the ethical and regulatory standards.
So, without a delay, let’s dig right into these ethical considerations:
1. Privacy and Security
The first important consideration surrounding the use of AI in media localization is privacy and security. As of now, you should have known that AI tools are not an instrument that you could get your hands on and start using right away. It requires proper training on data, based on which it generates translations for you.
Thus, there is a possibility that you may feed sensitive information to the localization tools. As a result, in the conquest of leveraging the wonders of AI, you can compromise confidential data.
For this reason, it is crucial to implement robust security measures to safeguard against potential data breaches and ensure data is collected and processed in compliance with relevant data privacy and security regulations.
2. Accuracy and Bias
After that, another important consideration is ensuring that when you convert the content from the source to the target language, they are accurate and free from bias.
Reiterate that the AI tools for localization are only as good as the data you train them on. Therefore, if the training data is biased, it will lead to bias in translations and localization.
To overcome this issue, ensure to train the AI-powered tools on inclusive and diverse content to mitigate the risk of bias.
3. Transparency and Accountability
Next comes accountability and transparency. These are the concerns that keep localization service providers awake at night. It involves providing comprehensive details about how you are utilizing the AI tools, what data they are collecting, and establishing effective mechanisms for addressing complaints and concerns that may arise in the future.
4. Intellectual Property
Given the rapid adoption of AI-enabled tools, it is also possible that people will start using AI-enabled localization to translate copyrighted material, leading to the infringement of intellectual property rights. Therefore, compliance with relevant copyright laws must be adhered to for getting the necessary permissions to use the copyrighted material.
Humanize AI Content: Creating Synergy Between Humans and AI
After discussing the benefits, challenges, and ethical considerations associated with AI-related localization and translation, we are back at square one, pondering over the question. Is AI in localization, a friend or foe?
Without dancing around, based on the facts and the discussion we presented in this guide, the answer lies in walking the grey line. That is, to stay in the industry and avoid losing out on the opportunity, you must use AI to scale your business, but not without humans.
Interestingly, on that note, another question lingers, HOW, EXACTLY?
Well, to help you get started, here are some quick tips you can use to get the most out of AI in localization and translation:
1. Use High-Quality Source Data
Remember, AI-powered tools are only as good as the content they are trained on. Therefore, translation quality majorly depends on the source content. Hence, to get the best results, it is advisable to use high-quality source content, free from inconsistencies and errors.
2. Perform Mandatory Reviews and Edit
Yes, AI-driven tools are capable enough to produce high-quality translations and localized content, but their output is still not free from errors. Hence, always review and edit the translations to ensure the accuracy.
3. Get the Tool That Aligns With Your Needs
The market is flooded with AI-powered localization and translation tools, with different strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, we recommend that you first identify your needs, perform a market analysis on the available tools, and then choose the one that suits your requirements best for the best result.
4. Humanize Your AI Content for Best Outcome
While AI-driven tools are helpful, you cannot rely on them exclusively. It is crucial to couple AI expertise with human knowledge to ensure that all the translated content is culturally appropriate, contextually relevant, accurate, and free from bias.
As we are about to conclude this guide, the answer to the query of whether AI in media localization is good or bad is clear. It can become BOTH – a friend and an enemy, depending upon the way you use it.
However, one thing you can’t ignore is that despite the many advantages of AI in translation and localization, there is still a crucial aspect that cannot be replaced – the human element.
While AI can produce content in large volumes, humans are best at capturing and refining the essence, nuance, and emotion.