Translation: The Next Challenge For Publishers? | Jaap van der Meer – TAUS

Translation is not a word we hear too much when we talk about the changing landscape of publishing. For so long, publishers launched a book territory by territory, language by language. The unfolding landscape of the publishing future, combined with the power and reach of the internet as a marketing and sales platform will soon obliterate continent and language divides, just as the distance and access between village and city meant nothing.
I’ve always believed that DRM (Digital Rights Management) represented a block rather than an answer to the true globalisation of the book throughout the world. The ebook, in turn, has asked more questions of how publishers publish, intend progressing from an innate view of the book as a physical package rather than the publication and distribution of content as a whole. The ebook is not just challenging publishers at the moment, but completely re-inventing the publishing industry.
While so much talk in the publishing world is focused on ebooks as the buzz word, I predict in two to three years or less, translation will be the only word spoken. Publishers – having dealt with the challenge of the ebook and how best to develop it – will be plunged into an oasis and hell of dealing with launching a book globally in multiple languages.
We have all come across those website aggregators churning out nonsensical broken English, of once pristine, perfectly written articles. It is this technology under the watching eye of a human translator which may provide the gateway to the new publishing world. Like all early developments in publishing, just like POD (print on demand), academic publishers may be the ones to shine the torch and lead the way in this area.

TAUS is an innovation think tank and interoperability watchdog for the translation industry. TAUS supports entrepreneurs and principals in the translation industry to share and define new strategies through a comprehensive range of events, publications and knowledge tools.

TAUS’ strength lies in its members and partners, a community of users and providers of translation technologies and services. Since 2004 this dynamic and committed community has spearheaded improvements in the global translation industry ranging from improved technology adoption to service innovation and cross-industry collaboration.

Jaap van der Meer is a director of TAUS and a language industry pioneer and visionary, who started his first translation company in The Netherlands in 1980. In 1987 his company INK published the first desktop term extraction and translation memory software. He inspired and funded the founding meetings of the LISA organization for the localization industry and he co-founded the SAE TopTec Multilingual Communications Conference for the automotive industry. He was president and CEO of ALPNET one of the first and most successful NASDAQ listed translation companies. Jaap is a regular speaker at conferences and author of many articles about technologies and translation and globalization trends.


The following is a conference conducted by Jaap van der Meer on the challenges facing translators and the development of MT (Machine Translation).

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