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2022 Year In Review: Translation Trends and Company Highlights

It’s not the new year without a year-end review, so we’re providing a recap of popular translation trends we’ve seen, as well as some notable company highlights from the last twelve months.

Translation industry trends by the numbers

Over 2022, our localization platform powered by artificial intelligence and refined by human translators has translated 3,439,098,479 words. German to English was the most popular word pair, followed by French to English and Spanish to German:

  1. German-English: 455,298,638 – 13%

  2. French-English: 371,302,992 – 11%

  3. English-German: 301,000,812 – 9%

  4. English-French: 263,942,564 – 8%

  5. Italian-English: 179,979,945 – 5%

Introducing new language pairs

We already have dozens of language pairs available on our platform, and we wrapped up the year by introducing two new ones:  

  1. English ⇄ Croatian 

  2. Spanish-LATAM ⇄ Portuguese-Brazil

Top CRM integrations

For customer service agents, using Unbabel within their workflow versus general-purpose translators like Google Translate helps in delivering language translations to global audiences, all while maintaining a high degree of accuracy and security. The top three CRM integrations for business translations were:

  1.  Zendesk

  2.  Salesforce

  3.  Freshdesk

Global Trends in Marketing Localization

We conducted a survey of more than 1,600 global marketers across eight countries to understand how they were localizing content as their brands scaled globally. We presented our findings in the report, Global Trends in Marketing Localization for 2023. Some notable trends we discovered include:

  • 84% of respondents said that localizing content has had a moderately positive or extremely positive impact on revenue growth.

  • 89% said they are planning on translating into additional languages within the next year, and 13% of them plan to translate into 9 or more.

  • 75% of participants said their translation spend has been trending upward or is roughly stable.

  • 39% of marketers said they are using Machine Translation as part of their localization strategy, and 83% of them are confident in the quality of their translations.

Check out the full report, Global Trends in Marketing Localization for 2023, to see how you stack up against your global marketing peers.

Award recognition

Unbabel participated in the World Machine Translation 2022 Translation Quality Estimation shared task. Among the 19 institutions that participated, Unbabel’s Quality Estimation technology ranked first in all categories. When evaluated based on its ability to predict the quality of various neural machine translation outputs, the performance of Unbabel’s Quality Estimation outranked all competitors, further validating that our technology is the best in the language services industry.

LangOps Universe returned

Unbabel’s flagship summit returned in person and online! The event featured sessions with brand partners from diverse industries, including e-commerce, publishing, aerospace, and more. They discussed their experiences in leveraging Unbabel’s translation services to successfully and cost-effectively build a custom global CX strategy. LangOps Universe also provided opportunities for us to reveal updates to our translation software and deliver higher-quality translations. You can watch complete sessions from the event at LangOps Universe On-Demand.

R&D at Unbabel

Translation technology is constantly evolving thanks to the dedication of software engineers, linguists, and professional translation experts. We’re proud to announce that our team has made a noteworthy breakthrough in quality estimation. This technological advancement in continuous translation quality intelligence pinpoints translation errors (similar to spell check), all in real-time. Identifying mistranslations enables corrections for more accurate translations which lead to better customer experiences. There’s nothing else like it on the translation market.

2022 also saw the R&D team publish a number of research papers that garnered recognition and acclaim. A few include: 

  • Disentangling Uncertainty in Machine Translation Evaluation

  • CometKiwi: IST-Unbabel 2022 Submission for the Quality Estimation Shared Task
    1st place in the Quality Estimation shared task

  • COMET-22: Unbabel-IST 2022 Submission for the Metrics Shared Task
    Best Metric for into-English

  • Stop Using BLEU – Neural Metrics Are Better and More Robust

  • Findings of the WMT 2022 Shared Task on Quality Estimation

And many more! Check out the R&D section of our Resource Center to dig deeper into our research. 

Enhancements to machine translation tools

This year, we also enhanced our machine translation tools to automatically identify and localize content using “Programmatic Localization.” This new function automates the translation process to increase efficiency and reduce turnaround time. What does this look like? It could be as simple as automatically reformatting a date (DD/MM, MM/DD) or the reading direction (from left to right) when translating between different languages like English and Arabic. 

EU-sponsored translation project

Unbabel participated in QUARTZ (Quality-Aware Machine Translation), a six-month project funded by ELISE (European Location Interoperability Solutions for e-Government). The purpose of the initiative was to advance Responsible Machine Translation, which is key to unblocking domains where translation quality is critical, such as healthcare, legal, and finance.

Tackling 2023 together

2022 has been instrumental for both Unbabel and the translation industry as a whole. We look forward to continuing innovating new advancements in translation technology to help brands and businesses better connect.

Check out our Resource Center for more updates and buckle up for an even more exciting 2023!

About the Author

Unbabel’s Content Team is responsible for showcasing Unbabel’s continuous growth and incredible pool of in-house experts, delivering Unbabel’s unique brand, and producing accessible, compelling content on translation, localization, language, tech, CS, marketing, and more. The team includes the talents of Senior Content Strategist, Jessica Florez, Content Marketing Strategist, Imogen McCaw, and Content Writer, Valeria Rossi.

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