Evolution of an art form Don't take your eyes off multimedia localization technology
Nowadays you can’t talk to anybody in this industry without hearing about how the price of translation is being driven down. People will complain that per word sell rates are lower than ever, or at least that they haven’t increased to catch up with decades of inflation. Downward pressure on pricing is driving LSPs to look beyond the translated word. Now more than ever it is important to rebrand translation agencies as full-service providers.
Full-service multimedia localization is one of these additional services into which LSPs are reaching. This is not a hot scoop. In fact, it has been happening already for years. But let’s face it – we don’t talk about this critical component of language services nearly as much as we should. Perhaps multimedia just isn’t seen as a sexy topic, but we believe it should be.
Some LSPs build out multimedia service offerings in-house while others choose to outsource or partner with companies specializing in this field. Regardless of the strategy, there is one thing that all LSPs need to realize –
It can be a grave mistake to de-prioritize multimedia when building out service offerings.
For this short blog, we wanted to look at just one of these evolutions with which many of us are already familiar – text-to-speech technology.
Evolution of an art form
The field of audio visual localization is evolving. Although some of us don’t want to admit it, there is new technology that is driving a change in the way we do multimedia localization. Text to speech (TTS) is just one of these drivers.
Those who are passionate about multimedia localization will make the argument that TTS will never replace real voice acting. People scream “A machine could never do what very clearly requires a human touch!”
If this argument sounds familiar, it is because what translators have been saying about machine translation for years. And here we are… with MT getting smarter and better every day and the rest of us scrambling to redefine our niche in the industry, and how we are going to incorporate MT into the translation process.
Getting ahead of the change
There are forward thinking companies out there that are thinking ahead already. Constantino de Miguel manages Prime Multimedia, Digit-a, andPrime Voices. He believes that (like with translations), human voices will never be able to be fully replaced. Constantino likens voice over acting as “artesanía”, or a craft:
We are not afraid because in the end, you cannot get an algorithm to read as convincing as a human voice.
However, even an artist like Constantino concedes that there is a time and place for TTS, such as for short texts or personalized messages:
Translations have evolved into more sophisticated results… maybe the algorithm [for TTS] will evolve in the future.
True voice acting is an art form that cannot be replaced by machines. That having been said, let’s make sure we are investing in the machines just in case. It is not incongruous to defend the art while simultaneously developing new technology.
Localization is an art in its own right. But just like any other art form, it evolves over time to adapt to an ever-changing world.
Nidmzi does not endorse or promote companies, services, or products. That having been said, we would like to recognize that inspiration for this piece has been drawn from The Worldly Marketer Podcast, hosted by Kathrin Bussman. Episode 82 features guest Constantino de Miguel, Founder and General Manager of Prime Group, which specializes in multilingual voice overs, subtitling, and digital multimedia localization.