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By Natalia Horbachevska, CEO of Task Force, linguistic services company
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In an increasingly interconnected world, the language industry has emerged as a vital cornerstone of global business. With companies stretching their reach across borders, the need to communicate with customers in their native language has never been more critical. Yet the landscape is shifting beneath our feet. We at Task Force, a linguistic services provider, with Ukrainian roots and offices in Ukraine and Poland, know it as well as anyone. The digital revolution, spurred on by the rise of AI, is reshaping how languages are learned, translated, and delivered to end-users. This seismic shift brings forth both opportunities and challenges as businesses seek to leverage new technologies to connect with global audiences.

AI tools and their pros

AI tools have burst onto the scene, offering a plethora of advantages for businesses looking to scale up, including scaling up their language operations. Machine learning algorithms and neural networks are now capable of translating content with a speed and efficiency that far surpasses human capability. Such tools are not only reducing turnaround times but also cutting costs, democratising language services for businesses of all sizes. AI’s capacity to handle big data sets enables the processing of vast amounts of information, providing insights and translations at an unprecedented scale and speed.

AI tools and their cons

However, these advancements come with a caveat. It’s essential to understand that AI solutions, at their current stage, are more ‘artificial’ than ‘intelligence’. They lack the nuanced understanding of context, culture, and colloquialisms that human translators bring to the table. AI can hallucinate, misinterpret formatting, and even omit crucial parts of content. Businesses must recognise that AI tools are not infallible and that human oversight is necessary to ensure accuracy and to verify, make decisions, and take responsibility for the final output.

New role of linguistic services companies in the changing world

The transformation has cast language service providers (LSPs) in a new light. As traditional translation roles evolve, LSPs are becoming pivotal in managing the interface between AI outputs and real-world applications. This includes ensuring the accuracy of translations, providing human translation and human expertise in lesser-spoken languages where AI may falter, and delivering specialised knowledge in technical domains where precision is paramount.

Despite the rise of AI, there is an increasing need for niche experts who can offer both linguistic skills and specialised industry knowledge. Machine translation, while improving, still has significant limitations, especially for less-common languages that lack extensive datasets. Moreover, the higher energy consumption and sometimes slower speed of AI tools, compared to traditional translation software, raise questions about their sustainability and efficiency in professional settings.

As a mid-sized, agile, international LSP, we are attuned to the pulse of AI innovations. We see our role in managing complexities for businesses with their language operations, including managing projects, no matter how they are performed (human, artificial or hybrid). Talking a lot with our clients, we see that AI is a hype topic in many cases, but then, coming back to the office and everyday routines, the clients want their translations/localisations just to be ready and flawless. Other details (such as who performed it and who managed it) are of less interest.

We rigorously test emerging tools to discern their applicability and effectiveness within our industry. Our commitment is to offer an unparalleled level of service, integrating the best of AI with the irreplaceable human touch. We provide a full spectrum of linguistic services, including translation, interpretation, subtitling and voiceover, ensuring that our clients communicate effectively, whatever the language, wherever the audience.

At Task Force, we believe that the language market is evolving, and AI is a significant part of that change.

Yet it is not a replacement for human expertise but a complement that, when used wisely, can enhance our ability to bridge language divides, increase speed of work even more and reduce costs for clients. In this changing world, we stand as a beacon of quality and innovation, guiding businesses through the complexities of language services and ensuring that their message resonates clearly, in every tongue.