Research Survey 2016:
Translation Technology Insights

An in-depth study of technology in the translation industry with 2,784 respondents in 115 countries

TTI 5 InsightsAs a technology leader in translation productivity, SDL monitors the trends shaping the translation industry. Earlier this year, we conducted an extensive research survey, SDL Translation Technology Insights (TTI), asking translation professionals about their work and expectations for how technology will impact the future.

The results revealed five key insight themes. In this series, we explore each of the insights in turn and ask what we, as an industry, can do to work smarter and respond more effectively to the rapid pace of change. Take a look at an overview of the findings below.

The TTI Executive Summary eBook provides an overview of the key findings of the research

Insight #1: Quality - how important is translation quality?

Quality is king - the research revealed that it is seen as being 6x more important than speed or cost.

The Translation Technology Insights (TTI) quality eBook explores the quality findings in our research and uncovers the factors that contribute to poor translation quality and possible ways to improve.

Download the TTI quality eBook

3 out of 5 surveyed weren't aware that standardized metrics or models exist for assessing translation quality. This infographic lists a few translation quality standards that can support your translation business.

View the TTI quality infographic 

SDL’s translation technology can help you and your team to consistently achieve the best possible translation quality with a combination of tools, measurement and process improvement. 

Find out more about translation quality

Insight #2: New ways of working - how is our world of work changing?

The pressure's on - dealing with more complex projects and widely distributed teams.

Our Insights Series #2 eBook reviews the research results, showing the changes to the way we work in the translation industry and suggests how LSPs can meet the challenges today and in the future. 

Download the New Ways of Working eBook 

Part of the research results debate desktop versus cloud-based translation technology and surmises that a combination of the two is the best current solution. 

SDL Trados Studio Professional

Working on complex translation projects with widely distributed teams can create disruptions to the workflow and increased administration for the project manager. We suggest ways to work more effectively. 

New Ways of Working Infographic
SDL Studio GroupShare

Insight #3: User Experience - how is it for you?

Know your tools - Only 50% of respondents feel they know how to best exploit translation technology

In our survey we explored the experience of using translation productivity tools. Discover the results and how to improve your experience, knowledge and understanding. Download the user experience eBook

Two thirds of those surveyed said they found CAT tools easy to use but that a balance needs to be struck between ease of use and accessing greater functionality. View the User Experience infographic

68% want to add functionality to their CAT tool through 3rd party add-ons - visit the SDL AppStore

For a better user experience - connect with peers and experts through webinars, training, forums and live events

Join our

Insight #4: Integration - it helps if systems are integrated

Better together - 3x as many LSPs want integration between desktop and cloud, compared to those who don't

Combine the functionality of SDL Trados Studio Professional on the desktop with sophisticated machine translation by connecting to SDL Language Cloud MT for faster delivery of high quality translations.

Download the TTI integration eBook

50% of respondents want to see APIs as part of a CAT tool in the future. Get the most from your SDL translation productivity tools by providing input directly to the developers, connect and join the conversation in the

Visit the SDL AppStore Developer Hub 

Use the SDL AppStore to extend, customize and improve integration to other systems. 

Visit the SDL AppStore
Of those that use Machine Translation (MT), 59% see MT as having a positive impact in the future

Insight #5 – Productivity

What next in translation technology productivity?

Productivity-web-imageWe believe that translation technology is still evolving and delivering new approaches using automation, adaption and intelligent matching from both translation memories and machine translation. 

In the last in the series of TTI eBooks, we explore the research respondents view on how technology supports productivity and where the next incremental productivity increase will come from. 

Download the productivity eBook

72% believe they would lose competitive advantage without translation productivity tools

The search for ways to be more effective, efficient and productive


The survey suggests that technology plays a central role both in terms of competitive advantage and managing increasing volumes. Translation professionals are looking to translation productivity technology to help them respond to the strong growth in demand for translation. 

We asked if they expect to see technology advances that deliver the next generation of productivity improvements in the near future. The majority (55%) felt that innovation has just started and are optimistic for future developments.

90% of TTI respondents find that technology speeds them up

Productivity improvements - is machine translation the answer?

Computer assisted translation (CAT) technology has continued to improve since its inception. The survey suggests that many are looking for the next level of productivity to come from machine translation. So we ask the question, what further developments in MT does the industry need? 

SDL Trados Studio 2017 will introduce SDL AdaptiveMT which will learn from a translator’s MT post-edits and then apply this learning to future MT output, which means there will be no extra effort on top of the normal editing process. And what is unique about SDL AdaptiveMT, is that it is fully integrated into the CAT environment making it easy to use and apply.

Translation memory is evolving

The biggest potential for additional productivity increases is in both the “no match” and “fuzzy match” scenarios. Up to now, translation memory has been relatively limited in offering accurate fragment matches automatically, there is a need to evolve from a passive matching mechanism to a more active and automated tool. 

SDL Trados Studio 2017 introduces ‘upLIFT’ best match technology with the two new features of ‘fragment recall’ and ‘fuzzy match repair’.

SDL Trados Studio 2017 coming soon!  Find out more

Translation Technology Adoption Scale

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Find out where you are on the translation technology adoption scale. Are you stuck in the past or leading the way? Answer a few simple questions to see if you are 'technologically fit' for the future of the translation business. Once you have your results, you can see how you measure up to your peers. Find out now.