Research Survey 2016: Translation Technology Insights

A study of the past, present and future of translation technology


With 2,784 responses from translation professionals working as freelancers, or in LSPs and businesses across 115 different countries, the Translation Technology Insights (TTI) Research survey gathered opinion on current trends in translation technology and provided suggestions as to what the future holds - often offering surprising results. 

As we analysed the results, five key insight themes emerged as significant technology trends for consideration – Quality, Ways of Working, User Experience, Integration and Productivity. We will 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.

Summary eBook

The TTI Research Study 2016 Executive Summary eBook covers the key findings of the research and reveals trends, priorities and expectations for the future.

Research blog

This blog explores the background to the Translation Technology Insights research, the scope of the study and the reasons it was carried out.

Webinar recording

Introducing the global research study, Massimo Ghislandi, VP of Translation Productivity at SDL, takes us through the research and a summary of its findings.

Exploring the five key insights

Please scroll down or use the navigation bar above to discover more information on each key insight. 
Productivity - where will technology provide the next boost?

90% of respondents agree 'technology speeds up the translation process'

Productivity-web-imageRespondents say that translation productivity tools are their #1 way of coping with increase in demand.

However, since the development of translation memory (TM) and its integration into CAT tools, it is apparent that we have consistently focused on additional TM features in our search for speed and efficiency. The question being asked is, what does the future hold, where do we look for the next big productivity boost? New TM features or supplementing TM with the next generation of machine translation (MT)?

Quality is King

Quality is 2.5x more important than speed and 6x more important than cost


...And with two thirds of those polled performing rework on translations - it is clearly difficult to achieve high quality standards consistently.

Quality emerged as a key focus for our respondents. We ask how the industry is measuring quality. Are we using ill-defined measurement metrics? Do we receive regular objective feedback or is it, in the main, too subjective? Discover the challenges translation professionals face in delivering high quality translations and the expectation of how technology can help in the future.

Click on the links below to learn more!

User experience - the future is about a better one?

75% predict that it will be easier to customize CAT tools in the future


The TTI survey tells us that in the world of ‘easy to use’ consumer technology, translation professionals expect their CAT tool technology to reflect this demand. The survey shows that personalization plays a big part in making the working lives of translators easier. More than twice as many respondents like to customize their softwareas those who don’t and their expectations for ease of personalization are growing strongly.

Coming soon: resources that will help provide a much greater depth of understanding regarding this key insight from our ground-breaking study.

Ways of working - how do we come together over increasingly distributed work?

4 in 5 respondents now work with remote teams


Dispersed teams and home remote teams are the norm - 1 in 4 workers do their jobs 100% remotely.

Ways of Working are changing and translation professionals report on the prevalence of the key trends of distributed and remote working, smaller-sized projects with higher frequency (known as ‘chunking’) and hybrid technology solutions offering both desktop and cloud access.

Click on the link below to learn more!

Integration - can we create more seamless workflows?

79% use 2 or more categories of translation productivity software


CAT tool software, terminology management databases, machine translation tools, collaboration systems – there’s no shortage of specialized technology in the translation industry. 

The survey shows that three-quarters of the survey respondents use or have used two or more of these types of tools, with a majority using three or more. Logically, the more that translators have to act as human integrators between these different types of translation productivity tools, the more inefficient their work is.

Translation technology adoption: Where are you on the scale?

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When it comes to technology adoption - 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. Find out where you are on the translation technology adoption scale and how you measure up to your peers.