The size of the automatic translation market

 April 3, 2017
Posted by Manuel Herranz

The estimated reading time for this post is 134 seconds

The are several reports on the size of the translation industry, but the size of the automatic translation market has been advancing at a rapid rate over the last 10 years, particularly since the advent of Moses as a standard statistical machine translation engine. Several companies have built platforms around this EU-sponsored software. Corporations, big and small, are becoming increasingly aware of the need to localize their content into more languages in order to reach international markets fast, particularly in the e-Commerce arena. This demand can hardly be met by human translation services. Not only industrial verticals such as e-Commerce, electronics and travel and hospitality but also client reviews that require instant translation and content  discovery in the case of legal translations.

servers for machine translation application with a monitor

The technological approach to ease access to information to consumers and the end users in their native language is nowadays an absolute must-have to gain prominence, particularly in any kind of digital business and mature economies. It is the driving force behind the global push for the adoption of machine translation. The need for enabling global collaboration among employees is also expected to drive the growth of the automatic translation market in the next few decades. Furthermore, all interaction with customers in their language helps businesses win over their customers’ trust, establishing strong relationships with them and helping them build their brand image.

The global Machine Translation Market is expected to reach USD 983.3 million by 2022.

GMInsights produced a detailed report at the end of 2016 calculating that companies in the automated translation sector would have a combined net worth of almost $1Bn by 2022. The ever-growing volume of website content, the increasing demand for lower costs in human translation services, and the vast amount of language knowledge needed has already exceeded the capacity of human translators. This, in turn, is expected to fuel the machine translation market.

These figures are a very optimistic view considering that TAUS, with perhaps a better understanding of the needs and the technology estimated the net worth of the machine translation market at $250M in 2014.

Why is automated machine translation more popular every day?

Machine translation costs are far lower than that of traditional human translation. It is also faster than human translation and commonly used for high-volume content that would otherwise take immense resources for translation, which is expected to propel the machine translation market. Availability of free translation engines (e.g. Microsoft Bing, Google Translate) and lack of translation accuracy may restrain market growth. Major challenges for the machine translation market are a lack of quality, need for specialist skills and post-editing, competition from free translation service providers, and difficulty in measurement & estimation of quality.