SlatorPod is the weekly language industry podcast where we discuss the most important news and trends in translation, localization, and language technology. Brought to you by Slator.com.
#185 Processing 20 Million Minutes of Audio and Video Speech-to-Text With Sebastien Pare
Sebastien Pare, CEO of VIQ Solutions, joins SlatorPod to discuss the evolution of transcription for multi-speaker content in challenging legal and regulatory settings.
Sebastien explained that VIQ initially started in Canada and expanded to other Commonwealth countries, focusing on courts thanks to their need for advanced audio and video solutions.
The conversation delved into the challenges of working with multi-speaker content and Sebastien highlighted the importance of AI in enhancing transcription accuracy, especially in industries where the quality of the source material varies widely.
Sebastien addressed linguistic challenges in the transcription industry, including dealing with varying speech quality, jargon, local dialects, and slang. He highlighted VIQ's flexibility in working seamlessly with third-party technologies and its commitment to offering various pricing models.
Sebastien also discusses the challenges of operating a public listing (the company on September 30, 2023, announced it will stop its dual listing on Nasdaq but remain listed in Toronto). He also touched upon the impact of the AI hype, buyer expectations, and the macroeconomic environment on VIQ's operations.
The discussion shifted to the shortage of court reporters and transcriptionists, where Sebastien explained how VIQ is attracting younger talent from diverse backgrounds and leveraging AI to increase productivity.
Sebastien shared some developments in VIQ's roadmap as they plan to enhance their summarization capabilities, and further localize their platform for different regions and languages.
#184 Spotify Adds Voice Translation, ALC Recap, Straker Buyback
Florian and Esther discuss the language industry news of the week, where Spotify launched AI-powered voice translation for podcast creators.
Esther gives a recap of the ALC 21st Annual Summit in Portland, where she presented key findings from the 2023 ALC Survey.
The duo discussed the addition of Basque, Catalan, and Galician as official languages in the Spanish Congress. However, Spain's efforts to make these languages official at the European Union level were put on hold.
In the UK, a language services tender worth potentially GBP 400 million was announced, primarily focused on interpreting services for healthcare and other public sector entities.
The board of language service provider Straker announced a share buyback, stating that their current share price doesn't reflect the company's value, intending to repurchase up to 3.5 million shares.
Writer, Inc., an AI-based writing assistance tool, raised a significant USD 100 million in its Series B funding round, capitalizing on the growing interest in this emerging category.
Google made subtle changes in its ranking guidelines for AI-generated content, shifting from "written by people for people" to "helpful content created for people."
#183 Winning Translation and Localization RFPs with memoQ RFP’s Mark Shriner
Mark Shriner, Strategic Sales Director of memoQ, and now CEO of memoQ RFP, joins the podcast to discuss the challenges and opportunities of request for proposals (RFPs) in the language industry.
Mark explains that enterprise language services RFPs tend to focus on language pairs and pricing, while language technology RFPs delve deep into product features, integrations, and security.
Mark talks about the complexities when responding to RFPs as different departments within an organization may need to provide answers, making coordination challenging.
Mark highlights the advantage of size in the language industry, particularly as larger companies often have specialized RFP writers who craft polished responses, contributing to their success.
He shares some memorable experiences, including successfully handling a multilingual RFP from a Finnish government entity, which required linguistic proficiency and accuracy.
Mark unveils memoQ RFP, Inc., a new solution to streamline the RFP response process, initially targeting small to medium-sized businesses. It aims to leverage technology, including translation memory and AGT, to make RFP responses more efficient and plans to follow a startup trajectory for growth.
In the coming months, memoQ RFP will focus on finalizing its minimum viable product, recruiting beta customers, and gathering feedback.
#182 Monsters, Aliens, and Lip-Synced Dubbing with MARZ CEO Jonathan Bronfman
“The face is the uncanny valley. The nuance and detail in the face and the way it moves is a very difficult thing to animate,” Jonathan Bronfman, CEO of MARZ explains on SlatorPod.
Canada-based MARZ, which stands for Monsters Aliens Robots Zombies, was founded in 2018 to leverage AI and bring quantifiable metrics like time and cost to the business of visual effects (VFX).
Bronfman recounts how their research for Vanity AI, a solution that creates effects such as de-aging, cosmetic, wig, and prosthetic fixes, led to them becoming an “expert at the face” and launching LipDub AI, a solution to solve the “mismatch between spoken word and visuals for viewers”.
According to Bronfman, users can take an audio stem (the dialogue track), the original piece of footage, and push both through LipDub and have a lip-synced visual in 30 seconds. Bronfman also explains that their USP is that LipDub is Hollywood-grade and works on 4K and ProRes files.
The two also discuss how actors feel about the emergence of lip-syncing visual effects and why Bronfman does not think an expansion into the creator market is on the cards for MARZ.
Florian shares that as a life-long consumer of dubbed content he sees the massive potential in a solution that improves the viewer experience and makes it more natural.
#181 ChatGPT Translation Quality Reality Check
Florian and Esther discuss the language industry news of the week, where amid ChatGPT's new enterprise launch, Florian tested ChatGPT's translation quality and came across mistranslations and awkward phrasing.
Florian highlights the launch of the Slator Pro Guide: Subtitling and Captioning, providing an overview of its content and use cases. The discussion shifted to Meta's latest release SeamlessM4T which handles various translation-related tasks, including speech recognition, speech-to-speech translation, and more, across 100+ languages.
Meanwhile, Appen shares price dropped considerably, so they aim to reposition themselves more toward generative AI but may face stiff competition from companies like Scale AI which recently announced a strategic partnership with OpenAI.
The duo give their view on a Twitter post by a freelancer who was asked to provide discounts for typos by an LSP. When posed this question in Slator’s newsletter, the community's response was divided, with the majority opposing discounts for typos.
#180 Next Generation Localization Software with Phrase CEO Georg Ell
Georg Ell, CEO of Phrase, joins SlatorPod to talk about key moments since he joined the localization platform in May 2022, merging Memsource into the Phrase brand, and the opportunities of AI-driven growth of content requiring localization.
Georg discusses Phrase’s product offering, which includes machine translation (MT) aggregator Phrase Translate and proprietary MT engine Phrase NextMT, where they provide customers with flexibility, neutrality, and solutions that align with their localization needs and varying maturity levels.
Georg unveils Phrase's upcoming pricing structure revamp, set to launch in September, which aims to provide customers with streamlined access to the entire suite of capabilities across Phrase TMS, Phrase Strings, Phrase Orchestrator, and other features.
Georg shares a perspective on the future of a hyper-personalized internet enabled by generative AI. He discusses the importance of AI-driven workflows, complex custom configurations, and dynamically evaluated machine learning models.
Georg advises on how LSPs should embrace AI and MT. He also touches on funding in the language technology sector, and how they intend to invest in areas that align with the company's growth strategy.
Great coverage about language industry innovation
Florian and Esther are excellent conversation partners and truly know their field. They are curious and engage their guests in a natural, fun and fact finding way.
Informational and Fun!
Florian and Esther do a great job of sharing and analyzing the latest localization industry news and interviewing a variety of loc industry leaders. Well done!