Iconic’s Global Head of Sales & Marketing, Diane O’Reilly, speaks at ‘Women in Localization’ event

Iconic’s Global Head of Sales & Marketing, Diane O’Reilly, speaks at ‘Women in Localization’ event

Iconic’s Global Head of Sales & Marketing, Diane O’Reilly

Iconic’s Global Head of Sales & Marketing, Diane O’Reilly, was invited to speak to the Women in Localization Ireland (WLIE) chapter on Perspectives on Machine Translation (MT). Women in Localization (WIL), is a global community for the advancement of women and the Localization Industry. This local networking event was hosted along the fashionable Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, at the Dublin offices of the US Cybersecurity company, Tenable. Reflecting the high level of interest in this topic, the event was booked to maximum capacity.

Diane was joined by two other speakers on the evening; Laura Casanellas, Machine Translation Consultant at SimulTrans, and Andy Way, DCU Professor and Deputy Director of the ADAPT Centre for Digital Content Technology.

The presentations began with Diane providing an overview of the MT landscape and the most common MT use cases today. Starting with a stark quote that “half of today’s S&P 500 firms will be replaced over the next 10 years” (according to Innosight research), Diane pointed out that it is up to companies to adapt and innovate to remain competitive. In her perspective, it is clear that MT is growing in adoption and helping companies to improve their competitiveness. And while we all smiled at hearing Diane quote Marilyn Monroe: “Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world”, she linked this nicely to Iconic’s firm belief that MT is not a ‘one size fits all’ technology; MT performs best when tailored to fit the purpose and needs of individual customers.

Neural MT in layman’s terms

Diane then went on to talk about Neural MT in layman’s terms. Essentially, what it means for those who aren’t involved on the tech side, is that the translations produced using Neural MT will generally be more natural sounding (fluent). But there is a caveat, which can be summed up in another popular quote, this one by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

“…When she was good,
she was very good indeed,
but when she was bad she was horrid”.

So at this relatively early stage of Neural MT research, there are still some issues. But having said that, Diane elaborated on several use cases or language pairs that are only now feasible with the advances in Neural MT. Specifically, Diane mentioned how Iconic had previously attempted Korean patent translations with Statistical MT, but only with Neural MT was the quality sufficient to meet the customer’s stringent standards (you can see more details on this case study here).

Andy Way, Laura Casanellas, Diane O'Reilly, speak at Women in Localization Ireland event

Andy Way, DCU Professor and Deputy Director of the ADAPT Centre, Laura Casanellas, Machine Translation Consultant at SimulTrans, and Diane O’Reilly, Global Head of Sales & Marketing Iconic, prepare to present at the Women in Localization Ireland event on Perspectives on Machine Translation

The topic of current state of the art in Neural MT was picked up by Prof. Andy Way in his comments. He focused on the ‘hype’ that has been created around some recent advances in Neural MT, but pointed out how oftentimes the hype does not go much beyond the headlines or titles used to report it. When you really dig in to the developments and evaluations reported, they can be quite narrow in their focus.

MT Applications

Diane gave several examples of how MT is currently being used by companies. Some examples include:

  • Customer Support – with live emails, and chat
  • Product Management – related to content information
  • Legal – e-discovery, IP
  • Corporate Communications – Internal & External

Laura Casanellas also picked up on the various applications of MT, pointing out that, in her opinion MT is now good for most things.

At the end of the three brief presentations there was a Q&A session with enthusiastic participation from the audience who were keen to understand more about Neural MT and how best to ‘get started’ in exploring MT for their own various uses. One of the points of discussion inevitably related to the future role of translators.  The speakers agreed unanimously that even with the high adoption rate of MT, the role of the translator remains integral.

Iconic would like to thank Katrin Drescher, Director Globalization at Tenable, and Margarita Núñez, Director, Account Management at SimulTrans, for organizing another wonderful event for the Women in Localization Ireland chapter!

About Women in Localization

Women in Localization Ireland is an international chapter of Women in Localization. W.L offers a strong platform for women to develop their careers in localization – an open, collaborative forum where women can network, share expertise and experience, and help each other move forward in their careers.

About Iconic Translation Machines

Iconic Translation Machines is a leading machine translation software and solutions provider who specialise in custom solutions tailored with subject matter expertise for specific industry sectors including eDiscovery, legal, life sciences, and financial services. Iconic is the MT partner of choice for some of the world’s largest translation companies, information providers, and government and enterprise organisations, helping them to translate more content, more accurately and in less time, resulting in significant cost savings and increased revenue. Iconic is based in Dublin, Ireland.

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