Over the last four weeks, Slator asked readers to give their take on what methods work best for lead generation, whether machine translation has actually moved the needle in their day-to-day business, which global markets are most attractive, and how fast linguists will be translating in five years.

Has MT Moved the Needle?

With the rise of neural machine translation, there has been a huge buzz in industry publications and mainstream media about MT reaching (supposedly) new heights. So we wanted to cut through the hype and ask respondents if this, at all, moved the needle in the real world.

Surprisingly, perhaps, 63% of respondents said MT progress has, thus far, had zero to very little real-life impact on their work or business.

Translator Productivity

In private conversations, some freelance translators have argued that unless you produce more than 800 words per hour it is hard to make a living.

Of course, the productivity-profitability nexus depends on subject-matter expertise, language combination, physical location and markets, and tools used.

Still, almost everyone agrees that the productivity of human translators is on the rise. Opinions differ very strongly, however, on how far the journey will take us.

Roughly half of respondents see output per hour below 700 words by 2022 — this despite rapid progress in adaptive machine translation and related user interfaces.

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