Smartcat news digest: December 20, 2019

Our latest news digest brings you a variety of news items including a machine translator provider acquisition, a new bill affecting freelance translators in California, a SlatorCon panel discussing how LSPs can add value to businesses, the 10th-anniversary meeting of the Moscow Translation Club, and a film about a translator getting into trouble for doing a little more than translating. Enjoy!

Keywords Studios acquires machine translation provider KantanMT

Irish-based technical services provider for the video games industry, Keywords Studios, announced this week that it has bought KantanMT, a leading machine translation technology company based at Dublin City University’s leading MT research institute. They have also acquired two other companies — Ichi Holdings, a creative and marketing services provider, and Syllabes, an audio recording and casting services provider, totaling a combined value of €11.2 million for the three providers. Read here.

California bill leaves language service companies and freelancers in limbo

The new California Assembly Bill 5 or AB5 taking effect January 1, 2020, was introduced to crack down on companies hiring workers as independent contractors instead of as employees to reduce costs (i.e. the Ubers and the Lyfts). But the move leaves real freelancers and many players in the translation industry in a tight spot as many will be forced to end their contracts as independent contractors and be classified as employees — or, more likely, lose their jobs. In our new article, various leading figures in the industry give us a firsthand account of how the new law is affecting LSPs and freelance translators in the state of California.

Nike senior global localization manager: “Solve my problems”

The Enterprise Localization Panel at the recent SlatorCon in Amsterdam featured Vinicius Britto of Bose, Álvaro Merelo of Nike, Andrea Guisado Muñoz of KAYAK, and Balázs Benedek of Easyling who shared their insights about how LSPs can provide value to global organizations. They touched upon global account management, focusing on solving the client’s problem, making use of machine translation, workflows, and more. Read all about it and watch their interviews here.

Leading LSPs meet in Moscow to discuss AI integration

The 10th Moscow Translation Club meeting took place earlier this month with participants meeting over 150 language service provider leaders for workshops and one-on-one sessions. Some of the topics addressed include content creation, multimedia localization, AI-driven solutions, and collaboration with educational organizations to help young linguists get started in their careers. Learn more about the event here.

When a translator becomes a whistleblower

Kiera Knightley stars in Gavin Hood’s new movie, Official Secrets, playing real-life translator Katharine Gun, who worked for the British intelligence organisation GCHQ in 2003. Her job was to translate from Mandarin Chinese into English but when she was copied in an email from the NSA asking GCHQ to spy on UN delegates to blackmail them into supporting the invasion of Iraq, she decided to leak it to the media.
Being a translator is hard, but having to deal with being put into such an ethically compromising position kind of puts translating website copy, social media posts, or promotional newsletters into perspective! Well worth watching this one.

That’s it for this digest. Any more news we should know about? Let us know in the comments!