Blockchain is purported to be a digital ledger, containing economic transactions that cannot be corrupted but can be programmed to record financial transactions. The blockchain database is not stored in one location, which means the records it stores are public, but easily verifiable. There is no central version of the information in existence, so it is not possible for a hacker to enter and corrupt. The host consists of millions of computers and its data can be accessed by anybody who is on the internet.

Blockchain's Future in the Language Translation Industry

Smart Contracts, Blockchain and the Translation Industry

A smart contract is a computer code which is intended to digitally verify, facilitate, or implement the negotiation and performance status of any contract. Smart contracts permit credible transactions in the absence of third parties. All of the transactions can be tracked but cannot be reversed. In the future smart contracts are likely to be implemented in the translation industry.

Already, an online Hong Kong translation platform is using cryptocurrency with Ethereum Blockchain to assist with both international payments and smart contracts. It made a clear point that international businesses require international currencies. It is not expected that either PayPal or AliPay in the future will be made available to emerging markets, which will prevent the entry into the translation industry of the majority of low-cost translators. If cryptocurrency is implemented, it should boost the talent pool and lower labour costs. Additionally, it has been emphasized that smart contracts’ technology will give added protection to the payment process as well as guaranteeing that funds are safe.

As well as international payments another annoying issue that the language industry faces is that businesses on occasions need workers on-site in monitored and protected internet environments so that confidential information in translations cannot be leaked. This of course reduces flexibility in deciding who and what can undertake the work, but it also brings about an increase in labour costs. By using consortium blockchain technology, only parties that are known are involved and smart contracts can be placed into a translation management system (TMS). All the vendors’ information is embedded into the smart contracts so workflow and communication can be accurate, transparent and automated.

Blockchain may improve outcomes for the translation industry

Where reliability and reputation are of prime importance in language services such as localisation and translation, a blockchain may offer a means for verifying the credibility and past performance of a vendor. For example, a record of data like sticking to deadlines and clients’ satisfaction may be encrypted and made available for public reference, which will assist in rewarding a high-performing translator while providing clients with a higher chance of paying the best people to meet their translation requirements. Also, a blockchain could provide the base for proving content ownership so that both translators and clients can protect all their work, or even distribute it to get compensation.

Blockchain offers potential for the translation industry

Blockchain is beginning to offer the chance to change every industry by altering the way assets can be tracked, indicating the way contract agreements can be enforced and defined and the way payments can be made. It’s difficult to predict if the current translation industry’s processes, tools, and business practices are likely to migrate into blockchain in the next 3 years. As the technology has potential the Common Sense Advisory (CSA) research emphasises that all companies should examine how they can take on Blockchain’s secure smart contracts and, distributed ledgers into their present technology.

Blockchain may help Western translation services competiveness

Blockchain technology should help to keep down costs and this will be needed by translation services operating out of western countries as the Chinese market of translators gain momentum. Global translation companies that are interested in expanding into the Chinese market should also be willing to adapt their business’ model. Chinese enterprises are quickly transforming the translation industry by creating global brands that will be difficult to compete with.

Chinese translation companies are not only savvy in the way they approach translations, with thousands of translators ready to take up newly created translator positions, they can also compete because their wages are lower and they are quick to use CAT tools to speed up the translation process. Not only that but they also hire native language reviewers to help perfect the translations. Their competitiveness is likely to be attractive to businesses seeking large volumes of translations.

It is expected that Chinese translation service providers won’t just supply the domestic market but they will be looking for translation projects anywhere in the world. To remain competitive and be able to match the predicted lower prices, Chinese translation providers are likely to offer taking on blockchain technology can help western translation services reduce their overheads and lower costs.