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What Return on Investment (ROI) and other benefits should I expect?

Machine translation has come of age and large numbers of Language Service Providers (LSPs) and enterprises are now integrating machine translation into their business. However, few are achieving their full potential and Return On Investment (ROI) is often illusive.

ROI is a performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment or to compare the efficiency of a number of different investments. Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) measurements provide a solid foundation for calculating ROI. This presentation provides a clear process to calculate ROI and TCO, with a focus on what can be done to reduce the time to achieve ROI through rapid quality improvement when customizing machine translation engines.

Case Studies have shown that users can expect an increase in profit margins coupled with a decrease in required human resource costs. Overall costs decrease over time as machine translation engines mature, requiring less post-editing effort. The diagram demonstrates the difference in profit margin as the quality of the machine translation engine progressively improves. Some users have recovered all their machine translation investment costs after their very first project.

When selecting a machine translation vendor, many organizations look at the cost of machine translation without fully understanding the total costs to deliver the final translation output and potential savings to be gained. Lower cost machine translation does not necessarily mean higher ROI. The largest costs in translation are those that involve humans. As such, the best ROI will be provided when there is less human effort required. High quality fully customized machine translation that has been adapted to the client’s terminology, vocabulary and desired writing style using the Clean Data SMT model, greatly reduces human effort and costs while increasing productivity by as much as 300%. Generic machine translation such as that from Google Translate and Do It Yourself machine translation customization delivers lower quality translations resulting in higher human effort and cost, thus lower ROI.

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