The world is shrinking. For decades, it has been getting smaller because of globalization. Then the pandemic came and it placed everything on hold, including globalization. But now that things are returning to normal, companies are looking to establish more resilient global supply chains.
This article will look at the methods of establishing communication within global supply chain networks with the help of machine translation. How can this language service make the connections necessary for the supply chains to work?
How a Globalized Supply Chain Network Works
A globalized supply chain is one where products manufactured in one part of the world will be shipped to another. Sometimes, parts of a single product will be manufactured in different countries and will be sent to one location for assembly only to be shipped again.
Advantages of a Global Supply Chain
The advantages of a global supply chain are quite obvious. In some ways, outsourcing the manufacturing of a product is so much simpler. Then there is the economic reason for it. Getting foreign suppliers for products or parts is usually cheaper because the labor cost in other countries is a lot lower.
The Complexities of a Global Supply Chain
While having a global supply chain has its advantages, it does have its complexities. For example, negotiating with a foreign supplier may require specialists in communication. You may need interpreters and translators before you can come to an agreement and also ensure that you get the right deal from your suppliers.
Once you have established your global supply chain, you will still need help from language specialists to back you up. For example, if you have a supplier of raw materials in one country and another supplier tasked with assembling the materials to form the products, coordination between the two can be challenging. That would require the expertise of language experts to assist.
How a Globalized Supply Chain Network Can Communicate with Machine Translation
The pandemic has also revealed the vulnerability of having a global supply chain. This resulted in what’s known as the Supply Chain Crisis and this affected so many businesses. It has shown that a very complex chain can go seriously wrong when not managed properly. This highlighted the need for robust communication between the links of the global supply chain.
Unfortunately, hiring a language specialist to handle communication can be costly. One solution to that is to use machine translation.
What Is Machine Translation?
Machine translation refers to the use of computer software to translate text without human intervention. MT has actually a long history since translation was one of the early tasks assigned to computers. Unfortunately, experts quickly found that the early computers did not have enough computing power to handle translation.
With today’s computers, however, MT is now a reality. There are several types of machine translation models developed over the years, but the one which is most promising for many industries including those that use global supply chains is neural machine translation (NMT).
NMT uses artificial neural networks to predict the string of words. One of the major advantages of neural machine translation is that it only requires a fraction of the memory needed by other machine translation models. It is not based on the language rules that are saved in its system. NMT does translation in a similar way that human translators would do it.
One of the main benefits offered by NMT is its accuracy. Because it learns on its own, the more it is used, the more accurate its translation becomes. It also uses language modeling, which allows it to understand the context in which words are used, allowing for a more accurate translation output.
Machine Translation Post-Editing
While neural machine translation can handle large amounts of text quickly and its accuracy is improving by leaps and bounds, some are still skeptical about the accuracy of the output. This is where Machine translation post-editing (MTPE) can be useful. MTPE means that the translation will be handled by software and the editing will be conducted by a human to ensure the accuracy of the text. This process can help in establishing and maintaining the connection with foreign suppliers.
MT and MTPE in particular can be helpful in connecting the various links of a global supply chain. The various suppliers from different countries can be made to coordinate with the help of fast and accurate translation with little loss of information.
While many companies are making the move to have a more localized supply chain, there is still a need for a globalized one. Sometimes, local suppliers are simply unable to meet the needs of companies and there is a necessity to look at foreign suppliers to meet their needs. Sometimes, the cost of a localized supply chain is prohibitive too and it’s cheaper to look overseas. In other words, a global supply chain is still needed and MT can help facilitate it.