Best Practices

Language Flow Architect: why it sparks debate among translators?

The future role of translators points to integration with language tools, keeping the essence of being a bridge between cultures.
Thalita Lima
8 min
Table of Contents

The term Language Flow Architect has recently been brought up by our CEO Gabriel Fairman on the webinar organized by the Globalization and Localization Association (GALA). He referred to the process within Bureau Works, focusing on Context-Sensitive Translation.

The term has raised debate among translators on a Linkedin post. Some supported it, while others had concerns. We value this exchange of ideas and have summarized the main points to clarify the term's meaning and encourage discussion.    

What does Language Flow Architect mean?

Image by (adapted)

In short, it refers to the role of translators amidst the opportunities provided by Large Language Models in translation work (now and in the future), based on our Bureau Works process.

However, it's more than just a title. Seeing the translator as an architect means this professional will be in the center of the text design, managing and extracting the best of language tools. It requires the ability to deal with the engine and responsibility for its learning. How come? 

Our CAT Tool mechanisms take everything into consideration. Because it’s a tool, that’s much more responsibility. The translator has to create good and coherent glossaries and with past projects memory, our tool can provide suggestions to create a context-sensitive translation. This process led to the creation of the term “Language Flow Architect”. 

Yet, as a new term, it faced resistance from translators. Let's explore the reasons behind this debate

Main points of debate

  1. Concerns about abandoning the term "Translator"

Some translators are attached to being called “Translator” and resist new terms, fearing it might affect their income or the understanding about the work they do.

Of course, it’s possible to embrace tech solutions without flashy new titles. However, the idea isn’t about the professional title. The Language Flow Architect idea is about the concept attached to it, an innovation in modus operandi.

  1. Being paid per word is off the table?

If the CAT Tools change the process of translating, what happens with the old paradigm of translators being paid per change or per words? This is one of the main concerns among translators.  

The worry is valid but it could be substituted by a reflection about if this pricing method remains the best or if others could be fairer. Pricing should consider multiple factors such as the time spent in the content, the document complexity, familiarity with the subject etc.

The answer to this point could be value-based pricing. It’s not a new concept and nor specific to the translation field. 

  1. Technologies are accessible to more people…

“…So anyone will feel competent to deliver a translation job.” 

Yes, technologies are more accessible and that’s awesome! But not everyone can make a professional output. The good results still rely on the human translator's hands. 

Quality translation projects still require experience, advanced skills in both languages and linguistic studies from the professional.

  1. Is process optimization real?

Enhancing productivity with softwares such as BWX is not a fairy tale. The technology is available to truly save time (if you know how to manage) as it is for many professions. 

But it won’t be perfect at first. You need to train the engine to be able to make suggestions, aiming to avoid mistakes, but especially in order to create a memory faithful to your authorship. The engine has the capacity to get better and better.

  1. Adaptation is the key

It's healthy to be open to new ideas and concepts and allow ourselves to imagine how things might change. Even if “Language Flow Architect” is not a term that will be spread in the next few years, tech resources are already part of our project's routine. 

Rather than cling to conservative approaches of how work should be done, translators can adapt and thrive.

  1. How to convince clients they still need a human translator?

Even though the term 'translator' might seem self-explanatory, it would be naive to believe that the client always knows exactly what a translator does.

The process of translation involves study, consultation, exposition to the language, training, and the learning of new tools. It's our role as translators to communicate the value of human input in a tech-driven industry to clients, emphasizing the nuanced work involved in translation.

Of course clients are concerned with best outcomes, best cost-effectiveness, and a satisfactory timeframe. However, by understanding the tools function and that they don't work alone without management, they will pay a fair value according to what each project demands.

What is the future role of translators in all this? 

Image by

All professions change over time. A few years back architects used to draw with hands, then they transitioned to Autocad and other softwares, assembling design elements in the most sophisticated ways, and much faster. But the creativity and authorship of designs is still present.

The same happens in the translation field. Though tools and processes have evolved, the essence of the translator work endures. 

Despite the new terms, the core of how translators will be working in the future is basically the same everywhere: texts are translated from source language A to target language B using many tech tools. The translator's task is to make sure that this flow runs smoothly, with quality and fidelity to the original content. 

Translators verify the flow of the language, of the communication goal. As translators continue to add value to each content, they play a crucial role being a bridge between two cultures.

Thalita Lima
Passionate about languages and the power of localization to connect minds. Journalist, writer, photographer, and ecology student
Translate twice as fast impeccably
Get Started
Our online Events!

Try Bureau Works Free for 14 days

ChatGPT Integration
Get started now
The first 14 days are on us
Free basic support