The year 2010 turned out to be quite rich in alliances between translation companies and companies that produce linguistic software. We wrote in some detail on the IBM and Lionbridge
partnership on the ABBYY Language Services blog
, as well as SDL and Language Weaver
. In addition, in August two more unions of a slightly smaller scale were announced almost simultaneously. Sajan has made friends
with PROMT and plans to integrate a machine translator into his translation project management system. And Milengo announced
a partnership with Asia Online (machine translator), Acrolinx (text preparation software for translation) and Clay Tablet (glossary software and Translation Memory databases). These companies are going to integrate their products and services into a single solution.
These are not the first such alliances and, obviously, not the last. Before our eyes, the world's leading translation companies are gradually deeper and deeper entering the territory of developers of linguistic technologies, both in the traditional licensing model and in the now fashionable SaaS version. Let's try to figure out why this is happening.
Currently, most of the translated corporate content is manually transferred along a long chain from the text creator to the translator and back.
Of course, depending on the specific situation, individual parts of this supply chain may fall out. Content creators can independently contact a translation company, the department for working with suppliers can work directly with translators and so on. But the more globally significant content is created in a company, the more difficult it is to organize its high-quality and prompt translation, and the more links in the chain.
The role of translation companies in this chain is the selection of final implementers (translators and editors), the organization of their work and quality control, that is, project management and resource management. The company collects, and then constantly adds, filters and rates the base of performers (translators, editors and other specialists), staff and freelance, located around the world. Having received an order for translation, she determines the time and cost, selects the team of the best performers, distributes tasks, controls the quality of their implementation. As a result, it guarantees that the client will receive localized material in the required quality and within the agreed period.
If the customer’s need for translation is small, he can try to independently select translators for his needs, organize their work and control the quality. However, a professional translation company will usually do the same thing cheaper and more efficiently.
What has changed in the last few years? First, the emergence of a global information space on the Internet has led to a significant increase in the need for translations. (More on this is in the post “How Google Translate increases the demand for professional translation
) Secondly, the quality has improved markedly and the cost of cloud technologies has decreased, allowing many users to work with information. Third, broadband access has come to virtually every home.
To meet growing demand, the world's leading translation companies optimize their business processes: eliminate middlemen and connect the final links of the supply chain with the help of a “cloud” infrastructure to work together on translation.
This infrastructure includes the latest translation services (a trained machine translator, the Translation Memory engine and databases, dictionaries and corporate glossaries, a text editor with the ability to work together for translation), as well as tools for automated distribution of work among performers (translators and editors). Moreover, performers can be both professionals and amateurs (if the customer decided to use crowdsourcing).
For a translator, such an online system is a complete workplace with a set of necessary tools. For the customer - a single service with which you can solve all the problems of the company related to multilingual content.
The process of organizing translation in a similar system for the customer may look like this:
1) upload the translatable file to the online service,
2) choose one of the options - professional translation, amateur translation (crowdsourcing), post-editable machine translation,
3) get the result.
Moreover, with a “cloud” translation service, you can integrate any management or content creation system, be it a website CMS, an authoring environment or an electronic document management system. This allows you to send text for translation directly from the place where it was created, and in the same place to get the finished result. For example, a page in Russian is added to the CMS of a multilingual website. After that, it is automatically or manually (by pressing one button) sent to the translation into the selected or previously registered languages. Translated pages in the respective languages are also automatically loaded into the CMS, after which the content manager only needs to upload them to the “working” version of the site. Thus, the most efficient and effective synchronization of foreign language versions of the website is maintained. Those who have been able to send a couple of sentences from the corporate site a few days before the new product is released and then update the same ten pages at night will translate the convenience of this approach :)
At the same time, all costs and translation time are objectively reduced, since the number of intermediaries in the chain decreases, primarily on the customer side, secondly on the side of a large vendor (MLV), which is able to effectively manage the final performers instead of SLV.
With this in mind, it becomes clear what additional value such a platform gives to the end customer: cost reduction, increased efficiency and effectiveness in managing multilingual content.
Today it is already clear that in the next few years, the transition to cloud-based collaboration services will be the dominant trend in the Russian and global translation industry. However, it is unclear how much of the industry will be able to change to the “cloud” model and how many companies will be able to succeed on this path. Now everyone is at different stages: the largest Western translation companies are finishing the construction of the technological infrastructure, the majority of small firms have not even heard of such a possibility.
Since 2004, we at ABBYY Language Services have been using a self-developed information management system (Translation Management System), which provides interaction between customers and translators. Now preparing to launch a new, improved version of this system, based on the "cloud" infrastructure and providing online access to a number of linguistic technologies developed by our company. About this system, codenamed ABBYY Translation Platform, we will describe in more detail later in a separate post :)
Of course, the previous methods of managing multilingual content in the foreseeable future will not disappear. Just as for telegraph and fax machines, there will be a place for them. But it is obvious that in the next two to three years, most corporate customers, having already appreciated the “cloud” services of Google and Salesforce, will go to the “clouds”, including when solving their linguistic tasks.
The original of this post and other materials (copyright and translated) about translations, startups and innovations, read the blog ABBYY Language Services
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