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 A computer journal for translation professionals


Issue 14-10-241
(the two hundred forty first edition)  

Contents

1. Twicks (Premium Edition)

2. Brittle Clay

3. Wordbee's Response

The Last Word on the Tool Box

Best Buddies Forever

The ATA conference is about to start in Chicago. I'm looking forward to it, and I know that many of you are, too. Those who have never been might feel a little overwhelmed, and that's why the ATA instituted the "Buddy Program," where experienced conference goers and translators are matched up with "newbies" and go to a session and a meal with him or her. I'm a little embarrassed to say that there are still 30 newbies who need to be paired with an oldie (good word?). Really? Come on, you old hands, why not spare some time for a greenhorn? Register right here and we'll see you on Wednesday before the reception.

Here's a clever little joke that will be understandable only to translators (of European languages):

A translator once kept burping obscure EU terminology. He said, "Don't worry, it's just something IATE."

Makes me smile every time I see it. It's by Jonathan Downie (too clever for me to come up with that).

My cleverness was also in short supply when I recently visited the IATE folks at the EC and didn't know how to pronounce it correctly. (And for the two or three among you who also don't know: it's /jɑːteɪ/). For everyone else, here is a fabulously interesting PowerPoint presentation about the history, present, and future of IATE by Tim Cooper. Happy reading, and see you at the ATA or elsewhere! 

1. Twicks (Premium Edition)

Some of you may tire of having me refer to Twitter again and again in this journal -- but it happens to be my preferred social network (aside from LinkedIn), and I also happen to think that it can be very productive. Productive for networking with colleagues, for meeting clients, and for publicly displaying who you are and what you stand for. In relation to other forms of social media, it's also less unproductive because it doesn't necessarily require you to read never-ending posts (though it might lead you to some of those), and you're supposed to express yourself in 140 characters or less (though finding just the right way to say it within those constraints can take some time!).

I've looked at some colleagues' tweets in the last couple of weeks and noticed a couple of tips that might be worth pointing out:

. . . you can find the rest of this article in the premium edition. If you'd like to read more, an annual subscription to the premium edition costs just $25 at www.internationalwriters.com/toolkit. Or you can purchase the new edition of the Translator's Tool Box ebook and receive an annual subscription for free.

 

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Kilgray is traveling the world to meet you!

Stay tuned! Mark the following dates in your calendar and meet Kilgray at these upcoming events...

  • ATA in Chicago on 5-8 November 2014: attend a pre-conference memoQ training session for beginners, visit the Kilgray-memoQ booth for memoQ translator pro and server demos, and ask our support manager questions at the tool bar
  • tekom in Stuttgart, Germany, on 11-13 November 2014: get free vouchers to enter the market hall, make appointments with the memoQ team, attend booth demos and get firsthand information on memoQ 2014

To ensure that there is a timeslot dedicated only to you, please make an appointment with us at sales@kilgray.com.

We look forward to meeting you in Chicago and in Stuttgart!

 

2. SmartTools (Premium Edition)

A couple of weeks ago Lionbridge announced that it had purchased CMS middleware Clay Tablet.

My first response was: That's terrible -- it'll make it much harder for smaller vendors to get into content management systems for translation purposes.

My second thought was: Maybe it's a good thing after all because now translation environment tool makers might actually be forced to provide ways to get that done themselves rather than rely on a third-party tool.

So I sent out a note . . .

But wait, let's first make sure that we all know what we're talking about.

Clay Tablet offers ready-made connectors between commonly used content management systems (CMSes) and translation environment tools and/or translation workflow systems so that text from the CMS (which really is just a database that contains text for all kinds of purposes) can be monitored and easily extracted. Once the extracted text is translated within the TEnT, it's then reinserted into the correct position inside the CMS. If newly authored text is placed into the CMS, Clay Tablet sees that and sends it off to the TEnT again. It all sounds pretty straightforward, but it's complicated by the fact that there are a good number of CMSes out there and each one works differently, so there has to be different programming for each. Plus, if you don't have a good way to get into the CMS, a lot of manual work is required, which is exactly what you (and your client) want to avoid. Very large language service providers might be able to build custom connectors to a CMS, but that's typically out of reach for small providers. So in some ways, access to CMSes has become one of the technological differentiators that separates the big from the smaller players.

So, back to my note. This is what I sent to all of the TEnT vendors:

This is an email that I'm sending to all CAT tool developers in preparation for my newsletter that is going out next week. I would like you to state in no more than 150 words what your plans are in regard to CMS connectors. With the recent purchase of Clay Tablet by Lionbridge, this is something that is on many people's minds, and some of you might have re-evaluated your plans for how to proceed with developments in that area.

What I'm interested in (and would like you to address) is: What is your current status of being able to directly connect to content management systems (and if you already provide support, for which CMSes)? What are your plans to develop solutions that would not rely on a third-party middleware solution like Clay Tablet? And if you don't provide any support or are not planning to, what do you expect your users to do aside from developing customized solutions?

Here are their responses. (I've left them uncommented even though I feel some might have misunderstood my question.)

Across/Across Systems

Connecting to Content Management Systems (CMSes) is vital for a Translation Management System (TMS) like our Language Server. As there are so many different CMSes available, it is impossible to have individual connectors to every system.

Therefore, Across Systems has created a generic CMS connector that allows an automatic exchange of data with virtually any third-party application that has structured export/import processes. This connector allows not only for translation files to be exchanged, but can be directly linked to our translation automation workflows.

Because it is generic, our customers do not have to use middleware and can rest assured that the connector still works after either CMS or TMS is updated.

Currently, about 65+ CMSes have been connected, including Adobe AEM, Quark Publishing Platform, Typo3, OpenText, Hybris, and PTC.

In addition, Across offers open web services APIs so that third-party applications can interact and, e.g., access terminology or sentences for authoring assistance purposes.

Cafetran

Recently, I released the new version of CafeTran featuring its own CMS system based on the H2 database. It is named Total Recall and basically it allows you to store your projects in the database for later retrieval. The recalling procedure for translation is context-sensitive -- that is, it takes into account the current source document lexical content. You can apply further filtering for the recall based on a specific client, a field, a previous project, or a user-defined context property. The CMS system is segment-based, meaning that it stores your working translation memory in a segmented form along with all the project properties. It can also import TMX memories. The default configuration is for the translator's computer, but there are no obstacles to configure it in a server-mode. The future plans are to extend the 'Total Recall' functionality to other databases (MySQL and OracleXE).

Déjà Vu/Atril

While Déjà Vu X3 is capable of translating content exported (as HTML, XLIFF, or XML) from most CMS platforms, it does not currently offer support for connecting directly to any CMS. At the moment, most of our customers who work with a CMS take advantage of the automation capabilities offered by the Déjà Vu X3 Workgroup API to develop custom solutions for pulling source texts from and pushing translations to their CMS.

That said, integration with several CMS systems is high on our list of new features for 2015 for the TEAMserver platform, rather than directly for the Déjà Vu desktop client.

Libellex/Lingua et Machina

Libellex is an on-line CAT tool with its own internal machine-translation engine, tuned project by project. It currently has three connectors to CMS :

  • Agility is an ASP.NET CMS & Cloud CMS for building and managing responsive websites and apps.
  • Néodoc's Calenco is a web application designed to write, structure, store content, and publish automatically complex documents for output in printable, digital, web, or mobile channels.
  • Microsoft SharePoint is a web application framework and platform integrating intranet, content management, and document management.

These connectors are based on a simple API using XML-RPC scripts and are therefore easy to develop for new CMSes, should a customer or partner need arise.

Lingotek

Lingotek's strategy is unchanged by the recent announcement that Lionbridge has acquired Clay Tablet. The Lingotek Enterprise Translation Hub fulfills the promise of Continuous Translation and already seamlessly connects to a multitude of CMS platforms, including Adobe Experience Manager, Drupal, Oracle WebCenter, WordPress, and SharePoint. Each of these integrations (collectively referred to as Lingotek Inside) are proprietary to Lingotek and powered by Lingotek's industry-leading Multilingual API. This strategy provides Lingotek's customers with the assurance that their investment in Lingotek's translation technology and their various content repositories will never be in jeopardy. 

memoQ/Kilgray

The fact that Lionbridge is both a technology and service provider and can offer this "one-shop stop" experience to customers who don't mind buying everything from the same vendor makes them a competitor to us that has a unique selling point that we cannot and don't want to match. We cannot consider them a partner like we consider Plunet, XTRF, or Easyling, for example, because we sometimes compete with Lionbridge. So you can expect Kilgray and memoQ to move into this area, offering a surprisingly fresh business model. Currently about a dozen CMSes are integrated through our content connectors framework, but we will go beyond that and match the depth of the Clay Tablet technology offering. However, this is not an immediate priority; we won't throw everything away now, and many other interesting things are in the making.

Memsource

We have developed a CMS connection framework that lets us easily connect to any open-source CMS as well as proprietary CMSes with public API or SDK support. For instance, connecting to Wordpress and Dropbox works really well.

We have had discussions with Clay Tablet for a specific customer, but in the end it did not work out because Clay Tablet was too expensive for the customer. However, based on our findings, to develop a connector between Clay Tablet and Memsource would not be hard at all, so it really depends on someone requesting it and being willing to pay for Clay Tablet.

SmartCAT/ABBBYY

We strongly believe that the corporate usage of SmartCAT absolutely requires providing the possibility of integration with the client's corporate infrastructure (including CMS). That is why we've developed our own Translation Connector (API for SmartCAT). Right now we are testing it on pilot projects and plan to publicly make it available in 2015.

Trados/SDL

Connectivity to content management systems needs to scale and be available at all levels -- TMS to CMS (Enterprise level), Translation Productivity products to CMS (via OpenExchange as part of the Studio platform; scales down to smaller teams and even individual users [where needed]). In our view, it is vital to offer a platform so developers can plug in at will. Clay Tablet is part of this ecosystem and as such we don't have any plans to change our strategy with respect to partnering with Clay Tablet where required (chiefly at the TMS/Enterprise level). As an example for an OpenExchange connector between Studio/GroupShare and CMSes that does not need to rely on Clay Tablet, see Connecting Content (by Kaleidoscope).

Transit/Star

The generic interfaces of Transit support all common standard formats for translation jobs and data (e.g., XML, XLIFF, TBX, TMX, etc.). In addition, the entire process chain can be automated with the Corporate Language Management platform STAR CLM in any level of detail­ from triggering the translation job in the CMS to the final, quality-proofed "delivery" and integration back to the CMS.

STAR CLM and Transit provide many customizable options for an easy integration into the existing IT landscape, such as automated interfaces or "hot folders," direct integration per API or CLI, and even interfaces to accounting systems like SAP.

At the end of the day, a direct connection to the CMS is the most efficient and best way for sustainable information processes. In our experience, a third-party "one fits all" interface is not only unnecessary, but may even impair the optimal integration of CMS, TMS, and all process participants.

XTM

XTM's standards-based approach to developing our cloud-based Translation Ecosystem brings us a step beyond the more rigid structure of the traditional Translation Management System. The central tenet of the XTM ecosystem is a highly flexible and powerful translation workflow solution enabling our enterprise clients to automate traditionally manual project management tasks through the tight integration with CMSes.

Strong direct integrations with not just CMSes but also other solutions such as source control systems is of strategic importance to XTM.

XTM International assists and supports clients with their own integrations with the use of our extensive web services API and Clay Tablet.

In September XTM announced the release of "XTM Connect." XTM Connect includes the complete web service API as an SDK and also a library of pre-built connectors to key solutions. Existing out-of-the-box connectors include Drupal, Wordpress, Adobe InDesign Server, SDL Trisoft, AutoCAD files, and Instinct Tools. There are also connectors for XTRF, Plunet, Easyling, and TermWeb. Watch this space, though, as we will be adding direct connectors for Adobe Experience Manager, Documentum, Episerver, Perforce, and many others. 

 

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Across Language Server v6: The Most Important New Features at a Glance:

  • Across Dashboard: Relevant project information at a glance.
  • crossWeb Review Mode: Easy involvement of international subsidiaries in the review process.
  • Across Data Cube: Easy collection of indicators.
  • Project Management Cockpit: Optimized work process for project managers.

Find out more about Across version 6 at www.across.net/en/support/whats-new/ 

 

3. Wordbee's Response

Some of you might have wondered why Wordbee was not part of this list. The truth is, I didn't contact the makers of Wordbee with the same question as the others because, independent of Clay Tablet's acquisition, they just released a product that's in some ways quite similar to Clay Tablet. It's called Beebox, and I had a talk with them about it even before I asked the others to chime in. (You might also wonder why others, like Wordfast or Swordfish, are not listed. They simply chose not to respond.)

Beebox is also a middleware product that sits between the translation buyer and translation vendor, and it's been in development for a year and a half. It can be owned and controlled by either side, and it's available as an on-premise server installation or as an SaaS (Software as a Service) solution. When it comes to CMS connections, Beebox has a lot of similarities to Clay Tablet (in addition to being less expensive). It presently supports the CMS systems Drupal, WordPress (through the widely used WPML plugin), Kentico, and EpiServer. Prestashop will be available within two months, Adobe CQ, Adobe Experience Manager, and SiteCore within three months, and Sitefinity and Mangento within four months. Sharepoint is available as a basic setup and requires some customization.

Like Clay Tablet, it connects to the CMSes to pull and push content, but unlike Clay Tablet, Wordbee is also a translation environment provider (and for a Clay Tablet in Lionbridge's hands that will most likely be the case as well). Beebox gives the user the option to either directly connect into Wordbee or to another translation environment through XLIFF (translation exchange) files.

I was shown a demo with WordPress (and Wordbee as the TEnT) and the workflow is seamless. Beebox is essentially invisible once it's set up and just manages the data flow into the required number of languages behind the scenes. It not only contains information about how to send the files, though, but also how to preprocess the files before they get to the translator (TM, MT, etc.).

There is also another component to Beebox, and its makers are still trying to decide whether to market this as a separate tool or as a feature within the same tool. Beebox can also be used as "localization middleware." This appeals to the conservative nature of many developers who don't really trust the localization/translation vendors to get it quite right with the sometimes complicated resource files -- and of course many developers have had negative experiences. While some formats such as PO/POT files or .NET resource files might be relatively localization friendly, others are not, and Beebox allows developers to manually or with the help of regular expressions mark up some of the more eccentric server-side resource files so it becomes clear what needs to be translated and what needs to be protected.

I can see both the benefit and the drawback to this. While it gives developers a greater sense of security, it also increases their workload and decreases the workload for translation vendors -- especially those who do actually have the expertise to work on those projects. On the other hand, translation vendors without that experience might suddenly be in the running for these jobs as well.

I think that Beebox might be a very helpful tool in the arsenal of small or midsize translation vendors who have been frustrated with not being able to serve some of their (potential) clients. My tip for those who don't use Wordbee as their translation environment tool: Do some good testing to see how much extra effort the XLIFF routine adds when bringing in the data to your tool. If that's seamless, you might have found something valuable. 

 

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