Translation Technology Round Table 2018 – Collaboration across tools is the most important challenge in the industry

As announced earlier, Plunet attended the Translation Technology Round Table on January 29-30, organized by the Localization Institute. Our support expert Sylvester Weise not only participated in the event but also in the advisory board, which had been defining the trending topics of the industry in the year leading up to the conference. The event was organized by Richard Sikes and Willem Stoeller, two veterans of the industry. With 20 attendees from buyers to suppliers to software providers, the event at Menlo Park, California aimed to discuss tech-related challenges from different perspectives within the industry. And indeed, a vivid group discussion took place.

The main topics of the discussion: From the integration of tools to future developments

Supply chain integration: Many buyers struggle with the integration of different Language Service Providers and resources within the same workflow as well as the integration of financial queries and Customer Relationship Management.

Migration between tools / Data exchange format: The need for an “interexchange” to integrate different tools within the industry is extremely high. The attendees hope for the creation of standard protocols and formats to enable a file-based exchange of information between tools. In fact, various initiatives from different associations (GALA, TAUS) and tech providers (XTM) already exist and will be developed in the near future.

Connectors: All attendees agreed that collaboration across tools is the most important challenge in the industry. However, industry standards (e.g. TAPICC by GALA) will not establish themselves. It is up to the industry members to build business cases around integrations and to develop them.

Artificial Intelligence: Developments such as Speech to Text, Neural Machine Translation, and Machine Learning have been defined as future markets.

Automation: All attendees agreed that repetitive tasks should be eliminated. However, only very few have already introduced adaptable solutions.


Open Source and Integration

In the light of new developments such as GlobalSight (an Open Source Translation Management System, founded by Welocalize), the most important aspects concerning Open Source were discussed, including:

Security: This is one of the most important issues for buyers and suppliers. Many do not trust Open Source to be secure enough without internal efforts.

Internal resources / Need for talent: Open Source products are free to use, but they require a high demand for internal resources and talent to adapt, maintain and secure the product for use.

Support: Open Source projects always involve community-based support, which is in most cases reliable enough. Buyers and providers know that they will build their business around the Translation Management System (TMS) and therefore need a very reliable solution.

Functionality: Creating a TMS might be possible for (non-software) companies in the first three years. But almost all attendees had to admit that, after that period, the complexity and efforts involved in further developing a TMS rise to an unsustainable level. On the other hand, the transition to another system is an expensive and time-consuming process.

Contribution: Open Source is never self-sustainable, but rather requires a major deep-pocket contributor. With the next Round Table coming up, Plunet is looking forward to future discussions and expert talks.


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