Idiom Summit Highlights: Momentum and More Acronyms

Here are some thoughts from the past two days of the Idiom User Summit, in no particular order:

– There was a lot of buzz around machine translation (MT). Both Systran and Language Weaver are here and there were (at least) four sessions devoted to integrating Idiom WorldServer with MT. More important, the translation agencies and clients appeared serious about using MT, or at least seriously interested in what it can do.

– The Idiom LSP (language service provider) partnership program appears to be doing very well. There were quite a few translation agencies here who are very happy with WorldServer. And there are a number of other agencies I met with who were in the process of becoming LSP users of the product. More important, there is a sense that a community is forming among LSPs around WorldServer.

– New Idiom clients over the past few months include Bank of America, Mattel, and Apple.

– Old and new acronyms were abundant this week. idiom used MTM to refer to using integrated MT/TM (translation memory) tools. Jaap van der Meer, head of TAUS, used the acronym FAUT: fully automatic usable translation to refer to machine translation. Alan Melby countered with HUTTA: human-understanding translation with technology assistance. I heard DITA used lots over the past two days — and I won’t even bother trying to explain what this acronym stands for because it still won’t make any sense. What do all these new acronyms mean? In addition to making my head numb, I take them to mean that there are significant changes afoot in this industry and these new acronyms are attempting to describe not only the new technologies by the new paradigms that are evolving.

– Finally, after my presentation on Web globalization, I spoke with one executive regarding the challenges of migrating the US Web site to the .us country code domain. A small number of large corporations have done this already and I have heard reports of frustration with Google because isn’t spidering the .us sites in a way that gives the US sites good placement in search engine results. This I think could become a growing issue. In theory, companies should be hosting their US-specific sites at the .us domain, freeing up .com for global content and/or global navigation. But unless Google reworks its algorithms to effectively encourage companies to pursue this approach, I fear that Google will only encourage companies to do nothing at all. There is currently no uniquely labeled Google US search engine. While I have a feeling that Google will ultimately make the necessary changes, I hope this happens sooner than later.

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