Translation Memory Sharing Gains Momentum

The members of the Translation Automation User Society met recently and agreed to develop a business plan for hosting and sharing translation memories (TMs).

TMs have historically been something that companies developed for their own internal use — to cut translation costs and improve consistency and quality. But last year TM Marketplace, profiled in the February 2007 issue of Global by Design, developed a business model of brokering TMs so that companies could lease the TMs of other companies within their industry to get even greater cost savings; GM became the first company to sign on.

And now TAUS is moving ahead with TM sharing. What makes the TAUS effort important is the makeup of the TAUS membership; this organization includes a strong blend of vendors and their clients, such as Adobe, Microsoft, Cisco, eBay, EMC, HP, Google, Idiom, Lionbridge, Language Weaver, and SDL.

As a sidenote, TM Marketplace is also a TAUS member; I’ll be curious to see if the TAUS effort is complementary or competitive to what TM Marketplace is already doing.

Execution is everything of course. And this will take time; TAUS doesn’t plan to review the business model until their next meeting in October.

But what’s most important now is intent — companies intending to share their TMs to translate more content more cost effectively. And as these great pools of TM content grow, we’ll see standardization of terminology throughout industries and we’ll see machine translation software leverage these TMs to enhance their efforts.

Lionbridge Says 150 Companies Now On Freeway (updated)

Lionbridge issued a press release today that says the company’s new translation management platform, Freeway/Logoport, was the fastest-growing translation management tool in 2006. Freeway is the Web-based front-end of the application and Logoport is the translation memory engine (I’m still not quite sure why there are two names used). For the reason behind the two names, see below.

Here are some data points from the press release:

  • Logoport now has more than 10,000 individual users.
  • Logoport has seen average monthly production volume increase from 9 million words in January 2006 to 36 million in January 2007.
  • Logoport now hosts more than two and a half billion words within its many client translation memories.

There is a caveat to these growth numbers: the fact that Freeway/Logoport, is, well, free.

Nonetheless, these are very impressive numbers. Clearly, Lionbridge is providing a valuable service to clients and one that is being used at a blistering pace.

I would be interested in knowing how many of these 150 clients have been brought onboard solely due to Freeway/Logoport.

And now that the company has all of these clients using Freeway/Logoport, it will be also interesting to see if a machine translation component is added at some point this year and/or if we see companies beginning to share their translation memories to achieve even greater cost savings.

PS: I profiled Lionbridge Freeway in the July issue of Global by Design.

UPDATE: Kevin Bolen, CMO of Lionbridge, filled me in on two points that I raised in this post. First, the issue about using two names. Logoport is the name of the translation memory software platform that Lionbridge purchased and has since integrated into Freeway. Because there was already a base of Logoport users out there, Lionbridge decided to maintain the name while at the same time promoting the new Freeway name. However, looking ahead, it will be Freeway getting promoted and not Logoport. That should clear things up for prospective customers.

Second, regarding my question about how many of these 150 companies are existing customers vs. new customers, Kevin says the split is roughly 50/50, which is a positive sign. He says that Freeway is playing a key role in winning new business.

An Interview with Language Weaver CEO Bryce Benjamin

Last week, I posted the article that I wrote about Language Weaver and their statistical machine translation software. While I was at the Language Weaver offices, I also had time to record a 10-minute interview with CEO Bryce Benjamin.

I’ve posted the first few minutes of the interview. Click on the image below to view it using YouTube.


Subscribers of Global by Design can view (and download) the entire interview by logging in here.

Most Popular Posts of 2006 (Belated Edition)

Okay, so I finally got around to reviewing 2006 stats for Global by Design. My goal is to install a real-time “most popular” sidebar; until then, here are the most popular entries:

Baidu vs. Google: Round Two

The World According to Wikipedia

Just Don’t Do It: The Art of Slogan Translation

China and Japan: So Close But Yet So Far

McDonald’s Scores with “McRice Burger”

And although this entry is quite new, it’s been very active:

Statistical Machine Translation Gets Real: A Profile of Language Weaver

Our guest articles have also been very well read. Here are the top three:

Scaling a Great Wall: Top 5 Tips for Learning Chinese

Just How Literal Do You Want That Translation?

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Finally, in the completely unrelated category, the most popular entry is my post from Punta Tombo:

Greetings from Punta Tombo!

Must be all those cute penguin photos!

Statistical Machine Translation Gets Real: A Profile of Language Weaver

Statistical machine translation is an innovative way of automatically translating text from one language into another. It’s being used by Google, it’s being used in Iraq, and it’s being commercialized by a company called Language Weaver.

I profiled this company for the December issue of Global by Design and now we’re making the full article available for free download.

We’re going to be hearing a lot more about this technology and Language Weaver because companies can only afford to translate a fraction of their content using translators. SMT is not designed to put translators out of work but instead unleash vast amounts of content that would never have been translated in the first place.

If you want to get an idea of what SMT can do, what it can’t do, and why I think it’s going to revolutionize the translation industry, check out the article.

download article (2.1MB)