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Intel: The best global enterprise technology website of 2017

For the 2017 Web Globalization Report Card, I benchmarked the following 10 enterprise technology  websites:

  • Autodesk
  • Cisco Systems
  • HP Enterprise
  • Huawei
  • IBM
  • Intel
  • Oracle
  • SAP
  • Texas Instruments
  • Xerox

Intel emerged on top for the second year in a row, followed by Cisco Systems and Autodesk.

A new entrant this year is HP Enterprise, which ranked relatively low, due in large part to limited language coverage, but is notable for a world-ready architecture and above-average global gateway.

Intel held steady over the year with support for 23 languages. Intel modified its web design to support a “fly in” navigational menu. The support section also is better integrated into the design this year.

As before, Intel does an excellent job of supporting global consistency. Shown below is the Brazil home page, which shares the same underlying template as other country sites.

The nice thing about placing the Intel logo in the middle of the design is that you don’t have to worry about the logo shifting from side to side when the layout flips for bidirectional text, such as Arabic, shown below.

Notice the globe icon in the header — easy to find and use for anyone who wishes to navigate to a different locale. This is a relatively new (and valuable) addition to the mobile site, shown here:

Cisco remains the language leader of this category with 40 languages. Cisco debuted a new web design over the past year. Shown below are the before and after designs.

The most noticeable improvement is the addition of a globe icon in the header to indicate the global gateway. This is a small but important step forward in ensuring that users more easily find where they need to go.

Oracle most recently added support for Ukrainian and Arabic, increasing its language total to 32. Meanwhile, SAP dropped two languages over the past year, lowering its language total to 35 languages.

IBM is on year two of its new web design. It remains steady with 38 languages. Unfortunately, the global gateway is buried in the footer of both the desktop and mobile websites.

HP Enterprise is a new global website born of a spinoff from HP. The web design uses a lightweight, responsive template and includes the perfect global gateway icon in the header — yes, the globe icon.

Unfortunately, I found the global gateway menu to be buggy and difficult to use — and it is demoted to the footer on the mobile website.

To learn more about these websites along with best practices and emerging trends, check out the 2017 Report Card.
PS: All purchasers of the Report Card receive signed copies of Think Outside the Country, among other goodies.



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IBM: A tale of two global gateways

IBM, much to my chagrin, has used a lengthy pull-down menu as its global gateway for years.

Here’s what it looks like:

There are two problems with this menu, the first being that web users in Sweden, Turkey and other countries in the lower end of the alphabet are forced to do a fair amount of scrolling.

The second problem is the names of the languages themselves. As you can see here, “French” really should be displayed in French and not in English. After all, the goal is to appear to users in their preferred languages. This may seem like a minor detail, but it’s not.

Recently, I discovered that the IBM careers web site makes use a different (and improved) global gateway shown here:

Notice how the countries are presented in an overlay menu instead of a pull-down menu. No more scrolling!

Unfortunately, the languages are still not presented in their native languages. I do want to commend IBM for at least displaying the language that is supported by each country site.  I cannot emphasize enough that letting users know that their language is not supported is just as important as letting them know that their language is supported. Don’t hide this information!

It will be interesting to see in the months ahead if the main IBM web site adopts the careers global gateway.

For more on global gateways, check out my book.

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Interview: Lionbridge and IBM seek to expand “real time” translation

As readers of this blog well know, I’ve been bullish on machine translation for quite some time. Way back in 2004, I wrote:

Note to translators: I’m not implying you’ll be out of business anytime soon. But I am saying that machine translation (MT) is going to find its niche and this niche will grow exponentially. There is simply not enough translators in the world to handle the content necessary in this increasingly global economy.

Enter Lionbridge and IBM.

In March, the two companies inked a multi-year partnership in which Lionbridge would have exclusive rights to market IBM’s Real Time Translation Service (RTTS) technology.

I recently asked Lionbridge COO Satish Maripuri about the deal.

Here is the interview:

Q: It appears that Lionbridge is trying to replace the legacy term “machine translation” with Real-Time Translation. Why do you think this new term is better?

Real-Time Translation is a more accurate term for the solution. We see machine translation as a technology that enables the solution.  Real time instantaneous translation is the solution. Also, within the localization industry, Machine Translation typically refers to using productivity tools to offset the cost and time associated with translation and usually ends with a heavy post edit (PE) to get the content to publication quality. That is different than instantaneous real time translation that delivers “good-enough” translation without post edit if a customer so desires.

Q: When you talk to companies about machine translation, what types of content are they most excited about leveraging through your MT engine?

The customer excitement is remarkable. This one announcement created more in-bound interest than any announcement in our history. Organizations are most excited about translating the enterprise content that they aren’t translating today due to cost and time associated with the traditional localization process. Examples include: user generated content, research  reports, eSupport, social media, knowledge bases, website content and real time instantaneous chat/email communication.

Q: We still live in a “cost per word” translation ecosystem. Do you see real-time translation as the beginning of the end of the per-word pricing model?

Details around the new pricing model will be forthcoming, but it will follow a SaaS model subscription fee and/or seat license for certain applications. This will be different than the traditional per-word pricing model.  Time will tell whether this will lead to a change in the way organizations view all translation pricing. But for real time translation technology, SaaS-based subscription pricing is clearly the right model.

Q: In my view, Google has done more than any language provider to demonstrate that machine translation has a valuable role to play in global communications. Is there any concern at Lionbridge, that Google might open up its MT engine to companies via its Apps platform?

Google’s automated translation tool is a highly visible application.  And you are right in that it creates awareness of the opportunity for automated translation. There are applications for Google’s technology, specifically in its ability to enhance search.  Our focus is on enterprise content – which is a different application for automated translation in that it requires higher levels of quality and utility within the enterprise.

For the last five years, Lionbridge has been using and continuously developing our translation management platform — Translation Workspace. This technology combined with IBM’s real-time translation technology will allow us to customize the engine to our customer-specific domains to provide levels of quality that far surpass any freeware translation technology. This customization combined with cloud availability through Translation Workspace differentiates our tool from freeware tools and creates a  highly valuable application for the enterprise.

Q: TAUS has been critical of the Lionbridge/IBM alliance as an attempt to “lock in” users via ownership of the translation resources. TAUS has called on Lionbridge to open up your data. What is Lionbridge’s response?

Customers who use Lionbridge’s real time translation technology are not locked in to Lionbridge for any service — post edit or other traditional managed service translation. We are only providing our customers with a technology application to support real-time multilingual communication.  As such, our customers would simply license the technology to support real time translation. If they choose to post edit the result, they can use any service provider they choose.

Q: What do you estimate will be the ratio of human translated content to machine translated content in a typical company — say from today to five years from now?

As machine translation improves over time we believe it will be used more frequently, especially on dynamic user-generated content. We also believe over the next ten years we are going to see a shift from “Just in Case Translation” — just in case someone happens to read to “Just in Time Translation” — translation after someone shows interest.

In addition, we believe that over the next five to ten years, there will be more acceptance in the market for “good-enough” translation. Therefore, it would not be unreasonable to see a larger percentages of enterprise content translated using machine translation or Real-Time Translation technology.

For more information: