Curated for content, computing, and digital experience professionals

Month: January 2007 (Page 1 of 11)

Fully Automatic Useful Translation

I really liked this term I saw at TAUS, the Translation Automation User Society http://www.translationautomation.com/index.php. Putting the emphasis on the word “useful” is what discussions on machine translation (MT) has needed.

OK, we all know examples of MT shortcomings. My very old favourite is the MT system which translated the biblical sentence “The flesh is weak but the spirit lasts” into Russian as “The steak is rotten but the vodka is good” on the days before Glasnost. Machine translation is not perfect – but it can be very, very useful. Allowing me to understand what a Chinese web site is about without knowing a single character of Chinese is very useful indeed, especially when I am doing market research on China.

The fact is, there is not enough time – and definitely not enough money – to do human translation on even a fraction of the information that is being produced. So, if MT helps people to become aware of your message, it certainly should be considered as a tool, even if the result is not perfect. Useful is often enough.

Besides, there are quite a lot of MT systems available, both free and commercial ones, more than many might imagine. Several of them already do a good job on a specific topic, and can be improved further with special terminology. The Translation Guide at lists over 520 links to MT systems in 56 languages – sadly, the page has last been updated in 2003. Wikipedia offers a shorter, but more current list at . And for one great resource on MT issues, see Jeff Allen’s site at .

Exalead Announces Availability of exalead one:enterprise 4.5

Exalead announced the general availability of the newest version of its enterprise search software, exalead one:enterprise, designed to provide users with a unified access point to content and data, both structured and unstructured, regardless of format or location. exalead one:enterprise 4.5 offers a new, simpler user interface with greater search refinement options, improved performance for both 64-bit and 32-bit system environments, expanded language and file format support as well as new management tools for administrators. With this release of exalead one:enterprise, customers will have the opportunity to select from three user interfaces to meet the needs of employees. These include: The UI available in exalead one:enterprise 4.0; The new, streamlined UI found on Exalead‘s Web search engine for business-related searches inside the firewall and; A white label version for organizations hoping to customize the look and feel from top to bottom. exalead one:enterprise automatically returns a list of related terms and categories for each search query that are extracted from the indexed data. This allows users to broaden or narrow a search, for example, by a document’s author, location or format. For a more personalized experience, users can choose to expand or condense the list of options for refining a search, or how the results are pre-viewed and displayed. exalead one:enterprise 4.5 offers expanded language support for Dutch. The company’s proprietary, native support covers more than 54 languages, such as Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Hebrew, Japanese and other major Asian languages. exalead one:enterprise now supports more than 320 file formats, including native support for Microsoft Office 2007. In addition to indexing these file formats. The new version of exalead one:enterprise also offers an updated connector for Microsoft Exchange. There are also new exalead one:search APIs available so that administrators can add custom capabilities using XSL (eXtensible Style Language). New reporting tools are also available to allow system administrators to learn about users’ search patterns to optimize performance and relevancy of results. A default set of reports and charts are available and administrators can also use the reporting tools to define the reports or charts they need. http://corporate.exalead.com/

W3C and OASIS Jointly Issue WebCGM 2.0

W3C and OASIS have published WebCGM 2.0, a new industry standard for technical illustrations in electronic documents. WebCGM, which is widely deployed in the defense, aviation, architecture, and transportation industries, has reached new levels of interoperability thanks to this joint effort between OASIS and W3C. Computer Graphics Metafile, or CGM, is an ISO standard for a tree-structured, binary graphics format that has been adopted especially by the technical industries (defense, aviation, transportation, etc) for technical illustration in electronic documents. As the Web emerged as the environment for sharing and creating documents, it became apparent that the best way to use CGM on the Web needed to be clarified, particularly for interactivity such as hyperlinks and hotspots. WebCGM 2.0 adds a DOM (API) specification for programmatic access to WebCGM objects, and a specification of an XML Companion File (XCF) architecture, for externalization of non-graphical metadata. WebCGM 2.0 also builds upon and extends the graphical and intelligent content of WebCGM 1.0. The design criteria for WebCGM aim at a balance between graphical expressive power on the one hand, and simplicity and implementability on the other. A small but powerful set of standardized metadata elements supports the functionalities of hyperlinking and document navigation, picture structuring and layering, and enabling search and query of WebCGM picture content. http://www.oasis-open.org, http://www.w3.org/

Webinar Alert: Delivering Relevant Online Experiences

February 1, 2007, 1:00 pm ET
Take Your Customer Experience to the Next Level, Part 2: Small Changes for Big Impact
Sponsored by FatWire
Topics to be covered include highlights of a web-based survey on current state of practice, the growing importance of relevancy as a business asset, obstacles to building expertise in relevancy, and recommendations for moving toward better online experiences today.
Speakers are Jeff Ernst, VP Marketing, FatWire, and Pradeep Aradyha, VP/Architect, Digitas, a leader in designing, building, and running large-scale marketing engines for worldwide businesses. I do the honors as moderator.
Register for the webinar.

Google Mini Integrated Solution Now Offers Secure Search for Businesses of All Sizes

Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) – Google announced that the Google Mini now offers sophisticated search features for finding and sharing information within small businesses and departmental groups, including document and user-level security, as well as access to any business content through Google Onebox for Enterprise. Google’s access control capabilities integrate with existing security systems, helping to ensure that employees can access only information they are authorized to view. With Google OneBox for Enterprise, employees can search across a greater variety of corporate information stored in such business systems as Business Objects, Cognos, Cisco, Employease, Microsoft Exchange, Netsuite, Oracle, Salesforce.com, SAP, SAS, and others. Organizations can also create OneBox modules to access applications built in-house. Site administrators can now link the Google Mini search results page with Google Analytics to provide more detailed information about how people use search on their site. The new Google Mini also automatically generates sitemaps – allowing webmasters to expose more public content for crawling and indexing by Google.com. The Google Mini is offered in versions that search from 50,000 up to 300,000 documents, includes a year of support and is available for purchase online. http://mini.google.com

Information Builders Releases WebFOCUS Magnify, a Service-Oriented Approach to Search

Information Builders announced the release of WebFOCUS Magnify, a search navigation tool that dynamically categorizes search results and supplements them with analysis and reporting capabilities. Magnify uses the metadata from Google or other search engines to index structured data records and provide access to all WebFOCUS capabilities through the search interface to provide improved relevancy of results. A feature of WebFOCUS Magnify is that it captures data on a message bus. Using integration technology from iWay Software, an Information Builders company, it adds metatags, and submits it to the search engine indexing mechanism. This avoids the need for crawling data stores, particularly database records, combining structured data in databases with unstructured search. WebFOCUS Magnify leverages the metatags and provides results in a navigation tree to guide users to the information they need. Features of WebFOCUS Magnify include: Dynamic categorization of search results – provides enhanced ways to narrow down your search; Search-driven parameterized reports; Dynamic directories – uses search to data mine; and is search engine agnostic – can work with Lucene and Google. http://www.informationbuilders.com

Bluespring Software Announces BPM Suite 4.5

Bluespring Software announced the general availability of BPM Suite 4.5. Technical highlights include Microsoft Office 2007 integration, WSS 3.0 and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 integration, PDF Form support, and SQL reporting services adoption. Expanded Microsoft integrations enable users to dynamically create Excel 2007 files, Word 2007 documents and InfoPath 2007 forms with any data moving throughout the process, including reading from Excel, Word, InfoPath, Adobe PDF files, ODBC-compliant databases and Web Services. In addition, Bluespring Web Parts enable users to embed work list management, process monitoring and reporting inside SharePoint pages as well as trigger processes off of SharePoint events and actions on any SharePoint entity. The release also expands the product’s “in-flight” Process Editing capability, delivering process agility by allowing users to edit or change “in-flight” processes resulting from unexpected business cases without requiring code changes, server restarts or needing to wait for all “in-flight” processes to complete. Bluespring’s BPM Suite is 1 of 2 Microsoft Gold Partners whose software products are being featured in the Microsoft Office 2007 launch kit, provided to attendees at 75 North America launch events.

The PDF ISO Standard

Much is being made today of Adobe Systems announcement that “it intends to release the full Portable Document Format (PDF) 1.7 specification to AIIM, the Enterprise Content Management Association, for the purpose of publication by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).”

The main hubbub surrounds the contention of several bloggers that this represents another attack by Adobe on Microsoft and its recently-released XPS format, “the PDF killer.” Quite probably so. It’s a subject worth examining, although not superficially.
For today I’d like to consider what it means to become an ISO standard. I think of this as the equivalent of getting a lifetime achievement award from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (The Oscars). It means you were pretty good, but you’re now almost dead.

As of December 31, 2005, there were 15,649 published ISO standards, with 1,240 released in that year alone. Under the heading of electronics, information technology and telecommunications, there were 2,447 published standards. How many does your organization conform to? If this impresses you, remember to celebrate World Standards Day on October 14! And for even more fun, there’s the new isomemory game (http://www.iso.org/iso/en/commcentre/isomemory/startpage.html#). I hear it’s fun for the whole family!

You can’t read the published standards on the ISO site without giving them a chunk of cash first. That says something in itself; I’m just not sure what. But you can see listings of the bodies buried in the ISO graveyard. For example ISO 12639:2004 is the TIFF/IT standard, once used widely in the prepress industry, but no longer a player. You can however download it for 176 Swiss francs, 8700 Yugoslav dinars, or about $140 Yankee dollars.

ISO 6804:1991 covers “rubber hoses and hose assemblies for washing-machines and dishwashers — Specification for inlet hoses.” It’s yours for 48 Swiss francs!

I could go on (and am tempted to do so).

At the same time, there are certain relevant standards that have crept into ISO…as Adobe mentions in its press release, all of the PDF sibling are now ISO standards (PDF/X, PDF-X1, etc.). The OpenDocument Format is a standard. And so on.

So what is the significance of becoming an ISO standard when your standard is one that people actually use? Historically, none; more recently, some.

As the publishing industry has evolved into an ever-more-complex microsystem, more and more organizations (and indeed states, countries, etc.) are choosing to endorse standards that have been accepted and published by ISO.

Will more organizations use PDF if it’s an ISO standard? Probably not. That is, unless Microsoft gains real traction with XPS. There are some very high-stakes games being played against the Microsoft/Windows juggernaut, and standards have become a key weapon in the game. Adobe has played a major trump card. Microsoft: your move.

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