Curated for content, computing, and digital experience professionals

Author: Karl Kadie (Page 2 of 2)

On Multilingual Communications and Open Source: An Interview with Jahia’s Emmanuel Garcin

Recently, we had an opportunity to catch up with Emmanuel Garcin, Vice President at Jahia, a Swiss-based vendor of open source solutions for web content and portal management. Jahia is a sponsor of Multilingual Communications as a Business Imperative,” a report released by Gilbane’s Globalization practice in July.

KK: What have been the biggest roadblocks to companies in demonstrating value for multilingual communications initiatives?
EG: We’ve found that web content management systems often need to be customized – in a big way – before they can be integrated with authoring tools, translation management systems, and other enterprise applications. This can result in big-ticket licensing and implementation costs as well as IT departments that become concerned with “overloading computing platforms. Open source technologies can help with these obstacles, but companies are often challenged to adopt and rollout new business models that go hand in hand with the open source context.

KK: What is the “tipping point” that compels companies to move forward with your solution as part of the infrastructure for multilingual communications
EG: The key business driver is a burning need to broadcast both local and global messages for brand management. We also have customers that must address language-based government regulations. Since there are three official languages in Switzerland, Jahia’s Swiss origins naturally focused us on the implementation of adequate business logic to provide flexible language management tools to accommodate this need. Other customers have a need to mix languages when they publish a particular country or regional site. One example is a large international institution that publishes in over a hundred languages who found that Jahia provided the vitamins (enterprise & portal capabilities) and the painkiller (globalization capabilities) needed to implement its content globalization strategy.

KK: What do you do to educate, prepare, and enable customers to be successful?
EG: There’s a lot of back and forth. Companies often want to shape new solutions around existing business rules, but they also need to plan intelligently about how they’re going to communicate globally, and determine which processes should continue to evolve. We educate and train organizations on how to get the best results and can help with planning, installation, and configuration. At the end of the day, it’s all about technical details. Companies want to manage content in any language, decide for themselves which languages are mandatory and which are optional, and even publish web sites that mix languages on the same screen. In addition, they want to give their customers the ability to select a new language through a simple, easy-to-use interface.

We spend a lot of time communicating a vision of successful web communication. We talk about how content repositories are the new databases, that all content should be dynamic, and how successful enterprise applications need to be function and feature-rich. We make sure companies are fully aware of industry trends that affect global communication practices and common standards, such as JSR-170/283.

KK: What have been your customers’ best practices in building a global content value chain?
EG: You can’t overlook the significance of having a globalization strategy in the first place! Examples of success that I’m familiar with include a large international agency, a GPS vendor, and a global glass manufacturer. The most successful companies are equally concerned about which solutions for multilingual communications they choose, and how they roll them out; about a single source of content, along with information that is customized or added to meet regional needs. They have a globalization strategy that strikes the right balance between centralized and regional content management.

What is most important, however, is to define how that strategy relates to business needs. A good example of this is a pan-European government agency that we work with. A particular document may be mandatory for certain countries and languages but irrelevant for others. To address this challenge, they prepare source content in a single language, deliver translations up to 25 languages, and publish local language sites with different, additional or custom content for a variety of regions and countries.

On Crowdsourcing and Social Media: An Interview with Plaxo’s Regina Bustamante

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Regina Bustamante, Director of Globalization with Plaxo, to discuss the company’s content globalization strategy and how Plaxo users are integral to its success. Plaxo offers a suite of online solutions for social networking. Top services are the address book and calendar applications in addition to Pulse, a sharing and networking tool.

KK: How has the growth of global web access affected the adoption and development of your social networking solutions?
RB: Plaxo’s user base continues to grow steadily since we reached the 15 million user mark back in October 2006. As a result, our product release cycles have accelerated from two or three months to just one week. At the same time, Plaxo’s non-English base of users and users with international connections is growing rapidly. Shorter product cycles coupled with user demand for multilingual products made it necessary for us to explore new ways to release products to major markets in local languages.

KK: What model did Plaxo use for its initial localization/translation efforts?
RB: We localized our address book and calendar tools into French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish and Simplified Chinese over a year ago, using LSPs for the initial translations. We then provided early release versions to specific “power users” in each international market who reviewed everything, including the UI and suitability to local cultures.

KK: So Plaxo users provided quality assurance in this effort?
RB: Yes, users were even willing to test and report on features such as sorting, name and address formatting, etc. When Pulse was released with localizations into the same languages, non-English users continued to send suggestions, comments, and to act as informal quality control agents. The involvement of the user community improved the quality of local versions of our software.

KK: The Dutch version, released in July, increased the role of longtime power users, correct?
RB: Absolutely. The Netherlands has quickly become one of the largest markets for Pulse and we expanded the involvement of the user community, relying on a group of long-time Plaxo members for the development of the Dutch glossary.

KK: What’s in store for the future of Plaxo’s localization/translation efforts?
RB: For future product releases, we will move to a crowdsourcing model based on a translation portal we are developing that will enable any Plaxo community user to submit and comment on translations. To ensure high levels of quality, this portal includes separate roles for a language moderator and project manager.

KK: What will be the key to success for this model?
RB: Plaxo’s position as a provider of no-charge consumer software helps us to engage users for localization/translation assistance. The key is to only ask users to help with things that directly benefit them. Our crowdsourcing model is not intended to entirely replace LSPs. For example, we have no plans to use crowdsourcing to translate the corporate website or documents such as the Terms of Service or Privacy Policy.

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