Archive for Machine Translation

Gilbane Advisor 5-19-17 — e-commerce, meta-platform, summarization and ML, design

E-commerce: What China reveals about the future of shopping

China’s e-commerce market is the world’s largest and fastest growing. It is also more mobile and more integrated with relevant platforms than those in the West, allowing for smoother customer experiences. This goes beyond WeChat e-commerce capability, the envy of western messaging platforms.

China's Digital Ecosystem - source BCG

There are reasons eastern and western e-commerce may continue to evolve in differently. But there is a lot to learn from China’s experience. BCG and Alibaba dig in. Read More

Digital assistants drive new meta-platform battle

Bob O’Donnell riffs on the intersection of digital assistants, the voice interface, and platform value. This weeks’ keynotes at Google I/O, and last week’s at Microsoft Build both provide useful context to several of O’Donnell’s points.

… digital assistants … have the potential to completely devalue the underlying platforms on which they run. To put it succinctly, if I can use, say, Alexa across an iPhone, a Windows PC, my smart home components and a future connected car, where does the unique value of iOS or Windows 10 go? Out the door… Read More

Improving summarization with machine learning

That this would happen should be expected, especially after the dramatic improvement to machine translation due to ML. MIT Technology Review’s Will Knight reports on developments at Salesforce following their acquisition of MetaMind, which is what we point you to below. But you might also be interested in the more technical description of how the algorithm works — at least scroll down past the technical paragraphs to see useful sample results. Read More

Mobile First, Desktop Worst

Designing for an optimal user experience is extremely difficult even with a single screen because of the variety of media, layout, and use cases. Multiply the number of screens by n, and it seems like an impossible task. On top of this fiendish complexity, there are compromises to be made between developer objectives and brand directives. No wonder design is often dumbed down to be simply useable across devices rather than optimal. This may not be a solvable problem, though better tools, perhaps informed by machine learning, will certainly help. In the meantime, it pays not to expect too much from simple approaches. Read More

Gilbane Digital Content Conference
Call for Speakers Open

Content and digital experience technologies and strategies for marketing, publishing, and the workplace.

Proposal deadline is June 2, 2017

Conference: November 28–29
Workshops: November 30
Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel

Also…

Know what you’re getting… A marketer’s guide to the tricks and hacks of influencers via Digiday

Have Web Standards on Mobile Caught Up to Phonegap in 2017? A look at some specific recommendations via Telerik developer network

ICYMI, Scott Brinker’s latest… Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic (2017): Martech 5000 via chiefmartec.com

Not-science-fiction – thinking a bit ahead… Open Water – The Internet of Visible Thought via Edge.org

Frank Gilbane’s Gilbane Advisor curates content for content, computing, and digital experience professionals. More or less twice a month.

Survey on MT Adoption and Usage within Global Content Value Chains

Last year as we pursued our research for the Multilingual Product Content study we saw an opportunity for further study of the role of machine translation (MT) as an element in the global content value chain (GCVC).  To this end, Gilbane Group is now conducting an online survey on MT adoption and buyer / user expectations.  The survey covers domains using MT, target applications, integration, benefits and business drivers, as well as obstacles to adoption.

Adoption of MT in some form or another is gaining acceptance and use (we anticipate) will soon be prevalent, especially as a strategy for managing user-generated content in multiple languages.  We are seeking input from IT, content, and language professionals within global enterprises as well as service providers.  Current adoption of MT is not a requirement for taking the survey.

The survey is online and will take less than 10 minutes to complete.  In exchange for participation, respondents will receive aggregated survey results and the executive summary of the analysis. Take the survey nowContact us if you have any questions about the research.

Remedies for Language Afterthought Syndrome: Lessons from Best Practices Profiles

Providing education on the business value of global information through our research is an important part of our content globalization practice. As we know however, the value of research is only as good as the results organizations achieve when they apply it! What really gets us jazzed is when knowledge sharing validates our thinking about what we call “universal truths” – the factors that define success for those who champion, implement and sustain organizational investment in multilingual communications.

Participants in our 2009 study on Multilingual Product Content: Transforming Traditional Practices into Global Content Value Chains told us that eliminating the language afterthought syndrome in their companies– a pattern of treating language requirements as secondary considerations within content strategies and solutions — would be a “defining moment” in realizing the impact of their efforts. Of course, we wanted more specifics. What would those defining moments look like? What would be the themes that characterized them? What would make up the “universal truths” about the remedies? Aggregating the answers to these questions led us to develop some key and common ingredients for success:

  • Promotion of “global thinking” within their own departments, across product content domains, and between headquartered and regional resources.
  • Strategies that balance inward-facing operational efficiency and cost reduction goals with outward-facing customer impacts.
  • Business cases and objectives carefully aligned with corporate objectives, creating more value in product content deliverables and more influence for product content teams.
  • Commitment to quality at the source, language requirements as part of status-quo information design, and global customer experience as the “end goal.”
  • Focused and steady progress on removing collaboration barriers within their own departments and across product content domains, effectively creating a product content ecosystem that will grow over time.
  • Technology implementations that enable standardization, automation, and interoperability.

Defining the ingredients naturally turned into sharing the recipes, a.k.a. a series of best practices profiles based on the experiences of individual technical documentation, training, localization/translation, or customer support professionals. Sincere appreciation goes to companies including Adobe, BMW Motorrad, Cisco, Hewlett Packard, Mercury Marine, Microsoft, and the New York City Department of Education, for enabling their product content champions to share their stories. Applause goes to the champions themselves, who continue to achieve ongoing and impressive results.

Want the details?
Download the Multilingual Product Content report
(updated with additional profiles!)

Attending Localization World, Silicon Valley?
Don’t miss Mary’s presentation on
Overcoming the Language Afterthought Syndrome
in the Global Business Best Practices track.

SDL and Language Weaver in Strategic Partnership

SDL and Language Weaver announced a strategic partnership to deliver Language Weaver’s translation software tightly integrated into SDL’s GIM platform and as part of SDL Knowledge-based Translation System (SDL KbTS). Language Weaver automated translation solutions have been deployed for the enterprise and large web properties to deliver translations of digital content. This partnership will give SDL customers the opportunity to deliver effective communication to customers across many more languages. The companies announced that the agreement encompasses a number of different applications of automated translation, including: Translation of content that is otherwise too expensive or time consuming to translate, such as online support content that re-directs customers from expensive call centers to more cost-effective self-service on the web; Integrating automated translation into the translation process for high-quality technical documentation; Providing ubiquitous access to automated translation, through integration into desktop translation technology, SDL Trados, and integration into the translation website http://www.freetranslation.com. Integration with SDL Trados and the addition of new language support within SDL Knowledge-based Translation System are planned for the second half of 2009. http://www.sdl.com/lwsdl

Gilbane Speaks on Multilingualism

Readers of this content globalization blog will be interested in hearing about Frank’s adventures in Finland this week at the Kites Symposium. Check out the entry on our main blog. About Kites:

Kites Association develops and promotes multilingual communication, multi-cultural interaction and their technical content management to improve the competitive edge of the Finnish economic life and the public administration.

Multilingualism and Information Technology

This is the title of the presentation I was asked to give at the Kites Symposium of Multilingual Communication and Content Management in Finland this week. The main point I will be making is that multilingual content will only become easily and widely available when multilingual technology is deeply integrated in information technologies. I doubt that this will be considered controversial by anyone, but both the market demand and the technology has reached a point where companies are looking for slow steady growth to be accelerated. Although this demand is naturally higher in Europe, the potential for reaching new, or deeper into existing, markets ensure that even small to mid-size U.S. companies will be looking to incorporate multilingual technologies as soon as the cost and ease of doing so allows for it (abstract appended below). For more on how companies are thinking about this, see the recent report by our Content Globalization practice Multilingual Communications as a Business Imperative: Why Organizations Need to Optimize the Global Content Value Chain.

As Leonor says, machine translation, which has been around for years, is going to play a large role in multilingual applications in spite of its limited capabilities. For example, you may have noticed the Google translate feature at the top of this page and a couple of our other blogs. This was free, took no more than 5 minutes to install, and is very useful – try it out.

Here is the abstract for my presentation:

Language technologies are becoming integral to content and information technologies. This is a slow process, but inevitable. There is no question of the requirement for multilingual functionality. Those who might have thought or hoped that we would be a monolingual world in the foreseeable future must re-adjust their view when looking at the behavior (good and bad) across the globe today. Even in the U.S., where most of the population has always had a narrow view of language, organizations are awakening to the need for multilingual capability. This awakening is sure to continue because of global commercial opportunities. And because of the inexpensive global access provided by the Web, multilingual requirements are increasingly important for even very small businesses. Meeting the full market demand for multilingual requirements at the scale necessary won’t be possible without multilingual technologies becoming an integral component of mainstream information technologies.

While language technologies are not new and processes for managing translation and localization are well established, there is still much to learn about how to integrate language and other information technologies. First, the number of organizations, and people within organizations, with deep experience in translation processes and technologies is still relatively small. Second, there is fragmentation in the supplier market, within customer organizations, and along the “Global Content Value Chain”, that together contribute to slower growth. Third, development of all information technologies continues to accelerate, challenging even forward thinking organizations with large IT budgets.

Because of the central importance of multilingualism, all organizations need to understand as much as possible, what and how language technologies are being used today, how they are, or are not, integrated with other technologies and applications, and how and when emerging language and information technologies will affect commercial and information dissemination strategies.

The information technologies most immediately relevant to multilingual applications are content management technologies, including authoring, editing, publishing, search, and content management. Recent research on the use of language and content technologies by organizations with deep experience using both kinds of technologies, reveals that there is insufficient integration and interoperability across authoring, content management, localization/translation, and publishing. Much can be learned from analyzing how some organizations have successfully dealt with this constraint.

Language and semantic technologies continue to improve, both organically because of a renewed interest in their possibilities, and because of increases in readily available computing power. In addition to small expert niche companies, very large developer organizations such as Google and Microsoft are investing heavily in language technologies. Machine translation is one example, and one that is increasingly seen as having a serious role to play in many, if not all, translation applications. However, to fully achieve pervasive multilingual capability technology integration needs to progress from the integration of individual software applications, to the incorporation into large mainstream enterprise applications, widely deployed client tools, and software infrastructures.

Technology integration is not the only barrier to market growth. Yet, as more of these technologies are integrated, it will become easier to implement multilingual solutions, they will be less costly, easier to use, and procurement will be simplified.

Machine Translation (Finally) Comes of Age

In our Multilingual Communications as a Business Imperative report, we noted the fact that machine translation (MT) has long been the target of “don’t let this happen to you” jokes throughout the globalization industry. Unpredictable results and poor quality allowed humor to become the focus of MT discussions, making widespread adoption risky at best.

On the other hand, we also noted that scientists, researchers, and technologists have been determined to unlock MT potential since the 1950’s to solve the same core challenges the industry struggles with today: cost savings, speed, and linguist augmentation. Although the infamous report on Languages and Machines from the Automatic Language Processing Advisory Committee (ALPAC) published in 1966 discussed these challenges in some depth (albeit from a U.S. perspective), it sent a resounding message that “there is no emergency in the field of translation.” Research funding suffered; researcher Margaret King described the impact as effectively “killing machine translation research in the States.”

Borrowing from S.E. Hinton, that was then, this is now. Technology advancements and pure computing power have made machine translation not only viable, but also potentially game-changing. A global economy, the volume and velocity of content required to run a global business, and customer expectations is steadily shifting enterprise postures from “not an option” to “help me understand where MT fits.” Case in point — participants in our study identified MT as one of the top three valuable technologies for the future.

There’s lots of game-changing news for our readers to digest.

  • An excellent place to start is with our colleagues at Multilingual Magazine, who dedicated the April-May issue to this very subject. Don Osborn over at the Multidisciplinary Perspectives blog provides an excellent summary, posing the question: “Is there a paradigm shift on machine translation?”
  • Language Weaver predicts a potential $67.5 billion market for digital translation, fueled by MT. CEO Mark Tapling explains why.
  • SYSTRAN, one of the earliest MT software developers provides research and education here.
  • And finally (for today), there’s no way to deny the Google impact — here’s their FAQ about the beta version of Google Translate. TAUS weighs in on the subject here.

Mary and I will be at Localization World Madison to provide practical advice and best practices for making the enterprise business case for multilingual communications investments as part of a Global Content Value Chain. But we’re also looking forward to the session focused on MT potential, issues, and vendor approaches. The full grid is here. Join us!

Globetrotting, Spring/Summer 2008

Well, our blogging hiatus is over. No, we haven’t fallen off the face of the earth, as some loyal readers might have thought. Quite the contrary. We’ve been criss-crossing countries and continents since April, speaking at industry events, user group meetings, and our own conference in San Francisco.

What’s really keeping us busy, though, is new original research and analysis on content globalization within multinational organizations. Gilbane Group’sMultilingual Communications as a Business Imperative: Why Organizations Need to Optimize the Global Content Value Chain will be published this summer. The report provides an in-depth look at the current state of content globalization initiatives and emerging best practices. Highlights include profiles of companies with worldwide brands who are bringing together people, process, and technology to align multilingual content initiatives with strategic global business goals.

You may have gotten a sneak peek at preliminary results if you attended Gilbane San Francisco, Localization World in Berlin or the STC annual meeting in Philadelphia, or Sajan or SDL customer events in May. In the weeks ahead, the research will be featured in several webinar events, such as the July 24 event with study sponsor RedDot, and in our blog entries (so check back often).

In addition to RedDot, sponsors are Jonckers, Sajan, Sitecore, SDL Tridion, Systran, and Jahia.

We’re very excited about the insights we uncovered in the research, and we look forward to sharing them with our readers. Stay tuned.