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Across Ups the Ante in Translation Management
Posted by Donald A. DePalma on May 27, 2009  in the following blogs: Technology, Translation and Localization
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Earlier this month, translation management system (TMS) vendor Across announced its Version 5 Language Server. When it ships in July, this new TMS release will add "Enterprise Language Intelligence," integration with corporate and other language industry tools, and more flexible configurations. V5 constitutes a major release for Across translation technologies, not just another "more," "better," and "faster" version.

What strikes us most about this upcoming version is the Enterprise Language Intelligence positioning and its focus on analytics and business intelligence. According to CTO Stefan Kreckwitz:
  • Data mining. A new feature called crossMining introduces statistics-based data and text mining into the TMS sector. Similar to the technology that statistical machine translation (SMT) vendors employ to train their engines, Across' software produces dictionaries that can be used to improve translation segment alignment, support auto completion for authoring and translation, check quality, and perform other multilingual content optimizations. Using a wizard-based interface, project managers simply point at a translation memory or terminology database to harvest those statistics. Effectively leveraging that data is another matter -- few companies will have the expertise to use the data at this stage, but it may take on new importance down the line as these practices become more common.

  • Business intelligence. The crossAnalytics module adds core business intelligence functions to Language Server. This component provides a set of SQL Server-based reports that can be expanded and modified by the customer. These include workload snapshots by user, by language, by project, and by current state. Other reports show deadline compliance, historic workload for a given language pair in the last quarter, the growth of terminology and translation memory by language, and number of errors made by an individual translator. The crossAnalytics module also takes a stab at return on investment (ROI) based on translation memory savings. As we found in our latest research on TMS offerings, few companies actually use all the capabilities already in the software they buy, but features such as ROI calculation will be important to those who have moved beyond the base-level functions.
With this release, Across enhances its ability to support a broader range of global information management challenges -- and raises the bar on advanced functions in the TMS sector:
  • The dozens of TMS contenders started from a linguistic, process, or workflow foundation, and gradually backfilled their shortcomings in the major TMS components: language, process, business, connectivity, and analytics. With this release, Across is actively building out functionality in three of these -- connectivity, project control, and analytics -- and opening up a lot of daylight between itself and its major rivals with crossMining and crossAnalytics.

  • While SDL creates its next-generation TMS and Welocalize revamps GlobalSight for its open-source role, Across has the opportunity to win customers with a maturing product and differentiating features. Besides trumpeting the merits of its own TMS, the company should liberally sow fear, uncertainty, and doubt about competitors who are reconstructing their offerings. Across can point to a shipping TMS with a clearly defined roadmap, working functionality, and features that its rivals may not match for 18 months. Of course, its competitors might have other functions that Across lacks, thus guaranteeing a continued period of mutual assured one-upsmanship in the TMS arena.


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Keywords: Computer-assisted translation, Terminology management, Translation management systems, Translation memory, Translation technologies

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