TAUS Review - No.1 - October 2014

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Review of language business & technologies in the Americas by Brian McConnell

preferred language. With modern computing devices and browsers, this works quite well. Two companies have begun offering this type of solution in recent weeks. Transifex (www. transifex.com), which has offered a robust localization management platform for about five years now, recently rolled out Transifex Live. Localize.JS provides a similar offering. From the content producer’s perspective, both products are easy to work with. You paste some Javascript into your web site’s master HTML template and then manage translations behind the scenes via each company’s translation management tools (also web-hosted). What’s great about this approach is that no major changes to the server environment are necessary. You make some fairly trivial changes to your HTML templates, usually no more involved than updating a style sheet, and then whenever a visitor needs translation (usually detected automatically via browser settings), the widget kicks in and loads the available translations. It’s similar to the way machine translation widgets work, except the translations are coming from a repository of human translations versus a translation bot. Meanwhile, you simply publish your content in your source language, and you don’t need to worry about translation workflows and procedures within your normal publishing and editing process. Another big plus of these tools is that they automatically pick up incremental changes to content. If someone edits an existing blog post, for example, and adds a paragraph to it, the translation widget senses the new text and sends it to the translation cloud to be queued for translation. It doesn’t force the retranslation of an

entire static document, only the part that has changed. This is important because it is normal in online publishing to make small, incremental changes to articles. Handling these types of incremental changes within a traditional CMS, especially when there are many target languages, is a nightmare. That said, the idea of a translation overlay is not new. Translation proxy servers, such as Smartling (www.smartling.com) and Motion Point, have been around for several years. These solutions do essentially the same thing, except the proxy server is a network resource that sits in between the end user and the originating server. What’s new with these Javascript-based approaches is that most of the computing work is moved over to the end user’s computer (which generally has lots of idle computing time at its disposal), rather than be done by a server in a data center, which needs to be paid for one way or another. As a result, this client side approach tends to be cheaper, cheap enough that tiny operations can utilize it, where proxy based solutions have relatively steep entry costs.