ETSI, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute, produces globally applicable standards for information and communications technology, including fixed, mobile, radio, converged, aeronautical, broadcast and internet technologies, and is officially recognized by the European Union as a European Standards Organization. ETSI is an independent, not-for-profit association with more than 700 member companies and organizations, drawn from 62 countries across five continents worldwide, that determine its work program and participate directly in its work.
The Industry Specification Group (ISG) is a flexible standards mechanism offered by ETSI, which builds upon ETSI’s established processes and the professional support provided via the ETSI portal. ETSI ISGs operate alongside the existing structure of technical committees and working groups, and supplement ETSI’s conventional standards development process. ISGs provide a mechanism for the speedy preparation of technical requirements or specifications for well-defined, specific issues, typically in response to a need expressed by a subset of the ETSI membership. ETSI has established seven ISGs during the past three years.
In March 2011, during discussions with the Localization Industry Standard Association (LISA), industry players learned that the five community standards (TMX, TBX, SRX, GMX-V and xml:tm) of LISA OSCAR needed to be maintained elsewhere with the continued requirement to grant access to people involved in LISA.
Hence, WhP and the ETSI Secretariat worked with LISA on a proposal to create a new ISG called LIS (Localisation Industry Standards) that was able to offer to the LISA community the ability to maintain and enhance the five LISA OSCAR SIG standards, including the LISA liaisons such as ISO TC 37, OASIS XLIFF and Open Architecture for XML Authoring and Localization (OAXAL). The European Commission Directorate-General for Translation (DGT) supported ETSI in this proposal. “Indeed, keeping and improving these standards guarantees a level playground for all actors in the language industry and users clearly benefit from having more products compliant with the standards,” said Josep Bonet of DGT.
After an active kick-off period, the ETSI ISG LIS was created and held its first meeting on August 18, 2011, with some added momentum already under way. This was possible because a significant number of LISA members were already ETSI members (Alcatel-Lucent, WhP, Lionbridge, IBM, Huawei, Cisco, Siemens, Tektronix and others) and just needed to use their ETSI membership to found the new ISG and provide free access to non-ETSI members (such as Dell, InfoTerm, euroscript, TAC, XTM-Intl, SDL, Institute for Applied Linguistics, Welocalize, ONTRAM, GALA, SYSTRAN, Oy Krest, FIT, dbterm, thebigword, TAUS and e2f). The ETSI ISG LIS chart of 70 stakeholders, including ISG members, ISG participants and the other organizations contacted, is freely available online.
It was important to identify and involve all types of stakeholders and to include all existing liaisons established before by LISA. People understood that ETSI created this group with the LISA members for the community to include all stakeholders and provide free access to the LISA OSCAR standards. These standards are now freely available online hosted by GALA at www.gala-global.org/lisa-oscar-standards where you can also read a declaration regarding the transition of the LISA OSCAR standards to ETSI LIS.
To take part in the development of the five standards (TMX, TBX, SRX, GMX-V and xml:tm), interested parties need to download the ETSI ISG LIS instructions from http://portal.etsi.org/LIS and sign the ad hoc agreement depending on whether the organization is an ETSI member or not.
The ETSI ISG LIS has adopted special provisions to allow non-ETSI members (ISG participants) to actively take part in the development of group specifications (GS) to recreate and maintain former LISA standards under ETSI rules. In the case of the ETSI ISG LIS, ISG LIS participants need to sign the ETSI ISG LIS participant agreement including the ETSI intellectual property rights (IPR) policy and pay a fee of 100€ per delegate per day for face-to-face meetings. The fees for ETSI members are waived. ISG LIS participants can belong to the ISG LIS mailing list and use it to contribute to the work by e-mail; attend all meetings and contribute to the development of GS; and participate in ISG LIS discussions and respond to the chair’s requests for their opinion when searching for consensus within the ISG LIS. ISG LIS participants cannot be candidates for the ISG chair or vice-chair; decide on changes to the ISG LIS agreements; decide on the ISG LIS budget; or vote for the election of chair or vice-chair or for the creation or approval for publication of GS.
Note that an ISG member vote is used as a last resort only when there is no consensus — a consensus in this case being the absence of sustained objection.
The ISG LIS intends to go further than the formal re-creation and maintenance of existing LISA standards. Relevant localization standards from other standards bodies will duly be taken into account by the ISG LIS using ETSI’s extended cooperation agreement portfolio. It will become the proactive forum where the localization industry identifies future standards and collaborative actions aiming at ensuring the interoperability of its products and services.
As the outcome of the ETSI ISG LIS first meetings in late 2011, ETSI adopted and started working on the five new standardization projects for TMX, TBX, SRX, GMX-V and xml:tm. Liaisons with OASIS, ISO and the Unicode Consortium were established, and liaison officers were nominated. An initial planning was discussed regarding ETSI ISG LIS collaboration and dissemination.
Present status of the five localization standards
During the past few years, and certainly in this article, we have regularly heard about (SRX, TMX, GMX-V, xml:tm and TBX), the localization standards developed by LISA. What has become of each of them, specifically? To let you know more about their present status, we interviewed each of their respective rapporteurs, as well as the people in charge of other organization standards in direct liaison with them.
In regard to the SRX (Segmentation Rules eXchange) standard, Helena Chapman, Unicode Localization Interoperability technical committee chairman, said that “while ETSI continues to hold the torch of maturing SRX standard moving forward, ISG LIS is also collaborating with the Unicode Localization Interoperability technical committee to build a sample repository of the segmentation behavior across languages and a clearer definition on leveraging Unicode to manage unit and joiner behavior of segmentation in content. This joint relationship will also include other aspects related to consistent system to system interchange behavior within the localization process life cycle.”
In regard to TMX (Translation Memory eXchange) 2.0, Andrzej Zydroń, head of the new OASIS OAXAL reference architecture technical committee, said that “we are planning to integrate a much simpler and more robust model which will address the difficulties encountered with TMX to date, especially the very poor implementations from certain tool providers. A much stricter and simpler model will be recommended for TMX 2.0, which will guarantee the goal of simple and effective exchange of translation memories. We hope to have some firm proposals on TMX 2.0 available soon.”
Zydroń further detailed the GMX-V (Global information management Metrics eXchange Volume) 2.0, noting that “the update will contain some small errata corrections to the original LISA OSCAR standard, as well as rewording to conform with ISO standards requirements. Version 2.0 will also address Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Thai word counts as well as including an optional white space character count. The revised version of GMX-V should be available for public comment for the first fiscal quarter of 2012.”
xml:tm (XML-based text memory) was explained in turn by Zydroń: “It is a key pivotal standard for XML-based text. Version 2.0 of xml:tm will provide an optional schema that will enable the effective and efficient use of XPath and XPointer expressions within xml:tm documents. The new proposed version of xml:tm should be available for public comment for the first fiscal quarter of 2012.”
As for the TBX (TermBase eXchange) standard, Alan K. Melby, editor of the TBX (ISO 30042) project within ISO Technical Committee 37, noted that “with many translation tools and several large terminology databases implementing TBX import/export routines in the past couple of years, the time has come to focus on testing interoperability of complex terminological data files represented in TBX. The established record of successful plugfests organized by ETSI, such as the series of femtocell plugfests, suggests that an ETSI LIS plugfest, including demonstrations and tests of TBX interoperability, will be a crucial step toward seeing practical benefits of TBX in various contexts.”
In regard to XLIFF (XML Localisation Interchange File Format), which was never a LISA standard, Bryan Schnabel, chair of OASIS XLIFF technical committee, said that “since XLIFF 1.2 became an OASIS standard, the XLIFF technical committee spends considerable energy collecting feedback from the community. Our hope is to produce a next version of XLIFF that reflects the most current and most important requirements for modeling a localization interchange file format. Toward this end I am very excited to be a part of the ETSI ISG LIS. Not only will the XLIFF technical committee’s work benefit from being informed by the important LIS standards (TMX, TBX, SRX, GMX-V and xml:tm), I truly believe that the liaisons will help the LIS standards leverage the work of the XLIFF technical committee. Our community wins.”