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Friday Roundup | October 16, 2020

Friday Roundup

XTM announces new version of XTM Cloud

XTM International, the company behind the enterprise cloud-based translation management system, announced the release of its new version of XTM Cloud. XTM Cloud 12.5, the “Powerful Connectivity” release comes with new integrations and CMS connectivity as well as usability and productivity enhancements. Read our improved release blog to find out more.

Wordbee hires new CEO

Wordbee announced the appointment of Andre Hemker as new Chief Executive Officer as of October 1, 2020 taking over from José Vega.

YTranslations becomes Citrix provider

YTranslations has become an Authorized Citrix Service Provider and Advisor. Citrix is a application that allows users to securely connect to a virtual desktop, server, application, or roaming profile through a terminal (or other computer). In partnership with Podio, YTranslations developed a custom translation management system (CMS) that helps automate organizational processes. Features include automated project management processes (linguist project offer emails, assignments allocation); automated billing and financial processes (invoices, purchase orders); and automated linguist assessments and review performance system.

GTE Localize opens new production office in Indonesia

GTE Localize, a medium-size translation agency specializing in Asian languages, has opened a new office in Indonesia.

SDL wins long-term enterprise agreement with US Navy

SDL has announced a long-term contract with the US Navy to standardize the creation, management, and delivery of all technical publications on the SDL Contenta Publishing Suite. The Navy Enterprise Subscription License (NESL) agreement re-affirms SDL’s role in the US Navy’s ongoing rationalization, reduction, and centralization strategy to lower the total cost of ownership of all technical publications.

First deployed in 2009, the SDL Contenta Publishing Suite is centrally hosted and managed from the US Navy’s Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Data Center, laying the foundations for the US Navy’s Standardized NAVSEA Integrated Publishing Process (SNIPP). The SNIPP standard — which all NAVSEA organizations are required to use — supports the acquisition, development, maintenance, storage, and distribution of technical manuals, content, data and source files.

Boostlingo launches American Sign Language 24/7 service

From all areas of telehealth care, emergency and public agency and legal aid support services, and everywhere else where language support is vital, the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed a growing need for improved access to American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters. Video remote interpreting (VRI) solutions have helped improve availability for deaf and hard of hearing individuals that need to connect with professional interpretation services, regardless of their location. This VRI-ASL service has solved many of the geographical challenges that exist today in terms of connecting to qualified ASL support, but it has not always been readily available after-hours and overnight.

Recently, the Boostlingo interpreting platform has begun offering on-demand support for ASL video remote interpreting to include calls that occur outside the hours of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST (US). Extending to full 24-hour 7 days a week access to ASL interpreters via its video remote interpreting platform, Boostlingo is widening the hours of coverage to provide connectivity for all deaf and hard of hearing individuals to ensure that they can receive appropriate care during a medical emergency at any time, through the use of the Boostlingo HIPAA compliant telehealth platform; feel confident that they can make emergency calls any time in order to communicate with police, fire or EMT services whenever urgent and needed; access an attorney or legal services outside of office hours; and communicate with customer service representatives in industries that have extended business hours, such as hospitality and tourism.

Vermont DMV expands language, translation services for residents

More Vermonters will have increased access to services from the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles, as the department expands its applications and driver tests to cover nine languages spoken by state residents. Forms for driver’s permits, licenses, and identification cards will be available in Arabic, Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian, Burmese, French, Kirundi, Nepali, Somali, Spanish, and Swahili.

The announcement came on Friday from the Vermont Department of Vehicles, following bills enacted in the past year to provide increased services and support for New Americans.

TAIA, the Slovenian AI Translation Platform, Gets €1.2 million investment

The Slovenia translation platform TAIA, which makes use of deep learning methods, has received a 1.2 million euro investment from Fil Rouge Capital, a European venture capital fund. The funds are to be used to boost TAIA’s presence on foreign markets and a further development of the deep learning algorithms.

According to TAIA INT, the company behind the platform, this is one of the biggest investments in tech companies in Slovenia this year.

“With the investment we will be able to spread faster on western European market, secure a footing in the US and continue developing technological solutions that enable faster and higher quality translation,” said Marko Hozjan of TAIA INT.

Éclair opens new Barcelona studio, upgrades Paris facility

Localization specialist Eclair Versioning & Accessibility (EVA) has opened a new dubbing studio in Barcelona, and has added a state-of-the-art, additional recording room in its Vanves (Paris) facility, as it continues its current expansion plans.

The new room in the Paris facility will serve both theatrical and TV recordings, and becomes the fifth hybrid room enabled for both recording and mixing. The facility also has two rooms dedicated to recording and another two designed as mixing studios.

“Our teams have worked very hard during these last weeks to complete [the new room] Audi 1; the initial feedback received from customers has been excellent. This addition continues the path started with Tecnison’s acquisition and the build of our Berlin studios, listening and responding to our customers’ needs,” said Bouchra Alami, EVA’s French country manager.

Amazon starts road-testing streamlined, multilingual Alexa Auto SDK 3.0

Amazon unveiled Alexa Auto SDK 3.0 on Monday, upgrading and adding new features to its automotive platform. Arriving a little over a year after version 2.0 debuted, the new Alexa Auto SDK appears focused on making it easier to add and run custom versions of the platform to more vehicles.

The new SDK supports multilingual mode, where drivers can speak two different languages, and Alexa will recognize and respond in kind. The language duos depend on geography, with the English everywhere, but Spanish in the US, French in Canada, and Hindi in India as options. The new SDK also supports text messaging via paired smartphones. Alexa can read and respond to the texts and can send messages directly to Alexa devices so that someone could make an announcement on their home Echo smart speaker for those at home to hear.

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Visual Composer makes Citizen Developer a Citoyen du Monde

Personalization and Design

Interesting to see that Facebook has announced the launch of a multilingual composer tool that enables users to post their status updates in different languages so that their friends and followers can see the update in only their preferred language. 

This notion of composers is not new, of course. They’ve been around for a while and often encountered in the e-commerce and SaaS spaceAmazon lets sellers create, customize, and brand their own online stores for example. What is interesting from a user experience perspective is that composers are part of the emergence of a global citizen developer role, a role that now finds itself responsible for tailoring the language in the UI of cloud applications.

Oracle SaaS Release 10 in Dutch. Language changes can be made with a visual composer tool.

Oracle SaaS Release 10 in Dutch. Language changes can be made with a visual composer tool.

Oracle SaaS Release 10 in Dutch. Language changes can be made with composer tools.

The term citizen developer itself presents some difficulty and in many ways is a contradiction in terms. Nobody seriously expects governments, multinational corporations, and bodies of that nature to hand over their implementation or SaaS customization to “citizens” with basic “Hello, World” programming chops.

Instead, think of citizen developers as more about the empowerment of software owners themselves to make their own modifications, be they branding, extensions, localisation, or translation changes. It’s all about enabling customers to take real ownership of their cloud software, without resorting to making source code changes or needing any real software development skills. It’s a low-code or no-code approach, if you like. In other words, citizen development abstracts away the complexity of programming and integration so that user experience can be tailored to your heart’s desire as if by magic. The tool du jour for the job of making your own digital world? Composers. The very word has an element of artistry to it.

Composers are more vital tools than ever now with the advent of SaaS, be they in the hands of the customers, implementation partners, user experience specialists, or design consultancies who don’t usually have, or need, deep-drive software development skills yet know what the desired result should be.

Sandbox-based composers enable Oracle partners, for example, to make SaaS user experience changes quickly and safely for customers, freeing up their own development resources for more critical tasks. Given that 80% of enterprise software applications require customization of some sort, composers are a key part of the partner world’s implementation and maintenance toolkit.

In the multilingual enterprise space, for example, a partner might be asked by a customer to make language changes across their suite of applications quickly and securely, ensuring that the changes are made in just the right places. That’s what’s happened in one case where Oracle PartnerNetwork member and UX champ central Certus Solutions was asked to change the out of the box German translation for performance to another word shown in Oracle’s simplified UI for SaaS. The customer wanted to use the English word instead. Language is a critical part of the UX; like everything else it must be designed.

German Simplified UI customization done using a visual cloud composer

German Simplified UI customization done using a visual cloud composer

If you need the word Performance for your user experience; then so be it! German simplified UI SaaS customization by Certus Solutions (now Accenture) using a visual composer tool.

Other examples might be the desire to change all those U.S. English spellings to the U.K. variant; or to make changes in language that reflect how customers actually structure and run their business. For example, employee might be changed to partner. The label My Team is often changed to My Department, a language change that doesn’t even require a composer right away but can be done at the personalization level with just a click and overtype if you have the right security settings! Some previous translations for the word worker have proven problematic in Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, and French, requiring modification for certain customers (let’s not go there). There are lots of examples where composers could be used to change the language of an application or service.

Autumn? Fall? Who cares! Change the language in the SaaS simplified UI easily with a sandbox-safe visual composer.Autumn? Fall? Who cares! Change the language in the SaaS simplified UI easily with a sandbox-safe visual composer.

What is of interest is that very few of these composer tools use localization industry standard procedures or formats and yet seem the better for it. For example, although language changes are made directly into resource bundles or XLIFF files, they are done so at run-time, eliminating context problems. Composer tools rarely have any complex terminology look-up capability, offer TBX support, have language QA features other than spell checkers, and nor do they use translation memory or support TMX. Why not? Well, these things aren’t needed by customers or partners right now and probably would just complicate things.

Perhaps as composers evolve this kind of “traditional translation” functionality might appear. But only if the customers and partners demand it.

Allowing business users to make a language change themselves is more cost-effective, faster, and more secure solution than doing a retranslation or taking a UX hit by deciding to leave the language as is. The result is a better customer experience, faster.

Will translators find themselves out of a job as a result?

Unlikely.

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Ultan Ó Broin (@localization), is an independent UX consultant. With three decades of UX and L10n experience and outreach, he specializes in helping people ensure their global digital transformation makes sense culturally and also reflects how users behave locally.

Any views expressed are his own. Especially the ones you agree with.

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