Tag: Cloud

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Is Your Development Relations Effort Global?

Personalization and Design, Translation Technology

Just back from a very successful visit to Beijing and Singapore where I delivered PaaS for SaaS enablement to local Oracle partners.

The Oracle Applications User Experience PaaS4SaaS enablement for partners in Beijing and Singapore saw a simplified UI deployed live to an Oracle Java Cloud Service-SaaS Extension service.  Is your tech stack and outreach in sync globally?

The Oracle Applications User Experience PaaS for SaaS enablement for Oracle Applications Cloud partners in Beijing and Singapore featured a simplified UI deployed live to an Oracle Java Cloud Service-SaaS Extension service. Is your tech stack and outreach in sync globally?

Oracle Applications User Experience partner enablement is worldwide, sure. We couldn’t live up to our enablement commitments and bring real software solutions to life in the cloud if we didn’t have an internationalized technology toolkit for partners too. Thanks to Java i18n and Unicode we do. With that baked-in globalization goodness, the sky’s, or should I say the cloud’s,  the limit for what’s possible with global user experience.

If you’ve got examples of how technology internationalization has helped your company go global and reach new audiences, let us know in the comments.

I’d love to hear about worldwide partner outreach or development relations in your company too, from localizing newsletters or tweets to exposing localization or other APIs and multilingual architecture in the cloud.

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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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Smartling: Developing the Cloud Translation Experience

Blogos, Language Industry News and Events, Translation Technology

Smartling Logo

After meself and himself of Smartling met at the Websummit, I wanted to look at a forthcoming Smartling self-service offering suitable for software developers. When Jack Welde (@jwelde) (i.e., himself) gave me the nod, I got to it, taking the opportunity to reflect on the developer experience and enterprise translation, generally.

Offering translation “as a service” for developers faces two related issues: how to make it easy for busy developers to get stuff translated without disrupting their core activity, and how to build a business model out of all that. My main concern is the developer experience, but it’s obvious the Smartling startup puck is heading towards the enterprise.

Exploring Smartling

Smartling is a rising star, with 65 million USD in funding; regarded as the industry disruptor to watch in 2015.

Smartling packs a REST-like API to integrate with, and connect to, development environments for software resources of all sorts, web-based content, documentation, and so on. From a developer perspective, a PaaS ability to use APIs to hook up translation to IDEs, dev environments and source control systems, is a must-have feature. Eliminating on-premise hardware and consulting set up time offers more ROI and productivity.

It was easy for me to get going in the Smartling browser-based UI, uploading a Java properties file, and exploring the features.

Smartling uses a very cool Context Capture API to associate visual context to HTML content for translation. Connecting a rendered UI to translatable resource string IDs (offering a preview of the translation into the bargain) makes for a better final deliverable. Behind-the-firewall HTML content can be similarly contextualized using the Chrome Context Capture extension.

Previewable source and target strings shown in context during translation

Previewable source and target strings shown in context during translation

Externalization of content from code is key to having developers on your side. Most IDE and file formats have i18n/L10n support to abstract away translation risk, so Smartling has a great baseline to enable quality translation and development productivity alike, the translator UI protecting valuable coding goodness from damage during the source-to-target language change.

Smartling provides automatic extraction of a glossary for review, a way to include style guidance, and offers features in the translator UI to define and move about patternized placeables, dashboard reporting, and so on. Mucho flexibility, if you need it.

Extracted glossary entries

Extracted glossary entries

Smartling also enables customization of the translation workflow to suit business needs. For example, different translation workflow steps might be tailored to involve particular stakeholders before the translation is finalized (enterprise stakeholders, beyond end users, are that “political third rail”; forgotten with disastrous results).

Easy customization of translation workflow steps

Easy customization of translation workflow steps

I conjured up my own translations, but Smarting integrates with human and machine translation for a quality result.

What developers care about is a productivity solution in the cloud that resonates with their world of work, and that worked for me. I liked the Smartling approach. It was easy to set up, to integrate into processes, to see stuff translated in context, and to get valid translated files back for the build or deployment stage.

Understanding Developers

The “translation as a service” model is not new. GitHub, APIs, Python, Ruby, Node.Js, PaaS, and so on, are now standard parts of the developer lexicon. Yet, the localization industry continues to play catch up with developer community happenings, whether they be FOSS-based or corporate.

Developers are not translators, and don’t want to be. Empathizing with the developers’ world is the foundation for ideating together on smart solutions. Smartling has already done some awesome developer outreach such as the LinguaHack event in Kiev (others, please take note).

LinguaHack 2014 from Smartling on Vimeo. Click to launch.

Smartling LinguaHack Hackathon in Kiev, 2014

So, Smartling looks like a fine solution from the developer perspective; one for builders to get apps, websites and documentation translated easily and out there into the global market. It is, of course, an on-going story.

Smartling nails the notion that “one size does not fit all” when it comes to translation for developers, and from my explorations the solution hits the mark with cloud-based developer productivity and usability.

To use all Smartling features optimally is really an enterprise-level undertaking. Developers will never rush to attach contextual images or add descriptive notes to strings. Reviewing glossary extractions, creating translated terminology, and so on, are not developer competencies. Such things require a team: localization managers, translation coordinators, terminologists, information professionals, and others working further upstream in the software development lifecycle.

Enterprising Solutions

Enterprise translation requirements now go far beyond app resources, HTML sites, and documentation. It’s a complex business, and comes with critical performance, scalability and security prerequisites. Sure, it’s unglamorous, but as Oscar Wilde says, it’s better to have a permanent income than to be fascinating.

Enterprises need to see real ROI and have incentives to move from current solutions. This is true of on-premise to SaaS adoption generally; there are other constraints too. Like user experience generally, making that decision “depends”.

So, I’ll be watching where that enterprise translation puck goes in 2015 for Smartling, and for others.

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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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When Myself and Himself of Smartling Met at the #Websummit

Language in Business, Language Industry News and Events, Translation Technology

Delighted to say that I’ve finally met in person with Jack Welde (@jwelde) of Smartling. We’ve been missing each other for about 12 months now due to our gallivanting around the world taking care of our respective responsibilities. And where better to meet the man than at the Dublin Websummit (“Where the Tech World Meets”, as they say)?

Myself and himself at the Websummit. A selfie, naturally.

Myself and himself at the Websummit. A #selfie, naturally.

I was impressed with Jack’s take on technology and localization. Here’s a man with a passion for linguistics and tech going right back to his UPenn college days and an internship with Professor William Labov. And, he has some serious startup chops already to his name.

Jack’s thoughts on the need for simplicity, extensibility, the need to meet the needs of users and, above all, the potential offered by the power of the cloud resonated strongly with my views too. The cloud’s the platform of choice now. For everything.

Developers, in particular, don’t want to be overburdened with complex workflows or have to write new tools to deal with their product’s localization needs. And, they know the cloud. I was knocked out to hear that Smartling had recently engaged with hundreds of developers on their own level at their #linguahack hackathon in Ukraine too.

Jack also gave me a quick demo of Smartling itself, a cloud platform translation solution aimed as much at individual pockets of developers as at meeting enterprise-scale needs. I’ll explore the solution myself in more detail shortly, so stay tuned.

The Websummit has been described as “Davos for Geeks”. I think it offers a lot more than that. Primarily, I think its value is one of networking on a grand scale, though with such a huge multinational attendance and such a broad range of startup and innovative activity present it would seem like an ideal place to watch out for potential customers of localization solutions too.

In the past, I’ve written about when and how startups need to go global. Walking around the Websummit’s many venues it’s clear that many alpha and beta offerings are not ready for that step yet.

So, perhaps there is a clear role for the localization industry to learn the language of the startup and developer crew and engage and help them pick what is the right moment to pull the trigger on the g-word. Overselling or scaring off this community by not talking the right  language is essential.

Thoughts welcome. Watch out for more insights about Smartling soon.

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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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On Chimpanzees, Translators, and Technology: #Haterzgonnahate

Translation Technology

User experience (UX) is about understanding everything a user encounters along the journey to completing a task. Working in UX means observing the people, places and things that surround a user as they work and understanding the context. We UX types rely on techniques such as ethnography and are familiar with Jane Goodall‘s grounding study of chimpanzees as we seek to surface the ways that real people do real work in the real world.

Researchers in the wild, so the story goes, noticed how, one day, a chimpanzee used a stick to ferret out some tasty ants from their nest. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the era of understanding the use of tools for work had arrived.

But, has the translation industry been paying attention to their own wildlife more recently? I was drawn to the Huffington Post blog article Why So Many Translators Hate Translation Technology by Nataly Kelly (@natalykelly).

Nataly writes about translation technology, but touches on why technology used for work fails generally: a poor user experience traced back to leaving out the real end user from the design and development process.

We all know it. The term crapplication has entered the Urban Dictionary.

Now, consider what many translators actually consider to be a translation “tool” or “technology”.

Your New Fancy Translation Technology is Here!  Microsoft Excel

Your New Fancy Translation Technology is Here! Microsoft Excel

Microsoft Excel probably (no, I haven’t done the research or care to, either) remains the most widely used piece of translation toolkit today. Sure, only 10% of the application’s functionality is used by 90% of translators, 90% of the time (sounds familiar?), but that’s what they want, it works, it’s available, and it’s relatively easy to use.

But, do translators associate the term translation technology with Microsoft Excel? I suspect not.

The purpose of technology used in work should be to augment the things that users love to do, and to automate the crap they hate and have to do. Such realization shouldn’t involve a self-conscious thought of “Hey, I’m using technology!” but just feeling great about getting stuff done simply and easily, finishing early, collecting the kids, hitting the pub, and getting paid promptly.

User experience is about empathizing with users so they’ll feel good about using tech in work sure, but it’s also about delivering real productivity, so there’s a return on investment when buying that expensive “solution”.

This stuff ain’t cheap.

This lack of empathy or understanding of real users exists in the translation industry with this “translation technology” stuff too, though not always. At times tools get it right, the tech is taken to, and is loved.

And then the upgrade or an acquisition comes along…

While I don’t agree with everything in the Huffington Post article, and I don’t agree that many translators hate technology, I am glad that Nataly Kelly has offered up some provocative points for consideration and debate, especially the UX-related one.

It’ll be a mark of industry professionalism as to how that debate unfolds. 

As to why translators are left out of the requirements gathering side of technology development is another question, but the answer is not unique. Oh, did I mention that I teach a course about that?

For too long, real end users have just had to “get on with it.” 

A bit like with those crapplications.

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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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Transifex: A Language Developers Understand

Language in Business, Personalization and Design, Translation Technology

I’m hearing great things from software professionals about Transifex, a SaaS translation solution based in Silicon Valley.  As I work in user experience developer relations, I Skyped in Dimitris Glezos (@glezos), Transifex founder and Chief Ninja, in Greece to find out more.

Dimitris’s background is in software development, Transifex originating as an open source project. The passions and principles of the FOSS development community, collaborating on a cloud-based platform, remain true today. Transifex knows how developers work in the cloud, and provides a user experience that makes sense to a world of GitHub, PaaS, Python gettext, RESTful APIs, Ruby, SaaS, and so on. Transifex has even been referred to as “the GitHub of software translation“, which is some accolade in the development community!

Transifex API enables integration of software development workflows and tools in the cloud.

Transifex API enables integration of software development workflows and tools in the cloud.

The Transifex user community now has more than 100,000 developers and translators, working together on over 10,000 projects. Transifex users range from well-known enterprises to tech startups and the open-source community. Transifex can quietly boast of a diverse portfolio of successful translation projects ranging from hundreds millions of words of online courseware to strings for wearables and apps. A testament that Transifex is not a “one size fits all” model, what is really staggering about such a breadth of achievements is that it happened without Transifex having a single sales person, or offering those LSP-style “services”.

The Transifex platform is development friendly and flexible, tooling up small pockets of remote developers to build iterative, dynamic content using 24/7 workflows and lean software methodologies.  Exceling with the detection of string changes and merging, Transifex is easily integrated into development environments through an API and command line interface.  Transifex works upstream too, a string pseudo-translation capability enables developers to test their internationalization chops before starting translation.

Transifex translators use a browser-based online editor. This user experience packs CAT capabilities, support for glossaries, collaborative tools, screenshot preview for context, and other cool features. Translation projects are overseen in a contemporary online dashboard experience (it’s translated, too).

Transifex user dashboard view.

Transifex user dashboard view.

The  editor supports the major file types (including XLIFF and “TMX), has built-in QA for code variables in strings, enables character limits to be set, handles singular and plural variants, and makes it easy for developers and translators to work together.

Transifex online translation editor.

Transifex online translation editor user interface.

“It’s translation the way developers want it, or the way they would have built it themselves”, says Dimitris. Most large companies have figured out a translation process, but many now innovate rapidly with small teams using agile frameworks and don’t want to build their own translation infrastructure. Developers are busy people who like to be productive,  solving code problems using smart reusable solutions, and don’t need extra work. “It isn’t easy to build a translation process”, says Dimitris, “Instead, Transifex is integrated into existing development tools and workflows”.

The Transifex success is based on an understanding of developers and translators and how they work, keeping both these users at the center of the user experience. An easy to use solution that seamlessly matches development processes and work styles with a community of online translators generates a powerful networking effect of kudos from satisfied users, who share their positive experiences with others.

“If developers love it, they talk about it!” says Dimitris. That’s the sort of organically-generated  customer experience that most can only aspire to, and money alone cannot buy. There are powerful lessons from Transifex  about how software development teams and translators can work well together, not least of which is “know your users”.

The Transifex story continues to unfold, and you can find out more about building international products using a SaaS platform in the case studies on the Transifex website.

If you have other examples of cloud-based integrations of translation and software development teams, please  share them in the comments.

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+ posts

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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Where Will The Next 10 Million Apps Come From? BRIC to MIST

Language Industry News and Events, Personalization and Design

Picked up on this super preso from Joe McCann (@joemccann) at the PhoneGap Day EU 2012.

How To Enter Emerging Markets: Mobile

How To Enter Emerging Markets: Mobile.  Image reference from @joemccann acknowledged.

India: The purchasing power of people in the middle class is increasing rapidly, with huge potential to grow further. The highest percentage of mobile ownership is among the Indian middle class. (Source: TGI India via @joemccann)

All I can say is: “Wow. What an opportunity!” Lots of great information in Joe’s preso about the current and future globalization of mobile apps and where focus needs to be if you’re a maker of those apps.

It’s not just about BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China). There’s MIST (Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, and Turkey) too (yes, I know what Mist can translate as). Vital insight for mobile developers and globalization fanboys everywhere. You really need to know your markets.

Said it before, but these developer events are the kind of conferences that the translation industry needs to be attending and the type of audience that it needs to engage with, instead of talking to itself.

Worth checking out too is this article: The Mobile Browser Dominates in Emerging Markets. Mobile and Cloud wedge again.

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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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