Translation specialist Lionbridge has announced the formation of the "CMS Alliance Program," which boils down to the integration of its free, hosted translation workflow platform, Freeway, into several top-tier CMS products. The Alliance brings together CMS developers Interwoven, Ektron, Crown Peak , Acumium and Vasont; and system integrators including Klish Group, Armedia and iSite Design to provide a Web Services solution for customers looking to globalize content.The new development (we are assured) allows full management of the translation lifecycle from within the CMS interface, and streamlines the content provision process for organizations with global content needs. Not least by bringing CMS functions like direct embedding of translated content to where it is supposed to go, without any messy importing/exporting; and other CMS functions which we take for granted with single-language content. And let me be the first to say: Hooray! Although I can't claim to run a globalized business (yet), you don't have to be Michael Bloomberg to see that integrating the translation platform into the CMS framework is going to be a real time saver for many organizations: the big multinational media boys, for example. And how much more convenient (not to mention cheap) it will be for us small-fries, across all industries, to have a "one stop shop" CMS solution that will "do" translation and eradicate the need to buy yet another package to deal with translation-specific management? Check this out screenshot and you will get the message:
For organizations with serious content needs, especially where information is time-sensitive, this "Alliance" sounds like a very positive development. A lot of you out there have likely been making do with MacGuyver-style hookups between CMS and translation processes -- something only a Mad Mike from IT could dream up. Or else you're paying some luckless drone to sit in a cubicle importing and exporting between CMS and Translation all day (and maybe opening cutting/pasting emails from translators all day, or hurling multilingual insults at SharePoint). Ad-hoc arrangements will work just fine for some, particularly for those who like a challenge. But for others, integration of one of your core content processes into your content management system will just seem like basic common sense. Two thumbs up for Lionbridge then, even if this 'Alliance' sounds like some Stalin-era military pact (another reason for Bloomberg to get it, then). Freeway is a SaaS delivery platform for translation management; in effect a portal where clients can post translation projects, track the progress of these projects, and utilize other workflow management features, manage translation memory (TM) etc. These translation jobs are then farmed out to Lionbridge's army of contracted translators, who number between 15,000 and 20,000. So it's just a portal which links buyers to sellers, right? Wrong. Translation is a quirkier industry than you might expect, as I learned when speaking with Aaron Dun and Dmitry Grenader of Lionbridge last week. Translation Memory Management, for instance, is an integral part of systematic translation, and a primary need of translator services that a product like Freeway has to fulfill. It refers to stored text segments from legacy translation projects, which can be reused and so cuts down dramatically on duplication of effort. Each company or organization owns its own translation memory, and doesn't "share," which seems like a bit of a waste. But in any case clients can use Freeway to shift around and manage their TM between different groups and divisions, and Freeway updates the TM in real time. Now you take a job undertaken by Lionbridge some time ago, for Microsoft Visual Studio, that ran to some 14 million words. For a gig like that you better believe that you need a framework for managing your Translation Memory if you want to save some time and money, and you need a software product which knows what it's doing. As of now, with the initial selected partners named above (more on the way), when the translation work is done, the CMS functions are brought to bear on the content to slot it right in to where it's supposed to go, and so on. Those 'Mad Mike' jobs probably won't be able to compare with integrated Freeway. Lionbridge are showcasing the technology at the Gilbane conference in Boston this week. For more details on integrated Freeway; visit them here. Or if you are a developer who wants to get involved in their unholy Alliance (open standards, yada yada, and they are currently looking for more partners), visit them here.