Happy Holidays & I’m off for a couple weeks.

Just wanted to quickly wish everyone a safe and happy holidays. Thanks for stopping by and taking an interest in the blog – 2005 just flew by – and it’s looking like 2006 is going to be even busier.

There likely won’t be any new posts until the end of the first week of January, as I’m going to be enjoyng some downtime on a cruise with my toddler son, my wife and an assorted mob of immediate and extended family.

During this time, the closest I intend to come to making decisions on globalization etc. is “American or Mexican beer?”. I look forward to picking up the conversation back up again in 2006.

– Ryan

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Clay Tablet on "Common Sense Advisory"

Don DePalma, President & Chief Research Officer of Common Sense Advisory posted his take on a conversation he had with Robinson Kelly, the other CTT founder, shortly after our press release back in late November.

With just a few deployments and a small team of 10, Clay Tablet finds itself competing with mainstream CMS providers, system integrators, LSPs with their own translation workflow, Idiom, and SDL. However, customer success stories, the right price points, more technology in the pipeline, and demonstrably fast implementations should get Clay Tablet a hearing as medium-sized businesses begin to think about multilingual websites. More importantly, its appearance on the scene is an encouraging sign of growing innovation and competition in the formerly placid world of globalization-enabling software.

Overall I think his article summarizes our position quite nicely. As he indicates, we’re certainly a small, new fish playing in some big waters but I think we’ve got some ideas and solutions that bring a new approach to the table. I’m certanily looking forward to 2006 to see how this all plays out.

Either way it’s always great to hear someone’s take from outside the organization (but with a great view from inside the industry).

Read the full article here.

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Found in Statistics

Thank you to John Yunker for mentioning the blog over on his Byte Level Research site earlier this week. It certainly caused me to do a double-take when I logged into the blog stats that night and saw a healthy spike in the readership. Welcome to everyone who wandered over through the link.

As a web guy something I like to keep tabs on, whenever I can get my hands on the information, is the nuts and bolts stats of what users are using for a browser & OS, what resolution they’re running, and lately what their default language is. I’m going to try every month or so to put up a post on what the stats for this blog spit out.

So on with the stats…


Stats as of December 15, 2005

Languages



Browsers
Firefox 1.x 46%
IE 6.x 39%
Mozilla 1.x 2%
Netscape 5.x 1%
Netscape 4.x 1%
Safari 1.x 11%
Total 100%


OS

XP 70%
WinME 1%
2003 Server 1%
Win98 1%
Win2000 9%
Unknown 1%
Linux/Unix 3%
Mac OS X 14%
Total 100%


Resolution

800×600 7%
1024×768 41%
1280x(n) 37%
1152x(n) 2%
1400×1050 4%
1600×1200 7%
Other 2%*
Total 100%

* There were no hits for 640×480

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Machine Translation – ever ready for prime time?

Back on topic again – it looks like things are humming all over. Posts at my usual circuit of daily reads have slowed down a lot as well.

One interesting post I did encounter though was at a blog called www.betterlocalization.com, by a guy named Denver Wu. His post, “Machine Translation, here now.” painted a very optimistic view of the abilities of Machine Translation. (Based on his other blog posts it seems like he recently started working at a company that makes their own MT solution.)

I certainly agree with the sentiment that Machine Translation has some place in the translation workflow but I take the promise of Machine Translation rivaling that of a human with a huge mound of salt. Admittedly I’m firmly in the camp that believes for most translation work a human translator will always need to be in the mix. Machine Translation will certainly continue to evolve and be more effective but realistically, with few exceptions, I think many companies would be insane to just let a computer run free with translation.

I also agree with his sentiment that Translation Memory is just another type of Machine Translation – at the end of the day, especially with something as complex and subjective as language any translation tool needs to be taught how to process language.

At the end of the day though I think there’s one aspect of translation that will always remain out of the grasp of machine translation – Context. Machine Translation can take two sentences it’s seen before and translate them. But what if those two sentences came from different documents? Sometimes you’ll get lucky and they’ll flow together properly – but the risk is they make a borderline non-sensical pairing. Have this happen across several sentences in a row and your translation, which although technically correct at a sentence or word level will lose it’s meaning in the grander scheme of things.

At the end of the day technologies like Machine Translation can really only be used as a tool in the translation process. Someone with the ability to process things like context, tone & voice – while considering localization considerations – still needs to be in the mix.

Machine translation certainly has a place in automating the mundane – translation tasks that are repetitive, consistent and have little room for misunderstanding and little change in context.

At the end of the day, our goal as technologists shouldn’t be to replace the translator – they’re an essential part of the process – but rather build and create tools that automate the mundane so they can focus on the exceptions. In the end I think it means more efficient, higher quality translation for all of us.

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Where does the time go?

*deep cleansing breath*

Did someone say December was usually a slow month? The first couple of weeks of December have been an absolute madhouse around here – it’s really starting to feel like some of the momentum we started with our launch in September has taken hold and gotten some traction. In the best kind of way it’s really become that terrifying moment on a roller coaster when you drop down the first hill. There’s a tunnel at the bottom of the hill but in the distance you can see a set of tracks that look like (that you hope) belong to your coaster – Either way it looks like its going to be one hell of a ride.

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