Beware of new translation technology that doesn’t do anything new

In recent weeks there have been many new translation technologies that don’t really do anything new.

One product press release proudly touted three strengths:

  • ability to provide discounts for matches to translation memory

Argo has been doing this since 1998. We even report those savings by language on every estimate and in quarterly reports

  • ability to duplicate or handle project revisions or product updates efficiently

Again, Argo has been doing this since 1998 using technologies like SDLX, RCWintrans, MadCap and Across. The technologies have improved significantly over the years and the idea of handling incremental updates with translation memory technology has been around for a long time.

  • ability to handle translation projects efficiently

The release contends that translation work is done inefficiently. I beg to differ. I am sure that there are a host of language service providers working somewhere in the byzantine era but most of my colleagues have very efficient operations. We all offer efficiencies that help our specific customers. We have recently come up with innovations in file handling, machine translation technology and telephonic interpretation. Those initiatives were all completed last year. We tackle at least three major efficiency projects each year.

One last point, the article assumes that it would be quite easy for clients to simply upload XML. Translation projects come in all shapes, sizes and file formats and as much as I would like to receive every project in XML that just isn’t realistic. Most clients provide MS Office documents, InDesign, FrameMaker, Illustrator and flat text.

I like the basic idea behind this new product but I just think attacking an industry as whole by saying we are all inefficient is irresponsible.