TransPerfect Targets Language Technology Market


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TransPerfect Targets Language Technology Market

By Donald A. DePalma

Common Sense Advisory – February 4, 2011

TransPerfect will announce a significant revision to its language technology offerings next week. Besides releasing the software, the company will also launch a major marketing and sales efforts around this technology. We spoke with VP Keith Brazil about the company’s technology and newfound marketing interest – and the impact on language software buyers.

TransPerfect has been quietly selling its GlobalLink translation management system (TMS) into its accounts for several years. Over the last two years, the company has invested heavily in enhancing its TMS and supporting components, updating the core technology, and developing a hosting environment.

  • Language software. The Version 4 suite of products, like all previous GlobalLink releases, is modular. This allows each product to be used individually or together. The suite consists of a workflow engine, a translation memory server, terminology server, translation memory tools, and a translation review portal. Machine translation support for AppTek and Asia Online is built into the workflow.
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  • Core technology. Brazil told us that his development team created the products using “cutting-edge Java technology,” including the Ext JS cross-browser framework, Hibernate for application persistence, and the Spring Framework for object management. Ext JS allowed the team to replicate all the functions of the desktop translation tool in a web-based version. The products also include requisite support for language-related specifications, including TBX, TMX, and XLIFF.
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  • Connectivity. The TransPerfect team developed two application programming interfaces (API) for each component: 1) a simple API for retrieving data, such as a term or translation segment; and 2) a more complex API that exposes the methods or core operations of the software. The latter API would allow a customer or a third-party developer to build bespoke tools to work with the translation memory or terminology server.
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  • Hosting. The full suite of software is available in both on-premises and in a software-as-a-service model hosted by third-party managed service providers. For its SaaS version, Brazil said that TransPerfect spent heavily on redundant systems to support rollover within 30 minutes in case of hardware failure or natural disaster. Brazil said that he’s ready to answer any SAS 70 certification or recovery plan (see “Translation Technology in the Cloud,” Jun10).

Perhaps bigger than the technology story is TransPerfect’s commitment to the language software market. To date, the company has focused its marketing and sales efforts on selling language services, offering technology solutions mainly to its translation customers. With this release, TransPerfect will go head-to-head with language sector leader SDL and the dozens of other companies selling translation management, translation memory, and terminology software, both with and without language services. Brazil told us that the company will become a much more visible presence at industry conferences, in social media forums, and, of course, in sales situations. TMS industry veteran Martha Geller (originally of GlobalSight) will lead strategic sales for the software suite. All of TransPerfect’s 300 sales and client services reps will be able to sell the software, but the company will field a SWAT team for more complex sales situations.

The modularity of the V4 suite promises to address the needs of a broad array of buyers. For example, at the entry level, the software can support simple translation requirements such as getting quotes or uploading files. More sophisticated companies might supplement that interaction with TransPerfect’s linguistic review tool. As content volume and number of languages increase, Brazil says that the suite will scale to full-bore workflows in broad enterprise applications.

If TransPerfect can deliver both the technology and support that it has begun to market – and get its sales force up to speed on technology – it could change the dynamics of the language technology sector. With hundreds of sales reps pushing this message and specialists at the ready, the translation software industry will get much more competitive.

 
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