In the February issue of Client Side News, Ben Sargent highlighted very clearly the paradox that many localization buyers are facing with technology independence vis-à-vis Translation Management Systems (TMS) and localization technology in general.
Sargent stated that 60% of language service buyers that responded to his survey indicated that they would like to remain technology independent from their language service providers. He also stated that 61% (most likely the same crowd) remain reluctant to acquire independent technology in fear that their independence is short-lived. [It is no secret that most technology providers end up being gobbled-up by language service providers (remember Trados, Idiom, Passolo and Catalyst?)]
What complicates matters more is that a de facto standard is not in place to force everyone to rally around it. Trados used to be that in Translation Memory (TM), but it lost its edge after it was acquired, and it is definitely not the standard with TMS. No one so far has succeeded in the TMS arena. In our humble opinion, it is because the majority of language service buyers don’t have budgets for TMS (Translation Management Systems); they have budgets for TS (Translation Services)!
So what is the alternative? Open source? Perhaps, but can you find a workable open source solution today? Nothing out there works out of the box. To leverage open source, you need to have a dedicated internal IT team to acquire, install, setup, learn, customize and support the code when and where needed. If you don’t have that dedicated internal IT team, then you may be again at the mercy of the vendor that supports this open source solution for you, which brings you back in full circle to where you started.
The problem is simple to define:
- Most language service buyers are reluctant to purchase expensive short-lived-solutions that will require a significant commitment of their resources but that may not pay off long term.
- At the same time, they are reluctant to hand over full control to a third party, of their intellectual property and translation assets, such as terminology databases, translation memories, query knowledge bases, style guides and custom processes.
So what is the solution? Mitigate risk! How do you do that? Work with the LSP vendor that allows you to use their TMS at no additional cost to you, and make sure that they:
- Are transparent with their tool plans,
- Have an open format to their database structure, and
- Give you full access to your intellectual property using established industry standards like SQL, XML, TMX, XLIFF, CSV…
Competent LSPs do not have to force their clients into the use of proprietary TM, TMS, or CMS (Content Management System) tools. They architect their solutions and processes to interface to other solutions used by their clients. With a slew of tools and solutions out there, this is the only way to maintain customer-centricity!
It simply pays to have the luxury to wait till lower risk solutions emerge, and when they do, it pays to know that you are empowered to easily transition to them, along with all your hard-earned global content!
In these difficult economic times, where every penny in every budget counts, instead of rushing into buying a TMS solution, not knowing how long your investment will last, take your time and do your due diligence. If you do, you will learn that at GlobalVision, we offer to all our clients, our Translation Management System gvAccess.com, at no charge.