Google Wave- The Future of Localization Collaboration?

Google WaveThis month Google released the Google Translation Toolkit. But what overshadowed this release was the preview of its new Wave technology geared for release as an open platform at the end of this year.

Soon, emails, instant messages, blogs, forums, wikis, tweets, tickets, bugs, queries, docs… will all morph into a Wave!

The promise of Google Wave is to store all that information in a content manager and allow users, or collaborators, to access it simultaneously in an easy to use environment, eliminating local storage, check-in, checkout, locking and unlocking requirements.

Since there is no information sending and receiving (no ftp, pop or smtp servers), the information is static in location but dynamic in content, while simultaneously accessible to all needed users. It also fully tracks the users who create it, the ones who change it, and where and when the changes are introduced. Versionitis will be forever eradicated in a Wave!

Teams can communicate and collaborate to create content, expand it, update it, edit it, translate it, review it, proof it, all at the same time. A replay feature allows anyone to see the history from the origin of the Wave to its end. This ensures accountability and authenticity.

Let’s look at how riding this Wave can impact localization and translation tasks.

Imagine technical communication groups developing documentation in Waves, where all needed experts are simultaneously involved. Developers, technical writers, expert users and translators can contribute to help build the most useful source documentation needed by worldwide users.

Imagine also a localization collaboration environment where style guides, glossaries, translation memories and translation queries all reside in Waves, created, updated, answered and consumed by all the localization project stakeholders. These Waves will be living documents shared by translators, reviewers, editors, proofreaders and other localization resources around the world. The Waves live in the cloud and are used on all the projects that they are needed in and intended for.

Imagine translations being reviewed, edited and proofread in a WYSIWYG environment without the need to download or upload PDFs, without cluttered bilingual files, or tagged files, or separate translation memories, glossaries and other translation assets; and more importantly without having to worry about revision control and folding changes back into the source documents or the translation memories.

The evolution and growth of the localization industry is all about making the translator and localization professionals in the process more efficient. This often means giving them better access to translation assets and resources. In the short term, Wave technology can be used to manage evolving style guides and to address translation queries. Later glossaries can be developed and managed in a Wave while extensions link them to the source documents. Finally, translation memories can also be linked to Waves to enable translation reuse and consistency.

When the collaboration tools and processes in the localization industry catch the Wave, and they will over the coming years, the long term effect on the localization process will be phenomenal!