“Translation as a Utility”: TAUS Conference in the USA

The 2013 TAUS Annual Conference, held on 14–15 October in Portland, Oregon (USA), focused on translation automation, localization innovations, and development of the global translation industry.

“Translation is becoming a utility” — that was the main theme of this year’s event: the organizers emphasized that language services are becoming something similar to electricity, internet, water, and other daily needs that are always there and should always be available. Attendees learned about key trends in translation automation and the latest technologies, which were presented by some of the world’s largest language service providers.

ALS was represented by Alfiya Timorshina, Business Development Director, and Jean-Luc Saillard, COO for North America. Saillard spoke about the new approaches to productivity measurement processes of translators’ performance which are using advanced translation automation tools. Today, many companies are trying to evaluate the economic benefits of introducing CAT tools and machine translation systems into their workflows, but are faced with difficulties when they attempt to quantify productivity of translators.


Jean-Luc Saillard at the 2013 TAUS Annual Conference

Saillard also talked about a recent large-scale experiment that was done by ALS. The results of the experiment showed that the most efficient and economically viable way to assess MT quality is to look at translators’ productivity gains when they post-edit machine translations, comparing these results to translation of the same text “from scratch”. However, it can be difficult to compare productivity directly: to obtain accurate results, we have to measure the time required for professionals to complete real-life projects, get it done as objectively as possible with fully automated mechanism. To assist in that process and take this challenge head on a special feature was added to ALS SmartCAT, the company’s cloud-based CAT solution,. ALS SmartCAT can now measure translators’ productivity automatically while they are working on projects online, compare the relevant parameters of multiple experiments, and calculate key data points.

The presentation also addressed specific aspects of introducing machine translation into the production process. Saillard spoke about the different scenarios of automation used in ALS’ experiments that showed the greatest improvement in productivity.


Average productivity gain in different production process scenarios: HT — Human Translation, CL — Controlled Language, MT — Machine Translation, CMT — Customized Machine Translation

Proper preparation and use of terminology in MT settings as well as selecting the best available MT systemfor the specific topic and language combination made the biggest difference in the final output

ALS is currently preparing to launch ALS Translation Cloud, an integrated system that will combine all essential translation automation technologies in a single platform. ALS Translation Cloud is scheduled to release next year; it will help improve translation performance by combining and streamlining key stages in translation production. The Lingvo.Pro system introduced recently by the company will be responsible for terminology, while the SmartCAT will be the CAT tool, ensuring that the best MT system is utilized for any specific project in the most efficient way within the Translation Cloud.


Jean-Luc Saillard at the 2013 TAUS Annual Conference

TAUS participants also discussed the creation comprehensive and easy-to-use tools for translators. Developments in this area are driven not only by changes in technology, but also by the increasingly important role of crowdsourcing in the translation process. Many companies noted a real need for crowdsourcing when faced with the requirement of post-editing large volume of content quickly. This can be especially crucial when dealing with simultaneous lunches of localized websites or portals in multiple languages.

To learn more about the TAUS Annual Conference please visit the official website.

You can sign up here to try the SmartCAT cloud-based solution during the pre-launch. Invitations for private testing will go out starting in late November 2013.