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Hanspeter Siegrist GLOBALIZATION INSIDER: What are the two most critical issues facing the language technology industry right now?

The interoperability between technologies and enabling true collaboration among all players.

(1) The interoperability between technologies (including competing technologies). For example, if a telephone is incompatible with another telephone, it is useless. Just as telecom providers had to learn this lesson, so do language services providers have to learn how to work together in order to maximize value for their customers. This increased value will improve their overall willingness to invest in technology, thereby benefiting the entire industry by increasing the size of the market.
LISA can serve as the nexus to facilitate this interoperability. This is not so much a technical issue, as it is a political one, and thus the more difficult to resolve!

(2) Enabling true collaboration among all players. By and large, language technology is still one designed for single users. However, project scopes and schedules call for teamwork across geographies, time zones and market sectors.

GLOBALIZATION INSIDER: Where are the new growth sectors for the language technology industry today?

Companies increasingly require solutions that require integration of language technology with the rest of their IT infrastructure.

Translation memory (TM) technology (at the level of the desktop) is fairly mature, so it’s difficult to squeeze out additional efficiencies, with the exception of better integration with other file formats and other systems.

However, I do see potential in the following areas:

  • Collaborative technology
  • Supply chain management
  • Customer relation management
  • Enterprise-level machine translation (MT). Within global enterprises, documents in different languages increasingly hit the desktops of monolingual staff and often make their way over the Internet to public MT systems. However, the need for company confidentiality requires that these documents remain in-house. Internal MT solutions can help to address these security issues.
  • System integration in general

Companies increasingly don’t want binary just thrown over the wall, but rather solutions which require integration of language technology with the rest of their IT infrastructure.

GLOBALIZATION INSIDER: What technical or business process standards will drive the industry forward? Where do open standards fit in?

We need concrete XML implementations specific to the language process.

XML has provided the toolset that was needed for the language industry. Now, we need concrete XML implementations specific to the language process. In the area of technical standards, we need standards to help reduce interface losses and transaction costs during project interchange (such as XLIFF, e.g.). We also need standards to help secure/exchange linguistic assets. In the area of terminology, this means a standard such as TBX. For other linguistic assets, it means a standard such as TMX.

For business process standards, it’s time to come up with standardized requests for proposals and standardized quality metrics.

GLOBALIZATION INSIDER: Why have you joined the Localization Industry Standards Association (LISA) Board?

I strongly believe in the need for an international association where industry players from all over the world can meet to share their ideas.

During my time as an executive, I benefited a lot from LISA.I still remain very interested in language and language technology issues. Serving as a LISA executive board member provides me with the opportunities to give back to LISA and to the language industry in general, to remain in touch with the language industry, and to continue to help promote and develop the industry.

As localization implies the notion of international business, I strongly believe in the need for an international association where all industry players from all over the world can meet to share their ideas and to eventually help each other. This will enable the localization industry to mature further and to gain acceptance at the enterprise level to be an indispensable, respected partner of the corporate world for achieving the latter’s globalization objectives.

GLOBALIZATION INSIDER: What should LISA’s three top objectives be for the next twelve months?

  1. Implement the nexus strategy.
  2. Open and position itself to new constituencies and gain traction in targeted vertical markets.
  3. Focus on its core competence, i.e., standards.

GLOBALIZATION INSIDER: As an industry association, what three concrete actions can LISA take right now to better meet the needs of its two main constituencies, i.e., clients and service providers?

LISA needs to more clearly communicate to clients how they can benefit from LISA membership.

LISA needs to more clearly communicate to clients how they can benefit from being members of LISA. Up until now, many of its benefits have been insufficiently communicated. In its role as a nexus for the industry, LISA should be helping these same clients formulate their needs and provide a forum for them to more clearly communicate their needs to the localization community.

For service providers, LISA should be serving as the nexus to develop strategic alliances with other organizations to extend the reach of the association, and thus, of its members. It should be actively providing access to new geographies such as India, the Islamic world, etc., which most service providers alone find difficult to access. At the same time, the association should be providing industry analyses and attracting new clients in a variety of vertical markets that have not be penetrated yet by the language industry.

GLOBALIZATION INSIDER: If the Board, along with Localization Industry Standards Association (LISA) members, is successful, how will LISA be different eighteen months from now?

The corporate world will automatically consider LISA first for localization/globalization solutions.

If we’re successful, the corporate world will automatically consider LISA first for localization/globalization solutions.

  • When anyone is looking for suitable partners in the localization industry → they will go to LISA.
  • When anyone is looking for a standard with regard to multilingual communication → they will immediately go to LISA.
  • When anyone has a localization challenge → they will automatically go to LISA since it is the nexus that provides the forum for solutions.


Reprinted by permission from the Globalization Insider,
15 January 2004, Volume XIII, Issue 1.1.

Copyright the Localization Industry Standards Association
(Globalization Insider: www.localization.org, LISA:
www.lisa.org)
and S.M.P. Marketing Sarl (SMP) 2004









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