- Three translation memory systems for one and the same process?
- Software investments that make translation costs shoot through the roof?
- Exchange formats that put the brakes on productivity?
FOLT (Forum Open Language Tools) is concerned with the entire process of producing multilingual documentation. From the creation of the source text to production in foreign languages, we analyse our processes for weaknesses and a lack of standardisation.
- - Sharing experiences of processes using standard industry software
- - Sharing experiences of the use of Open Source software
- - Standardisation of interchange formats
- -Testing new Open Source technologies and improving existing technologies in the translation market
- - Public support for non-proprietary software and software development
- - Publication of aims and results
WHAT DOES FOLT DO?
Since November 2005 FOLT members have been meeting at open
workshops to discuss typical production problems preventing the smooth generation of multilingual texts and documentation and jointly work out solutions to such problems. In addition
we pinpoint existing solutions and “best practices”. FOLT has developed into a sounding board voicing the interests of all parties involved in the translation process (authors, IT professionals, translators, layouters, etc.) on both sides of the translation market, both customers and service providers.
We regularly invite guests to our meetings, including representatives of established software producers, to discuss the further development of existing tools and to exchange ideas. FOLT also takes advantage of this opportunity to put forward ideas and requests from those working in the branch to the software manufacturers.
WHAT DOES FOLT AIM TO ACHIEVE?
In 2007 FOLT set about initiating an “Open Source” TM system. Open Source TM tools known to us are not suitable to serve as the basis for developing an open TM system. The working group has determined what the TM system of the future should look like if we want to ensure its long-term ability to accommodate any innovation in the text processing and DTP markets. It should also be able to meet all the necessary demands of standardisation and the wide array of operating system platforms that are currently available.
openTMS (initially named TMOSS) - Open Source TM System
One workshop has determined the specifications for a ‘kernel’ (minimum configuration of a TM system) and this specification is available for further processing at www.tmoss.org. This forms the basis for the architectural description and the software tendering, which is the precondition to determining the cost of this kernel.
openTMS STEERING GROUP
The development of the Free Open Source Translation Memory System is driven by a steering committee made up of FOLT members which advertises further developments of the openTMS tool through the FOLT newsletter or website at www.tmoss.org.
WHO IS FOLT FOR?
Our group of experts is made up of interested parties representing independent translation service providers, translators, editors, universities and public bodies – and not least a free global translation market. FOLT is making an important contribution to enabling a more flexible, professional and economical service for translation customers.
At the end of 2007 an online survey took place on the use of translation tools. This survey was a joint project conducted in cooperation with the School of Applied Linguistics and Cultural Studies in Germersheim and Linux Solutions Group e.V. (LiSoG) based in Stuttgart.
The results of this survey have now been compiled in a summary which is available under 'downloads'. These results will be incorporated in the development of openTMS and will be accessible to universities, industry, public bodies and freelance translators at no charge.
Contact us directly if you have questions about our work, would like to contribute to a debate or are interested in working actively on FOLT.
- Questions will be answered by the FOLT spokesmen:
- Michael Schneider, e-mail:
- Thomas Wedde, e-mail:
INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT THE FOUNDING OF THE FOLT INITIATIVE
The FOLT working group started up on 16 November 2005 in Reutlingen – the first workshop for various translation service providers and editors for whom developments in the field of "Language Tools" was high on the agenda. The meeting was triggered by mergers that were taking place at the time between companies offering such "Language Tools" which gave cause for concern that this would create too great a dependence on individual providers.
The group was unanimous that for the time being language service providers were going to have to accept the developments among providers of language translation tools. At the same time, however, they determined that there was potential for improvement in the interchange of data. The existing data exchange format for transferring translation memories between the various different programs was anyway not fully supported at the time, and it was difficult to obtain information on the subject. In order to gather together experiences regarding transferring translation memories between the various platforms, a discussion forum was set up as a first step on the Internet (www.folt.de). This forum was intended to offer the opportunity to discuss the limitations of the various interfaces. Naturally, any solutions already worked out could and should be put forward. The forum should also be a platform for offering mutual assistance.
The initiative deliberately selected the name "Forum Open Language Tools" because in the medium term there will certainly be a need to discuss other language tools (publishing systems, interfaces between publishing systems and translation memories etc.).
Forum Open Language Tools is an open forum and should not be conducted as an association or company. Workshops take place regularly at different locations on the premises of member companies. Invitations are offered to all parties interested in taking part in an open discussion on this topic. Registration is available via the Internet website (www.folt.de).