Apr 23, 2009

Live from MemoQ Fest 2009: Day 1

The conference is off to a great start, and I think I'll probably have a number of follow-up posts just based on what I've learned this morning. Things are moving in a very positive direction at Kilgray. The morning started out with Managing Director Balázs Kis presenting an overview of the company and using the word "illustrious" a bit too often to describe some of the excellent presenters to follow. He and Peter Reynolds, the new fourth partner at Kilgray, presented an encouraging picture of a dynamic company growing with its own resources, not with a noose of venture capital around its neck. Let's hope that the company maintains its independence and creativity and doesn't get swallowed and choked like Idiom after the SDL buyout.

Jost Zetzsche followed the welcome and progess report with an excellent presentation on "The Brave New Post-Trados World". He's not predicting a dominance of MemoQ or any other tool in the future but is of the opinion that the impending changes in SDL Trados Suite 2009 will open up and flatten out the market, with no one tool playing the dominant role that Trados does today. At the same time he expects consolidation on the "back end" with greater emphasis on common data formats (standards). Jost had so many useful things to say that I'll have to cover them in a separate blog post.

Bob Donaldson continued with a presentation on "Integration Challenges", showing how his company (an LSP) has integrated MemoQ server technology in a very sophisticated workflow which integrates a number of different vendor's solutions. Fascinating. I wish some of my agency clients had been there to hear it. (One was, but he already does stuff like that with MemoQ.)

Balázs Kis then presented an overview of Kilgray's new (as yet unreleased) product, the TM Repository, which promises to be a very sophisticated solution for managing TM material from diverse sources. Although many of the aspects of meta tagging he discussed are already part of my DVX workflows, this is much more sophisticated and scalable, designed to handle volumes up to hundreds of millions of TUs in server farms, etc. The solution is now available for beta testing. The big negative I see at this point is the lack of an integrated editor, but that will be dealt with in future development. Aspects like generating matrix resources, such as producing a Japanese to German project TM from EN-JP and DE-EN material could be quite useful. It will be interesting to see where this one goes.

After a rather nice break in the hotel venue, the group split into presentations and two specialist workshops focusing on regular expressions and terminology. I went for the workshops. The regular expressions discussion by Gábor Ugray, Kilgray's head of development, was quite interesting and gave me a better idea of the potential of regular expressions for autotranslatables and segmentation control. I might have got a lot of this by reading the manual, but then again probably not. Hearing and seeing it live has a lot of value. The terminology session by Douglas McCarthy had some very interesting points, including the results of a survey on termbase use, but technical difficulties derailed a big part of that hour. Too bad, because he had a lot of useful things to say. I hope to see the session again in the future with a better tie-in to the TEnT tool.

After a short coffee break, things resumed with a presentation by a corporate customer, Carsten Peters of BAUR, an Austrian electronics firm. He described how his company took control of its translation processes with MemoQ and increased its translations from 3 or 4 languages to 20 with better quality and transparency without exploding costs. I particularly appreciated his attitude toward the freelance translators he works with. This guy must be a great customer.

Eduardo Chacón followed with a description of how his French LSP standardized on MemoQ with excellent results. Although I was very disturbed at hearing that his company occasionally uses the homogeneity analysis of MemoQ to try to cut translators' rates even worse that a typical Trados scale would (something I've been waiting for), his description of the processes and challenges was very good and would have been quite valuable for many of my customers to hear.

The final presentation of the day was from Phil McConnel of LTC/Agile, talking about changes in the industry and his company. It was a short talk (15 minutes) that provided useful background on that company'sa recent reorganization as well as trends observable in the industry.

Overall it's been a great day. I'm glad I came.

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