Nov 14, 2012

Where are they NOW with interoperability?

Inquiring minds want to know. Will we see real, practical and lossless data sharing between the major translation environment tools in our lifetimes, or will users continue to submit to the tyranny of incompatibilities driven by market greed and developer whims? My observations this year are not encouraging.


  1. It's the users and the clients who need to ask for it over and over so tool providers get that it is as important (or even more important) than other features they add to their tools.

    Otherwise it will stay just lip service.

    Increase the pressure, it will change your work-life.

  2. Sven is a glass-half-empty guy. On this subject, I'm a glass half-full person.

    There is now a path for interoperability. A real path, for real interoperability. Translation Interoperability Protocol Package (TIPP). It's up to the tools developers to add support for it. What you can do as a user, is apply pressure. Make sure your tool vendor knows you actually want it, and that it's important to you. And be specific: tell them you want TIPP, tell them you want support for the translate-strict-bitext task type, which uses XLIFF:doc. If you want actual interoperability, that's the one you need.

    Quite a few translation tool developers are already working on TIPP implementations. Maybe a little slower than I could have wished for, but everything does take time. I think you will see at least 3 major tool developers release TIPP compatible versions within the first 4 months of 2013. Well, I *know* you will see at least 2.

    Some tools vendors are a little more agressive on it, some are less agressive but still verbally supporting it, and 1-2 are really in the "that doesn't fit my business model" mode. Which, as an enterprise user, I disagree with, because anyone who wants to be a serious partner for Enterprise understands that you need to be a true partner, working for what's best for both parties. You may imagine you are preserving your monopoly in that company, but you may also be wrong, and won't realize it until it's too late. Having said that, it's the right of every business to decide where to put their resources, and how open they want to make their software. It's the responsibility of the users to let them know what THEY think is important.


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