I picked up a brochure from the LionBridge booth at the ATA conference about GeoWorkz, their soon to be launched, on-demand CAT tool service. It’s a good idea. It seems to be an in-the-cloud CAT tool with an MS Word plug in, which will be available to agencies and freelancers. The product has not been released yet and both the brochure and the “tour” and the website are just frothy industry speak with no real content, so we will have to wait to see if it is useful.
I have also tried the Wordfast cloud offering, which they are calling Anywhere. (Wordfast is our default working environment, though many of our freelancers actually use Trados.) I didn’t get much out of the online offering. It looks a lot like the Word plugin, but when I started working with it I found it difficult to move text in and out of segments and do other Wordy cheats. And, of course, you cannot run your own custom Word macros. It does have a built-in call to Google Translate, which is intended to provide you with a raw MT output on the fly, which you can then edit. For me, I found the response time to be too slow to be useful. In almost all cases, I could have translated the segment in less time than it took to call up the MT.
Whining aside, I am happy to see these early attempts at offering a cloud based solution as I am sure this is the future of translation. I think everybody knows that, in not too many years, almost all translation will involve a lot more input from machines. Our silicon helpers already take care of boring tasks like typing out sentences that we have already translated in the past and looking up terms in glossaries. Soon they will do more, so that the job of the translator will essentially become that of a bilingual editor. As this change increases throughput, the bottle-neck will be in the review process, and semi-automated rule-based systems will become more and more important. From an agency point of view, the idea of being able to deploy all of this in the cloud, so that several different freelancers can work together on one project without having to have dedicated software on their machines is huge.