GALA Standards Initiative Report
By: Arle Lommel (GALA)
17 November 2011
The GALA Standards Initiative has streamlined its approach to focus on two core projects, Linport and Model Service Elements, and continues activities to coordinate and educate on the work of key standards bodies. Read about the program's next steps and how you can participate in this broad industry effort.
Update on GALA Standards Initiative Progress
The last few months have been busy ones for the GALA Standards Initiative. We’ve made a lot of progress on our activities and seen considerable interest from professionals and companies around the industry.
In the past four months, the Initiative was represented at a number of localization-oriented conferences where we were able to inform the broader community about GSI activities and about standards-related topics in general. These meetings included the following:
- Multilingual Web Workshop and LRC Conference (Limerick, 20–23 September). Arle Lommel was an invited speaker and addressed the work of the GALA Standards Initiative, issues of coordination and education in the industry, and the status of current standardization efforts.
- First Linport Symposium (Luxembourg, 26 September). Hosted by the European Commission, this meeting brought together representatives from industry, academia, and governmental agencies to discuss the forthcoming Linport format (see below). Arle was one of the leaders of this meeting.
- First XLIFF Symposium and TM Europe (Warsaw, 28–30 September). Alan Melby, one of the leaders of the Linport Project, represented Linport at these meetings, which led to considerable interest in the project.
- Localization World (Santa Clara, 10–12 October). The GALA Standards Initiative hosted two pre-conference workshops on Linport and the Model Service Elements project that introduced these key projects to new participants. Arle also participated in two panels on standards and their role in the localization industry.
- Bringing MT to the User (Luxembourg, 14 October). This European-Commission hosted program brought together researchers and users of MT. Arle was invited to participate as a representative of the GALA Standards Initiative to discuss broader industry perspectives on translation quality and their relation to forthcoming GALA Standards Initiative projects.
- tcworld (Wiesbaden, 18–20 October). The GALA Standards Initiative was represented at the GALA group booth by Arle Lommel and GALA Managing Director Laura Brandon. Arle delivered presentations on standards and quality in the localization track at this major industry event.
- American Translators Association Conference (Boston, 26–29 October). Laura Brandon represented the Standards Initiative at this conference, discussing the initiative with many conference participants.
Through these events, hundreds of industry professionals have been able to see the activities of the GALA Standards Initiative. As a result, new volunteers and supporters have become involved, and over 600 people have signed up to participate in the GALA Standards Initiative mailing list.
Based on discussion at these events, the GALA Standards Initiative is now focusing efforts on three core projects:
- Coordination and education. There is an ongoing need for coordination between standards bodies and education about their activities. The Initiative is playing a key role in this area, serving on major committees to represent industry perspectives and helping coordinate activities between these groups. Arle is currently participating in the following committees: the new ETSI Localization Industry Standards Industry Specification Group, the XLIFF technical committee, the Unicode Localization Interoperability committee, ISO TC 37 SC 3, OAXAL, and OpenTM2 and also having regular calls with other groups that touch on standards such as TAUS.
Through regular updates on a new GALA online portal (currently in the beta testing phase), the Initiative will be able to keep interested parties aware of the activities of the various standards bodies and will be able to gather industry feedback to share with those bodies. If you are interested in joining out beta community, please contact [email protected]. We are also providing regular updates to the industry through free webinars and our new monthly standards mailings. Contact us if you would like to be added to the list.
- Model Service Elements. Our industry has a problem in that it cannot define its most basic activities, leading to widespread lack of understanding about services, confusing pricing models, poor quality, and other problems. The GALA Model Service Elements project is working to overcome these issues and to define both standard industry services and the business resources—such as model RFPs, SLAs, and contracts—needed to support them. These resources will help promote pricing transparency, quality outcomes, and customer satisfaction. The Model Service Elements project aims to have its first public release of definitions for core industry activities with the accompanying business resources by March 2012. If you would like to join the group working on these activities, please contact Arle Lommel at [email protected] for more information.
- Linport. The Language Interoperability Portfolio (Linport) project is a joint effort between the GALA Standards Initiative, the Brigham Young University Translation Research Group (TRG), and the European Commission’s Directorate General for Translation (DGT). Linport is defining a standard “container” for sending and receiving translation materials to help overcome the current fragmentation of the industry in which each tool has its own, incompatible package format. In the past few months Linport has seen close collaboration with various branches of the European Commission and is currently in discussion with Interoperability. Now! about how to coordinate efforts between the two groups to promote true interoperability within the industry. We are currently working on defining a preliminary Linport format to support bilingual translations, with the goal of later expanding to a broader framework. To learn more about Linport visit www.gala-global.org/linport-language-interoperability-portfolio-project or go to www.linport.org to get involved with the technical discussion and development of this project.
We have received consistent feedback that companies need more information on how to use existing standards like TMX, TBX, SRX, XLIFF, and xml:tm. As a result, the GALA Standards Initiative is hosting a premium webinar, Implementing Core Localization Standards, on Tuesday, 06 December. This two-hour training webinar will be taught by Andrzej Zydroń (XTM Intl) and Arle Lommel (GALA), and will focus on practical ways to use current core standards. As a premium training webinar, this program carries a fee of $125 for current GALA members and $250 for others. All proceeds from this webinar will go to support the GALA Standards Initiative. To view the program, learn more about the webinar, and register, please visit www.gala-global.org/premium-webinar-implementing-core-localization-standards.
In addition, we have a series of informative webinars that will be open to the public at no charge starting in January. Planned topics include a discussion of how XLIFF transformed the localization processes at a major IT developer (to be hosted with the XLIFF Technical Committee) and ways for LSPs to reduce their costs by investing in standards. More details will be posted soon. If you have a compelling story about standards that you would like to share as part of this webinar series, please contact us at [email protected].
SDL Sponsors the Initiative
We are pleased to announce our newest supporter: SDL (at the Founder level). We are particularly pleased to see this statement of support for open standards from SDL, which has been actively involved with a number of Initiative activities, such as Linport. Support from SDL, the largest tool vendor in the industry, will be key to seeing broad implementation of GALA Standards Initiative projects in localization tools. We look forward to working more closely with SDL and all of our supporting companies in coming months. We wish to thank both companies and all of our existing supporters.
Join the GALA Standards Initiative
As a final note, the GALA Standards Initiative needs your support, both in terms of participation and finances. Sponsorship contributions are vital to our continued work and to building a program that is self-sustaining. If you have not already done so, please consider making a donation to the GALA Standards Initiative annual fund today.
Arle Lommel is coordinator of the GALA Standards Initiative. He has been active in the localization industry for over a decade and has been involved with standards development for much of this time. Formerly with the Localization Industry Standards Association, where he headed standards activities, he is now working on building an open and inclusive program for the promotion of standards and coordination of efforts at GALA. He has a BA in linguistics and an MA and PhD in ethnographic research. His particular areas of interest and expertise include data interoperability, terminology interchange formats, and quality assessment.