Language technology atlas Mapping the tools for language services
We are pleased to unveil the Nimdzi Language Technology Atlas.
For this first version, we’ve mapped over 400 different tools, and the list is growing quickly. The Atlas consists of an infographic accompanied by a curated spreadsheet with software listings for various translation and interpreting needs.
As the language industry becomes more technical and complex, there is a growing need for easy-to-understand materials explaining available tech options. The Nimdzi Language Technology Atlas provides a useful view into the relevant technologies available today.
Software users can quickly find alternatives for their current tools and evaluate market saturation in each segment at a glance. Software developers can identify competition and find opportunities in the market with underserved areas.
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Nimdzi’s classification fits a tree structure – at the top level, we’ve grouped software into three main categories followed by two levels of subcategories. Translation is by far the most detailed category, reflecting the dominant role and turnover of translation services in the industry.
1. Translation workbenches
Tools that create and edit translations (also known as CAT-tools, or TEnt tools)
2. Automated quality assurance
Tools specifically designed to detect errors in translations
Tools that review and grade, “ready” translations
Tools that develop and maintain glossaries and term bases
Translation memory editors
Tools that edit and clean existing translation memories
Tools that create and translate subtitles, edit timings, and incorporate translation memory, term bases, and character profiles
Tools to dub videos – including films, TV series, Elearning, and advertising
Translation management systems
Language and translation project management systems with a mature-feature set that is available to both LSPs and client companies
Enterprise TMS from vendors
Language and project management systems developed by LSPs and exclusively sold to buyer companies
Business management for LSPs
Management systems designed to power language businesses, (typically with invoicing). Vendor and project management are the core components (without a CAT-tool)
Tools that localize websites and software – although similar to TMS in function, these lightweight applications typically sell to software developers rather than language industry professionals and focus on features such as string management
Website localization software that crawls websites for content and stores translations on its own servers
Software that integrates TMS with multiple website CMSs
Embedded translation tools
Plugins to user applications that add translation capabilities (for example, email add-ons to translate email)
Non-specialized and non-trainable MT engines available via a web page or API (for example, Google Translate and Microsoft Translator)
Operational MT engines that can be further enhanced with user data to serve a specialist purpose (for example, patent or Ecommerce translation)
Software to train MT engines from a data set – unlike trainable MT, these do not come out-of-the-box, ready to use
MT engines that train instantly as the translators type new sentences in a CAT-tool, and serve as a replacement for translation memory (for example, Lilt)
MT engines that serve a narrow group of users – desktop or single-language engines have been classified under this category
Applications that take audio stream from the interpreter and deliver it to the listener’s phones and receivers
Scheduling and management
Portals that allow clients to schedule interpreters, and the LSPs to manage bookings
Interpreting software that comes with a physical device that the user carries around (such as Google Pixel Buds)
Speech recognition technology
The beginning of machine interpreting systems, this software can convert spoken word to text
Data and terminology
Publicly and commercially available databases of terminology, translation memory, and parallel texts
Portals to not only find translators and interpreters, but to negotiate with them on projects and rates
Fully automated language services providers that rely on the “crowd” of translators or interpreters (can provide human effort at scale)
Availability and updates
The infographic above is publicly available, and can be reused with the source quoted. It will be updated on an annual basis (or more frequently depending on the pace of innovation).
The spreadsheet is only accessible to Nimdzi clients. It is updated continuously as information about new tools becomes available.