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Posted by Tim Walters on July 15, 2010
UK-based translation service provider SDL plc has announced it will acquire statistical machine translation (MT) vendor Language Weaver for US $42.5m. Why does SDL want to pay 3.5 times revenue ($12.2m in 2009) for a money-losing ($1.0m in 2009) technology company? According to one active blog-o-tweeter (who coincidentally represents an SDL competitor), it's a cynical ploy to impress the London stock market by demonstrating that SDL is becoming a software company rather than a services provider.
Well, ฉันคิดว่าไม่ได้. (That's Thai for "I think not," according to a free translation powered by Language Weaver.) SDL wants Language Weaver because they correctly realize that there is a huge future opportunity for machine translation. This combination makes sense for SDL because it solidifies their translation value chain (MT plus translation memory databases plus humans plus WCM plugins). And it will impact Content and Collaboration professionals because:
Why haven't more enterprises already embraced machine translation? Vendors cite two leading responses:
Finally, don't forget that SDL is the mothership of WCM vendor Tridion, which it acquired in 2007. (Now called SDL Tridion.) In the podcast accompanying the announcement, SDL CEO Mark Lancaster stressed the value of further enhancing Tridion's already impressive multilingual content management capabilities with the addition of SMT. That's true, but it might be like adding another layer of wax to the Ferrari. As WCM turns into Multichannel Customer Engagement Management, SDL Tridion will be better served by polishing its positioning and messaging for marketers. (Wait: Can MCEM fly as the much needed acronym replacement for WCM? Answer: ฉันคิดว่าไม่ได้.)
What do you think? Are you using MT (with or without post-editing) now? Do you plan to? If not, why not?
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