Translating documents

It has been a while since i’ve wrote here. So.. let’s relight the candle.

I have a Microsoft Word document. How can I translate it? Or just some words from it.

Well, you can look online for a freelancer or a company who provides translation services. But that costs money… and quite some time. Or you can ask your friend Moe to help. But… yeah…

If you are on a recent version of Office, you might have noticed a “Translate” button in the “Review” ribbon tab. This is a standard feature provided by Microsoft to help. But it doesn’t really.

01Now we have a better option, to use an Office (Word, Excel… etc) plugin called “SDL Language Cloud – Translation for Documents” (an incredibly long name, I know). Besides the fact that it actually works… let’s see how it can help us.


Install the plugin

Open MS Word and “Insert” -> Add-ins (Store) -> “SDL Language Cloud – Translation for Documents”. You will need an SDL Language Cloud subscription also (free trials available).

Start translating

What this plugin does is to use the automatic machine translation engines to send you complete translations back. Which you can edit afterwards to your liking, if needed.

translate selected textThis can be done for selected text or for the entire document at once (preserving formatting, pictures… etc).

Translating pieces of text

Select the text, choose the From and To languages (no autodetection) and decide if you want the translation to replace the text or come afterwards (so you can still see them somehow in parallel).

Translating the entire document

Switching to the option for entire document translation brings up a new possibility: usage of dictionaries (eg: terminology).

translate document optionBut first, it’s nice that what this does is create a new document in the destination language. It does seem to take a while, maybe several minutes.

About the dictionary, this is very useful if you have a document with some words you would like to be translated always in a certain manner (or finalnot translated at all.. such as brand names which are actually normal words) or company taglines. In order to do this one must use the Language Cloud online to define the dictionary and then use it in this plugin.

That’s it.

All in all… much better than the Microsoft Translate option in Office… which does not work for selected text and for the entire document it just opens it in a web view from where you can’t even download it.

Key things:

  • Works in regular Word application and in the Online version
  • Translating pieces of text is easy, “in place” or “appending” to your text
  • Translating documents preserves the formatting, pictures, tables etc
  • You can use dictionaries to make sure certain things are always translated as prescribed (terminology)

Disclaimer: I work for SDL and this is how I came to learn about this plugin.

Give me the music

Not totally unrelated to content management, but I have an idea. I’m sometimes full of them, to the dismay of my colleagues.

As many usual working dudes out here, I spend about 2 hours in my car each day. And I happen to like music (doh!) and there is stuck me: “I like this song, I’d like to buy it”.

So here it is, my invention (a quick google on the topic revealed nothing similar):

Let’s build something which will allow regular persons to purchase songs they hear on the radio. Without knowing the  artist or song title. Even without being capable to reproduce it in the shower. And, staying true to my ideas, this must be “one button easy”.

Let’s double the complexity. I’ll probably need 2 buttons: “Buy this!” and “I like this”.

How can it be done?

First of all, who are the involved players?

At this moment, I can think of: radio stations, radio producers. Coming in second: music rights regulators, car manufacturers (remember, I was in my car, and you can find me there 2 hours each day… listening to music).

So, it would be good to put these buttons on the radio.

Sure, one crazy (?) idea would be to creat an app for my mobile device to record provide the button and then do some magic to find out what the song is.

How can it find out: build a signature of a brief recording of the music and then compare it to an online exhaustive database.  Nah…. For those of you who want this… try shazam, it’s really cool and it works.

Record the exact time and lookup in the playlist of “that” radio. This means i have to also select the radio I’m listening to. Not an easy task, I’ll probably not do it if it needs so much actions on my side.

So, the best way would be to have the button in the radio. The radio also knows the station I’m tuned in, the time (usually) and also has access to the RDS stream of the station, if any… to pick up any useful information (some deliver the song name by RDS).

So, let’s build inside the radio a GSM module to send the timestamp/radio station/any other thing to a cloud server (see…. see… I used the magic word). That server will know my account, will communicate with the radio station to find out the exact song details and will purchase or mark it as favorite, or put it in a shopping basket.

On my convenience I will login in the cloud and download my tune on the iPod/mp3player/computer/tivo/whatever. Simple, easy, micropurchase.

I can even think of bundles between mobile operators and radio/car manufacturers to charge that tune to my phone bill linked to the GSM card… so that would be even easier.

In the cloud, I can anonymize the data from many users an build a reccomandation system for other songs/items… the sky is the limit.

This is cool, let’s do it.

Where’s the money? The radio station can be paid a part of the song fee, helping it support the fees it pays for music to the regulators/guilds/autors. The car/radio manufacturer adds another feature to it’s product and thus differentiates from the competition, thus it has more sales and exclusive cusomers.

Speaking of this idea, we can implement it in Android and apply it on mobile phones with an FM radio. That solves quite a lot of challenges but limits the user base. But this user base is formed by youg people who love micropayments and are also more in touch with modern technology (like logging in the cloud). We just need to cooperation of radio stations.

Why am I coming open with this idea and not patent it myself? Because I’m sick and tired ot software patents. And I hope that by making this public I help discourage anyone to patent it.  And since I’m going to build it myself, that will also help.

Do you wish to work together? If I can help and provide valuable work items, I’m all in. There are multiple possible variations on the above, like connection your phone to the radio by Bluetooh, instead of building the GSM inside the radio…

How is this related to content management? Well, is somehow an answer to “if all the obstacles to ECM adoption were to go away, what would you do with ECM?” and a followup to my idea of “One button for all I want“.

Just a tool

“…abolish the ECM, CRM, BPM, email and the new E20 silos” by Max when discussing this.

That’s  what triggered this post.

In the last few days I was day dreaming about what’s to be done next. What stuff should we create to help our customers (to make some more money, actually). So I thought why our customers don’t use ECM and BPM and Collaboration as much as we would want them to. Because that’s why they don’t buy it – they don’t use it so much. Sure, there are some solutions which are actually skyrocketing in usage… but those are just about 20% of the pack in my world.

What am I using each day? Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, SharePoint, Visio. Webex and Connect sometimes. WordPress ocasionally. Chrome and Internet Explorer, a file manager. No “solution”.

My colleagues? + Eclipse, Visual Studio, small applications

My other colleagues? Very few some use the ERP/Financial software. Some CRM, but just at minimal. An incident tracking system…. A contract management solution (cool!:)) .. a workflow solution for holiday requests.. And that’s pretty much it.

So.. only 2 solutions on ECM and BPM. The rest is quite ok handled by SharePoint as a tool.

Bingo! Evrika!

“As a tool”

Just a tool, damn it! This is what I need. I need a tool to help me. To know what I’m trying to do and make it easier. Like document editors, like email clients, like sharepoint. Sure, you can write code in MS Word/SharePoint/Lotus/… but why bother? It’s good enough for the 80% of us as it is.

Let’s build a tool!

People need a tool for case management, a tool for collaboration or a tool for both. A tool we can use as we please, when we want and how we want it.

The tool should know about “the cloud”. Or be the cloud, or whatever does the trick. The cloud is a resource the tool can help me use it.

A tool is something simple to understand. Although it might also be complex, but simple on the surface. It can be a swiss army thingie. Or just a plain screwdriver. That’s why (maybe) iPhone/Pad apps have so much success. They are tools. Convenient to use, straight to the point, available, purchaseable (is this a word?).

Give me the tool! Let’s make the tool! I’ll go make the tool!

Looking back in 2009

When 2009 started we had the usual project line-up.

One particular project emerged in a nice CEVA solution on top of Documentum for technical documentation management. The most special thing about this project was that we encountered not no many technical challenges but many project management ones. We had our fair share of problems, but the customer PM was one of those persons who are afraid of taking any decision and this toghether pushed the end of the project to near the end of 2009. Anyway, the result is a very very nice application on top of Content Server, including a very nice own developed Silverlight image viewer to display huge drawings over a limited network. Lessons learned? Many!

The next project which comes to mind is one which had the official kickoff just before Christmas 2008: a BPM project for the biggest bank here. a project to manage all documents, regulations and other stuff which need management board approvals. the challenge, as stated in the RfP: “implementation time: 1 month”. Lol. Tried to educate the customer and brought that to about June. This was the full Documentum BPM suite to be customized a lot and then implemented. We know from the beginning that even June is optimistic. 1 week ago was the last go live. Err… there is some more tinkering to do but… almost done. Lessons learned: never customize Taskspace.

The rest of Documentum projects were in the regular key. One had a particular innovation when we needed to integrate Documentum with another external store device, not Centera. Built the connector, works like a charm. Now the connector is also certified as designed for Documentum. Yey!

Sharepoint wasn’t the bing bang we thought it will be. Small projects, rushed, etc. I guess the customers are no yet understanding the fact that if you want SP to play in a way which is not out of the box you need to pay through the nose for the development effort. Not to mention that in many cases you need to trade off future upgrades to needed functionality.

And i finally saw the first big FileNet project. DMS, worfklow, capture.. one nice piece of requirements. Integration with the customer ERP.. etc. I must say that the default client of FileNet (Workspace) looks much better than Documentum’s Webtop. And behaves nicer. What i don’t get is the internal data model representation. Looks awful to me, i need to see how it behaves for large impementations (may objects, different schemas).

We also embraced Adobe LiveCycle and Connect. The next projects to come in 2010.

The economic downturn affected us quite a bit – especially the cashflow, not the project pipeline. But we managed to hire new people and not reduce paychecks.

We also launched a great Data Center, one of the best in the country. SaaS, Cloud stuff… the works.

So, 2009 was overall ok. Technically very demanding and opening new prospects for 2010.

See ya!

What to do next

The year is ending and everyone looks back, makes predictions and chooses new year resolutions.

I’m trying hard to not make any. Looking at 2010 I see myself building ECM solutions, explore the information access area and learn new technologies.

I’m going to focus on my team and grow with my colleagues. I’m going to spend the time with that. Here! Sounds like new year resolution. Lol.

People, not technology. Technology can take care or itself for a while.

My content management beginnings

On my usual blog surf I’ve come to a memory lane post from Pie talking on first CM apps.

I now realize I was doing CM stuff since about ’95. At that time I did not know what content management was (anyway, Wiki says “E”CM was coined in 2000).I was just building applications which managed semi-structured text documents, searched them in metadata and content, presented them to users in intranet and on the web… etc.

My first one was a legal documentation system which managed all the laws and some jurisprudence in my country. That summed up to about 100.000 documents which needed to be fulltext indexed, formatted in hypertext, presented, linked, updated daily… the works. We even won some awards on that

The first moment when I heard the term “Content Management” was when I worked for an European Union project to provide a distributed documentation system to a national network of citizen advice services. Then, a consultant from UK told me: “hey, you are building a content management system”. I nodded my head and carried on… had no idea what he actually meant. It was about ’99.. I think.

All went along until 2004 when I met head-on Alchemy, Captiva, Legato and Documentum (all pre-EMC). I still remember the feeling when i first opened a VM with Documentum on it and trying to find out what to click to get to the juice. And I was definitely hooked…

My first Documentum app was built with dmbasic and workflow. Pretty powerful solution, done without any training and which worked several years daily… oh… those were the days…

Infomation management in vacation

In the mind of my vacation I was sitting in a resort restaurant anjoying a very good meal.

While at that, the staff around us started singing “Happy Birthday” and brought to our table a cake with fireworks. It was for me. Completely unexpected and not arranged by any of my friends / family.

After the huge enjoyment, the professional inside me started to appreciate the excellent information management and related procedures. In order to pull that off, the hotel did: capture my birthday from my passport 2 days before when I checked in, followed the completely automated phone restaurant reservation system to find out where i was during that evening (there were about 8 restaurants for me to choose and there was no guarantee that i would choose one whatsoever) and then executed it beautifully in the following evenning, right on time before the deserts!

To top it, today when i got home, in the mail there was a nice happy birthday card from the hotel. What amazed me was that the card was sent to the address I actually live at, not to my passport address. This address was filled in by my spouse on the registration card when we checked in.

Now that’s information management!!

My respects to the hotel and their excellent orchestrated IT systems and guest relation procedures!

Who wants to guess if I will go back next year?

I’ll stop here and not talk about content management. I’m only thinking we need to get the same level of service to our ECM customers.