The ATA Chronicle - September/October 2020 - 33

GEEKSPEAK

BY JOST ZETZSCHE

Business Diversification?

I

love the way some languages and
cultures count. What speakers of
European languages call "twenty"
is rendered in the Papua New Guinea
language of Mairasi-and many other
languages-as "one person" (with all 20
fingers and toes combined). As someone
who is not naturally mathematically
inclined, my early calculating life would
have been so much easier with access to
such vivid practical images.
Though that is now water under
the bridge, I still think I must have
talked about TAUS, the Translation
Automation User Society1, at least one
person times, so I'm not going to go
into a long explanation of what TAUS
is and what it does. A short explanation
might be: TAUS is interested in
helping its members, typically large
translation buyers and large language
services providers, to employ machine
translation (MT) more successfully by
offering the services of a think-tank
and exchange forum for that particular
sector of the translation world, and by
exploring ways to optimize MT usage.
You won't be surprised to hear that not
everyone loves everything TAUS stands
for. But while I often disagree with its
positions, I have appreciated engaging
in dialogue with its team, including
accepting invitations to participate in
TAUS events, such as "Reinventing
the Translation Industry," a virtual
conference held in June.2
I have also greatly appreciated
that for years now TAUS has freely
supplied translators with one of the best
terminology tools as part of its Data
Cloud ecosystem.3 And this is exactly
where this story starts (but hopefully
does not end).
A few weeks ago, many of us received
a notification that the complete TAUS
data ecosystem (the TAUS Data Cloud)
was going to transition to a new
platform and system (the TAUS Data
Marketplace). As part of that process,
the above-mentioned Data Search would
be retired by October 31.

The TAUS team understood that my pleas were heartfelt, not simply as
a reflection of my personal desires but also representative of many of
my colleagues as well. They agreed to think about it again.

I reached out to TAUS Chief
Executive Officer Jaap van der Meer
and his team to find out more about the
transition and to lobby for a reversal of
that decision, at least concerning Data
Search. The TAUS team understood
that my pleas were heartfelt, not simply
as a reflection of my personal desires
but also representative of many of my
colleagues as well. They agreed to think
about it again. If they agree, they would
offer continued access in the form of
a legacy system, meaning it wouldn't
be updated with new data but could
still be accessed at the old, or a similar,
location. Let's hope they do that.
But that's not all we talked about.
Jaap and his team also gave me an
introduction to their new system
and asked whether this is potentially

something interesting for translators
as well.
So far, TAUS has offered credits for
bilingual data that they receive from
anyone, including translators, language
services providers, and translation
buyers. In exchange for those credits,
one could download data for one's own
purposes. TAUS found that while this
kind of offer might be interesting for
some companies, it was, by and large,
irrelevant for translators. The team
hopes that this new system-a true
marketplace where anyone can offer
data and actually be paid any time
someone else purchases that data-
might be more relevant for a wider
variety of stakeholders.
Let's back up for one second, though.
This whole system-which, by the

This column has two goals: to inform the community about technological advances and encourage the use and appreciation of technology among translation professionals.
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The ATA Chronicle - September/October 2020

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The ATA Chronicle - September/October 2020 - Cover4
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