I recently met with Michael Meinhardt, co-founder of Cloudwords, to get an update on their cloud based translation platform. Founded by Salesforce.com veterans, CloudWords enables clients to manage their translation supply chain and process much more efficiently (most companies use a hodge podge of spreadsheets, email and FTP servers to do this).
The Cloudwords system is not a translation workbench, other companies such as SDL, Smartling and Transifex do this, but rather provides web based tools for managing business processes, sourcing vendors, and other tasks that are typically done manually. This eliminates a lot of the inefficiency and potential for mistakes associated with the time honored Excel spreadsheet.
The system includes several different modules, including:
Vendor marketplace : request quotes and engage with a wide variety of small and large translation service providers (the network has 75 vendors participating, and you can bring your existing service providers onto the system).
Workflow/project management : manage your translation projects across all vendors via a central dashboard. For example, you can have one vendor translating to Spanish, another for Asian languages.
Glossary and style guide management : manage your company / project style guide via a central dashboard. Translation vendors are automatically kept up to date as you change things. As with central TM management, this eliminates the need to send manual updates to vendors.
OneTM : combine your translation memory across projects and vendors. This enables you to re-use previous translations before they are sent out to vendors. Previously each vendor would typically have a siloed translation memory that had to be kept in sync with others.
Reporting and analytics : track your translation activity and spending by language, project and time.
Unlike traditional translation management platforms, CloudWords is entirely cloud based and has a much lower cost of ownership (you can create a trial account in just minutes, free of charge). Monthly costs are based on translation volume, so if you have light translation volume, the cost is quite reasonable, and scales as your translation needs grow.
The platform also provides both customer facing and vendor facing REST APIs, so if you want to automate your translation process, for example by automatically queueing dynamic content for translation, it’s easy to do so. Translation vendors can similarly automate the process of picking up and returning industry standard TMX files for translation projects. Translation vendors can use their existing computer assisted translation tools such as Trados (Cloud Words does not provide a translation workbench for translators, and instead assumes that translators will use the tools they are most comfortable with).
The company launched in 2011, and has grown rapidly in terms of features and customers since then. Among their reference customers are Verisign, Agilent, Groupon, Honeywell, with several very high profile multinational customers slated to join in 2013 (their names are embargoed for now, but you are very likely one of their users or customers already).
Bottom line: any company that requires translation or localization work on a regular basis should seriously consider Cloudwords as a process/supply chain management tool. It greatly simplifies project management, especially if you have multiple vendors or departments.