By Bridget Hylak, Administrator, Language Technology Division
The Language Technology Division’s new series, “ATA TEKTalks,” addressed an online crowd of over 250 registrants last May for “version” 1.2 in this educational yet informal quarterly series. An interactive yet highly informative “talk show” style chat welcomed Jean-Luc Saillard, Head of Customer Success at Smartcat, to the “not-so-hot” seat to explain how and if Smartcat could benefit language professionals and companies on various levels.
The main question in the background of every ATA TEKTalks installment is simple: “Is XYZ tool the right one for you/your company?” This question was front and center (yet methodically woven into) the conversation, and Saillard did his best to answer that question in depth.
No doubt, his decades of experience in the language services industry proved to be a good lens to provide perspective on various levels. Before his lead role at Smartcat, Saillard spent over 30 years translating and managing language services as founder of his own highly successful and innovative LSP. His passion for technology led him to be an early adopter of translation tools from the DOS-based TM tools to the latest workflow and MT applications.
Saillard sparked interest and curiosity by introducing Smartcat’s relatively new yet highly successful platform to attentive webinar participants from over 15 countries: the US, Canada, Mexico, Czech Republic, Guatemala, Ecuador, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, Argentina, Portugal, Brazil, Uruguay, Russia, Germany, Colombia, Belarus, Greece, Israel, Italy and France.
Saillard enthusiastically highlighted the wide array of features offered by the Smartcat platform, namely, that the tool is not only a CAT but also includes a TMS (translation management system) right out of the box; the fact that freelancers can use Smartcat for their own or their clients’ projects for free; and that pricing is based on a consumption model rather than a license model (something that could make the tool more attainable for startups and freelancers). Surprisingly and very useful for localization professionals, Smartcat also includes free and open API with custom integrations as well as built in MT with no additional set-up required, and as the tool is cloud-based, any updated OS with a browser and internet connection should work fine. Overall, according to Saillard, the learning curve on most platform features is low, but good support, Youtube training videos and a community forum exist to help clients with issues. Hosted by AWS, Smartcat’s data protection is solid and reliable, he said.
Saillard also fielded several questions from the audience and once time ran out, answered some “leftover” questions via email, presented below.
ATA TEKTalks has an impressive lineup for upcoming quarters during which representatives from Smartling (ATA TT 1.3 on July 19) and RWS Group (formerly SDL/Trados) (ATA TT 1.4 on October 6) will join co-hosts Bridget Hylak (LTD Administrator), Daniel Sebesta (LTD Assistant Administrator) and Dmitry Beschetny (Professional Development Committee) as this series continues to unfold. The bar is high regarding invited guests, as the LTD is specifically seeking out language industry colleagues with impressive experience in both language and tech to address tangible concerns and inquiries on their tools, company goals and more. Suggestions are very welcome.
All ATA TEKTalks sessions are recorded and can be listened to on a comparative basis as they evolve, which may prove a useful research tool to those looking to “compare and contrast” options before experimenting with or buying any tool.
The 2023 ATA TEKTalks roster is currently simmering on the back burner with various options, and to reiterate, the LTD enthusiastically welcomes suggestions and input from our ATA colleagues on what “T” (tool, technology or topic) they might like to see featured next year as we jump into ATA TT 2.0. We are also accepting suggestions for specific questions that attendees would like addressed in upcoming sessions – be specific, be honest and pull out all the stops. Visit our website, comment on our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages, or simply email one of our members. That’s what ATA TEKTalks is all about, and we hope to see you there!
Q&A Leftovers from ATA TEKTalk 1.2, answered via email:
I am a small, freelance Project Manager with a free LSP Smartcat account. I have not used Smartcat yet on actual project, but will likely have a multi-lingual and have a multi-language soon, and would like to use Smartcat. There are some specific, technical questions related to the project and I would like to talk directly with a Smartcat representative about these. Is it possible to talk with a sales rep or technical support person before I get started? If so, what is the best way to contact you? I was not able to find contact information on your website
They can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Does the AI machine translation recognize hand writing documents?
We use OCR to convert documents to readable files, but hand writing is not recognized.
As I understand it, we would be charged for “smart words” that come from memory. This seems to include 100% matches, and some fuzzies (?). What is this charge?
There are no limits on how many words you can process in Smartcat though but Smartwords are consumed every time the system saves you money on translation like when you use MT or TM matches (100% or fuzzy matches). So, for example, if you translate a 10,000-word document and get to re-use 10% from your TM, you would consume 1000 Smartwords. But you would also save on the translation of these 1000 words.
Where would be those webinars about how to use Smartcat? You mentioned marketplace?
We have webinars posted on our website. We also have some videos on our YouTube channel.
>> You can view this ATA TEKTalk here (free for ATA members; $25 for non-members).