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Subject: RE: [xliff] Some interesting comments

Hi Rodolfo and all,

> ...people cannot successfully exchange and use XLIFF files today.

I think it's important to distinguish two types of failures:

a) The ones due to the limitations provided by the standard.
And you pointed very good ones, Rodolfo: like the score values for <alt-trans>.
And there are many more.
And that's why we are working on 2.0.

b) The ones simply due to the tools not implementing the standard properly.
But those failures have nothing to do with the standard being good or not, or limited or not.
Your example of a tool not accepting re-ordered attributes is a good illustration of this: that is a problem no matter the standard.

I suspect a lot of the problems a company like Asia-Online faces with things like TMX or XLIFF (e.g. when they clean up the data to feed the MT system) have to do with content not being properly tagged rather than the standard itself. They would likely get similar problems with different standards.

While the current standards have limitations, and could be much better, they do already allow a lot of seamless exchanges between quite a few tools.

Have all a great sunny week-end,

From: Rodolfo M. Raya [mailto:rmraya@maxprograms.com] 
Sent: Saturday, May 29, 2010 4:18 AM
To: Yves Savourel
Subject: RE: [xliff] Some interesting comments

It’s early Saturday morning, had no coffee yet. Read the blog that Yves pointed out and the first thing that comes to my mind is “this guy is right”.

What makes something a standard, the publisher or the people that uses it? 

Currently, exchange formats used in translation industry are good for exchanging data between users of the same tool. “Open Standards” aren’t much better than proprietary formats today. 

Is XLIFF a standard? There are too many valid answers for this question.

You can say yes, XLIFF is a standard because it is published by OASIS, an organization that publishes standards. Valid answer.

You can say no, XLIFF is not a standardized exchange method because people cannot successfully exchange and use XLIFF files today. Well, it usually works fine for users of the same tool but not for users of any tool. Kind of proprietary exchange based on a public XML vocabulary.

You can have a perfectly valid XLIFF file at hand today but it does not mean you can send it out for translation and receive something you can use. You will be able to use the XLIFF file if it has been translated with a tool that is compatible with the tool that will process the translation. 

Populate your XLIFF file with matches using <alt-trans> elements and indicate the quality of those matches. Hmm, match quality is “tools specific” according to the XLIFF specification. It could “be a score expressed in percentage or an arbitrary value” (copied from the specification). There is no standardized form for expressing match quality in XLIFF.

XLIFF is an XML vocabulary. As far as I know, the order of attributes in an XML element doesn’t matter. Nevertheless, there are XLIFF based tools in the market today that cannot accept a file translated in a different tool if attributes are not in the original order. 

XLIFF files can have custom extensions today. That’s encouraged by the specification document. Does this help in the exchange between users of different tools? No. Extensions are being kept proprietary and secret. Some tools that use proprietary extensions refuse to process files translated with different software because a secret value wasn’t set at translation time. Standard?

Coffee is ready. Will get a cup and think about effective exchange using XLIFF while enjoying it.

Rodolfo M. Raya   <rmraya@maxprograms.com>
Maxprograms      http://www.maxprograms.com

From: Yves Savourel [mailto:ysavourel@translate.com] 
Sent: Saturday, May 29, 2010 12:36 AM
To: xliff@lists.oasis-open.org
Subject: [xliff] Some interesting comments

Someone pointed me to this blog entry:
It looks like there are some poeple un-aware of the efforts of OSCAR and the XLIFF TC toward 2.0. They look like good candidates to speak at the symposium, or better to join the TC. Maybe some of you know some of them and could contact them?
It would be nice to see people being more direct and simply talk to the TC or OSCAR. But I guss it's easier to speak to the crowd; one of the side effect of scocial networking :)

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