Jost Zetzsche's Review of Memsource Cloud 2.0

This is a reprint of Jost Zetzsche’s Review of Memsource Cloud 2.0 that Jost published in his Tool Box Newsletter, a monthly translation technology newsletter, on 21 April, 2012.

Almost exactly six months ago I wrote about MemSource, a relatively new translation environment tool from Prague. (Premium readers can read the full article in the archives in the October 15, 2011 edition; you’ll also see that I’ve started to add a table of contents of sorts to the different newsletter editions.)

As a relatively new solution, it will not surprise you to hear that much of MemSource is online-based, which is duly confirmed by the name of the latest edition, MemSouce Cloud 2.0. Project management is done in a browser, and translation memories and termbases are all stored online (by the reliable Amazon network). The only thing that actually happens on the local computer is the translation (or editing or proofreading). Those of you who remember the last review might recall that I talked about a really clever way that MemSource developers had been able to make the translation interface work within a decidedly not-so-clever environment for translation: MS Word. And I also mentioned that they already were looking for a new and more flexible way, which they have now released.

The new Memsource Editor is a standalone tool (that runs on WindowsMac OS X 10.6/7, and Linux!). It allows you to translate the specific flavor of XLIFF files that MemSource _creates out of the supported source file formats, which include all the normal suspects (_Office _formats, HTML, _InDesignFrameMaker, SDLXLIFF, XLIFF, XML, and TTX) in addition to the newly added development formats such as RESX and Java .properties (you can find the complete list right here.) The developers are so convinced of the advantages of working in the Memsource Editor rather than the Word environment that they simply no longer support the Word plug-in.

As far as the display of translatables, TM, MT, termbase, and subsegment matches, it looks virtually identical to the way it used to look in Word (and pretty much the same as in tools like memoQ or Déjà Vu), only that it’s much faster and has a number of enhanced features, including better quality assurance and more flexibility in the way files are prepared for translation. These include a clever way to join, split, and sub-split (!) files before starting to work on them, or handling whole file directory structures of translatable files within one zip file and leaving the structure intact.

While Word is no longer supported as the main translation environment, it is still possible to create a two-column .doc(x) file that editors can use or that can be sent to clients for review and then be reimported into the Memsource Editor.

The browser-based management console is ridiculously simple with virtually no necessary training required. Case in point: the new workflow feature. I’m actually not sure that it’s “workflow” in the classical sense; instead, it’s a way to create a number of different processing stages for one document that each are positioned within a hierarchy. Once the translator finishes translating, a copy of that file is created for, say, the editor. This new file is then tracked (in real-time, even though the work is happening locally). The translator can still work on the document all he or she wants, but this will have no effect on the one the editor is laboring on. And so it goes again if it’s sent to a proofreader.

This last feature is available only in the Team edition, which costs 130 euro per project manager and 10 translators. There is now also a free Personal _edition (with a limitation of two processed files at a time) as well as the 20-euro-a-month unlimited _Freelancer edition. (You can find all the details right here.) If you are a freelancer who works for an LSP (how about the newly coined long form “Localization Solution Partner” by Bob Donaldson?) that uses MemSource, you can of course use the editor for free.

There are approximately 1,000 licenses in use right now, so it’s nice to see that when David insisted last time we talked “that there is plenty of room in the translation technology market,” he seems to have been right.

What’s coming up next for MemSource? As an alternative to the current translation editor, there will be a completely browser-based translation interface that again will look virtually identical to the existing interface. (Is it kind of silly to use the word “virtually” when we’re talking about something that’s virtual to start with?) But unlike the discontinuation of the Word _plug-in, the (then old, now new) offline Memsource Editor will still be maintained.