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New Fluency CAT tool
Thread poster: Pablo Bouvier

Pablo Bouvier  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:34
German to Spanish
+ ...
Jun 22, 2010

A few days ago, I received the always interesting Dr. Jost Zetsche's newsletter. There he refers to a new translation environment called Fluency.

Does anyone has had already some experience with the trial version?




[Editado a las 2010-06-22 23:13 GMT]


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:34
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
My first impressions Jun 23, 2010

I have only viewed the video the company have published with a quick demo.

I have not downloaded the product, but my first impressions are:
1. On the technical side:
- Too centered on the source document. Apparently the preview (which occupies a big part of the screen) does not get updated with your translations. Given that today I only occassionally deal with Word documents, this preview is not very useful.

- Too much clicking: To see your resources (dictionary, TM matches, etc.) you have to click on tabs. We don't have the time for that!

- File-based: This is a problem in the old environments that I can now forget about (in MemoQ for instance). You have to save files, so apparently you can always lose work if you forget to save or your computer or programme crashes. Database-driven CAT tools are much more handy, since you can forget about saving. At the beginning I put a little post-it on the "Save" icon in MemoQ as my colleagues were too prone to click on it after a decade using Trados.

- No review/proofreading features? I did not see how to act as a reviewer/proofreader on the projects.

2. On the price/company side:
- Even in its current promotional price and the simplest version, this tool is more expensive (US$ 250) than MemoQ Standard (US$ 179). I am not really sure US$ 250 pays for the features I have seen in the video, especially compared with database-driven applications.

- It would be great if the company (Western Standard) shared more information about themselves in this forum (I have told them about the existence of the forum so that they can join). Choosing a CAT tool can be a strategic decision and choosing the right partner can be critical long-term.

- It would also be very interesting if the company hared some more information with us about filters, compatibility, XLIFF and TMX support, etc. Freedom of choice calls for compatibility with the standards.


This topic also raises a general question: how many CAT tools can the market sustain? The choice of tools is breathtaking today, and that is good, but I wonder how many users are necessary to sustain continuous development and improvement.

In my opinion, very few companies are proving that they are financially capable of sustaining a continuous development and agile support, and the list in my head does not include some very important brands after what we hear and see in the fora. What are Western Standard's plans of on this area?


 

Pablo Bouvier  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:34
German to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
New Fluency CAT tool Jun 23, 2010

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

I have only viewed the video the company have published with a quick demo.../...

.../... This topic also raises a general question: how many CAT tools can the market sustain? The choice of tools is breathtaking today, and that is good, but I wonder how many users are necessary to sustain continuous development and improvement.

In my opinion, very few companies are proving that they are financially capable of sustaining a continuous development and agile support, and the list in my head does not include some very important brands after what we hear and see in the fora. What are Western Standard's plans of on this area?


@Tomás: Thanks a lot for share your thoughts about the new tool and to inform the creators about the forum's existence. I also share your concerns about to choose the right partner in a long term run and on how many CAT tools may the market sustain in a restrictive economy, as like that certain heavy weighted brands suffer from obesity to be nimble enough. Let 's wait what the creators have to say about the possible technical weaknesses you mentioned before.




[Editado a las 2010-06-23 07:10 GMT]


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 15:34
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
New Fluency, old demo video Jun 23, 2010

Pablo Bouvier wrote:
A few days ago, I received the always interesting Dr. Jost Zetsche's newsletter. There he refers to a new translation environment called Fluency.


I downloaded Fluency a few weeks ago, and also the demonstration video. Jost says in his newsletter that the Fluency company had implemented all of his suggestions, but... their demo video is still the old one, so I'm not sure what those changes were.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 15:34
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
More points about Fluency Jun 23, 2010

Pablo Bouvier wrote:
A few days ago, I received the always interesting Dr. Jost Zetsche's newsletter. There he refers to a new translation environment called Fluency.


I get the impression that this tool's main selling point is the fact that is comes bundled with a complete dictionary, and that the dictionary feature in Fluency is as powerful as the glossary features in other CAT tools. If you remove the fact that Fluency comes with a built-in dictionary, then the feature set in Fluency is not much better than those of the bottom feeding bunch of CAT programs out there.

The previous version was a 670 MB download, and this latest version is a 450 MB download. The old version contained these files in the download:

1. an English SDF file (270 MB) (this is the dictionary)
2. an SDF file for your language (170 MB or more)
3. an instructional video (130 MB)
4. dotnetfx, in case you don't have it yet (130 MB)

The new version has a smaller dotnetfx file (24 MB) and no instructional video.


 

Richard Tregaskis
United States
Local time: 07:34
Korean to English
+ ...
Reply from Western Standard Jun 23, 2010

Since Fluency is new in the marketplace, I will try and clarify some of the features and capabilities that are built into Fluency. The easiest way may first be to respond to some of the questions already posted, but I would like to say that we are very interested in feedback and in answering any other questions.

First in response to the statements/questions of Tomas:

“1. On the technical side:
- Too centered on the source document. Apparently the preview (which occupies a big part of the screen) does not get updated with your translations. Given that today I only occassionally deal with Word documents, this preview is not very useful.

Fluency provides a view of the source document and a live preview of the target document (where applicable). This allows the translator to see the source text in greater context as well as see the target document as each segment is completed (source is not modified). For some fileformats, a preview button is available to see a rendered view of the output (HTML, PPT, etc.).

“- Too much clicking: To see your resources (dictionary, TM matches, etc.) you have to click on tabs. We don't have the time for that!”

The interface has been changed since the old demo video was created (about 1 month ago and a new demo video will be posted in the next day or so). The new interface displays the Glossary, Translation Memories, and any one of the additional resources at all times. Changing settings in the preferences allows the selection of which additional tab is primary.

“- File-based: This is a problem in the old environments that I can now forget about (in MemoQ for instance). You have to save files, so apparently you can always lose work if you forget to save or your computer or programme crashes. Database-driven CAT tools are much more handy, since you can forget about saving. At the beginning I put a little post-it on the "Save" icon in MemoQ as my colleagues were too prone to click on it after a decade using Trados.”

Fluency uses an auto-save feature similar to Word which creates a backup, by default, every 120 seconds. This can be customized in Tools > Preferences to as often as every 60 seconds and with patch 1.1.21 which would be released by the end of the week, every 20 seconds.

“- No review/proofreading features? I did not see how to act as a reviewer/proofreader on the projects.”

What kinds of Proofreading/Review features would you like? We could probably add them in a couple of weeks. Currently, a translator may share project files with other translators allowing them to review and edit the translation and even see any notes that the translator may have provided.

“2. On the price/company side:
- Even in its current promotional price and the simplest version, this tool is more expensive (US$ 250) than MemoQ Standard (US$ 179). I am not really sure US$ 250 pays for the features I have seen in the video, especially compared with database-driven applications.”

The $179 for MemoQ is only for a one-year subscription. Fluency is a perpetual license. Fluency is also highly database driven. It was originally developed such that it could not function at all without a central database server that housed all of the terminology, TMs, and project files.

“- It would be great if the company (Western Standard) shared more information about themselves in this forum (I have told them about the existence of the forum so that they can join). Choosing a CAT tool can be a strategic decision and choosing the right partner can be critical long-term.”

Western Standard has been a member of ProZ since 2008, but we do need to update or profile (and keep it up to dateicon_smile.gif ).

“- It would also be very interesting if the company hared some more information with us about filters, compatibility, XLIFF and TMX support, etc. Freedom of choice calls for compatibility with the standards.”

Fluency supports many of the major TM exchange formats, especially TMX. See: http://products.westernstandard.com/fluency-learnmore.html Although our site is already outdated because we add formats almost every week (sometimes a couple a week), it does state most of the core formats we support for both TMs and source file formats. We do not currently support XLIFF, although we’ll look into adding that as well.

” This topic also raises a general question: how many CAT tools can the market sustain? The choice of tools is breathtaking today, and that is good, but I wonder how many users are necessary to sustain continuous development and improvement.

In my opinion, very few companies are proving that they are financially capable of sustaining a continuous development and agile support, and the list in my head does not include some very important brands after what we hear and see in the fora. What are Western Standard's plans of on this area?”

Fluency was originally designed to fill a need in providing timely and accurate translations for the U.S. military. The military needed something to aid in providing translations within hours instead of days. There are currently several U.S. Federal agencies reviewing Fluency for use within their own translation divisions.

From Samuel Murray:

“The new version has a smaller dotnetfx file (24 MB) and no instructional video.”

Tutorial videos are now posted on Youtube and Fluency links directly to those videos from within the program. Video links are now updated with patches or new downloads. This minimizes the amount of data that the user needs to download. Although the download is relatively large, the download also contains large amounts of terminology that can be used with or without an active internet connection (designed for portability).





[Edited at 2010-06-23 18:24 GMT]


 

Pablo Bouvier  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:34
German to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
New Fluency CAT tool Jun 23, 2010

Samuel Murray wrote:

Pablo Bouvier wrote:
A few days ago, I received the always interesting Dr. Jost Zetsche's newsletter. There he refers to a new translation environment called Fluency.


I get the impression that this tool's main selling point is the fact that is comes bundled with a complete dictionary, and that the dictionary feature in Fluency is as powerful as the glossary features in other CAT tools. If you remove the fact that Fluency comes with a built-in dictionary, then the feature set in Fluency is not much better than those of the bottom feeding bunch of CAT programs out there.

The previous version was a 670 MB download, and this latest version is a 450 MB download. The old version contained these files in the download:

1. an English SDF file (270 MB) (this is the dictionary)
2. an SDF file for your language (170 MB or more)
3. an instructional video (130 MB)
4. dotnetfx, in case you don't have it yet (130 MB)

The new version has a smaller dotnetfx file (24 MB) and no instructional video.



Hi Samuel. Thanks for share your impressions about this tool. I downloaded it this afternoon for the Spanish version, but I do not have much time to check it.


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:34
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Thank you very much! Jun 23, 2010

Richard Tregaskis wrote:
Since Fluency is new in the marketplace, I will try and clarify some of the features and capabilities that are built into Fluency. The easiest way may first be to respond to some of the questions already posted, but I would like to say that we are very interested in feedback and in answering any other questions.

Thank you very much Richard! This is very interesting insight. It's very busy indeed over here these days to test the product in depth, but I will look for the videos in Youtube to have a look, before commenting more on the tool.

As you might imagine from my comments I am very fond of our MemoQ, but knowing how the CAT tool market is evolving is always very interesting.


 

FarkasAndras
Local time: 15:34
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Miserable Jun 23, 2010

Samuel Murray wrote:

I get the impression that this tool's main selling point is the fact that is comes bundled with a complete dictionary, and that the dictionary feature in Fluency is as powerful as the glossary features in other CAT tools.

If that's the company's thinking, I pity them. That's a hugely mistaken idea. I mean, can they offer a really good dictionary in my mother tongue (Hungarian) or yours (Afrikaans)? Of course not. And even if they could, good translators don't have much use for a general dictionary anyway. It's just hopeless.

The program itself may be excellent for all I know, but built-in dictionaries have never been and will never become a selling point of CATs. People who know what they are doing have zero interest in them.
Also, if the tool lacks the ability to create and import glossaries (from tab delimited txt/xls and/or from TBX) then it goes straight to the rubbish heap where it belongs.


 

Pablo Bouvier  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:34
German to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
New Fluency CAT tool Jun 23, 2010

Richard Tregaskis wrote:

Since Fluency is new in the marketplace, I will try and clarify some of the features and capabilities that are built into Fluency. The easiest way may first be to respond to some of the questions already posted, but I would like to say that we are very interested in feedback and in answering any other questions.

First in response to the statements/questions of Tomas:

“1. On the technical side:
- Too centered on the source document. Apparently the preview (which occupies a big part of the screen) does not get updated with your translations. Given that today I only occassionally deal with Word documents, this preview is not very useful.

Fluency provides a view of the source document and a live preview of the target document (where applicable). This allows the translator to see the source text in greater context as well as see the target document as each segment is completed (source is not modified). For some fileformats, a preview button is available to see a rendered view of the output (HTML, PPT, etc.).

“- Too much clicking: To see your resources (dictionary, TM matches, etc.) you have to click on tabs. We don't have the time for that!”

The interface has been changed since the old demo video was created (about 1 month ago and a new demo video will be posted in the next day or so). The new interface displays the Glossary, Translation Memories, and any one of the additional resources at all times. Changing settings in the preferences allows the selection of which additional tab is primary.

“- File-based: This is a problem in the old environments that I can now forget about (in MemoQ for instance). You have to save files, so apparently you can always lose work if you forget to save or your computer or programme crashes. Database-driven CAT tools are much more handy, since you can forget about saving. At the beginning I put a little post-it on the "Save" icon in MemoQ as my colleagues were too prone to click on it after a decade using Trados.”

Fluency uses an auto-save feature similar to Word which creates a backup, by default, every 120 seconds. This can be customized in Tools > Preferences to as often as every 60 seconds and with patch 1.1.21 which would be released by the end of the week, every 20 seconds.

“- No review/proofreading features? I did not see how to act as a reviewer/proofreader on the projects.”

What kinds of Proofreading/Review features would you like? We could probably add them in a couple of weeks. Currently, a translator may share project files with other translators allowing them to review and edit the translation and even see any notes that the translator may have provided.

“2. On the price/company side:
- Even in its current promotional price and the simplest version, this tool is more expensive (US$ 250) than MemoQ Standard (US$ 179). I am not really sure US$ 250 pays for the features I have seen in the video, especially compared with database-driven applications.”

The $179 for MemoQ is only for a one-year subscription. Fluency is a perpetual license. Fluency is also highly database driven. It was originally developed such that it could not function at all without a central database server that housed all of the terminology, TMs, and project files.

“- It would be great if the company (Western Standard) shared more information about themselves in this forum (I have told them about the existence of the forum so that they can join). Choosing a CAT tool can be a strategic decision and choosing the right partner can be critical long-term.”

Western Standard has been a member of ProZ since 2008, but we do need to update or profile (and keep it up to dateicon_smile.gif ).

“- It would also be very interesting if the company hared some more information with us about filters, compatibility, XLIFF and TMX support, etc. Freedom of choice calls for compatibility with the standards.”

Fluency supports many of the major TM exchange formats, especially TMX. See: http://products.westernstandard.com/fluency-learnmore.html Although our site is already outdated because we add formats almost every week (sometimes a couple a week), it does state most of the core formats we support for both TMs and source file formats. We do not currently support XLIFF, although we’ll look into adding that as well.

” This topic also raises a general question: how many CAT tools can the market sustain? The choice of tools is breathtaking today, and that is good, but I wonder how many users are necessary to sustain continuous development and improvement.

In my opinion, very few companies are proving that they are financially capable of sustaining a continuous development and agile support, and the list in my head does not include some very important brands after what we hear and see in the fora. What are Western Standard's plans of on this area?”

Fluency was originally designed to fill a need in providing timely and accurate translations for the U.S. military. The military needed something to aid in providing translations within hours instead of days. There are currently several U.S. Federal agencies reviewing Fluency for use within their own translation divisions.

From Samuel Murray:

“The new version has a smaller dotnetfx file (24 MB) and no instructional video.”

Tutorial videos are now posted on Youtube and Fluency links directly to those videos from within the program. Video links are now updated with patches or new downloads. This minimizes the amount of data that the user needs to download. Although the download is relatively large, the download also contains large amounts of terminology that can be used with or without an active internet connection (designed for portability).



[Edited at 2010-06-23 18:24 GMT]



@Richard: Thanks a lot for your prompt feedback! I will try the CAT in a few days and come back with more comments.

[Editado a las 2010-06-23 20:05 GMT]


 

carl11
Dutch to English
Dictionary Jun 24, 2010

FarkasAndras wrote:

Samuel Murray wrote:

I get the impression that this tool's main selling point is the fact that is comes bundled with a complete dictionary, and that the dictionary feature in Fluency is as powerful as the glossary features in other CAT tools.

If that's the company's thinking, I pity them. That's a hugely mistaken idea. I mean, can they offer a really good dictionary in my mother tongue (Hungarian) or yours (Afrikaans)? Of course not. And even if they could, good translators don't have much use for a general dictionary anyway. It's just hopeless.

The program itself may be excellent for all I know, but built-in dictionaries have never been and will never become a selling point of CATs. People who know what they are doing have zero interest in them.
Also, if the tool lacks the ability to create and import glossaries (from tab delimited txt/xls and/or from TBX) then it goes straight to the rubbish heap where it belongs.



I looked on their site. They do actually offer a Hungarian/English dictionary, though not Afrikaans. Don't know how good it is, though they claim that it's big. Their site also clarifies the terminology import.

" Fluency™ allows the translator to import their personal terminology, automatically discover terminology pre-translation, add terminology while translating, and enforce terminology rules."

That's also mentioned in Jost's article. Jost's article did seem to indicate that an up side of this tool/company is their responsiveness to suggesstions so I'll be interested to see what it becomes.


 

FarkasAndras
Local time: 15:34
English to Hungarian
+ ...
No miracles Jun 24, 2010

carl11 wrote:

I looked on their site. They do actually offer a Hungarian/English dictionary, though not Afrikaans. Don't know how good it is, though they claim that it's big. Their site also clarifies the terminology import.

I can't find where they say so... But the thing is, there are only 3 big Hungarian-English dictionaries. One is age-old and pretty bad, the other is a giant term list that is basically a bootleg copy of the first (the old dictionary) with a lot of extra terms inserted, and the third is a pretty good newish corpus-based dictionary.
It's really really unlikely that they bought the rights to use no. 3 so my guess is that Fluency includes one of the somewhat updated but still pretty awful versions of no. 1, or no 2., which is freely available to everyone anyway, or some free term list from whatever online source... pretty unappetizing.

Of course, the situation is even worse for Hungarian-Spanish (a combination I need) or, say, Finnish-Basque.

Maybe they used the freely available data from Wiktionary and Wikipedia, which would be a smart move as it covers a huge range of language combinations - but it's quality is somewhat uneven.
In any case, I'd strongly urge the people behind Fluency to disclose the sources of their dictionary data for each language combination. Just saying "We have a dictionary and we promise it's big" is saying nothing, or maybe a bit worse than saying nothing.


 

Pablo Bouvier  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:34
German to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
New Fluency CAT tool Jun 24, 2010

FarkasAndras wrote:

Samuel Murray wrote:

I get the impression that this tool's main selling point is the fact that is comes bundled with a complete dictionary, and that the dictionary feature in Fluency is as powerful as the glossary features in other CAT tools.

If that's the company's thinking, I pity them. That's a hugely mistaken idea. I mean, can they offer a really good dictionary in my mother tongue (Hungarian) or yours (Afrikaans)? Of course not. And even if they could, good translators don't have much use for a general dictionary anyway. It's just hopeless.

The program itself may be excellent for all I know, but built-in dictionaries have never been and will never become a selling point of CATs. People who know what they are doing have zero interest in them.
Also, if the tool lacks the ability to create and import glossaries (from tab delimited txt/xls and/or from TBX) then it goes straight to the rubbish heap where it belongs.


With all due respect for third opinions, I would not dare to openly criticize an application that I have not checked myself in depth. In my humble opinion, Fluency is a young product that will have its strengths and weaknesses as like any other similar product, but that will evolve like any other similar product too. Nobody has born as an adult.

On the other hand, I do not think it will be useful to us nor to Western Standard to provide them with a feedback based on assumptions rather than proven facts.


 

FarkasAndras
Local time: 15:34
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Opinions Jun 24, 2010

Pablo Bouvier wrote:

FarkasAndras wrote:

Samuel Murray wrote:

I get the impression that this tool's main selling point is the fact that is comes bundled with a complete dictionary, and that the dictionary feature in Fluency is as powerful as the glossary features in other CAT tools.

If that's the company's thinking, I pity them. That's a hugely mistaken idea. I mean, can they offer a really good dictionary in my mother tongue (Hungarian) or yours (Afrikaans)? Of course not. And even if they could, good translators don't have much use for a general dictionary anyway. It's just hopeless.

The program itself may be excellent for all I know, but built-in dictionaries have never been and will never become a selling point of CATs. People who know what they are doing have zero interest in them.
Also, if the tool lacks the ability to create and import glossaries (from tab delimited txt/xls and/or from TBX) then it goes straight to the rubbish heap where it belongs.


I would not dare to openly criticize an application that I have not checked myself in depth.

Nor would I, which is why I don't do so without a caveat. If you read my post again, you might notice that it starts with "If that's the company's thinking" and goes on to say "The program itself may be excellent".


 

Pablo Bouvier  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:34
German to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
New Fluency CAT tool Jun 24, 2010

FarkasAndras wrote:

Pablo Bouvier wrote:

FarkasAndras wrote:

Samuel Murray wrote:

I get the impression that this tool's main selling point is the fact that is comes bundled with a complete dictionary, and that the dictionary feature in Fluency is as powerful as the glossary features in other CAT tools.

If that's the company's thinking, I pity them. That's a hugely mistaken idea. I mean, can they offer a really good dictionary in my mother tongue (Hungarian) or yours (Afrikaans)? Of course not. And even if they could, good translators don't have much use for a general dictionary anyway. It's just hopeless.

The program itself may be excellent for all I know, but built-in dictionaries have never been and will never become a selling point of CATs. People who know what they are doing have zero interest in them.
Also, if the tool lacks the ability to create and import glossaries (from tab delimited txt/xls and/or from TBX) then it goes straight to the rubbish heap where it belongs.


I would not dare to openly criticize an application that I have not checked myself in depth.

Nor would I, which is why I don't do so without a caveat. If you read my post again, you might notice that it starts with "If that's the company's thinking" and goes on to say "The program itself may be excellent".


Yes, you are right and I am sorry about the confusion. However, I still have the feeling we are assuming which is the company's policy relying only on evidences.


 
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