Some Thoughts about ALM featuring "Automatic Translation not Ready for prime time"
A few days ago I found a short essay on my hard drive which I wrote quite some time ago and wasn't published so far. The paper is about Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) and how Visual Studio Team System supports ALM. I thought this would be a good candidate for my blog. So I went through it and changed some minor things which have changed since I originally wrote this paper.
However there was (and unfortunately still is) one little problem that bothered me quite a bit and that is the fact that I write my blog in English while the paper itself I wrote in German so its not a good fit to publish it here right away. So I thought well this could be a good match for an automatic translator. I started with our own product the Windows Live Translator. Here's the translation of the first paragraph.
"The challenges facing the software development in the broader sense, and thus also to the tools were in recent years dramatically. Distributed applications, several quickly changing platforms, several changing architecture Elle concepts, quality requirements and shortened life cycles are things that the development of a application not make.
Moreover, often economic considerations led development teams local by offshoring measures of the project leaders and architects. Result of all these developments were a variety of different tools for a variety of tasks whose artefacts seldom the other tools used could be as well as the need for global communication. As a result that the proportion for coordination tasks in a software development project in unacceptable proportions driven and many projects not time and budget be stopped."
English is not my native language but even me does realize that this is not really usable and many parts don't make really sense and are not even close to the German original with respect to the message I wanted to bring across. In order to make sure that this is not a Microsoft specific phenomenon I also tried the Google Translator (beta of course). And here is the Google result:
"The challenges to the software development in the broadest sense, and hence the tools were used in recent years dramatically. Distributed applications, diverse, rapidly changing platforms, diverse, changing architectural concepts, quality requirements and shorter life cycles are things the development of an application does not just have facilitated.
Moreover, economic considerations often led by local developer teams offshoring activities of the project managers and architects to be separated. Result of all these developments were a number of different tools for different tasks, their artifacts in the rarest cases of the other tools could be used as well as the need for global communications. This meant that the proportion of coordination functions in a software development project in unacceptable proportions and has driven many projects is not timely manner and within budget could be terminated."
In my opinion this is not much better. Admitting that we are talking about a technical text and this text is definitely not written with the easiest of all possible structures there might be chances that you could get those translators to produce some sensible lines of text. However as I'm not producing or optimizing texts for automatic translators I come to the conclusion that those automatic translators are still not ready to be used in a broad set of scenarios and especially not to translate technical texts although this is already done by quite some companies including Microsoft.
The consequence is that all my English speaking visitors will unfortunately not have the chance to enjoy :) my essays and I will continue to publish those as special pages like I already did with this text about BPM. In this case for all my German speaking visitors here's a link where you can download the whole essay. Everyone else who is not able to read German and wants to try some translation tools, feel free and good luck ;).