Language barriers constitute a formidable obstacle to the free flow of information, products and services in an increasingly globalised economy and information society. Localisation is the industrial process of adapting digital content to culture, locale and linguistic environment at high quality, speed, volume and low cost, and is the key enabling, value-adding, multiplier component of the global software and content distribution industry.
In this collaborative, multidisciplinary research project we will carry out the fundamental and applied research underpinning the design, development, implementation and evaluation of the blueprints for the Next Generation Localisation Factory. This new factory will be distributed, virtual, highly automated and based on novel language and digital content management technologies to provide solutions to three massive challenges facing the Localisation Industry:
- Volume: the amount of content to be localised is growing at rapidly increasing rates and massively outstrips the supply of human translators.
- Access: digital content delivery and interface devices are changing massively to enable pervasive, on the move access to digital content.
- Personalisation: in addition to traditional Enterprise Localisation (EL) which localises large amounts of ‘predictable' technical content (user manuals, help texts etc.) in well-managed ‘offline' scenarios according to coarse-grained linguistic, cultural and geographical locales, a completely new type of localisation, Personalised Localisation (PL), is emerging with the rapidly growing multilingual digital content available on the WWW. This content needs to be localised on-the-fly, in real time and personalised to individual user requirements. Coarse-grained linguistic, cultural and geographic locales need to be personalised, i.e. overlaid with important social and personal identities cutting across traditional linguistic and geographical boundaries: examples include Chinese senior managers having much in common with their Californian counterparts, or Czech teenagers being more likely to share cultural preferences with an English teenager than both with their grandparents.
Traditional localisation technologies and workflows are no longer able to cope with the escalating growth in volume. Traditional localisation is text-, print-, screen- and keyboard-based and does not address novel mobile, speech-enabled, non-keyboard, small screen devices. Traditional localisation methods are not adequate to manage, localise and personalise unpredictable, on-line, multilingual, digital content.
In order to provide solutions to the triple challenges of Volume, Access and Personalisation, the Centre will merge university- and industry-based research expertise in Language Technologies, Digital Content Management, and Localisation into a single research team. The Centre will produce fundamental advances in Integrated Language Technologies (combining Text, Speech and Machine Translation), Digital Content Management (combining Information Retrieval and Adaptive Hypermedia) and Localisation (Standards, Workflows) and integrate, implement and evaluate these advances in the Next Generation Localisation Factory; the Factory will transform and revolutionise localisation to achieve fundamental increases in automation (to tackle Volume), advances in interfaces (to tackle Access) and increased relevance of digital content (to tackle Personalisation) for both Enterprise and Personalised Localisation, with a longer term vision to develop a unified localisation model in the Next Generation Localisation Factory.