What do you call a non-web content management system that does workflow and translation memory?
January 20, 2009 10:10 PM   Subscribe

Help a stressed out writer with no understanding of enterprise software build consistency across an organization. What enterprise-wide content/workflow/collaboration/translation memory software am I missing?

I can't seem to find the tool or tools I'm looking for. "Content management" is focused on publishing to web, when our use is mostly internal, gathering approvals and connecting to web content management and other databases.

I work in an organization that creates a lot of language -- marketing materials, documentation, software UI.

We need to keep it consistent in English, move it through many approvers and edits with version control, and then push it to or connect with various content systems (web, design, etc.) and translators.

In my, completely non-technical, opinion, we need some sort of content management system that allows writers to view and input; builds in workflow, timelines and approvals; and can be easily demonstrated in templates so people can see it in context and exported so it could move to our other systems as text.

It would be really, really nice if it could also house our translation memory so that if something changed in English, it could consistently change in every language.

I can't seem to find anything, internally or externally, that does what we need it to do.

Right now, I've got a cobbled together solution of Lotus Notes databases, informal timelines and a spot on the server to place the latest version. We can't be the only company facing this problem.

What am I missing? What search terms should I be using to find such a chimera? When IT tells me they can't find anything, are they right?
posted by Gucky to Technology (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Nope they are not right, what you are looking for is GQMS (Global Content Management Systems) or TMS (Translation Management System). SDL now control most of the technology market, having bought two major systems manufacturers - Idiom who produce the WorldServer tool and TRADOS, who have/had a similar TM sharing tool.
A good place to start to get a handle on this is the Common Sense Advisory and the Global Watchtower blog.

The landscape for choice is pretty bare now - as I mentioned SDL have been buying up any competition, there is attempts at an "open source" TMS, with Clay Tablet being involved in this, but it remains a difficult task since it will require industry cooperation. Other companies working on such tools are Across. Drop me a PM if you need more information, I am the Tech manager at a Localization Company (but in a specific industry so I will not try to sell you anything).
posted by clarkie666 at 11:16 PM on January 20, 2009

You may be able to work with Alfresco (available in open source and enterprise flavors) to add translations to the standard workflows- apparently version 2.1 introduced some translation management capabilities- there's a webcast here, but you'll need to register on their site first.
posted by jenkinsEar at 7:41 AM on January 21, 2009

Some organizations use and customize Microsoft SharePoint technologies to do this kind of thing. SharePoint supports a concept called "variations" for multi-language support.

But, it is aimed directly at web content management.

I've written a translation request management system once, but that was years ago and it was simple, today I could do it completely in SharePoint, using it's out-of-the-box tools.

(Warning - I work for Microsoft and support SharePoint, so I am not un-biased. If you are completely against Microsoft, I think Plone has a nice featureset and may support multi-language scenarios.)
posted by jkaczor at 10:17 AM on January 21, 2009

Have a look at MindTouch. I write about tech for a living and know that plenty of companies have used it exactly like you describe.
posted by _Mona_ at 4:25 PM on January 29, 2009

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