A little bit about you…
What is your name?
What is your job role?
I’m the Director of Product Management for our Translation Productivity product line. Together with Luis Lopes we are managing the products SDL Trados Studio, SDL Trados GroupShare, SDL MultiTerm and SDL Passolo, as well as feeding into SDL Language Cloud development when it comes to capabilities such as sharing cloud-based TMs and termbases in future.
Which SDL office do you work in?
Luis and I are based in Stuttgart, Germany.
How long have you worked at SDL?
If you count my time at Trados, which was acquired by SDL in 2005, since 1994, so twenty-two years now. Yes I know, quite a long time!
Let’s talk about SDL and the translation industry…
What is your favorite feature in an SDL translation productivity product?
Very hard question for the product manager – what should I pick? If you put a pistol to my chest, I’d say AutoSuggest – getting meaningful fragment suggestions in predictive typing from translation memories, termbases, and now even machine translation. A key and fun productivity booster in my view.
What excites you about the translation industry in 2016?
Seeing the start of converging technologies in several respects. Machine translation and translation memory are starting to converge in terms of what we refer to as “adaptive machine translation" where MT is now starting to work a bit like a translation memory, learning from each post-edit a translator puts in, and doing a better job next time a similar sentence comes up. There’s a long way go here, but the convergence is starting.
From your experience, what would be your best bit of advice for translators?
As a translator by education (I got my translator’s degree from Saarbrücken University back then in 1993), I have always tried to combine my passion for language with my passion for technology. I know I should not generalize this but that would still be my advice – in today’s day and age it’s key to try and combine language and technology in your daily work. This can then mean, for instance, to try and get to know an admittedly somewhat complex tool like Studio as deeply as possible.
Ultimately if, as a translator, you do this, you will always be able to beat the market as you will just put through more words a day than your competition. This then results in higher earnings and more professional success. If I’m allowed to give some more advice – try to learn and do “real" terminology management. This means – go beyond simplistic Excel sheets (which can be a great starting point) but invest in ‘proper’ terminology management as soon as you can. This aspect is often undervalued when it comes to delivering quality and consistency in translation projects.
During your time at SDL, what is the most common myth that you’ve come across?
I would say the myth that our products are more difficult to use than other CAT tools. I am constantly looking at all of our competition and am sometimes amazed at how “nerdy" some of these tools are in comparison to Studio. Yes, Studio also definitely has its quirks and rough edges – after all we are dealing with a very complex problem that we are trying to solve – but we are genuinely concerned with trying to make it easy to use. Still that myth has persisted quite stubbornly over the years, and yes, we have more homework to do for sure as well.
Tell us about your interests and hobbies…
Away from the world of translation, what do you do for fun?
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.
In my “career" as a hobby musician, I’ve actually released a song on iTunes called TelCo Terror – I just had to get that one out of my system. The story behind it is that I got a bit fed up with the WebEx sound signature that you can hear when testing your audio setup or dialing in by phone into a telephone conference. What often helps me in such situations is to create a song around what gets on my nerves. I even did a video with a lot of past and present SDL colleagues which you can find on YouTube.
Where can we find you online?