Product Design and Collaboration in Multiple Languages

Product Design and Collaboration in Multiple Languages

Manufacturers are going global these days. Nobody is surprised to have design, manufacturing and support are going across the globe. However, when it comes to collaboration of people working on multiple continents, it can get very complicated. I read an article – RSS Feed Translation for Bloggers and Social Networking firms. It made me think about a possible role of standards protocols like RSS and translation capabilities to provide a multilingual support in PLM and other enterprise systems.

Information Distribution

Product development system can separate information into multiple channels depending on the need. The major differentiation can be between systems that need to operate in a real time (i.e. designers are working together on the same issue) and asynchronous systems. In my view, the second group is much bigger than we are expecting. Most of the cross-continent communication is going asynchronously anyway because of natural time difference. Asynchronous information cane delivered with involvement of mechanisms similar to RSS that will make translation services easy to implement.

On-demand Translation Service

The first time I’ve been thinking about such a translation service was a year ago when I experimented with Google Wave translations. Take a look on the demo of translation work presented by Google Wave.

So, there is a potential of the translation robot that can do work on-demand. However, the idea of YYZ Translation is interesting since it assumes mixed translation models with partial people involvement.

What is my conclusion? Mutli-language is a big problem. In my view, global companies are spending money to make it work. It is probably a time to make translation more natural and allow to people to consume information in the language, they can do it the best. I’d be interested to learn more how your company working in a multilingual product development and manufacturing environment. Don’t tell me everybody speaks English, please :).

Best, Oleg

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  • Oleg, you are right. This is a big issue. And while we could expect translation engines to ease communication, it seems that graphical techniques are another way to expalin at best some guiding instructions in plants.
    Personally, I think that semantics techniques should be used as well in the future, to extract the intent from a part description for example. Translation is ok for common text, but we leave into technical world where there are specific wordings.
    I explain some work on that topic in my blog (http://plmforest.free.fr/?p=176), I hope this kind of technique could help if implemented in our systems.

  • beyondplm

    Francois, Agree with your semantic thoughts, thanks for pointing on this. I think, data processing can be improved by using some semantic techniques. I’ve seen some very interesting semantic translation implementation in the past. Best, Oleg

  • Hi Oleg,

    A Solution for metadata is to use List of Values (LOV) with standard descriptions.Behind these standard descriptions you can put a table with fields for every language. So you only have to translate the text once and you also have a good basic for finding back your information, because everyone is using the same group of text.

    regards,

    Menk Slot
    http://www.plmconsult.nl

  • beyondplm

    Menk, thanks for this comment. What you explain sounds like a practice to provide NLS (national language support) for software. It solves only part of the problem, in my view. My point was to think how possible to solve the same problem by translating communication, design content, etc. Does it make sense? Best, Oleg

  • Vladislav Skoupski

    I will answer in polish: Fantastyca 🙂

  • beyondplm

    Vladislav, I definitely need to improve my Polish skills. Nevertheless, I hired Google and translated it. Now go back just 10 years. No Google, No iPhone, No Salesforce, No wikipedia, No Skype, No Facebook… Is it a time to think about next 10 years? Best, Oleg

  • Vladislav Skoupski

    I’m a little bit frightened to think in terms of the next decade or in excess of. I’m not a pipe-dreamer at all. I don’t have abilities for that 🙂

  • beyondplm

    Vladislav, in this case, let me demo you 10-year vision.

    Please do the following steps:

    1. Switch off the web.
    2. Wait 24 hours.
    3. Then switch it on back.

    Can you see a difference?

  • Vladislav Skoupski

    Hmmm… What do you want to show me? Progress of the WWW in 24 hours? Or my dependence on internet?

  • beyondplm

    Your dependencies on something that 10-15 years ago was only in dreams.

  • Govind R

    Hi Oleg, Thanks for the interesting topic. Considering CAD and drawings to be core part of PLM, it is but natural to think of the Drawing notes pertaining to Manufacturing, machining, surface finish etc… Within the sheet that needs to be studied by people across the globe, this will always remain a sort of block, unless there is a mechanism to automate the translation within the authoring tools. PLM representation of meta data can be controlled via NLS and stuff

  • beyondplm

    Govind, thank you very much for this example! Imagine if all information you put on drawings will be automatically translated for the people open these drawing across the globe? Nice option… Don’t you think so? Best, Oleg

  • Govind R

    Sure do, Oleg. It would be a great way to bring people and cultures together to achieve a collaborative product design, development that we crave for each and every living day in the PLM world!