GALA Pushes for Language Standards: Worldwide Association Seeks to Actively Promote User Requirements

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The leading trade association of language service providers pushes for open discussion of standards and specifications for language quality.

At its annual meeting in Montreal on 16 October, the Globalization and Localization Association (GALA) pressed for realistic, usable language standards and widespread implementation by Language Service Providers (LSPs). The Montreal session built on the momentum of past discussions at GALA meetings, insights from the Language Standards for Global Business (LSGB) summits in December 2005 and May 2006, and other member activities.

The Montreal session was moderated by Don DePalma of Common Sense Advisory and Hans Fenstermacher of Translations.com. DePalma noted that "Our meetings have shown us that the standards-setting bodies need to hear what users of their standards and specifications have to say. GALA represents the biggest user community, language service providers; we consolidate the voices of over 215 language service providers worldwide."

A survey of GALA members at the annual meeting revealed a high level of interest and concern in technical standards such as TMX and Unicode. "We reviewed the survey results and found that technology providers need to drive greater interoperability," said Fenstermacher. GALA members across Systems GmbH, Clay Tablet, and Idiom Technologies agreed to lead a discussion on technology and middleware standards.

The Montreal working group will document GALA member requirements for usable language standards. GALA will send this specification to all standards-setting bodies and post it on the Wiki for Standards (http://www.wikiforstandards.org). The Wiki will create an open community for the discussion of standards and specifications and serve as a collection point for all information about language quality and technology standards. GALA will also establish direct representation within the appropriate standards bodies.

"The Wiki provides another way for standards bodies and potential users to talk to each other, without having to get on a plane for yet another conference," said Beatriz Bonnet, president and CEO of Syntes Language Group and the American Translators Association representative to the ASTM translation standard committee and to ISO Technical Committee 37, Subcommittee 37, Workgroup 6 on translation and interpreting standards. Bonnet said that "The international organizations that I work with will happily accept the input of GALA members as they develop standards."

GALA's standards effort will be headed by Serge Gladkoff, president of Logrus and chair of the GALA standards committee. GALA invites anyone using language quality or technology standards to get involved.

GALA is an international non-profit association that promotes translation services, language technology and language management solutions. The member companies worldwide include translation agencies, localization service providers, globalization consultants, internationalization specialists and technology developers. GALA companies share a commitment to quality, service and innovation in helping clients reach global markets. Visit http://www.gala-global.org.

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