Thicke: How did you get involved in localization given your core background in engineering?
Gilbert: Many years ago my career migrated from aerospace materials research to systems engineering — a transition that many with my background were compelled to make. In those days, I had no exposure to localization or machine translation (MT). Eventually, when I began leading several portal prototyping and development teams, my manager asked me to take on localization of the support website, the knowledge base and support forums. The charter was to develop localized support sites and forums that would run parallel and be in sync with the original English versions. The organization wanted a time-to-market process and solution that we could replicate across a number of languages. Content in all three support areas changed frequently and required a workflow process that was easy for authors and contributors. Thus, MT seemed the right answer. True, I had no experience in localization, but career transitions and technology change had never stopped me before. Eventually, with time and investment we built a robust, multilingual MT workflow process.
Thicke: What makes your current implementation of MT so unique?
Gilbert: Well, I don’t mean to imply that our current structure is fully robust. Nor are we the only EMC team interested in building MT, but we are experimenting with what we’re calling Low Cost MT. It is a small-scale system with limited language capabilities and without the risk of high capital investment. What I think is so unique is that we’ve built a useful set of tools with limited resources in a short time. Normally, when teams embark on building MT capabilities, there is a variety of commercial solutions and vendors waiting at your doorstep offering installation and consulting services. Typically, you gather a team of translation professionals and build a staff of linguists and engineers with lots of automated translation experience. In our case, our initial team consisted of myself and Pablo Vazquez. As you know, Pablo has a great deal of MT experience, having been in the industry for most of his career. But obviously he and I could not do it alone. We needed additional help building our use cases and establishing an operational process. Requesting further resources would require a formalized business case for investment. Again, all these things take time, and Pablo and I wanted to move quickly. We decided to enlist our existing staff of expert analysts and storage engineers who were eager to embark on this challenge. . .