FOLT/openTMS (former TMOSS) – the opportunity for genuine standards


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FOLT/openTMS (former TMOSS) – the opportunity for genuine standards

Three translation memory systems for one and the same process?
Software investments that cause translation costs to sky-rocket?
Exchange formats as brakes on productivity?

In the FOLT (Forum Open Language Tools) working group - TRANSLATIONS-INTERPRETINGS.COM MSOC has joined forces with other companies, organisations and universities in the translation and documentation sector to find solutions and improvements in the whole production of foreign language documentation. FOLT is working in cooperation with the Linux Solutions Group e.V. ( in the initiation of openTMS (former TMOSS), an Open Source Translation Memory System.

The purpose of this is to:

— Create genuine standards in the translation environment
— Reduce the dependency on commercial systems
— In every respect be open for new technologies and developments

The success of openTMS ( is due to the increasing size of the community of the FOLT working group. Because a standard is only something that is widely accepted.

The description of the software architecture is based on the existing specification, available as a wiki on
market situation and problem definition

Translation Memory Systems (TMS), also known as translation memories or sentence databases, store translations that are produced by translators and offer translators the opportunity to reuse existing translations at a later date. They can detect not only identical text but also similar source text segments. TMSs are primarily used to ensure consistency of terminology, content, style and formats in translations.

At present, the TMS market consists of various commercial systems. These are incompatible with one another and do not allow data to be exchanged easily. Overall, this has led to a lack of standardisation in the translation process as far as TMS is concerned. Translators either have to specialise in using one particular TMS or learn to use a number of different systems. As many customers prefer to use just one of the commercial systems, specialist translators are first selected based on their experience with a particular TMS and second on their specialized language competence and subject-specific knowledge. Translators are therefore increasingly being forced to perform additional tasks on top of their core competences. Familiarisation with the programs, training and new releases of commercial programs take up an increasing amount of time and bring rising costs that are not offset by additional income. In addition, the purchase and update costs for the standard commercial systems are disproportionately high.

In university education for translators, tuition continually comes up against the same issues. Particularly when it comes to switching study programmes to BA and MA, with the resulting reduction in studying time, it is no longer possible to incorporate all of the existing systems into the curriculum.

Open Source is being widely discussed but to date there have been no serious efforts to actually develop an Open Source TMS. The “Forum Open Language Tools”, FOLT for short, aims to change this and presents an initial draft for the development of a “Translation Memory Open Source System” (TMOSS). TMOSS has been renamed today to openTMS.


Beside the efforts to remain in contact with the commercial producers of TM systems regarding the standardisation, decides FOLT at spring 2007 to initiate an Open Source TM System.

LiSoG, the Linux Solutions Group e.V. based in Stuttgart/Germany, supports FOLT since July 2007 in its ''Translation Memory Open Source System'' project. Die cooperation of FOLT and LiSoG offer the ideal combination of experts in the area of foreign language documentation and experts in the area of Open Source software implementation.

Start points in detail:

— Exchange of experiences in relation to processes using software in general use in the sector
— Exchange of experiences regarding the use of open source-software
— Standardisation of exchange formats
— Trying out new and improved open source technologies for the translation market
— Public support of non-proprietary software and software development
— Publication of objectives and results

In cooperation with LiSoG, FOLT carries out an online survey among users of translation memory systems. The results of this survey are published regularly and are taken into account in the development of openTMS that will be available for free for universities, companies and public authorities as well as freelance translators.

The online survey is here available:

« Last Edit: 16 Oct, 2008, 22:03:02 by spiros »


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