Technology recognised by Capita in acquisition

It’s a great accolade to my team, to have the Group CEO of Capita feature our technology as a key area for the purchasing of Applied Language. We’ve all been working really hard developing our technologies such as SmartMATE and the underlying platform SquidgeIT – which powers Linguist Lounge and other portals – and it’s great to have our hardwork recognised in the statement about the acquisition.

We’re all excited about the new opportunities to enhance our team and drive our technology forward with greater investment into it.


Capita Group Chief Executive, Paul Pindar, said: ‘The acquisition adds a new service to the range of those the Capita Group is able to offer to both the public and private sectors. By combining ALS’s specialist skills and proprietary technology with Capita’s operational expertise and balance sheet we believe that this will allow us to become a very strong player in the language services industry. There are excellent opportunities for organic growth both in the UK and internationally.’


MoJ Framework go-live phase 1

I’ve not posted anything for a few weeks; We’ve all had our heads down in the office, and been keeping crazy hours as we bring on the first phase of MoJ customers. On the 28th November we had some Northwest Police forces go-live, and next week see’s the go-live of all Courts, Prison’s and Tribunal services in the Northwest.

Our new hardware powering our private cloud is performing very well. And our new software platform (SquidgeIT) which runs on it, is exceeding expectations. With us having released our new customer portal and staff portal to compliment our supplier portal Linguist Lounge.

SmartMATE MT engine build video

I’ve posted a video showing how to create a custom MT engine using SmartMATE. The video has been shortened to show the process quickly, and shows me uploading some Translation Memories in TMX format and then starting a Machine Translation engine build. This was from 1.3M words of English to Italian, it took under 2hrs to finish building and it produced a bleu score of 75.

I’ve also posted it to the new Linkedin SmartMATE group.

Google not using Google+

Earlier this week I found this article on Mashable and it strikes me that Google is failing at the first rule of software – use your own software. Some research in Google+ public posts revealed that only 3 members of the Google Senior managers had posted more than 10 times on Google+, several don’t even have accounts! With Google saying Social is at the heart of their future, they’re really not embracing it!

It really is so very important. If your not using your own software, then your failing yourselves and your users.

We’ve been working on SmartMATE for months now, and actually the system evolved from trials we were running with customers. We have run MT trials with numerous very large Enterprises for a whole host of content from Games texts to Financial documents, Engineering manuals to websites. Each trial in the early days was unique and so we did alot of custom development, which has found it’s way into the SmartMATE system.

For us the SmartMATE system is in daily use, and has been for some-time. We are Technology Partners with Dell, and they’ve been using the SmartMATE Beta system since it’s infancy. The more we use SmartMATE, the more idea’s for features and tweaks we have – and they all go on the list for looking at in future! This is why it’s so important to use your own software – you really can’t innovate, if you’re not using it.


Self-serve MT to the masses

Yesterday we launched SmartMATESmartMATE to the masses. SmartMATE is the first pay-as-you-go on-demand system that anyone can use to build a custom Google Translate/Microsoft Bing style translation engine.

SmartMATE is cheap for freelance linguists to use, and is generally a much higher quality than the public systems offered by Google and Microsoft. The quality of the engine is directly related to the quality of the data used to train it – most freelance linguists maintain high-quality translation memories, since this helps them get good leverage on there jobs and increase turn-arounds. Since SmartMATE builds the custom Machine Translation engines off this data, the translations being output are of high quality and in the style of the linguist.

It’s an very exciting and busy time for us, and the system is very much like other web-systems – it’s not finished, and it never will be. We’ve got a huge list of features to add to the system, and release over the coming months and years.




Oracle throw punches at Salesforce

I was surprised to see Larry Ellison announcing there new products, and at the same time throwing punches at
Although the content of what he said was correct, given Salesforce runs on an Oracle backend it’s surprising to see this.

I remember getting a tech overview from Salesforce some time ago, and whilst I can’t remember the exact detail, essentially they have a single huge table of data which stores everything. At the time I remember questioning this – I find it interesting that Oracle are criticizing one of their customers at a conference.

RIP Steve Jobs (1955 – 2011)

Shocked to hear Steve JobsSteve Jobs has passed away! So soon after stepping down as CEO. The tech innovation space has lost someone special, though he has inspired and shown the world how successfully innovation can be done.

I write this from my iPad, the Apple innovation which had many people questioning if there was a Market for this kind-of device; but it took the world by storm and no-one has come close to beating it yet. I remember the rumour mill on the run-up to the launch (he knew how to get people excited!) and the launch itself which had Steve Jobs on-stage beaming with pride. It’s just one of many amazing things he delivered to the world.

Irrelevant of if you like Apple or not, no-one can deny the global impact Steve Jobs had on the world.
RIP Steve

Linguistic TED talks

My daughter is nearing 1 year old now and I TED - Ideas worth spreadingfind myself fascinated by the way she is trying to talk, and replicate sounds. It’s amazing how much she has progressed in the last year. I remember watching a couple of TED talks some time ago, and I can relate to them now as I watch my daughter developer her linguistic capabilities.

If you’ve got a baby or young child, and it you haven’t yet seen these, these make great viewing;

Patricia Kuhl: The linguistic genius of babies
Patricia Kuhl shares astonishing findings about how babies learn one language over another — by listening to the humans around them and “taking statistics” on the sounds they need to know.

Deb Roy: The birth of a word
MIT researcher Deb Roy wanted to understand how his infant son learned language — so he wired up his house with videocameras to catch every moment (with exceptions) of his son’s life, then parsed 90,000 hours of home video to watch “gaaaa” slowly turn into “water.” Astonishing, data-rich research with deep implications for how we learn.


New Facebook Profile Timeline

I’ve just enabled the new Facebook New Facebook Profile Timeline Profile through my developer account, and I actually quite like the look and feel of it.

Recently I’ve been really disappointed by the new “features” added to facebook – most of which have driven me to despair due to them being of poor quality, and clearly a rushed feature release to complete with Google Plus. For the most part the features have not been on-par with the Google Plus counter-part, however I do really like the profile timeline – it feels like a better version of the Google Profile.