|Photo courtesy of Kevin Dias.|
Here at Translation Times, we are always on the lookout for new technologies that might benefit us and our friends and colleagues. Every once in a while, a new idea comes up that is very, very promising. Here's one that seems quite revolutionary: TM-Town. Just like many industry professionals, we are quite convinced that translators won't be replaced by technology, but rather, that the most successful translators in the future will be the ones who embrace technology. Full disclosure: TM-Town's creator, Kevin Dias, had previously taken advantage of Judy's consulting services, but other than that, we have no other ties to the company. We just think it's a great idea. Here's a preview: it's a translation enablement platform. But rather than writing about what we think TM-Town is, we figured we'd bring you the information from the founder himself. Here's our interview with American developer Kevin Dias, who is based in Tokyo, Japan.
Translation Times: It looks like you are not a translator. How did you get involved in a project for translators? What’s your background?
Kevin: I'm a developer, and I love web development in particular. I have a friend who is a translator, and when I saw the way he was working, I began to imagine some things I could build to help him in his work. Once I got into the field I became fascinated with the possibilities for blending web development with emerging language processing technologies. It is a very interesting field.
What exactly is TM-Town? Can you give us a quick summary?
TM-Town is a place for translators to store, manage, leverage and optionally share their prior work. For those interested in establishing new relationships, it is also a place for clients and translators to be matched on the basis of that prior work. I am using the term "translation enablement platform" to describe this.
Are you a small company? Or is it just you? Who is behind TM-Town?
For now, it is just me. I received a small outside investment from a person who noticed my prior project, Transdraft. That has allowed me to work on TM-Town on a full-time basis for the past six months.
Who do you see as your competitors?
I am not aware of anyone providing a "translation enablement platform" of the sort that I have developed. One aspect of TM-Town is providing tools for translators to manage their linguistic assets. In this regard, I view TM-Town as a “Dropbox for Translators”. As many translators currently use Dropbox or Google Drive to manage their translation files, this is one form of competition. Another aspect of TM-Town is the job-matching platform. In this regard I think TM-Town is very unique in that it is the first service of this kind to match based on an analysis of the document to be translated against the prior work of translators to find the most suitable subject-matter expert for the job.
Are there any downsides to using TM-Town?
A person who is not comfortable with the idea of uploading prior work to the "cloud" may not find TM-Town suitable. Beyond that, the site is free to try so I would invite your readers to find out for themselves. If anything needs to be improved, I am ready to do it!
How many clients are currently signed up? How do you plan on continuing growing the client base?
Aside from some informal personal invitations that I sent to select people, I started promoting TM-Town just last week. I am pleased that about eighty translators have registered so far. I plan to begin promoting the site to clients in 2015.
Thanks for your time, Kevin!