AFNET, a non-profit society for boosting the digital transformation within vertical industries
AFNET is a French non-profit organization that promotes best practices for processes within the extended enterprises. This society introduces Internet in France in 1992 and was the owner for delivering Internet access to the very first users, mainly in universities.
Since this early age, AFNET has been continuing to promote good practices for enterprises within their ecosystem of suppliers, partners and key customers. These IT practices consist on standards, a common information system, and a partner framework for co-working in confidence.
Today, the best approach consists to leverage industry verticals to build open systems for digital transaction, content collaboration and product design.
Corporations are grouped within industry verticals and are highly dependent themselves. Just a few examples: Do you know that less than 20% of Dassault Rafale airplane parts are done by Dassault Aviation itself? Do you know that behind an Airbus air plane, there is a network of more than 1,200 different suppliers structured by more than 5 depth levels?
To be competitive and efficient within our globalized world, the European aerospace industry had organized itself with AFNET expert assistance to create a common information system named BoostAeroSpace: AirSupply as the platform for managing the supply chain, AirCollab as the platform for data communication exchange and Airdesign as the platform for product design. All these highly-secured platforms managed by the nonprofit organization and financed by all aerospace members make a strong asset that contributes to Airbus success.
Similar projects are in progress today for automotive, energy, travels, that leverage aerospace good practices. All of them share the common vision of the extended enterprise.
What is the globalization factor for extended enterprises?
Within vertical industry fields such as aerospace, automotive, manufacturing, life sciences, major corporations act global today. Even small manufacturers export their products in foreign countries and so, are facing the language barrier for multiple reasons:
- For the customer engagement, to sell in foreign countries
- For the supply chain, to fulfill materials from foreign countries
- For the support service, to receive incoming requests or claims in customer’s native language
- For internal communication, to better collaborate with local subsidiaries
The content that needs to be translated is:
- Huge, it cannot be translated by professional translators from language service agencies
- Highly confidential, it cannot be copied to free translation portal on Internet.
- Dynamic, the content is not static, communication should be done in nearly real-time.
- Customer oriented, product information must be localized in customer native languages, for better selling, for better support.
Therefore, a machine translation solution inside the corporation is a key asset to ‘broke’ the language barriers within all these multilingual interactions.
How to speak in one voice within our globalized world?
But even a tool like a self-service translation portal like free translation portal is not a good solution!
Why? Because each word brings different meanings, and each meaning has a different translation.
In addition, there is not a unique perfect translation. Two professional translators will produce very different output based on their respective experience and knowledge.
Even a human translation is not perfect and could contain many mistakes!
The key factor to solve this issue is to build a corporate terminology that makes the common ground for corporate communication. To build it in multiple languages means that the Machine Translation Solution will be able to comply with this predefined terminology to translate automatically any content relevant to the company context.
This approach is named ‘machine translation customization’ and it is based at SYSTRAN on multiple technologies that involves dictionaries, translation memories, parallel documents, comparable or similar content as well as monolingual data. Any content is useful for the SYSTRAN Consultant to study, select and apply a right methodology to customize the SYSTRAN engine.
How to empower industry fields with a common solution?
One of the SYSTRAN goal is to help industry verticals such as the one that are engaged with AFNET on building common information systems.
SYSTRAN could be a key component to facilitate the communication and the collaboration within vertical industries. Building SYSTRAN Translation engines customized for aerospace, automotive, life sciences, information technologies, manufacturing is the right strategy to empower the different corporations that work together within their ecosystem.
As SYSTRAN supports bilingual dictionaries on of its default translation engines, SYSTRAN is compliant with a predefined terminology for a given industry, such as the ones promoted by ISO standards.
Feeding SYSTRAN with translated technical or business terms related to the industry segment is key to avoid mistakes that generate misunderstanding within communication.
SYSTRAN has built specialized dictionaries that can be put on top of generic translation engines as priority rules. These customizations ‘color’ the translation for a given industry segment and contribute to better communication within the enterprise and outside the enterprise for customers, partners and suppliers. Language barrier is down. Extended enterprise become truly global!
Author: Pierre Bernassau, AFNET expert since 2000.