IBM wants software developers to make applications more accessible to speakers of different languages by using a new cloud platform, IBM Globalization Pipeline, that provides automatic translations.
Translating an application from one natural language to another can be just as difficult -- and expensive -- as porting it between different programming languages. It requires expertise and a fair amount of time to do by hand.
Now, IBM says, the cloud will automate the process through the Globalization Pipeline, which runs on the company's Bluemix cloud platform. The service supports automatic translation of apps written in English into the following nine languages: French, German, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Italian, Japanese, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, and Korean.
IBM hopes the service will appeal to developers who want to increase their apps' marketability in new regions. Citing a 2014 survey that showed (unsurprisingly) that 75 percent of consumers prefer apps written in their native languages, the company said in a statement, "For retailers and companies with consumer-facing apps, this service helps meet the criteria for expanding customer reach and loyalty in today’s fastest growing markets -- in which shoppers are increasingly turning to online and mobile experiences."
While the translation process will be automated, IBM also says it supports "human post-editing capabilities to ensure quality and consistency." In addition, the platform will feature open source software development kits that permit programmers to update translations without rebuilding an entire app.