Thursday, March 29, 2018

Tmxmall - Translation Memory Marketplace Overview

This is a guest post by the principals of Tmxmall, which is a Chinese Translation Memory Marketplace, i.e. a site that sells translation memory to interested parties (mostly translators and LSPs). This is one of two such intiatives coming from China. I will be featuring the other one shortly.

Data is a critical requirement for any of the modern MT technology paradigms. While SMT was able to handle some level of noise  in the data used, it appears that NMT is more particular and the "more data is better" principal does not apply as clearly, if it ever did. The quality of the training data matters with AI and machine learning.  The pursuit of building up training data resources will always exist in the context of any Machine Learning technology. However, commodity data that you can easily obtain or buy tends to usually be low quality data, and not high-quality data by most people's assessment.

This is what TAUS has to say about these new initiatives:
"The internet giants had a competitive edge in translation data, but they spoiled it by polluting their own fishing grounds with machine translations. Now, the hunt is open for new data marketplaces. The European Commission is investing in the Connecting European Facility. But watch out also for the greenfield translation data ventures in China, or perhaps closer to home: the TAUS Data Cloud."
To the best of my knowledge data sharing initiatives have not been particularly successful with SMT. There has always been an issue of uneven quality when disparate data is pooled together. I am not sure this changes with these new TM marketplaces. I believe that rich metatags where some meaningful and consistent objective indication of quality, is provided and is likely needed to make such data exchanges viable. I recall in my experiments with TDA data that it is often wise to completely exclude certain lower quality datasets and sources but this understanding came after much trial and error and effort.

I find the vision of the cloud based Online CAT much more compelling than desktop solutions, and I would not be surprised if these collaborative, big data based work multi-tool environments do indeed become increasingly more compelling, even to power users of yesterdays technology.

So here are some of my favorite quotes about data.

"Data-intensive projects have a single point of failure: data quality" George Krasadakis, Data Quality in the era of AI.
“By far, the greatest danger of Artificial Intelligence is that people conclude too early that they understand it.” -  Eliezer Yudkowsky

Peter Norvig   “We don’t have better algorithms. We just have more data.”. 

“The sad thing about artificial intelligence is that it lacks artifice and therefore intelligence.”  - Jean Baudrillard

“We’re entering a new world in which data may be more important than software.”- Tim O’Reilly, Founder, O’Reilly Media

“Data is a precious thing and will last longer than the systems themselves.”- Tim Berners-Lee, father of the Worldwide Web

Despite the hype, we should understand that deep learning algorithms are increasingly going to be viewed as commodities. It's the data where the real value is. K.V.😉

 For those of you interested in eDiscovery and new applications for MT in Information Governance please check out this webinar that I just did together with Nuance.


Tmxmall is one of the leading providers specializing in language assets management and promoting TM global sharing with its headquarter in Shanghai, China. We are a team of technology and language geeks who have created products around translation memories, helping translators and MT providers better use translation memory data.

Our Story

In 2014, Jing Zhang, the founder, and CEO of Tmxmall, who gained his bachelor degree from Northwestern Polytechnical University in Computer Science and Master degree in Information Management from Tianjin University, left Baidu and started his own business with his classmate Jian Chen, who worked for Huawei and Baidu, and now the CTO of Tmxmall.

Both Jing and Jian are fascinated by information retrieval and search engine. Motivated by this interest, they applied their advantages to retrieval and leverage of translation memory, and are working on mining more valuable information from TM data and promoting data sharing and trading.

Jing Zhang (left) and Jian Chen(right)

The Status

Tmxmall pays high attention to data and takes great efforts to capture value from language data we have. For the present, we have nearly 7 billion thousand sentence pairs which are classified by 34 language pairs including English, Japanese, Russian, German and over 10 domains such as the economy, bioscience, law, and medicine. Those data are mainly in Chinese/English into other languages which are from the offline exchange, purchase from LSPs and freelancers, web crawling, and bilingual documents alignment. Among them, zh-en/en-zh human translated domain data and zh/en - Southeast Asian Languages data are the most popular in China. We now have developed services and products that all revolve around translation memories ecosystem to help users fully leverage our data and also manage their language assets. Recently, Tmxmall has localized its official website into English so that users across the world could get benefits from our service.

Our Products

TMXMall Roadmap

Tmxmall Aligner

Tmxmall Aligner is an online tool used to create translation memories and align parallel texts. The Aligner supports 17 file formats and 19 languages in modes including bilingual documents and one single document. It processes parallel texts by applying Tmxmall’s self-developed leading algorithm based on paragraphs and sentences and could automatically recognize sentences in terms of three pairing situations: one source to multiple targets, multiple targets to one source and multiple targets to multiple targets. It also allows de-duplication, filtering and finding & replacing, ensuring a more convenient and efficient process when creating translation memories.

TM exchange platform

Tmxmall TM exchange platform is where users retrieve translation units for every translation units uploaded. Users can also upload their own translation memories for others to retrieve, download and purchase.

TM SaaS management System

Tmxmall TM SaaS management System is designed for users to manage their TMs, allowing users to upload, share, retrieve and delete TMs, and conduct collaborative translation by referring to or updating TMs in real time. Users including freelance translators and LSPs can rent the system according to their use capacity.

TM Marketplace

TM marketplace is the place for TM sharing and trading, supporting TM files in 19 languages. Users can upload their own TMs, search for matches, sell or purchase segments matched with the data stored on the platform. Connected with TM SaaS management System, every TM that users bought from the marketplace can be managed in the TM SaaS management System. For now, data sold on TM marketplace costs $1.50 for 1000 words with a 100% match; $1.24 with a 95-99% match; $0.78 with a 85-94% match; $0.45 with a 75-84% match. The money goes to the data owner when a TM transaction is finished.


TM ROBOT is a client software for managing and sharing local TM data and is developed based on TM Marketplace for users who are hesitant to upload their TMs online. It’s also designed for promoting knowledge sharing economy by connecting global TM data, helping users obtain lasting yields by sharing TMs while respecting their translation achievement, and making language assets reusable to enhance production efficiency in translation industry. When TM ROBOT is installed, users are allowed to manage, share TMs and search for TM matches on TM marketplace on their computer.

TM ROBOT Working Module
There are three core modules in TM ROBOT’s working environment: the client terminals (TM ROBOTs) who are willing to share TMs, Tmxmall TM marketplace and CAT tools that are integrated with Open API of Tmxmall TM marketplace. The client terminals (TM ROBOTs) will choose the TMs that are allowed to be shared and then submit the random sentence pairs to a P2P platform. If the quality of the submitted random data is approved, the source TMs in client terminals will be included in the whole P2P platform and then can be retrieved by all users on this platform. When users translating in their CAT tools which are integrated with Open API of Tmxmall TM marketplace, the source sentences will be sent to TM marketplace. Tmxmall TM marketplace will then distribute the source sentences to all the client terminals(TM ROBOTs) who are online and ever shared TMs. When the client terminals received the query request, client terminals will search the local shared TMs and return the matched results to Tmxmall. Tmxmall will summarize all the results and then return the optimized result to the CAT users. When the optimized results returned, Tmxmall will deduct the relevant fees from CAT users’ accounts in Tmxmall platform system.

Tmxmall API

Tmxmall API is a plug-in that integrates the whole data stored on Tmxmall platform(TM exchange platform, TM Saas system, TM marketplace and TM ROBOT) into Desktop CAT tools including SDL Trados and MemoQ, and online CAT tools like Tmxmall online CAT. By using Tmxmall API, language data on Tmxmall platform can be searched when conducting translation in CAT tools.

Online CAT

The Online CAT is developed for translators or small teams when handling small translation projects. It seamlessly connects all language data stored on Tmxmall platform and supports Google Translate and pre-translation. We are now working on a new version of an Online CAT which will be released in the coming year. It will support large translation projects and enable translation workflows of freelance translators and LSPs. A variety of input formats, real-time supervision, machine translation, QA check and simultaneous translation & reviewing will be supported by then. Particularly, the online CAT will be integrated with large TM data on Tmxmall’s TM exchange platform, TM SaaS management System, TM marketplace, and local TM ROBOT.

Tmxmall Online CAT Features

Worried about data quality? So are we.

Our primary users are freelance translators, LSPs, teachers in universities’ translation and Interpretation Programs and MT providers. As a responsible enterprise, we put our users first and so definitely care about the data quality. Every TM uploaded on our platform will be verified by staff at Tmxmall. Only the human translated TMs which are aligned orderly can be approved and published. Besides manual verification, we are developing a QA tool where the QA metrics are built-in to spot errors such as punctuations, numbers, and omissions. For users who want to purchase data, they can view the random 30 sentence pairs as a sample to get an overview of the quality.

Research on TMs

From the time Tmxmall was established, we never stop our journey on TMs researches. During years’ studying, we have achieved several successes:
  • Based on automatic alignment algorithm of machine translation, bilingual documents can be aligned automatically with 95% accuracy rate.
  • With our leading natural language processing technology and thousands of high-quality TMs, lower-quality sentence pairs will be automatically spotted through TM assessment process algorithm.
  • By leveraging CNN classification technology, automatic classification of large-volume TMs with an accuracy up to 97% is now possible.
  • The responsive time of billion sentence pairs retrieval is reduced to 200ms after the distributed optimization of distributed search engines.
  • Tmxmall Machine Translation Plug-in is now available in SDL Trados. It supports machine translation tools including Google Translate, Baidu Translate, Sougou Translate, Youdao Translate and Newtranx, allowing users to produce more translated materials without increasing costs.


Our Ambition

Recently, we have seen an increasing interest in MT data, especially for MT developers to train their MT engine, which means that the research and implementation of Machine Translation would boom in the near future. Since 2014, we have accumulated a large volume of language data, which allows us to dream big and step towards the AI machine translation industry. By virtue of self-developed leading algorithm, data mining technology, and language data, we are able to train our domain MT engines by using specific language data, so as to produce machine translation with accuracy and quality. Transforming from language data research to MT engines attempt, Tmxmall always treats data as the guidance on every aspect of our business and strongly believe this will be the best long-term way for us to grow and thrive.


  1. The biggest damage of the last few year occurred when someone, most possibly very badly advised, started placing "big" between "translation" and "data," thus showing little or no knowledge of data adds up.
    Is "translation data" supposed to relate to translation projects (i.e. project metadata) or to language data (i.e. translation memories and term bases)?
    Fads and hypes, especially when ignorantly borrowed from equally ignorant (social) media sources, won't help the industry, which, by the way, thrives on derivative works.
    As Andrew Joscelyne finally wrote in his latest post for the TAUS blog, "Language data [...] has never been “big” in the Big Data sense."
    I remember the time when consultants were advising industry players to give up the idea of considering data as an asset, at least in the traditional financial meaning. I was one. Are those days over? Maybe. Data can now be seen as an asset, provided you know what to do with it, how to take advantage from it, how to profit from it, but the impression is that most translation industry players (let alone academics) are still very late in adopting data-driven applications. Of any kind. (See also my latest post on conferences.)
    Information asymmetry will still be ruling for a long time. How will one rely on language data from an unknown provider, in language pair(s) s/he could not grasp, when even the data that is supposed to be reliable (e.g. EU's data) is notoriously not? IATE is not exactly the best terminological source if it is used for projects outside the EU/DGT scope. As Franco Urzì pointed out in a 2014 blog post for TAUS, European institutions produce a language of its own, a very peculiar language...
    The translation industry is affected by a general syndrome, blaming technology for replacing services, products and habits with others of lower quality, impoverished and/or simplified, while human laziness should be blamed for unsatisfactory quality. Quality, the magical mystery word that instantly explains everything and forbids further questioning.

  2. Isn’t this “new” platform very similar to TM-Town?