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SDL OpenExchange – revolution or gimmick?

When SDL first announced its OpenExchange platform in March 2010, it was touted as an innovation that would “revolutionize the translation industry”. Three years later, in March 2013, SDL states in a press release that “over 500 developers have signed up” and that “app downloads double year on year”.

This video shows that the OpenExchange platform has had a rather limited impact so far and mostly provides a way for SDL to add missing features that are built-in in competing tools.

Relevant links:
SDL’s email from 3-Mar-2010 announcing the OpenExchange platform
SDL’s press release from 20-Mar-2013
SDL’s infographics on OpenExchange

4 comments to SDL OpenExchange – revolution or gimmick?

  • Hi Dominic,

    I don’t think this is a very useful review. First the OpenExchange is more than the app store you have focused on. I don’t believe you can show me a single commercial competitor who offers the apis that SDL does. A couple offer a few basic tools but really nothing like the depth of capability offered here. In addition to the opportunities for users to find apps for useful things that not every user wants or needs (and this may explain the download numbers to some extent) where the OpenExchange comes into its own is that it makes it possible for companies to integrate their systems to SDL products without requiring development work from SDL. Maybe you just didn’t think about this or how this would be of value to a company?

    Secondly its worth correcting your statements on a few of the tools. You mentioned memoQ but I don’t want to pick on them so perhaps you can share how any other CAT tool can create a TTX from their imported file for translation? You showed the Legacy Converter as equivalent to the bilingual doc export from memoQ and of course this is only one of the formats it handles. You mention the Glossary Converter and the ability of other tools to export their termbase to CSV. Of course the tools you are referring to export their glossaries to csv but they are not handling the potential complexity of object oriented termbases like MultiTerm so the comparison is quite ridiculous in my opinion. But me picking on you like this would be as ridiculous as your comparisons. These are just small useful tools built to handle things that some users find useful.

    The MyMemory comments are similarly ridiculous when you state that other tools like memoQ have this built in. The whole point is that we don’t have to build it in because any developer can do this themselves and make it available and any user can decide whether to add these in or not… so we have over a dozen different providers in use and not all of them are available through the OpenExchange. We have filetypes for translating Apple and Android apps as well as many other filetypes…not available through the OpenExchange and providing a good avenue for niche markets where companies want to gain their own competitive advantage through the use of our tools.

    If you can’t see the benefit of this, or the uniqueness of it then I guess you simply aren’t looking hard enough!

  • Simon Drew

    Hello Dominic,

    I think this is a fair summary of the state of affairs. After nearly 3 years, SDL seems to be suffering from wheel-spin in trying to market OpenExchange.

  • Christophe Delaunay

    Hi Dominique,
    As always straight to the point and as Hans put it: lethal! I have lately invested in a MemoQ and Gosh! What a revolution! I still don’t understand why people are wasting their hard-earned money in Crados instead of this all-encompassing program 😮

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