LISA is insolvent

The Localization Industry Standards Association (LISA) declared itself insolvent on 28 February this year. According to a very short message on their front page:

In spite of the financial constraints LISA faces as an organization, we are exploring ways to continue the association’s good works for the industry.

I think this is a sad turn of events. Industry standards are important, and TMX and TBX and all the others are a good goal – they always have been, just like ODT in document creation or mp3 in music compression.

Unfortunately though, I can’t say I’m that surprised. It’s obvious from their name what LISA should be doing, but as of this moment for example, the current TMX standard is still at version 1.4b which was let loose in October 2004 – six and a half years ago. For reference, Youtube was launched 5 months later. Let’s hope their line “TMX 2.0 is currently in development” hasn’t also been up since then.

The LISA website is confusing and old fashioned – there’s no “news” section for instance, nor any RSS feeds.  There seems to be a lot of information that isn’t really relevant to the job at hand – taking a strong lead on localisation standards – but there does seem to be a lot of junket style info.

Translation and localisation technologies have come a long way in the last six years. Sure, Trados/SDL still has a nice strangle hold on the community, but the OmegaT mailing list shows that there is no need for that to be a reality – providing better, smarter support, faster; being open to standards instead of trying to force their own standard on the industry. When a company forces a standard, it makes us all poorer – the only software that can use it is their own, or knock off software must pay a license fee – it reduces our freedom.

I wonder how dominant the big translation companies were on the LISA board – was it left to die by forces that didn’t want it around? Like I said – it’s a sad day and we will be poorer for it – but their inaction has been glaring.