Machine Translation for better Product Development

Dealing with foreign languages has gotten so much easier recently. Even free translation tools produce superb results. Machine translation is a great example of the digital transformation that we are experiencing.

But why should we stop at translating text into human languages? Languages for describing systems, like SysML, have been around for decades. The method of applying such languages is called MBSE (Model Based Systems Engineering). While MBSE can have benefits when developing complex products, it requires significant investment for tools, training, consulting and configuration.

Model Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) Without the Overhead

Semiant provides you with the benefits of MBSE, but without the investment. Semiant “translates” specifications into a machine-readable system model. From the model, it extracts useful information, makes suggestions or even performs mundane but important activities. This prevents waste, reduces risk and speeds up development.

Semiant automatically “translates” the specification into a machine-readable system model. It uses this model to help you make the specification even better and to derive as much value from the system model as possible.

The idea of automatic translation into machine-readable languages is not new. For instance, asking a voice assistant like Amazon’s Alexa would first translate the question or command from the user into a query that the system would then execute. The user never sees the (automatically translated) query, only the outcome. This is how Semiant works, except that it translates the text into a systems modeling language.

Alexa is a general purpose virtual assistant while Semiant is a product development specific virtual assistant. The following figure shows the similarities between Amazon’s Alexa and Semiant:

Tangible Benefits

This approach allows Semiant to immediately provide the benefits of MBSE to the practitioners without having to learn a new modeling language or tool. It provides value that is convincing to decision makers as well. Specifically, Semiant:

  • Prevents waste: For instance, creating a glossary (or controlled vocabulary) makes sense to support compliance activities. But a glossary created by a human will almost certainly be incomplete and outdated on day one. Semiant will create it automatically, and it will always be up to date.
  • Reduces risk: Having an understanding of open issues reduces the risk of slipping of delivery dates, organizational risk due to undetected gaps in compliance and so on. Semiant even makes suggestions on how to fix issues.
  • Speeds up product development: By automating mundane tasks, like the creation of the initial traceability, you get more done faster with your existing team. Onboarding efficiency will also increase, as new team members get answers to many early questions from Semiant, rather than jamming expert’s time.

More Skills on the Way

Today, Semiant can extract glossaries from specifications. The system model is the foundation for this capability. But in the same way that MBSE has many benefits, we’re just scratching the surface. We will soon add more and more Semiant “Skills” over time to unlock the full potential of MBSE, without anybody having to learn a modeling language.

Photo by Ivan Bandura on Unsplash