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ECLASS Release Manager Fabian Schwanitz in an interview

Fabian Schwanitz manages the release process for ECLASS. In an interview, we ask our questions about the upcoming Release 14.0, which is scheduled to be launched in December 2023, and the major changes in the release process.



Fabian Schwanitz in an interview

Question: Fabian, you are the Release Manager for ECLASS. How does the typical process of developing and launching a new ECLASS Release look like? Are there certain steps or processes that are run through for each Release?

Each new Release starts with the ECLASS community's Change Requests, which have to be submitted by a certain deadline. Up to 200,000 Change Requests with new structure elements, class structures or descriptions are submitted annually. Generally, the release process is then divided into 3 phases: ALPHA, BETA and PROD. In the first two phases, the ECLASS Release is calculated on a test basis and made available to the users. This way the changes can be checked again and revised if necessary. In the PROD phase we do the refinement before the release. To guarantee the high quality of ECLASS, the ECLASS Head Office performs technical checks in each phase. If we find inconsistencies in the data, they are either cleaned up by the ECLASS Head Office or Paradine or the Change Request creator is informed. The content of the Change Requests is reviewed by the experts from the respective Expert Groups.

Question: Which role does the DeepL interface play in the development and publication of the new ECLASS Release 14.0? How will it be integrated into the process and what are the advantages for the users?

DeepL has previously been used in the ECLASS Content Development Platform (CDP) to automatically translate newly created structure elements into other languages. Each user thus has the opportunity to contribute to internationalization by having newly submitted elements translated directly into other languages. For ECLASS Release 14, which is scheduled to launch in December 2023, we have now gone a step further and filled in missing translations using DeepL. The content could thus be translated into all languages that ECLASS provides and that are also supported by DeepL. This means that with ECLASS 14.0 we will offer complete translations of the content in 15 of the total 17 languages available in ECLASS. This is an important milestone for the goal of ECLASS e.V. to enable a reliable exchange of product data worldwide.

Question: TQL (Translation Quality Level) is an important new attribute in the ECLASS Standard. Can you explain how TQL is used to support search and retrieval of product data?

Since it makes a difference whether content is translated by "human or machine", as of Release 14 ECLASS also includes a quality level of the respective translation. The TQL indicates the quality of the linguistic content and gives an indication of how the content of the preferred name or the definition of the structure element was created. We distinguish between five language levels: Native, Non-native, Translator, Norm and DeepL.

Question: ECLASS CRD (Center of Research and Development) and ECLASS Head Office are closely linked in the release process. How is the collaboration organized in order to efficiently coordinate new developments such as translations with DeepL?

The CRD is the central ECLASS body for the development of the ECLASS data structure as well as the technical requirements for the implementation of the ECLASS Standard, i.e. the data model, the database and the handling of the Content Development Platform (CDP). Thus, new developments such as the complete translation into 15 languages or the extension of the data exports by the attribute "TQL" will be developed in the CRD and a decision on their implementation will be made. Once the decision has been made by the CRD, it is the task of the ECLASS Head Office to implement the work into the ongoing release process and to coordinate it with the IT Service Provider Paradine. The challenge is that innovations should not delay the existing process or deadlines. After the successful implementation of technical innovations, the CRD as well as the ECLASS users will be informed accordingly.

The Release Process

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