Lingotek: Translating Success in Foreign Markets

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Lingotek: Translating Success in Foreign Markets


This is a reprint of an article by Tom Taulli that originally appeared in Forbes on December 7, 2011.

Over the past couple decades, there has been an explosion of wealth across the emerging markets.  As a result, there are now a couple more billion consumers ready to buy your products.  While many speak English, they certainly want to buy from a company that has a website in their own language.

The problem is that the traditional approach to translation is expensive and time-consuming.  For example, it generally costs 23 cents a word and a project can easily take from 6 to 8 weeks to complete.  Then again, the process often involves working with an agency.

So maybe there is a better way?  Well, Lingotek thinks so.  It essentially leverages cloud computing with crowdsourcing -- which can mean savings of up to 90% .  Because of this, the company has attracted top-notch clients like Adobe (Nasdaq:ADBE) and Jive.

First of all, Lingotek is integrated into various content management systems, like Microsoft's (Nasdaq:MSFT) SharePoint, Oracle (Nasdaq:ORCL) and Drupal.  This makes it much more efficient to localize the content.

Next, you have the option of human or machine translation.  The human touch is certainly important if you have high-value content, such as marketing messages.  You can bid from a network of translators, which have reputation scores.

But for your long-tail content – such as knowledge bases – machine language translation probably makes more sense.  And it is much cheaper.  For example, Google (Nasdaq:GOOG) has a good solution.

And by being in the cloud, Lingotek tracks common language patterns and messages.  It’s not unusual for businesses to accidentally re-translate content!  Again, this "language memory" can be a big money saver.

“We want to get translation out of the black-box model,” said Rob Vandenberg, who is the CEO of Lingotek.  “Even small businesses can leverage their web content to find growth in international markets.”

Tom Taulli
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