Posted by: Kevin Perry | September 22, 2010

Solving the Global Communication Challenge

In what seems like a close “tech-knit” world, people are surprised to learn that 99% of enterprise content still goes untranslated. That is an incredible amount of information that never optimizes its reach. Can Real-Time Translation Services (RTTS) be the solution to this global limitation? In our upcoming webinar, Solving the Global Communication Challenge, we will discuss the challenges and opportunities of global communication. Customers, partners, and employees now expect technology and information to be available anytime, anywhere, at the click of a button. These requirements present obstacles for global organizations with limited translation budgets. This webinar will discuss how organizations can address the global communication challenge and the pros and cons of automated translation.

Please join me and executives from IBM, present the current developments in RTTS and the move from “Just in Case” translation to “Just in Time.” The presenters will walk us through the automated translation process and describe what features are still in the works as this technology shifts to the next phase of development. Kevin will also take a look at the benefits and opportunities RTTS presents for globally-integrated enterprises as it breaks language barriers and helps expand commerce and collaboration.

Register here

Posted by: Kevin Perry | August 18, 2010

Who needs Twitter anyway…is the cheese moving?

I am not much of a Tweeter these days, but many would argue that if you want to be heard, whether you are a superstar, athlete, activist, gamer, or a company doing business, Tweeting is the place to reach your audience and deliver your message.

Social Media has become so pervasive that it seems as though Twitter can make or break a product, help create a movement, and/or sway someone’s opinion of a person/idea. Taking a note from a great book that everyone should read, “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson M.D., the cheese is moving and if you are not on board, you will be left behind as a very hungry mouse. In the Twitterverse, some Tweeter somewhere will capture your ideas and thought leadership leaving you and your product behind.

Adding to the complexity of real-time social media is the ability to ‘autotranslate’ tweets. The ramifications to brand, image, and the possibility of legal liability surrounding mistranslated tweets create a multilingual Pandora’s box. I don’t think the laws have caught up to the potential legal implications of tweeting, but you know it is coming. For a better idea of what I mean, check out this cool site called TwitterLaw. Clearly, ’gisting’ translation is not going to cut it in this day where shelf life of content is short…very short. To address these issues, social media requires a solution that caters to the real-time nature of global communication. The world is shrinking. Long gone are the days when content and messaging in a singular language will allow an organization to prosper. To remain competitive, grow and succeed in the global market, businesses must to be able to address their customers in their native language. Kathleen Bostick, VP of Marketing at Lionbridge, blogs about the vast numbers of international Twitter users and the best ways to communicate with them across language boundaries. She offers some great examples of why ‘gisting’ doesn’t cut it, and what you can do about it.

What do you think? Do we really need better translation? Or is ‘gisting’ good enough? Happy tweeting.

I was recently asked a valid question by one of my customers and I’m sure it’s one that others may be thinking, too, so I thought I’d address it here today.

“Isn’t Real –Time Translation Service (RTTS) the same thing as traditional machine translation (MT)?”

Actually, it’s quite different. Traditional MT plays an important role for not only Lionbridge, but also our customers and prospects that have deployed MT within their organizations. They use this important technology as a productivity tool with the sole purpose to achieve 100% publication quality. In other words, it is used to bring down the cost of existing translation and utilize a heavy post edit.

RTTS primary goal is to provide “Good Enough” translation for the vast amount of content that goes untranslated within an enterprise (Blog’s, Knowledge bases, real-time chat, etc. ) Real-Time is about translating content after someone shows interest not “just in case” they happen to read it. Common Sense Advisory has stated that ~99% of enterprise content goes untranslated today. That is a big number and frankly an unacceptable number for the dynamic and digital world we live in. This industry needs to transform itself and wake up to the realities of the business world. It is about what I call “Consumer time” – we want it now and localization is no different.

Is “good enough” okay for the 99% of content that goes untranslated today? That is a question that each business and industry needs to ask itself. I was recently meeting with a customer and demoing the technology (yes…it is live! Ping me to find out more). They shared with me that there is a tremendous amount of user generated content on their web that can’t be translated by traditional means. As the Chief Marketing Officer put it, there are “have to’s” and “have not’s” as it relates to translation. We do not address the “have not’s” because of cost, time and quality. RTTS is the first technology I can see addressing this pain.

So you have options as a consumer:

1) You can continue to use traditional MT as a productivity tool to get you to 100% publication-ready translation

2) You can use RTT to translate the vast amount of content on the fly, realizing it won’t be 100% accurate, but good enough. The result will be significantly better than the freeware tools and without the heavy investment of a traditional MT tool.

Posted by: Kevin Perry | May 19, 2010

Who is a fan of Cape Cod, MA? I am.

I said in my last blog that I would go personal this week so I am going to share my favorite past time – cooking and eating! Last weekend I celebrated my ten year anniversary and I must say I am a very lucky man. My wife is a saint to be married to a guy like me, so whenever I get the chance, I like to take her out to dinner. Cape Cod is a special place for us as we got married there and since we know the area well I thought I would share some of our favorite spots from Wellfleet to Provincetown.


A very fun and vibrant town, full of art galleries, interesting knickknack shops and all-round great seaside town. Do the whale watch in May/June. The feeding season is in full force and you will see some incredible whales. There are three main restaurants you have to visit:

Front Street: Believe it or not the duck is phenomenal. I sat next to a guy from England who said that this is the best duck he has ever had…I was a bit skeptical, but went for it. It is the best and worth trying. The ambiance is very cool and a fun atmosphere.

The Red Inn: Very romantic, a must visit if you are celebrating a birthday or anniversary. Cocktails can be had on the deck overlooking the water and the view from every table in the restaurant is perfect. Try the lamb…it is delicious and the bread bowl artichoke and lobster fondue…you won’t leave full.

Ross’ Grill: The tourists have not picked up this gem. It only seats nine so make a reservation, but it has a bar in the middle of the restaurant and an outdoor patio right on the water. Try the calamari appetizer– Very good.


Another great seaside town. The famous Wellfleet Oyster festival in October is a must visit on the Cape. Plus, you get $1 oysters, very fresh – a very cool time.

Mac’s Shack: Since I lived in Japan, I’d like to think I know a thing or two about sushi. This restaurant does it very well. Fine coastal cuisine, sushi, and raw bar, served in a historic post and beam colonial in the heart of Wellfleet. They don’t take reservations but they added a canopy outside so you can sit at the outdoor bar while you wait for your table.

Pearl: Located in historic Wellfleet Harbor, this is a complete renovation of the former Captain Higgins restaurant. What’s cool is that they have revamped the whole interior and brought back the origins of the original post and beam oyster shack. Panoramic views of the harbor on three different decks. Try the pan steamed mussels with coconut milk and pineapple. You can’t go wrong with the raw bar either.

If you ever visit the Cape ring me up. I have many other cool spots to visit, but I didn’t want to make this blog too long ;-)! I could go on forever.

My Next blog – Why is Lionbridge calling this new technology Real-Time Translation? Isn’t it just MT?

Posted by: Kevin Perry | May 6, 2010

“Lionbridge and SDL Agree (on at least one thing)”

Mark Lancaster, CEO of SDL, recently blogged on the Lionbridge and IBM partnership, providing his take and thoughts on this new development. It is refreshing to see two formidable companies come together and have an open dialogue around the value of this technology.

I agree with Mark’s statement that there is recognition in the market for this type of technology: “Lionbridge have made a bold move, and all credit to them for getting the deal lined up. That said, it will be interesting to see how long it takes to get to market.” It is indeed a bold move and definitely a game changer in the market. I’ll address the comment about the time to market in another blog – stay tuned, we have exciting news on that front.

But in the meantime, a bit more context…

This new partnership is built on 12 years of Lionbridge MT experience which started with our first MT system/company acquisition in 1998, NetX. It then progressed in what is believed to be the single largest MT deployment in the world – 15 million words with Visual Studio in 2003. Now coupled with IBM’s 35 years of experience, and crowd sourced, trained and tuned by more than 400,000 employees in 170 countries, this real-time multilingual communication and partnership is a huge development – transformative, in fact.

Let’s explore further….

1. There will always be a need for human translation, especially for mission critical, high impact types of content. Fortunately, that business continues to grow and is vibrant for Lionbridge and our partners.

The challenge is that 95%-99% of the world content goes untranslated today. Primary reason – not enough translators to do the work, too costly, and it is not timely for many of our customers.

2. Real-time multilingual communication is distinctly different from the traditional human translation process, as well as the Integrated Language MT technology. In fact, our customers have been frustrated that the market hasn’t kept up with the global pace.

With more user generated content (think Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc.), customers now have a new norm: real time. And when we say “real time,” we really do mean turnaround in milliseconds instead of minutes. “Just in Time” translation is replacing “Just in Case (someone happens to read it)” translation.

In other words, Just in Time is about translating AFTER someone shows interest in the content, not before. This is a new model with untapped volumes of content.

3. Real-Time multilingual communication must be affordable, timely and available – and by the way, it shouldn’t be just for the big companies either. That’s why our SaaS-based Translation Workspace platform, coupled with the 35-year IBM experience and their Real-Time Translation (RTT) engine, makes this the right solution for all companies, regardless of size.

Cloud computing architecture is changing the world, so large investments in deployment are not going to sit well in the stomachs of most companies when an easy to deploy solution is at the proverbial fingertips.

As I said, we’ll talk more about the timing of our go to market strategy in the coming weeks. But next week, I go personal in my blog… My wife and I are celebrating our 10 year anniversary and heading to Cape Cod. I’m going to share my take on the best restaurants from Eastham to Provincetown. Can’t wait!

Posted by: Kevin Perry | April 28, 2010

IBM and Lionbridge: Fact and Fiction around the Partnership

I have to say I was excited about the feedback, interest and overall dialogue around the IBM and Lionbridge announcement. Real-time multilingual communication is transforming the industry and it is great to be leading the charge. I want to set the record straight around this announcement. Similar to politics in Washington DC, many things can get fabricated and distorted. This blog is about separating FACT from FICTION…so here goes.

1.) Lionbridge real time translation is a technology solution – a SaaS product – not a service offering. Enterprises who buy this platform will license this technology as they would any SaaS application. For any services that come out of this technology –i.e. post editing – can be done using any service provider the enterprise chooses to work with. RTTS is a license. It does NOT lock enterprises into any service provider.

2.) This announcement does not mean that IBM gets access to our customer TM assets. In fact, we will use our existing technology (translation workspace) to keep assets secure in its own private tenancy. With this agreement, we will have a three year exclusive agreement that:

  • gives us the rights to license and sell their real-time technology
  • a patent cross-licensing agreement
  • A partnership that establishes Lionbridge as IBM’s preferred deployment partner for real-time translation technology and related professional services.

3.)IBM selected Lionbridge as a partner because of our thought leadership, scale/size, SaaS based technology approach to localization, and our ability to bring this to market successfully.

4.) RTTS (Real-Time Translation Service) is not based on RbMT technology. It is based on SMT (Statistical Machine Translation) technology. IBM has deployed RTTS internally through “n.Fluent,” a project that made the RTTS technology generally available to IBM’s approximately 400,000 employees for chat, email, web page, crowd sourcing, eSupport, blogs, knowledge portals, and document translation. It has been in pilot for the last 4-5 years.

5.) Until today, the majority of multilingual communication has been:

  • Unaffordable – Human translation is expensive and can’t be done for all content
  • Unintelligible – free MT tools provide rough gisting and will not work for enterprises.
  • Unavailable – Cost and quality barriers of traditional MT inhibit translation of large volumes of fast-growing enterprise content

Traditionally, Lionbridge’s sweet spot has been working with companies that have high end, complex translation requirements. We will continue to offer this high level service to our customers. Having said that, there is a large portion of the market segment that is untapped today (e-support (customer care), Knowledge base, IM’s, tier three languages, blogs, emails etc.) that requires a cost –effective solution for large volumes of content that are not currently localized. Real-time Translation (RTT) provides enterprises a new way to access high UTILITY content, not Publication quality content, globally without having to invest huge sums of money in upfront translation and related multi-lingual content management systems.

Bill Sullivan, IBM’s Globalization Executive and a member of LISA’s advisory board, shared his thoughts on what this means to the industry and to LISA in particular – Very interesting read and provides a different opinion from IBM Check it out.

Today is an exciting day for Lionbridge and IBM. We are changing the way the world communicates.  And luckily, I get to be part of this transformative initiative. This partnership will combine IBM’s real time technology with the capabilities of Lionbridge’s Translation Workspace cloud-based language management platform. What does that all mean? As our CEO, Rory Cowan, stated, “when we are through, it truly will be a ‘Smarter Planet’!”

Lionbridge’s sweet spot has been in the complex, large enterprise, and high-quality human translation space. For the longest time, we have seen enormous amounts of content on the web unavailable to customers and communities around the world. And why? Because translation has been largely unaffordable for many applications. While some FREE translation systems on the Web are available, they unfortunately are often unintelligible and certainly unreliable.

This development changes all of this.  And it changes the playing field for our company – and our customers.

This partnership shifts our strategy and accelerates the development and commercialization of automated translation technology. IBM’s real time technology instantly translates content and communications such as web pages, intranets, knowledge bases, documents, IM’s, blogs and emails.  And the Lionbridge cloud-based model can customize the technology to increase quality.  As a multilingual speaker of Japanese (somewhat intelligible) –  I can tell you first hand this is a new beginning for tackling the multilingual communication challenges of tomorrow.

Understandable content available instantly  may be more valuable than delayed content at a premium quality. It seems as if the Translation Industry is at the dawn of the “Good Enuf” Revolution!

Who’s Game?