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!



  1. […] Lionbridge response to SDL Reading: Interview: Lionbridge and IBM seek to expand “real time” translationTweet this post on Twitter Subscribe to Global by Design […]

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