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Global Watchtower
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The Babel Fish Swims Closer to Reality
Today we celebrate The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (H2G2, for short), the Douglas Adams novel that created the most enduring model for machine translation, the babel fish. May 25th is Towel Day, a commemoration of Arthur Dent's unplanned and sudden exodus from Earth, first described in a 1978 BBC radio series. On that day, Ford Prefect, alien

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Localization beyond Localization: Apple Bets on Chinese Music
On May 16 in California – May 17 in Beijing – Apple released what appeared to be a minor update of its music-creation software GarageBand to version 10.1.2 (MacOS)/2.1.1 (iOS). Usually, sub-point updates are maintenance updates to fix small bugs and do not merit our notice, but this one warranted a press release from Apple. Why? This

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The Impact of a CEO’s Gender, Language, and Education on Growth at the Largest LSPs
Every June, CSA Research publishes a list of the world’s largest language service and technology providers. This year, when we invited the 191 firms that we ranked in The Language Services Market: 2015 to participate in the survey, we went an extra step and reviewed the curriculum vitae of each company’s CEO or managing director. In this

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Will Smartling's Purchase of VerbalizeIt Change the TMS Market?
Today Smartling announced its acquisition of VerbalizeIt, a translation software developer and service provider. CEO Jack Welde told us that he bought the 12-person company for its combination of technology, talent, and customer traction. More specifically, he wants to differentiate Smartling from other translation management system (TMS) players

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Welocalize Acquires Nova for Global Reach and Another Regulated Industry
Welocalize CEO Smith Yewell called us two weeks ago to brief us on the acquisition of Nova Language Services. It is the U.S. company's 16th purchase of a smaller LSP since 2000, and its second since recapitalizing nearly a year ago. We discussed: The acquisition. Nova is a language service provider based in Barcelona, Spain. It has been in

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Artificial Intelligence for Interpreter Bookings Now Available to Language Services Buyers
The interpreting technology front has been particularly active lately. After LanguageLine announced the release of a new video remote interpreting solution, thebigword launched a new interpreting management product called IMS Direct. Announced today, the software-as-a-service solution (SaaS) is for buy-side organizations and addresses the need for automation

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Who Owns a Language? Why Klingon Matters
Who owns a language? This question recently emerged when Paramount Pictures and CBS claimed copyright to the Klingon language. Klingon is an “artificial” or invented language, one of hundreds of such tongues dating back to at least the early medieval period. Linguist Marc Okrand invented it for the movie Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

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Is Heavy Discounting the Only Way to Land Business These Days?
In their search for the best possible deal, prospects and clients put tremendous pressure on language service providers to reduce their prices. In our recent series of interviews on quoting, we inquired how LSPs decide when to cave in and offer a big discount – or simply walk away from the deal. It’s no easy decision. Not all buyer demands

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Merrill Brink International Purchased by Former Owners and Private Equity Group
United Language Group (ULG) will acquire Merrill Brink International, the language services division of Merrill Corporation. Two members of ULG's management team, Jeff Brink (CEO) and Hans Fenstermacher (COO), called to brief us on the acquisition which had been widely discussed in the industry prior to last week's disclosure of an internal Merrill

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The Name Game: The Importance of Up-to-Date Locale Knowledge
Countries don’t often change their names. The last major round was in early-to-mid 1990s when: 1) Members of the former Warsaw Pact removed “socialist” or “people’s” from their names; 2) the USSR split into 15 independent countries; 3) the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic (“Czechoslovakia” or ČSSR for short)

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MarketFlex™: Evaluating Business Management Solutions for Translation-Focused LSPs
Selecting the right translation management technology can mean the difference between growth and stagnation for language service providers. But choosing a TMS to manage their myriad business, process, and linguistic functions requires a lot of work. LSPs have to evaluate both the features and functionality of shortlisted products and assess the software

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Smartling Buys Jargon to Enhance Mobile Localization – and Support the Physical Web
When contacting LSPs and language technology developers about our annual global market study, we pinged dozens of companies that have yet to complete the survey. One was Jargon, a startup developer with an innovative approach to mobile app localization – a real sticky point for many organizations. They struggle to reach prospects and customers

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New Vendor Payment Option for the Language Services Industry
Paying vendors across borders has long been an issue for language service providers. These companies often use bank wires (through SWIFT codes, ACH transfers, or EFTs) to process payments to linguists in other countries. But these options are riddled with bank charges that eat away at the profitability of the recipients – LSPs or freelancers –

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Localization Can Bring Big Rewards, but Pirates Are Waiting
CSA Research has consistently shown the benefits of localizing your products (see “Can’t Read, Won’t Buy,” Feb14, which polled 3,002 customers from 10 countries on their language and buying preferences, and “Consumer Language Preferences by Country,” Jan16). It makes your offerings accessible and attractive to a larger

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The Top 10 Languages That Reign Online
CSA Research conducted our annual study of the market for outsourced language services and technology for the 11th consecutive year. Participants listed their three fastest-growing language pairs, as well as the three that face the most price pressure. Looking at the language pairs with a global perspective presents the overall trends within the

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How Tightly Do You Manage the Sales Estimation Function?
How much does translation cost? That’s not an easy question to answer. LSPs spend a lot of time on the sales estimation activity. This process, often referred to as “quoting,” requires developing estimates of the price and turnaround time to complete jobs. That means determining which resources they need to do the job, matching them

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Welocalize Extends Its Reach to Digital Marketing
Welocalize has begun exercising the increased financial clout that came with last year's recapitalization by Norwest Equity Partners. We spoke to CEO Smith Yewell about the purchase of Adapt Worldwide, a digital marketing agency based in London. The acquisition underscores the top end of the language sector's expansion beyond traditional localization

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LSP Metrix™ Helps Buyers Better Select and Manage Language Partners
Language service providers come in all shapes and sizes — no single element defines the best LSP. Buyers often ask CSA Research how to identify the most appropriate vendors for their needs and what they can do to assist suppliers that seek to meet evolving requirements and expectations. Based on the successful adoption of the Localization Maturity

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New Video Remote Interpreting Solution Delivers Round-the-Clock Language Services
When health care practitioners, governmental agencies, or businesses want to leverage the power of video remote interpreting (VRI) to enable communications, they need to plan ahead. Or at least, they had to until today. LanguageLine (#1 on CSA Research’s list of largest telephone interpreting companies) today unveiled its new VRI product, InSight

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Sanctions Against Iran End, Increasing the Value of Persian
On January 16th, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) negotiated between Iran and six world powers took effect. This ended years of economic and financial sanctions against the Islamic Republic. It also undid the pariah status of Iran which began with its 1979 revolution. Besides decreasing political and nuclear tensions, the JCPOA has significant

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Digital Marketing Adopts Software Development Trends
Competing for mindshare in the global attention game is serious business, and many successful companies will fail in the coming decade because of gaps in their digital strategies. The rules for digital campaign management change as fast – or even faster – than most companies can adapt to and follow. But as the marketing profession wakes

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How Good Is Your Data Sample? Trump Wishes Pollsters Did a Better Job
Last month, research and consulting took us to Zagreb, Croatia, where we met with language service providers. What we didn't count on so far from home was the reach of the quadrennial spectacle of the U.S. Presidential campaign. A campaign sign for Republican hopeful Donald J. Trump appeared in Zagreb's Jutarnji List newspaper in an article about a

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The Path to Statistical MT Success Is Paved with Big Data – and Not Just Yours
Better machine translation (MT) is surely at the top of many organizations’ globalization wishlists. But they all wonder how they can develop good MT engines that produce usable results. Two approaches, often used in combination with one another, allow them to collect enough linguistic assets to train their MT: Harvest open data sources

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A Slippery Slope: Measuring the Quality of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Translation
In 2015 the Italian Nuclei Antisofistacazioni e Sanità (NAS), a special unit of the Italian carabinieri, began investigating the sale of virgin olive oil labeled as the more expensive extra virgin olive oil. Meanwhile, Italy's anti-trust authority, L'Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato, conducted its own inquiries into the

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Are You Prepared for Mobile App Localization?
What's more personal than your mobile phone or wearable technology? Not much. When you depend on something you carry around or wear every single day, you want it to speak your language, understand where you are, and recognize what you want at any given moment. As more and more people around the world upgrade from feature to smartphones, the demand for

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