As Nimdzi’s co-founder Renato Beninatto likes to say, there have only ever been three disruptive innovations in the language industry:
The jury is still out and we are waiting to add #4 to the shortlist above. Coming up with new ideas is not necessarily difficult, but being truly inventive can be hard — although that certainly isn’t for everyone! Indeed, our industry is home to some uniquely creative individuals and companies that have been blazing trails for others to follow. That’s why we’ve decided to create a list of the most innovative companies in the language industry.
Now, when adding brands to our list, we weren’t trying to associate innovation with language technology alone: we also thought of companies with unique business models. Companies on our list are named in alphabetical order.
Before you dive in any further, a couple of disclaimers:
Our innovative companies list is dynamic and may be updated as we discover new companies who deserve to be included. This publication is not sponsored content and is only factual in nature. It is simply this, a list without any implicit or explicit value judgment as to what these companies are doing. While we’re at it, know of any companies we’ve missed? Please reach out to us at [email protected] and tell us more!
|1||Appen||Australia||Founded in 1996, Appen is the world's leading artificial intelligence (AI) lifecycle company. They collect and label text, speech, audio, video, image, and other data used to build and enhance global-ready AI systems, including but not limited to automated speech recognition, machine translation, search engines, voice assistants, conversational AI, computer vision, and autonomous driving.Appen offers global access to AI-infused data collection, data annotation, and localization services at scale, helping brands enable and deploy multilingual, human-centric and market-oriented AI.||One of the company's advanced solutions is AI-assisted Smart Labeling, which features a suite of innovative capabilities using machine learning in the data annotation process in order to improve productivity, quality, and delivery of data collection and annotation projects. Appen owns and operates its proprietary end-to-end production management platform, called ADAP (Appen Data Annotation Platform). ADAP allows businesses to leverage a network of over one million global resources and provides efficient data annotation workflows with industry-leading ML and human-in-the-loop quality controls. At the client's request, Appen machine learning engineers can enhance traditional human-in-the-loop data collection process by infusing AI-generated synthetic data that is then carefully moderated, adjusted, or post-edited by specialized in-market resources.|
|2||Apptek||USA||An AI-focused company that performs machine learning providing human language technology and cognition solutions for enterprises. They operate in the areas of ASR, NMT, natural language understanding (NLU), and others.||AI-enabled multilingual speech and language technologies. For example, their state-of-the-art broadcast-ready live automatic captioning appliance or their SLT for isometric translation (a task of generating translations similar in length to the source input, particularly relevant to subtitling and automatic dubbing).|
|3||BeLazy||Hungary||Builds connectors and integrations for (mostly) language service and language technology providers.||Integration masterminds do the job so that the regular folk can be lazy: they develop a platform, provide customization services, and coordinate with other companies to fill the gaps in full-cycle automation for the language industry.|
|4||Bridge GCS||USA||Event platform that has its own RSI feature with a localized interface.||A video conferencing platform that has its own fully functioning RSI solution. It is a fully multilingual events platform with huge participant capacity (46,000 participants).|
|5||USA||Technology company that focuses on AI, search engine, online advertising, consumer electronics, etc.||Apart from creating Google Translate, Google invests a lot into NLP and AI, exploring innovative solutions for ML in the language area. Here, we’d like to mention Google's multilingual neural machine translation system that enables zero-shot translation and zero-resource machine translation that aims to support new languages in Google Translate that were not accessible due to the absence of data.|
|6||Green Terp||Singapore||Virtual booth RSI provider.||The virtual booth by Green Terp is the first RSI solution that offers a plug-in interpreting solution to video conferencing platforms. It is not a standalone service but functions alongside the virtual meeting.|
|7||Intento||USA||Intento’s solutions help evaluate, select, customize, and connect best-fit AI with existing software and vendors. With Intento, businesses can also monitor translation performance to continuously improve their entire machine translation program. Users can leverage MT and voice synthesis tech for a variety of ‘intents’, including localization, customer support, software development, office productivity, community content, and more.||Named a 2021 Cool Vendor for Conversational and Natural Language Technologies by Gartner, Intento’s technology works across various content types in real-time at a 70% reduction in human effort. Intento AI handles the costly and labor-intensive tasks, using on-demand professional MT to address 100% of content needs. Outside of MT, Intento can drive the automation of voice-synthesis pipelines, allowing businesses to produce and translate dozens of hours of high-quality video within 24 hours.|
|8||Jali Research||Canada||JALI's automated speech and facial animation software empowers digital storytellers to easily craft natural, richly expressive characters and avatars.||This is a huge deal for video games and animation. Achieving perfect lip syncing in all languages makes the playing experience much more immersive and realistic.|
|9||KUDO||USA||Remote simultaneous interpreting platform.||KUDO is constantly innovating in the RSI space and even has a designated Head of Innovation. They were, for instance, the first to come up with the marketplace idea and interpreter hubs; they are also currently heavily investing in the development of computer-assisted interpreting (CAI) tools.|
|10||Language I/O||USA||Multilingual customer support solution that integrates into a CRM, helping English-speaking customer support agents chat, email, and otherwise engage with customers in more than 100 languages.||LI/O’s MT platform is capable of tackling not only company-specific terminology but also UGC (slang, etc.).|
|11||Lilt||USA||Lilt delivers AI-powered translation services to global enterprises. Lilt’s translation services are powered by their translation technology, which improves translator speeds and reduces localization costs: they offer an experience platform with global reach.||Lilt’s business model includes both language services and language technology sides. And in the technology domain, having a translation platform that can be considered a TMS, they offer connectors to other TMS providers (like XTM, Lokalise, Crowdin), which is uncommon.|
|12||Lingoport||USA||Lingoport provides software that helps software development teams internationalize and localize their software for every sprint and release. Lingoport also provides software internationalization consulting services to help release globalized software on time.||Globalyzer is a product of Lingopot which helps technology companies develop software that is internationalized. It runs QA on the code to highlight internationalization bugs.|
|13||LocalizeDirect||Sweden||LocalizeDirect's core business is localizing games and solutions for games localization. They provide translation, localization QA, and content management services for the game development industry.||In view of the absence of a suitable solution available on the market, the company built a content localization platform for games that corresponds to the concept of agile localization and continuous delivery: Gridly. Gridly is a spreadsheet-based content management platform for multi-language content. It helps with creating, updating, and publishing all types of content from one single place and serves the goal of continuous localization of apps & games. Gridly features various add-ons and integrations, including localization QA, game engines, and several TMS systems.|
|14||Meta Platforms, Inc.||USA||Apart from being known as a social network, Meta is actively investing in AI and deep learning. One of the most comprehensive deep learning frameworks was developed by Meta.||Constant advances in speech recognition technologies, in particular, for inclusivity, such as few-shot learning for better transcription of aphasic speech.|
|15||Papercup||UK||AI dubbing startup: next-gen AI service that automates video translation.||They are a mix of service provider and tech provider with an automated workflow, but at the same time, they check that the quality is acceptable and adjust as necessary.|
|16||Smartcat||USA||Translation management system with a built-in marketplace.||Payment for translators directly from the TMS. Also, when a user uploads documents in the built-in marketplace, Smartcat automatically offers the user suppliers from the marketplace, analyzing the content. Now the team is working on improving TM-based translation using machine learning (automatic post-editing, APE).|
|17||Sonantic||UK||Sonantic has built an AI voice platform that enables entertainment professionals to create compelling, nuanced, and realistic voice performances.||Expressive AI voices in English.|
|18||STAR7||Italy||Complex services for the content life cycle. Supporting various aspects of generating and managing content from product innovation to final delivery and enabling integrated interactions each step of the way.||STAR7 provides a full suite of global content lifecycle services. One of their innovations is in the white glove approach they take when working for clients (from a variety of industries). STAR7 completely immerses themselves in the client organization and expands the clients’ teams with their own teams, getting not only involved, but entrenched, while at the same time viewing localization as only one component of a much larger content lifecycle (which may include everything from original content authoring and creation of augmented reality programs to producing creative content for voice assistants, transcreation and localization).|
|19||Synthesia||UK||Helps create AI videos from text and makes engaging videos for e-learning, customer onboarding, etc., removing the need for actors, cameras, and audio equipment.||As a software to automatically create videos with AI based on a script, this is the Canva of video production.|
|20||TAUS||Netherlands||Language data network that features various solutions for data: TAUS HLP Platform, TAUS Data Marketplace, TAUS Data-Enhanced Machine Translation (DeMT™), as well as TAUS in-house NLP expertise. TAUS assists enterprises by providing language datasets and data services for AI and ML.||Named Representative Vendor for AI-Enabled Translation Services in 2022 (by Gartner), TAUS has several innovative solutions, including TAUS Data Marketplace - a space for language data monetization and acquisition. Data sellers and buyers cooperate via this platform, where data is checked by TAUS.|
|21||Translateme||South Africa||Decentralized network of AI & human contribution that rewards users for correcting language output.||They combine machine translation with blockchain, have their own token, and released a telegram translator where you can approve translations and gain tokens.|
|22||Translated||Italy||Translation services business that builds custom platforms and solutions.||Matedub: A web tool that supports dubbing with state-of-the-art AI speech synthesis technologies, generating expressive voices.|
|23||TXTOmedia||Netherlands||Delivers technology to automatically create and localize training, instruction, and how-to videos at scale, to speed up time-to-market, improve customer and employee experiences while decreasing cost and carbon footprint.||They found a niche (training/how-to videos) where companies usually don't have much budget to invest in and automated the whole process from the creation of the original content to the localization in multiple languages, within minutes.|
|24||Voiseed||Italy||Fully controllable AI based expressive text-to-speech engine for the entertainment industry.||They provide customizable voices with real emotions for the media and gaming industry. The differentiator is that they provide this in multiple languages.|
|25||Worldly||USA||Speech-to-text and speech-to-speech translation/machine interpreting; main use cases are conferences (online or in-person).||They have a machine interpreting solution that actually works. It's not perfect (yet) but it can definitely be used in certain scenarios.|
Imagine this: you decide to expand your very successful and popular mobile cooking app to other markets across the globe. You want to reach a wider audience and maximize your return on investment. You start by contacting translators and localization experts to ensure your app’s content is accessible to audiences from different countries. But is that enough?
The translation technology landscape is continually evolving, and it’s quite impressive to see just how many tools are out there right now. Yet, given the sheer number of available platforms, it can be quite daunting and confusing to shop for a solution, and you may be worrying whether you have to spend a fortune to get what you need. The good news is that with a wide variety of tools, comes a wide variety of options — for all budget levels.
When it comes to managing localization from the client side, the tendency is to rely on two main pillars: language support and translation technology. The standard approach in the industry is to assign these key areas to two separate parties, usually outside the organization.
As you begin to expand your target audience to include speakers of languages other than just English, you may quickly find the road ahead of you is much rockier than you had originally anticipated. But don’t fret: creating impactful, lasting multilingual content is a long game, which requires developing the right strategy.