SlatorPod

Slator

SlatorPod is the weekly language industry podcast where we discuss the most important news and trends in translation, localization, and language technology. Brought to you by Slator.com.

#139 AI Dubbing Finds Traction, Translation Buyer’s Guide Published
1w ago
#139 AI Dubbing Finds Traction, Translation Buyer’s Guide Published
In this week’s episode, Florian is joined by Anna Wyndham, Senior Research Analyst at Slator. The two discuss the language industry news of the week, with a recap of the Nordic Translation Industry Forum held in Sweden last week. The NTIF covered a broad range of presentations, including a talk from Ikea about how they are building a custom machine translation (MT) engine from scratch.In startup funding, AI dubbing startup, NeuralGarage, raised USD 1.45m in a seed round led by Exfinity Ventures. While this is the latest in a series of Indian machine dubbing startups to have raised funds, NeuralGarage focuses on visuals. This includes changing the lip and jaw movements of the person on the screen to match the target speech.In other AI dubbing news, Papercup won a two-year translation and dubbing contract with Bloomberg, signaling greater interest in synthetic voices. The deal will see Papercup mainly localizing Spanish global news coverage, financial market analysis, and documentaries for Latin American and US audiences.The duo talk about the latest machine translation research carried out by Google examining the sentence-level translation capabilities of their Pathways Language Model (PaLM). The researchers found the translations via PaLM, a large language model, to be more creative and very fluent — but still lagging behind state-of-the-art, supervised MT.In Belgium, two associations have released a best practices guide for translation services procurement in the public sector. The Belgian Quality Translation Association and the Belgian Chamber of Translators and Interpreters delve into the tasks and tools used during a typical translation production cycle, among other things.
#138 DeepL’s Unicorn Round, $15 Million Translation Client, Bank Builds MT In-House
Nov 18 2022
#138 DeepL’s Unicorn Round, $15 Million Translation Client, Bank Builds MT In-House
Florian and Esther discuss the language industry news of the week, with German machine translation (MT) company DeepL said to be in the final stretch of closing a major investment round led by Silicon Valley venture firm, IVP. This will allow DeepL to expand further into the enterprise, as it ramps up hiring of customer success, account management, and related enterprise-focused roles.The duo talk about how BNP Paribas, Europe’s second-largest bank, has been building its MT engine in-house over the past five years — instead of using publicly available MT tools, such as Google Translate or DeepL.In M&A news, LanguageLine, the language services sub-unit of French call center giant Teleperformance, acquired UK-based LSP Capita Translation and Interpreting (Capita TI) for an undisclosed amount. Capita TI’s parent company, Capita plc., has been trying to sell off the language services unit and eight other non-core businesses since early 2020.Down Under, Straker Translations has announced the renewal of its contract with IBM for another three years. The New Zealand-based LSP originally won the two-year contract in 2020, which has already contributed USD 14.8m to its FY 2022 revenue. IBM previously had to use over 100 LSPs to fulfill its translation needs.The pod rounds off with news of Descript raising a USD 50m series C round led by the OpenAI Startup Fund, following a series B round in January 2021. The audio and video editing platform has raised USD 100m to date.
#137 Intento CEO Konstantin Savenkov on Best-Fit MT, Google Translation Hub, Generative AI
Nov 11 2022
#137 Intento CEO Konstantin Savenkov on Best-Fit MT, Google Translation Hub, Generative AI
Konstantin Savenkov, CEO and co-founder of Intento, joins SlatorPod to discuss how they enable enterprise clients to choose best-fit machine translation (MT) services and technology.Konstantin outlines Intento’s services and product offerings, which include an MT Hub for localization and office productivity, an MT studio, as well as MT evaluation and maintenance. He talks about why there is a lack of consolidation when it comes to MT providers, translation management systems (TMS), and translation productivity technology (aka CAT).The CEO discusses the highlights from Intento’s State of Machine Translation 2022 report, which evaluates 31 MT engines, their best-performing language pairs, and pricing comparison. He shares his views on Google’s Translation Hub and how it raises more interest from investors evaluating the language industry.Konstantin gives his take on generative AI — such as Stability AI’s Stable Diffusion and Open AI’s Whisper — and how this will not only impact the content generation and authoring industry but the machine translation space as well. He presents the idea of source quality improvement, where the source text is generalized before machine translation to make it a much more post-editable text.Konstantin concludes the podcast with Intento’s roadmap for 2023, which includes connecting to more enterprises and adding more automated post-editing features.
#136 Deepgram: From Dark Matter to Deep Learning Speech API With Scott Stephenson
Nov 4 2022
#136 Deepgram: From Dark Matter to Deep Learning Speech API With Scott Stephenson
Scott Stephenson, CEO of Deepgram, joins SlatorPod to talk about his unique journey to co-founding the deep tech, automatic speech recognition (ASR) company and raising over USD 50m in funding.Scott recalls how his experience working with dark matter detectors as a particle physicist in China led to him becoming a deep-learning entrepreneur. He discusses some challenges in solving ASR; from labeling data for machine learning to formulating and executing an effective go-to-market strategy.The CEO gives his thoughts on Whisper, OpenAI’s open-source ASR model, and how it may actually grow the total addressable market for voice AI companies. He shares the difficulties when it comes to translating a transcript versus translating straight from audio into another language.Scott gives his advice on how to build a successful AI company and appeal to investors. The pod rounds off with Deepgram’s roadmap for the next year, with text to speech, voice cloning, real-time translation, and sentiment analysis being potential step changes in their growth trajectory.First up, Florian and Esther catch up on the language industry news from the past month, with Google announcing the launch of Translation Hub, its enterprise-scale document translation service.Esther discusses some of the language highlights from Netflix’s third-quarter earnings call, including the titles of some of the best-performing non-English content. Meanwhile, Zoo Digital’s share price was at a near all-time high as they weighed in at an almost USD 170m market cap.The duo also talk about funding, where multilingual AI writer Jasper announced it had raised USD 125m in its unicorn-making series A, which valued the startup at USD 1.5bn. And, after a dip in the Slator Language Industry Job Index in September, the LIJI defied expectations of a slowdown as it reached an all-time high in November.
#133 Sizing the Global Interpreting Market, DeepL Hiring, Europe’s Audiovisual Hub
Sep 23 2022
#133 Sizing the Global Interpreting Market, DeepL Hiring, Europe’s Audiovisual Hub
Florian and Esther discuss the language industry news of the week and announce the launch of Slator’s Interpreting Services and Technology Report. The 60-page report provides a 360-degree view on the growth industry of interpreting. The report features analysis by mode, setting, geo, buyers, use cases, and more.Florian touches on a new interpreting feature released by Microsoft, which allows simultaneous unidirectional interpretation in 16 language pairs in Teams Meetings. In addition, Microsoft will finish rolling out its multilingual live captioning functionality for Teams in early October 2022.Big Language Solutions has announced the appointment of Dick Surdykowski as CEO. He takes over from Jeff Brink, who has moved into the Chairmanship and is focusing on strategic initiatives.Esther talks about DeepLs’ hiring patterns based on 300+ LinkedIn profiles of people associated with the machine translation (MT) company. The results indicate what the MT giant will focus on moving forward.Esther also shares a one-year update on the Spanish government’s plan to make Spain the audiovisual hub of Europe. The initiative gained momentum in 2022 with increased foreign investment, revamped visa laws, as well as new audiovisual production and training facilities.Meanwhile, in the UK, Zoo Digital’s first-half 2023 performance beats expectations, with revenues increasing 89% year over year. The media localization, subtitling, and dubbing provider plans to invest in all kinds of growth plans and initiatives, including Zoo Academy.In funding news, Indian machine dubbing startup, Dubdub, announced it had raised USD 1m in seed funding. Co-founder Anubhav Singh disclosed their vision: To “bridge this language gap with state-of-the-art AI in speech synthesis and generative modeling.”
#131 Automating Subtitling, Dubbing, Live Captioning With XL8 CEO Tim Jung
Sep 9 2022
#131 Automating Subtitling, Dubbing, Live Captioning With XL8 CEO Tim Jung
Tim Jung, CEO of XL8, joins SlatorPod to talk about the startup’s journey — from co-founding the media-focused machine translation company with former Apple Software Engineer, Jay Park, to raising a USD 3m bridge round in August 2022.Tim discusses his experience working for Samsung and Google and how they have adopted an engineering-driven culture at XL8.The CEO walks through their product MediaCAT, which allows users to streamline media localization workflows in three steps: sync, translate, and dub. XL8 also recently launched EventCAT, where users can interpret or add live subtitles for events through the power of AI. Tim reveals some of the media-specific challenges of language automation, from speaker identification to generating subtitles by speech recognition. He tells us how the XL8 approach differs from big tech as it uses 100% human professional-curated data to train its MT engines.The CEO talks about what they have gained from their partnership with Iyuno-SDI and the challenges of competing with big tech when hiring machine learning talent. The pod rounds off with XL8’s roadmap for 2023, including improving closed caption generation by working with companies that specialize in sound-effect recognition.First up, Florian and Esther discuss the language industry news of the week, with the launch of Slator’s monthly Language Industry Data and News Briefing available to all Starter, Growth, Pro, and Enterprise subscribers.The duo then talk about the performance of a handful of publicly-listed language service providers, including Honyaku Center, Appen, ZOO Digital, Keywords Studios, and RWS. Over in Switzerland, SaaS translation platform, Neur.on, which offers custom MT for law firms, legal publishers, and public authorities has announced an investment round of USD 1.6m.Esther gives an update on the Slator Language Industry Job Index, which dipped 4.5 points in September after the all-time high recorded in August. Meanwhile, video games service provider, Universally Speaking, appointed former Keywords Studios CMO, Andrew Brown, as CEO in July 2022, taking over from founder Vickie Peggs after 18 years.
#130 Yasmin Moslem on Using Large Language Models to Custom Train Machine Translation
Sep 2 2022
#130 Yasmin Moslem on Using Large Language Models to Custom Train Machine Translation
Machine Translation (MT) Researcher, Yasmin Moslem, joins SlatorPod to talk about her research on Domain-Specific Text Generation for Machine Translation — a project she conducted with Rejwanul Haque, John D. Kelleher, and Andy Way at the Adapt Center in Dublin.Yasmin shares her experience working as a translator, discovering translation productivity (CAT) tools, and experimenting with translation memory to improve MT. She breaks down the paper’s approach to domain-specific MT training using back-translation for data augmentation.She discusses how some LSPs are already implementing this approach in real-life, customizing it for different use cases. She explains why they used a combination of BLEU, Comet, and other quality evaluation frameworks as well as human evaluation to rate machine translation quality.Yasmin concludes the podcast with her advice for those in the core industry looking to enter the machine translation space, from the spiral learning process to reading research papers.First up, Florian and Esther discuss the language industry news of the week, including how a streaming platform used propriety machine dubbing technology for its film offerings in the first quarter of 2022.Over in London, TransPerfect acquired a virtual data room (VDR) tech company to proactively address the VDR market. In transcription news, VIQ Solutions’ shares dipped by 20% despite reporting strong, half-year revenue growth of 45% year on year. Meanwhile, multilingual captioning provider Ai-Media turns EBITDA-profitable as a 2021 acquisition drives revenue growth.
#129 Translation’s Top YouTuber Adrian Probst on Building a Brand as a Freelancer
Aug 26 2022
#129 Translation’s Top YouTuber Adrian Probst on Building a Brand as a Freelancer
Adrian Probst, German Language Specialist and Content Creator behind the YouTube channel Freelanceverse, joins the pod this week to talk about how he became arguably the most successful YouTuber in the language industry.The YouTuber looks back on his journey; from commercial apprenticeship and studying translation at university to working as project manager and branching off on his own as a freelancer. He recalls how he began his YouTube channel as a way to challenge himself during the pandemic, and how consistency and authenticity has allowed his channel to grow to over 16,000 subscribers.Adrian highlights the importance of online visibility and networking as a way to find and secure new clients directly. He reveals how he bases some of his videos on frequently asked questions from the community, such as pricing translation and the future of machine translation.The pod rounds off with Adrian’s view on YouTube giving multilingual audio tracks to its top creators — and how his offering multilingual subtitles caused his videos to spike in views. He encourages students not to wait until they graduate to attend language industry events, do some voluntary translation, and build a network.First up, Florian rehashes some of the biggest stories of the past four months as co-host Esther returns. Back in May 2022, RWS and Baring Private Equity Asia Fund VIII Limited confirmed that Baring would not proceed with a takeover bid for RWS.Next, there was some major pushback against RSI over the summer as UN interpreters blamed technology for the decline in their working conditions; and EU interpreters voted unanimously to suspend remote interpreting services.More recently, YouTube has been testing a new multi-language audio feature with a small group of popular creators. Esther breaks down the different language industry companies that made the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing, US-based businesses in 2022.
#128 Translation Pricing With Joseph Lambert and Callum Walker
Aug 19 2022
#128 Translation Pricing With Joseph Lambert and Callum Walker
Joseph Lambert (Lecturer in Translation Studies at Cardiff University) and Callum Walker (Lecturer in Translation Technology at the University of Leeds) join SlatorPod to talk about their paper Because We’re Worth It: Disentangling freelance translation, status, and rate-setting in the United Kingdom.Joseph discusses the top three challenges for translators when it comes to pricing their services, including knowing how to calculate rates, client or LSP resistance to rate suggestions, and being willing to talk about rates in general. Callum shares the motivation behind writing the paper and how they aim to bridge the gap between academia and industry when it comes to pricing.The duo talk about the lack of recognition of translation as a profession that requires a high degree of specialization and expertise — one of the central issues holding prices down. They address the difference in pay between working as a freelance translator for an LSPs versus acting independently and engaging directly with clients.Joseph and Callum then unpack the positive and negative impact that machine translation and translation marketplaces have made on freelance translators over the past two decades. They reflect on the growing demand from translators for hourly pricing versus the per-word model, especially when it comes to post-editing.They agree with the theory that as MT increases in quality, the level of expertise required of a professional linguist becomes ever higher and this should be reflected in teaching. Callum outlines the Leed’s approach to educating students through simulated projects to practice their negotiating skills.The pod rounds off with advice for graduate students entering the industry — from networking and talking about rates to enhancing professional development with language and business skills.
#125 RSI Pushback, Subtitling and Dubbing Land Grab, Meta MT ‘Breakthrough’
Jul 14 2022
#125 RSI Pushback, Subtitling and Dubbing Land Grab, Meta MT ‘Breakthrough’
In this week’s news episode, Florian and Anna catch up on a month’s worth of news, with RSI receiving a lot of opposition. First, there was a UN Today article where interpreters pushed back on poor sound quality and unreliable audio levels causing hearing problems. Then interpreters went on strike at the EU Parliament after negotiations seeking improved work conditions failed. Anna talks about Meta AI’s “breakthrough” claim in machine translation with the release of the I/O model called No Language Left Behind (NLLB). NLLB is an open-source machine translation model with 54 billion parameters and focuses on 200 low-resource languages, specifically from Africa and Asia.In media localization, ZOO Digital released full-year results for 2022 which saw revenue grow by 78% from the previous year, and growth into the current year driven by the ongoing territory launches of major streaming platforms.Keywords Studios’ interest in the space has become more apparent as CFO, John Hauck, shares the game localization provider’s plans to expand into adjacent markets and move more heavily into film and TV.The duo also discuss the launch of Zoom’s translation feature. Business users can now have their Zoom meetings translated in real-time into and out of English from any of 10 languages. Anna then covers Disney’s experimentation with synthesized voices. The company partnered with voice-cloning startup Respeecher to feature a synthetic voice in The Mandalorian miniseries.
#124 How to Become a Successful Freelance Interpreter With Jan Rausch
Jul 8 2022
#124 How to Become a Successful Freelance Interpreter With Jan Rausch
In this week’s SlatorPod, we’re joined by Jan Rausch to discuss his experience in the interpreting industry as a freelance conference and business interpreter.Jan talks about his background in teaching modern languages and how he transitioned to freelance interpreting, where he eased himself into a highly competitive market. He shares the range of scenarios he has worked in; from European Works Councils and clinical trials to sales meetings and political and diplomatic interpreting for German delegations.Jan discusses the need to multitask and formulate good language that is easy to understand for the listeners when it comes to simultaneous interpreting. He also talks about how the pandemic has impacted interpreting with the explosion of remote and hybrid meetings.Jan outlines the pros and cons of remote simultaneous interpreting (RSI) and the preventative measures interpreters can take to protect their hearing and general health. Jan touches on the challenge of staying fully up to date in one’s native language when living outside the country, especially with social linguistic development.Jan unpacks the perception of on-site pricing versus remote interpreting, where clients can sometimes assume RSI is cheaper when, in fact, it can be more demanding for the interpreter. He concludes the podcast with tips for graduates who want to break into institutional or freelance interpreting, particularly when it comes to networking.
#123 Reverso CEO Theo Hoffenberg on Building Language Technology Used by Millions
Jun 24 2022
#123 Reverso CEO Theo Hoffenberg on Building Language Technology Used by Millions
Theo Hoffenberg, Founder and CEO of Reverso, joins SlatorPod to talk about specializing in AI-based language tools and translation aids used by millions online.Theo begins with his background in the software industry, where he helped launch tech companies in Europe and how he got into the language technology industry with Reverso. He discusses the evolution of the company, from a downloadable software to an online translation platform with millions of users including language professionals and enterprises.The CEO talks us through the release of some of their AI-based language tools like Reverso Context, a bilingual dictionary tool based on big data and machine learning algorithms. He shares how they maintained and grew their user base by staying on top of SEO and leveraging the App Store.Theo talks about acqui-hires and recruiting remote engineering and tech talent. He discusses how they stay ahead in a highly competitive space by deploying locally and online, offering secure SaaS for those in sensitive industries, and translating documents and websites while preserving their layout.The pod rounds off with Reverso’s roadmap for 2022, including an all-in-one desktop app and an updated mobile app that will have even more learning capabilities. Theo also weighs in on the value of large language models when it comes to memory usage; because, as volumes grow, it becomes more critical to achieve high efficiency.
#122 Addressing Vicarious Trauma Among Linguists With MasterWord CEO Mila Golovine
Jun 17 2022
#122 Addressing Vicarious Trauma Among Linguists With MasterWord CEO Mila Golovine
Mila Golovine, CEO and President of MasterWord, joins SlatorPod to talk about the important topic of stress and trauma that linguists may experience on the job.Mila walks us through her journey in the language industry: immigrating from Russia, founding the Texas-based LSP straight out of university, and leading it to where it is today. She reflects on MasterWord’s diversification, expanding from oil and gas to healthcare, education, and government services.The CEO talks about the strategy behind recruiting from refugee communities and using MasterWord Institute to train talent wanting to enter the language industry. She discusses how stress and vicarious trauma affect language professionals, as well as the specific training and tools that can help prevent this.Mila gives her outlook on the dynamics of Language Access regulation in the US and how it differs state by state. The pod rounds off with Mila’s approach to balancing growth across all verticals having thrived through a number of recessions.First up, Florian and Anna discuss the language industry news of the week, with an interesting debrief from Florian about the Machine Translation Meetup hosted by TextShuttle in Zurich. In the UK, the University of Roehampton proposed staff cuts that directly affect the university’s 20-year-old Audiovisual Translation program — a move that caused the UK’s Subtitlers Association (SUBTLE) to launch a protest on social media. RWS released its H1 2022 results with new SaaS clients contributing to the 20% growth in profits; but the Super Agency’s IP Services division saw –8% growth.Meanwhile, the dubbing space heats up as India-based startup Dubverse raised USD 0.8m in a seed round led by Kalaari Capital. AI dubbing startup, Papercup, raised USD 20m in an oversubscribed series A round, bringing funds raised to date to USD 34m.