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Downtown Reflections. Photograph by Brian Cohen.
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Innovation

Going global? Safaba assists the transformation through machine translation

One of the biggest hurdles any company faces when it moves into the global marketplace is language.
 
Corporate communication, both digital and print, must be reinvented in many tongues if a company and its mission is to be understood. Squirrel Hill-based Safaba is a rising star in the field of machine translation, using software to translate vast amounts of text from one natural language into another. It's a feat that has taken years of development.
 
The startup was launched by Carnegie Mellon associate research professor Alon Lavie and co-founder Bob Olszewki in 2009.  While the company quietly operated under the radar for several years, developing custom and affordable solutions for commercial clients, it's now ready for primetime, says Udi Hershkovich, vice president of Business Development.
 
Companies like Google and Microsoft translate text between multiple languages, but there are limitations to their platforms, Hershkovich says. Enterprises today need more powerful solutions to tackle the corporate collateral, tackling vast amounts of textual material including online marketing, websites, technical documentation, manuals and support documentation.
 
Global ecommerce company PayPal signed on with Safaba as a client in 2011, using it for its ecommerce in the Nordic languages. The solution proved superior to the system they had been using. In 2012, Safaba began working with global computer giant Dell and its Dell.com ecommerce division.
 
The escalating need for language translation designed for mobile enterprises is also driving business. The Squirrel Hill office is currently at 11. Hershkovich anticipates aggressive growth in 2013.
 
Machine translation is poised for explosive growth as the technology improves, requiring less post-editing and becoming more commercially viable, he adds.
 
“Companies today all need a more personalized experience and communication in real time, in today’s online world. To allow companies to be successful in the home market, they need to transition into other languages.”
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Udi Hershkovich, Safaba
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