Smartling: Translation through Innovation

Jack Welde, CEO
With technological advances streaming through seemingly every area of modern business, translation has remained a curiously manual task. The distinctive drudgery of copy-paste procedures and endless emails never sat well with the sensibilities of pilot-turned-programmer Jack Welde.

“I started Smartling knowing translation needed to become a more agile offering,’’ explains CEO and Co-founder Welde. “We want to be the company that helps businesses capture content where it’s created and quickly get a compelling localized version in front of customers.”

This accelerated approach begins by ingesting source content into the Smartling platform, typically via an API-based solution or web proxy. From there, automated workflows take over and instantly alert assigned collaborators when their specific skills are required. Project managers, translators, and reviewers can then chat through any confusion in a centralized space and push approved translations directly into publication.

With a roster now filled with fashion, luxury, and textile leaders, NYC-based Smartling has gone on to develop a targeted suite of software solutions and translation services for clients who place a premium on brand integrity.

“A lot of translation technology out there is designed exclusively for accelerating content launches, but we know that’s not going to be good enough for the kind of retailers we want to work with,” says Welde. “We don’t really consider it a success unless our software is also helping project managers and linguistic experts make better decisions along the way.”

The clearest application of this quality-at-speed philosophy is Smartling’s unparalleled visual context capabilities. By automatically presenting text exactly as it will appear on the associated webpage or app screen, the Smartling user interface gives translators the best chance at getting phrases right the first time.

We want to be the company that helps businesses capture content where it’s created and quickly get a compelling localized version in front of customers

“Considering all the formatting requirements and linguistic nuances underlying any given sentence, it’s better for everyone to show rather than tell,” notes Welde. “We’ve consistently seen that giving translators a chance to spot these subtleties upfront significantly raises average quality and reduces downstream editing requirements.”

Going forward, however, the company’s focus on data may be even more influential. The digital footprints left behind by activity on Smartling’s cloud-based platform can already advise users on the expected speed of their translation workflows. As a result, marketers can predict when localized content will be ready before they even submit their initial request. Additionally, the company’s proprietary Quality Confidence Score™ now gives them an objective way to project the probability of an error-free translation before pressing publish.

As more retailers add similar streams of insights into their data reservoirs, the customer experience implications could be vast.

“Personalization and mass customization are the current big trend, and language will continue to play a major part,’’ says Welde. “We are constantly on a quest to find better ways to organize, deliver, and measure our client’s content.”


New York, NY

Jack Welde, CEO

Translation software and service provider that helps ambitious brands access more markets, deliver better experiences, and build stronger relationships