Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Smartling Speeds Up Web Localization

Last year in the wake of the shootings in Norway, I wondered aloud about the language gap that exists on the Web, and as if on cue, I was introduced to Smartling.

The company bills itself as a Translation Delivery Network, which is a fancy way of saying it uses the cloud to give Web sites the tools they need to easily serve up their pages in pretty much any language. Customers include Foursquare, Scribd, SurveyMonkey and, as you can see from the short video below, Vimeo.

Today, Smartling debuted a slick new way to work with translations. It’s called the Smartling Translation Management System, and it uses an API to grab content from all kinds of different file formats and display it so that translators can work with it in context. So when you have a slogan or phrase that appears in one place on a site, you can see the translation into another language in the same place on the site as it would appear translated. There are also new features for managing different projects and different sites.

The point of it all is to speed up the deployment of localized sites, which has always been sort of a haphazard and labor-intensive process. Last year, Smartling landed a $10 million Series B funding round from IDG Ventures, with prior investors U.S. Venture Partners, Venrock and First Round Capital also participating, which came on top of a $4 million Series A.

And as I said, Vimeo is a customer, and used Smartling as a way to help its users localize in Spanish. Here’s a short video about that.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik