Business & Economics Podcasts

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




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





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#216 Josh Goldsmith on How Language Experts Become Successful

Josh Goldsmith, Geek-In-Chief of techforword, joins SlatorPod to talk about his multiple roles as a linguist, conference interpreter, and educator. Josh shares his multifaceted background in linguistics and language teaching, highlighting his passion for language and education, which led him to co-found techforword. Josh explains the current landscape of conference interpreting, noting a shift back to on-site interpreting post-COVID, which he prefers due to better sound quality, easier access to documents, and the human connection it offers. He touches on the importance of personal branding for translators and interpreters, suggesting practical steps like professional email addresses, good headshots, and a strong LinkedIn presence. Josh delves into the practical applications of AI in interpreting, with AI tools for glossary management, terminology extraction, and preparation for interpreting assignments. He also stresses the ethical concerns of AI and the need for human interpreters to navigate cultural differences and ensure accurate communication. Josh discusses his various projects, including the AI Language Club, which offers tutorials on using AI for language learning. Looking ahead, Josh plans to focus on the AI in Translation Summit and the AI in Translation Bootcamp, which offer hands-on experiences with the latest AI tools.


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#215 Humanless LSP as a Fun Weekend Project

Florian and Esther discuss the language industry news of the week, giving a recap of SlatorCon London and exploring some use cases from the Slator Pro Guide: Language AI for Consumers. Florian talks about Andrew Ng's recent project on agentic machine translation, which involves using large language models (LLMs) to create a virtual language service provider (LSP). The duo touch on Apple's recent Worldwide Developer Conference, where Apple Watch is set to get a translation widget and also recently announced a new translation API. Florian shares RWS's half-year financial results, where despite declines in revenue, the company's stock rose by 20%, likely due to investor perception of AI-enabled services and new product offerings like Evolve and HAI gaining traction. Esther talks about DeepL's USD 300m funding round, which valued the company at USD 2bn, a testament to the growing interest in AI models. She also covers Unbabel's launch of TowerLLM, which claims to outperform competitors like Google Translate and DeepL. In Esther’s M&A corner, Keywords Studios eyes a GBP 2.2bn deal from Swedish private equity firm EQT, Melbourne LSP Ethnolink buys Sydney-based competitor Language Professionals, and ZOO Digital acquires Italian dubbing partner LogoSound. Esther gives a nod to the positive financial performances of companies like ZOO Digital and AMN's language services division, with more mixed results for Straker.


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#214 Terra Translations CEO Marina Ilari on Why Game Localization Is Her Passion

Marina Ilari, CEO of Terra Translations and Terra Localizations, joins SlatorPod to talk about her professional journey and the world of game localization. The CEO shares the strategic decision to create Terra Localizations in 2008 to cater specifically to the gaming industry's requirements. She attributes the company's growth to the ability to offer boutique-level services while scaling efficiently to handle larger projects. Marina discusses the complexities of game localization, which requires specialized project managers, linguists, and QA teams. She explains that clients range from indie game developers, who might have budget constraints but are deeply invested in quality, to large publishers who finance and market games globally. The podcast also touches on the challenges of marketing and competing in the game localization industry against both small and large players. Addressing the impact of AI and other technologies, Marina acknowledges their role in creating efficiencies and advancing tasks within the localization process. However, she underscores the importance of ethical and responsible use of AI, particularly in a creative and culturally sensitive field like game localization. Marina also talks about Terra's new HR service offering, Terra Team Up, which emerged from a client demand for recruiting and consulting services, primarily targeting the Latin American talent. Marina concludes by reflecting on the importance of staying true to the company's values and culture, which she believes has been key to their sustained growth and success.


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#213 Phrase CEO Georg Ell on the Arms Race in Language Technology

Georg Ell, CEO of Phrase, returns to SlatorPod for round 2 to talk about the accelerating adoption of generative technologies and AI. Discussing the broader implications of AI, Georg notes that business leaders are increasingly focused on language technology for its cost, return on investment, and time-to-value benefits. Georg points out that these technologies are not just about improving translation quality but also about enabling hyperautomation, hyperpersonalization, and ultimately, hyperscale. The CEO shares that enterprise-grade technology for generating multilingual content at scale is still in demand, underscoring the need for robust, enterprise-quality solutions. The podcast explores new product launches from Phrase, including the introduction of Next GenMT, which combines GPT 4o with Phrase's own MT engine to enhance translation quality and efficiency. Georg also discusses Auto LQA (Language Quality Assessment), an AI-driven solution designed to assist linguists, not replace them, and significantly reduce costs and time spent on quality assessment. The CEO highlights Phrase's strategic shift towards being a platform rather than a product-centric company with an updated pricing model that allows customers to access a comprehensive suite of capabilities. Georg concludes by discussing Phrase's strategic partnerships with major LSPs and the company's ecosystem-first approach.


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#212 TRSB CEO Mary Kazamias on Leading Canada’s Largest Language Service Provider

Mary Kazamias, CEO of TRSB, joins SlatorPod to talk about her journey starting as a translator and transitioning through various roles to leading Canada's largest language service provider (LSP). The podcast explores the balance between government and private sector clients in Canada, with Mary noting that while the government produces more content, TRSB serves more customers in the private sector. Mary highlights the importance of understanding cultural nuances in translation, particularly in bilingual regions like Quebec. She also touches on the impact of regulatory requirements on language services demand in Canada, such as the Official Languages Act, Bill 96, and provincial laws. The podcast shifts to talent challenges in the language industry, with Mary highlighting the launch of TRSB Academy which offers a structured mentoring program to equip new translators with the practical skills needed to excel alongside technological advancements. Mary acknowledges the hype surrounding AI, but sees the role of LSPs as system integrators, adapting to incorporate AI technologies while maintaining a human-centric approach to providing language services. When it comes to M&A strategy, Mary stresses the significance of cultural fit and careful post-merger integration for successful acquisitions. Looking ahead, Mary underscores the need for the industry to recognize and promote its diverse capabilities beyond traditional translation, embracing innovation and evolving business processes.


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#211 How Many Translation and Interpreting Jobs Will There Be in the Future?

Florian and Esther discuss the language industry news of the week, with the US Bureau of Labor Statistics sharing their projections for growth in translation and interpreting jobs between 2022-2032. The duo delves into Reddit's earnings call, where machine translation is emphasized as a key driver for international growth and content accessibility. Florian touches on recent AI dubbing developments, such as Adobe's upcoming generative audio and video tools, and Microsoft Edge's feature to overlay AI-generated dubbing on videos. Esther gives an M&A corner, including Argo Translations' acquisition of Global Accent Translation Services, LanguageWire's acquisition of WhP International, TransPerfect's acquisition of Content Lab, and Supertext USA's spinoff from its Swiss parent company. Esther also discusses RWS' trading update, where the Super Agency announced plans to sell its interest in PatBase, a patent search database, for GBP 30m.


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#210 The Future of Language Jobs with tbo.'s Charles Campbell

Charles Campbell joins SlatorPod to talk about the evolution of tbo. from a translation company to a diversified business, exploring challenges, strategies, and the impact of industry changes. The President and Founder discusses the talent landscape, mentioning challenges such as layoffs, hiring fluctuations, and the impact of political changes in Argentina. He shares insights on the local economy, the government's actions, and the business outlook amidst these changes. Charles emphasizes the importance of adaptability and flexibility in today's job market, particularly as AI integration reshapes traditional roles. He mentions the need for workers to be open to evolving job descriptions and not overly resistant to incorporating AI into their roles. In discussing the changing role of project managers, Charles highlights the shift towards automation and the need for language service providers to embrace technology while maintaining a human touch. While tbo. embraces technological advancements, Charles acknowledges he passed on opportunities such as data annotation, highlighting the challenges of aligning business strategies with emerging trends. The podcast touches on the rebranding process undertaken by tbo. and establishing business units like tbotalent, tbodev, and tbolab. Charles highlights the importance of a meaningful, simplified brand name that aligns with the company's diverse service offerings.


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#209 Sourcing Language Data from the Four Corners of the Earth with XRI Global’s Daniel Wilson

Daniel Wilson, Founder and CEO of XRI Global, joins SlatorPod to talk about the company's focus on low-resource languages and its efforts to bring digital equality to communities lacking online language support. With a background in linguistics and research on endangered languages in the Caucasus Mountains, Wilson's journey led him to establish XRI Global to address the challenge of building AI tools for languages with limited data availability. The CEO highlights the importance of domain-specific data collection and the need to tailor solutions based on the specific needs of each community, ranging from humanitarian organizations to governments and religious groups. The company's approach includes leveraging large language models and machine translation to provide conversational AI capabilities even for offline communities or areas where internet access is limited. Wilson also touches on the legal and ethical considerations involved in data collection, emphasizing the importance of complying with data laws and obtaining proper consent. Looking ahead, XRI Global plans to expand its language support to over 50 languages in 2024 and continues to explore advancements in on-device AI capabilities for broader accessibility.


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#208 The Normalization of Language AI

Florian and Esther discuss the language industry news of the week, with SlatorCon London, scheduled for May 23rd, announcing the speaker lineup, including a Keynote presentation from Iris Orriss of Meta. They then discuss how enterprises are becoming increasingly comfortable launching fully automated language AI features, labeling it the “normalization of language AI”. The duo talk about the unprecedented merger of Swiss-based SuperText and Textshuttle, signaling a shift towards more integrated, technology-driven solutions. Other M&A activity includes Deluxe's strategic investment in AppTek, TransPerfect's acquisition of TheSpeech, Diuna Group acquiring Yellow, and Cloudbreak Health’s sale. Esther provides an update on financial results, with Straker anticipating a revenue decline while Keywords experienced growth in its top line but a decrease in its globalization division. Meanwhile, Appen faced a failed takeover bid after the bid was leaked, impacting the acquisition of the company. The podcast also touches on Google Translate’s controversial decision to shelve its human feedback tool, Contribute, which allowed users to suggest translations for improvement. In other AI news, researchers from the Earth Species Project are exploring the possibility of translating animal communication using advanced AI models. Florian wraps up the pod with the European Commission's recent tender award, TRAD23, which sparked concerns among individual translators regarding pricing and quality standards.


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#207 The Art and Business of Literary Translation with Dr. B.J. Woodstein

Dr. B.J. Woodstein, Professor, Translator, and Writer, joins SlatorPod to talk about translation theory and its implications for literary translators, while also shedding light on the professional challenges, nuances, and ethical considerations. B.J. discusses her upcoming book, “Translation Theory for Literary Translators”, where she aims to demystify translation theory and make it accessible to translators. She highlights the need for translators to understand and engage with translation theory to enhance their work and make informed decisions in their practice. The author shares insights on the market dynamics of literary translation, including how translators are selected, rates are set, and the challenges faced in the industry. She highlights the importance of human intervention in translation, especially in handling linguistic nuances, cultural concepts, and editorial decisions that go beyond what AI or machine translation can achieve. B.J. reflects on the linguistic and cultural challenges in translating from Swedish to English, such as dealing with different language structures and cultural nuances that may not easily be translated. She also explores the complexities of translating sensitive or explicit content, where decisions need to be made to maintain cultural authenticity while adapting for the target market. The podcast concludes with B.J. sharing her current research projects on equality, diversity, and inclusion in higher education, as well as her interest in translating queer literature.


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#206 Video Highlight’s Founder on How LLMs Enable New Ways to Engage with Video Content

Mihai Vlad, the Founder of Video Highlight and former General Manager of Language Weaver, joins SlatorPod to talk about his entrepreneurial journey and insights into the language AI startup landscape. Mihai discusses his latest venture, Video Highlight, which aims to solve the inefficiency of extracting valuable information from lengthy videos by providing automatic transcription, timestamped summaries, key highlights, and interactive chats. By enabling summaries in multiple languages, Video Highlight gained unexpected traction from non-English speakers in Latin America, Europe, and Asia, indicating a global demand for efficient video consumption tools. Mihai talks about the utility of leveraging AI-powered models, particularly LLMs, in various content creation and processing tasks, such as summarizing podcasts, generating derivative content, and aiding in machine translation. Mihai reflects on the entrepreneurial journey in AI, emphasizing the importance of timing, innovation, and adaptability. He discusses the challenges of balancing cost-effectiveness while scaling up operations and the significance of making strategic decisions regarding API usage and infrastructure.


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#205 Deluxe’s Chris Reynolds on Dubbing, Subtitling, and Localization for Hollywood

Chris Reynolds, the EVP and General Manager of Worldwide Localization and Fulfillment at Deluxe, joins SlatorPod to talk about the complexities of dubbing and the potential impact of AI on the industry. Chris discusses the different elements in the dubbing process, including voice casting, script adaptation, and post-production, as well as the challenges of tight timelines, particularly with the rise of streaming services demanding simultaneous releases in multiple languages. The Deluxe executive also highlights the technical challenges associated with distributing large, uncompressed master files, especially for major Hollywood studios. He underscores the critical role of automation in managing the workflow and ensuring timely delivery of content. Chris shares how Deluxe plans to use AppTek’s expertise in language AI to enhance the quality and efficiency of dubbing workflows, while maintaining the artistic integrity and emotional resonance of the original content. Chris also touches upon the recent agreement by SAG-AFTRA and its implications for voice actors' rights and compensation in the era of AI dubbing. While there is an increasing amount of AI tools for lip-syncing and dubbing, Chris emphasizes the continued importance of human voice actors for conveying emotion and nuance. Looking ahead, Deluxe is focused on integrating tools more securely, improving dubbing workflows, and exploring hyper-localization to cater to different languages and dialects.


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#204 Language Network CEO Jordan Evans on Sales Tactics and Growth Through M&A

Jordan Evans, the CEO of Language Network, joins SlatorPod to talk about the evolution of his family-founded language service provider (LSP) and his sales-focused growth strategy. Jordan's professional trajectory began with a blend of sales, tech startups, and a stint as a linguist and translator, before acquiring Language Network and achieving significant growth. Regarding growth strategies, Jordan discusses the challenges and benefits of acquisitions, emphasizing the importance of finding the right fit and maintaining stability during integration. He advises starting with acquisitions within one's core expertise before branching out into new areas. The conversation shifts to sales and marketing in the language industry, with Jordan highlighting the need to cut through the noise and engage customers effectively, whether through traditional methods like cold calling or newer digital channels. When it comes to the role of AI in language services, Jordan advocates for adopting off-the-shelf technologies to meet customer needs efficiently while allowing for scalability and adaptability. The CEO attributes the growth of interpreting in the US to increased awareness of language accessibility issues and funding initiatives, especially in sectors like healthcare and immigration. Jordan advises that LSPs should capitalize on their unique strengths and niches, enabling them to differentiate themselves from larger competitors and maximize value for clients.


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#203 The Top 50 Language AI Companies to Watch in 2024

Florian and Esther discuss the language industry news of the week, with Head of Research Anna Wyndham joining to give a breakdown of the 2024 Slator Language AI 50 Under 50, a list highlighting 50 of the newest and most notable language AI companies. The list focuses on 50 language AI companies under 50 months old, showcasing their innovations in speech-to-text, machine translation, speech synthesis, and more. Esther talks about Disney's Accelerator Program, which invested in two language AI startups: ElevenLabs and AudioShake. AudioShake uses AI to parse audio tracks for mixing or dubbing and ElevenLabs, a multilingual AI voice startup, recently raised USD 80m. Florian mentions AnthropicAI's new language model, Claude 3 Opus, and shared a user's experience testing it for translating a low-resource language (Circassian) with impressive results. (note: a few hours after the podcast production was finished, the user gave an update that the model was trained on Circassian). Florian briefly touches on Elon Musk's lawsuit against OpenAI, with translation getting a shoutout as a key early use case for large language models. Esther provides an overview of Honyaku Center's financial results for Q3 2024, where overall revenues saw a 3% growth and translation remained the primary revenue driver. Esther shares news about recent layoffs at Sega of America, affecting 61 temp workers from quality assurance and localization.


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#202 Insider Reveals Super Agency May Plan Multi-Billion Dollar IPO

Florian and Esther discuss the language industry news of the week, with Women in Localization opening a new chapter in Switzerland and SlatorCon coming to Silicon Valley on September 5th. Florian shares insights from RWS’ Annual General Meeting, where under the new leadership of Chairman Julie Southern, the language service provider (LSP) highlighted its resilience amid global uncertainty. Esther gives an overview of the financial results for AMN Language Services and Ai-Media, with the former reporting strong performance for its language services and the latter attributing its revenue increase to an ongoing shift to its SaaS offering. Versacom, a prominent Canadian LSP, announces a minority investment from Norea Capital, with plans to focus on AI-enhanced solutions. Meanwhile, an investment banking industry insider revealed Iyuno may go public, targeting a valuation range between USD 2.25 bn and USD 3 bn. Over in the US, Boostlingo recorded a 60% year-over-year increase in annual recurring revenue in 2023, highlighting the thriving demand for interpreting services. The podcast concludes with the recent launch of Green Terp Unveils GT Enhancer, a tool designed to assist human interpreters by removing background noises such as dog barks and baby cries.


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#201 Ranking the World’s Largest Translation and Localization Companies

Florian and Esther discuss the language industry news of the week with a first look at the newly released 2024 Slator Language Service Provider Index (LSPI) where they unpack the key findings from over 250 LSPs on the ranking. Leading the 2024 LSPI is Super Agency TransPerfect, who recently appointed Jin Lee as the new Co-CEO. Lee began as a project manager at the Super Agency before working through various production roles and rising through the ranks. Slator recently launched the first edition of its Language AI Briefing, a summary of the top AI stories, language AI startups, and notable AI developments. One such story covered real-time multilingual lip-sync provider Sync Labs’ open-source which shows users how to deploy and monetize their own lip-sync applications in a couple of hours. In M&A news, 2024 began strong with French LSP Powerling acquiring troubled WCS Group which recently filed for bankruptcy. Meanwhile, Belgium-based Jonckers and US-based Acclaro have merged, becoming a cross-Atlantic Leader LSP. In Israel, BLEND has bought local rival Manpower Language Solutions, citing a growing global interest in the Israeli market.


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#200 Why Anja Jones Put Social Responsibility at the Core of Her Language Service Provider

In the landmark 200th episode of the SlatorPod, we are joined by Anja Jones, Managing Director of AJT, to talk about the language service provider’s (LSP’s) journey to becoming a B Corp, a certification for businesses balancing profit with social and environmental responsibility. Anja touches upon the impact of large language models (LLMs), expressing concerns about ethical implications, copyright issues, and the environmental footprint associated with LLMs. She also discusses how a focus on the intricacies of European culture became their USP. When it comes to using AI in translation, Anja highlights that certain content types, such as marketing texts and transcreation, are still best handled by human translators due to the need for creativity and cultural sensitivity. The podcast shifts towards the need for regulation in the language AI industry. Anja points out the ethical implications of AI-generated content, particularly in scenarios like voice synthesis and deep fake technologies. Anja also talks about winning the 2023 ATC Ethical Business award, attributing it to their commitment to fair pay, transparent communication, and creating opportunities for new translators. Anja shares the LSP's plans for 2024, which include focusing on collaborations with value-aligned businesses, including sustainable fashion brands and companies leveraging AI for personalized Google Ads.


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#199 The State-of-the-Art in Machine Translation with Language Weaver’s Bart Maczynski

In this week’s SlatorPod, we are joined by Bart Maczynski, the VP of Machine Learning at Language Weaver, the translation tech brand of Super Agency RWS, to talk about the challenges and advancements in enterprise-grade machine translation (MT). The discussion delves into the distinctions between enterprise and consumer-grade MT, with challenges including data security, scalability, adaptability, user experience, and risk mitigation. Bart touches on the impact of large language models (LLMs) on the landscape, noting potential risks, such as deceptive fluency, and the need for control in enterprise settings. The VP discusses the recent launch of Evolve, an automated post-editing solution that combines auto-adaptive neural MT, machine translation quality estimation, and a secure, private LLM. Bart talks about the evolving landscape of language AI and the integration of MT into broader workflows, driven by innovations in orchestration and automation platforms. Bart shares insights into the future plans of Language Weaver, with a primary focus on bringing Evolve to the market and broadening its applications, supporting more languages, and exploring improvements and adaptations in various components.


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#198 Implementing Language AI in the Enterprise with Translated’s John Tinsley

John Tinsley, the VP of AI Solutions at language AI agency Translated, joins SlatorPod to talk about the challenges, advancements, and future directions of AI in the language industry. John shares his journey from founding machine translation (MT) pioneer ICONIC, selling it during the height of the pandemic to RWS, and now his current role focusing on connecting technology and capabilities with customer needs at Translated. He touches on the challenges of managing the noise around AI and the excitement and potential of generative AI, particularly in the context of language. He discusses the impact of large language models on translation and the challenges of multilingual content generation. John mentions the importance of having the right data for AI and highlights a new product initiative called Human-in-the-Loop. This initiative focuses on automating the process of improving MT by constantly fine-tuning it based on user feedback and human data. He also explores the dynamic landscape of innovation in the AI field, discussing the sources of innovation, the role of big tech companies, and the challenges of keeping up with the rapidly evolving research landscape. Looking ahead, John underscores the importance of ensuring enterprise readiness in MT, considering factors beyond just good output, such as fitting into existing workflows, cost-effectiveness, and scalability.


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#197 Machine Translating a President

Florian and Esther discuss the language industry news of the week, with Super Early Bird ending soon for SlatorCon Remote March and a save-the-date announcement for SlatorCon London, scheduled in person for May 23, 2024. Florian talks about how translation GPTs are becoming increasingly available on OpenAI’s GPT store, highlighting the ease of building these models and the payment model for creators. The duo touches on the topic of AI-generated lip-synced translations, using the example of a machine-translated speech by Argentina’s new president at the World Economic Forum and debating its ethical implications. Esther’s M&A and funding corner features the acquisition of Systran by ChapsVision, the sale of Balthasar Ltd. to Translate.One, and the USD 18 million Series B funding round by