Lionbridge onDemand API Represents Game Changer in Translation Services

Eric Carter, Founder & Corporate Counsel, Dartsand
Jul. 22 2014, 12:59PM EDT

Lionbridge, the world’s largest translation services provider, last week launched the onDemand API, the industry’s first translation API to support a broad range of translation options, cost levels and content types. With the onDemand API, developers can go right to a single API for all translation needs, as opposed to integrating with multiple APIs depending on the platform or content type. Following the release, ProgrammableWeb caught up with Lionbridge chief marketing officer Marc Osofsky.

With around 75 translation APIs in our API directory, we wanted to know what makes the onDemand API different from other translation APIs. Osofsky responded:

Most developers want to write to a single translation API from a company that will be here for the long haul and offers support for all language quality levels (machine, machine+post edit, professional) and content types (strings, videos, mobile apps, etc.). Lionbridge is a Forbes 100 most trusted company and the largest translation company in the world. No other company offers this complete translation API solution, and developers don’t want to write to multiple APIs and risk vendor viability.

Lionbridge sees the onDemand API as a game changer for many industries. Osofsky explained:

The big impact is that companies can now much more easily manage content and products for global markets from a single platform. This enables many industries to start managing on a global-first basis rather than a national/international one. Retail, travel and hospitality, and high-tech are the three industries that will likely make the fastest use of this new capability.

Osofsky mentioned three industries that are most likely to adopt the onDemand API quickly. With that in mind, we wanted to understand the individuals within the industries Lionbridge targets with the onDemand release. Osofsky described the target individuals as:

... developers that want to make translation a native capability in their platform (e-commerce, WCM, marketing automation, etc.). End users of these platforms are looking to manage content centrally across global markets within the platform itself. For example, a user should be able to select a product or web page and click to translate to receive a translated product or page back in the system.

Around a dozen platforms were already live with the API (as beta partners) before it was released to the public. Osofsky explained that the initial feedback was extremely positive on all fronts (e.g., API approach, documentation and support). Most of the beta partners were able to complete integration in a few weeks.

The No. 1 selling point of the API is obviously the one-stop-shop nature of onDemand’s translation capabilities. To better understand how this plays out in a real-world scenario, Osofsky gave some examples:

The main scenario is a multilingual content system where the end user wants to manage translation content directly in the system. Developers can enable users to set up an account with Lionbridge via the API, to translate numerous content types such as XML, strings, InDesign files, video formats, mobile apps, graphics, etc.

One example, Linnworks, an e-commerce platform, has gone public with their integration, and the webinar is on YouTube.

Osofsky finds that many potential use-case scenarios desire point-and-click translation. Anyone, regardless of app, can integrate the onDemand API and achieve such capability. E-commerce and web content management represent obvious candidates, but Lionbridge has also seen high levels of interest from video asset management systems with the desire to select videos for translation via subtitles or voiceover.

As with most of Lionbridge’s products and services, the guiding metric to measure success amounts to the number of words translated. As a company, Lionbridge is quickly headed toward 14 billion words translated, and the onDemand API should accelerate Lionbridge’s march toward that number and beyond.

Eric Carter Eric is the founder of Dartsand and Corporate Counsel for a specialty technology distributor. He is a frequent contributor to technology media outlets and also serves as primary legal counsel for multiple startups in the Real Estate, Virtual Assistant, and Software Development Industries. Follow me on Google+

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