An interview with David Sowerby, co-founder and director of Sales & Marketing of Straker Software. I met and interviewed David while we were at LeWeb 2010 in Paris. With my natural predilection for languages, I was more than a bit interested to find out how Straker works and how effective, efficient and costly the service is. As David recounts, they have a part-automatic, part-human translation system (“blended” comes to mind as a term) which costs around 6 cents per word, but they are hoping to bring that down to 3-4 cents. Certainly, for the larger multinationals down to the smaller organizations trying to spread overseas, services like Straker provide a huge benefit in terms of rapidity and cost. Not having tried out their services, I cannot vouch for them, but I would be curious to gain any feedback from the readers. Let me know your thoughts as regards David’s interview as well!
To find out more about Straker, you can go directly to their website: Straker Sofware.
You can find my other English-speaking interviews on the Minter Dialogue Radio Show here on Megaphone or via itunes.
And for the francophones reading this, if you want to get more podcasts, you can also find my radio show en français over at : MinterDial.fr, on Megaphone or in iTunes.
As companies are going global, they need cheaper and faster translation services, especially for some of the uncommon/difficult languages spoken in the Big Emerging Markets (BRICS).
Adding machine learning with human input is a very promising solution to overcome the inevitable limitations of machine translation, bounded by the infinite complexity of natural languages. This allows Straker to provide its clients with semi-automatic, but more reliable, translations.
However, in my opinion, Straker does not make it clear enough what guarantees come with their translations. We don't even know who is behind the screen. Are they qualified for the job? We need at least some accuracy metrics, some certifications or independent reviews, to know in which circumstances we can be confident to use their services.