Smartling set to grow its presence in Ireland
The US-founded software and translation services company expects to more than doubling its staff over the next year
Smartling founder Jack Welde: “what we’re seeing is that we can use the underpinnings of machine learning and machine translation to help the human translators to be more effective”
The company, which has an office off Dame Street, Dublin, currently employs 18, and expects to increase that to 40 by next year and 80 by 2021.
“We’ve had a presence in Ireland for a little while now, but in the last year we’ve focused on building the team out,” said founder Jack Welde. “We’re planning to double the business, double the presence in Dublin in the next year, and probably double again the following year.”
Smartling provides a translation management platform and language services to customers that allows them to localise content across devices and platforms. Its customers include Bang & Olufsen, BMJ, Intercom, Monday. com and Vivino in Europe.
Globally the company employs 180 full-time, but has access to thousands of translators who work for the company on a freelance basis.
Most of the company’s developers are in the US or in eastern Europe, with the Irish office mainly tasked with sales and customer support. However, Mr Welde said there could be potential to expand that into finance and development.
The company uses human translators for most of its work rather than machine translation, but there is scope for more software involvement in Smartling’s work where appropriate.
“When I started this company almost 10 years ago the message was really clear: state-of-the-art machine translation was not good at all,” Mr Welde said.
“That’s changed. What we’re seeing is that we can use the underpinnings of machine learning and machine translation to help the human translators to be more effective.”
Ireland may be able to play a role in that in the future.
“If there is an area that I could see us expanding our operations it would probably be more computer-generated, machine translation in the future,” he said, noting the important research into machine translation that was being done in Irish institutions.
“Machine translation today still isn’t as good as a human translator for any type of mission critical or any kind of content that you’re trying to connect with a customer or prospect. But we are seeing more and more tools coming out of sort of computer-generated analytics, and things are helping translators to be more effective and more efficient in doing that work.”