Industry Insights

Lionbridge's Patented Real-Time Translation Solution

Lionbridge Technologies, Inc. today announced it has received a patent for its GeoFluent real-time translation solution that allows contact centers to provide consistent multilingual communications across all channels.

"Contact centers realize the multiplier effect of multilingual support for customer loyalty and growth," said Tom Tseki, Vice President & General Manager, Customer Care Solutions, Lionbridge. "At the same time, they are under pressure from consumers to expand from voice-only support to self-service, social and digital channels. The sum of these now patented GeoFluent innovations provides contact centers with the translation quality they need to effectively eliminate language as a communications barrier across all channels." 

The new patent number US 9,141,606, titled "Methods and systems for multi-engine machine translation", covers two GeoFluent innovations:

  • A proprietary linguistic layer that allows Lionbridge to tailor each GeoFluent machine translation instance to reflect customers' specific use of language and messaging, thereby ensuring consistency across industry terminology, products and most importantly, customers' brands.

  • The ability to apply this proprietary customization layer across multiple machine translation (MT) engines. This allows Lionbridge's linguistics experts to apply a best-of-breed approach in selecting underlying MT technology and, when combined with GeoFluent's unique customization layer, provides clients with broad-based language coverage and the highest possible translation quality.

The combination of these now patented innovations provides contact centers with the translation quality they need to effectively eliminate language as a communications barrier across all channels.

Last Thursday Lionbridge, ranked as the top-grossing language service provider in the US$40.27 billion global market for outsourced language services and technology by CSA Research, also announced record revenue of $144.2 million, an increase of $7.7 million, or 6%, compared to the first quarter of 2016 and a year-on-year increase of $428,000 as compared to the second quarter of 2015.


For those who aren’t acquainted with GeoFluent, the platform is a customized automated translation solution for customer support applications such as online chat and community applications. What makes GeoFluent valuable for contact centers is GeoFluent’s patented technology delivers an actionable and understandable real-time translation. 

GeoFluent is capable of creating a translation dictionary for each customer to ensure consistency across their industry terminology, products and most importantly, brand; and applying that dictionary across whichever underlying machine translation (MT) engine is best suited for them. 

In January, the company announced that it has broadened its GeoFluent real-time translation technology to include new omni-channel customer care features for contact centers and business process outsourcers (BPOs) which enables customers  to interact in real-time multi-language across all communication channels, from virtual and agent-assisted chat, to email, in-call voice, social, SMS, forums, knowledge bases, helpdesk and ticketing. It integrates with various communications platforms, from complete omni-channel providers to single channel best-of-breed offerings. The benefits of the platform are: 

  • Improve customer experience (CX) across markets and channels

  • Lower costs

  • Minimize complexity and risk

  • Preserve global brand consistency

“As an Ireland-based contact center, it’s essential to provide real-time translation to our global customers in an efficient way. With Lionbridge’s GeoFluent implemented to our existing Moxie chat application, our English speaking contact center agents were able to conduct real-time chat sessions in Spanish,” said Keith Lodewyk, Customer Care Team Lead, RCI. “The impacts have been significant, including increased customer satisfaction and reduced customer effort, coupled with increased call deflection and not having to hire as many multi-lingual agents. This combination makes GeoFluent a great fit for RCI and our members.”

Global Translation Services Market

As you may recall, in the CMS-Connected March episode, Scott Liewehr discussed the truth behind the Customer Experience Management hype with special guests Annette Franz and Stan Phelps.  One of the key takeaways from the conversation was the way consumers want to interact with a brand is constantly changing as they are demanding real-time or near real-time service. At the same time they also expect that brands need to communicate with them in their native language. In fact, a recent study from Common Sense Advisory showed that 84 percent of consumers are more inclined to purchase products online when related information was presented in their own language.

Another interesting finding comes from Gartner as the research firm estimates that $77 billion of revenue will be created by more than 268 billion global downloads by 2017. Yet more than half of the countries on the top 10 list of application downloads and revenue are those in non-English-speaking nations in Europe and East Asia. All it means that the distinction between domestic and global market is shrinking.

On the one hand organizations both large and small want to expand their market and engage with customers on a deeper level, on the other hand consumers across the world want everything on their own terms, including a preference for communicating in their own language. That’s where global translation services come into play, and the market is no longer an unsexy business. An independent market research firm, Common Sense Advisory (CSA Research), which has published market size estimates and global rankings, found that the demand for language services continues, and is growing at an annual rate of 5.52%. As part of the study, the firm surveyed providers from every continent to collect actual reported revenue for 2014, 2015, and expected revenue for 2016. The study confirms that the market continues to expand, however the current growth rate of 5.52% represents a slight decrease over last year’s rate of 6.46%. 

“Demand continues because the market for outsourced language services and supporting technology is immensely important to the businesses, government agencies, non-profits, and individuals that produce or consume information,” said Don DePalma, Chief Strategist and Founder at Common Sense Advisory.

As global markets are becoming increasingly diverse and connected, the firm predicts that the language services industry will continue to grow and that the market will increase to US$45 billion by 2020. Factors driving this demand include continued growth in global mobile and ecommerce; the internet of things (IoT); and legislation requiring access to language services for immigrants, refugees, in the courts, and for public safety. Moreover, the demand is driven by not only consumer expectations but also some regulations of the local governments. The giant beauty retailer Sephora, for example, underwent a huge expansion into Canada in October 2012 and needed to cater to both English and French speakers as Canadian law requires that any company with a physical address in a French-speaking province of Quebec include Canadian French on its website. Otherwise the company's business license would have been revoked.

The International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) has also conducted a study titled “Lost in Translation: Leveraging Language to Deliver an Exceptional Customer Experience” in partnership with Lionbridge. The research report, is the largest study ever conducted around how contact centers support languages, reveals that non-primary language volume will increase and that contact centers are not currently prepared to accommodate such transition.

“As our world grows closer and more connected, the importance of delivering service that is personal, comprehensive and easy for a customer to understand could not be greater. What is more essential to a great customer service experience than the language in which we deliver it?” said Justin Robbins, ICMI Community Director and Report Author. “This research reveals the robust opportunities for organizations to provide better service across any contact channel with more comprehensive language resources. The customer experience is the key differentiator in today’s service economy, and it is essential for companies to move on this opportunity to stand apart from their competition.”

I have always been amazed by the fact that more than 6,500 languages are spoken around the world and, as a bilingual and a non-native English speaker, I couldn’t agree more with the statement by Tom Tseki that consumers increasingly prefer to learn, shop, and transact in their native language. That also must be the reason why the Translation Services industry has performed well over the past five years, despite the turbulent economy. Furthermore, the growth does not seem to be impaired anytime soon. In fact, according to IBISWorld’s Translation Services market research report, globalization and an increase in immigration will boost demand for industry services even more over the next five years and 'Interpretation', which is estimated to account for 54.6% of industry revenue, will continue to represent the largest industry services. I would say the opportunity lies therein for brands which want to cultivate brand loyalty with today’s digitally-savvy and demanding customers. 


Venus Tamturk

Venus Tamturk

Venus is the Media Reporter for CMS-Connected, with one of her tasks to write thorough articles by creating the most up-to-date and engaging content using B2B digital marketing. She enjoys increasing brand equity and conversion through the strategic use of social media channels and integrated media marketing plans.

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