A Case of Bridging the Language Gap

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Article ImageCompany: hi5
Founded by Ramu Yalamanchi and Akash Garg, hi5 is a social networking site that is not just another Facebook or MySpace; its main target is international markets. Headquartered in San Francisco, hi5 is a privately held company that today boasts more than 80 million registered users in more than 200 nations. Alexa, a web information company, has ranked hi5 as a top 10 website globally and as the most-trafficked site in several countries, including many in Latin America and Asia.

Business Challenge
When hi5 was first launched in December 2003, its founders Yalamanchi and Garg noticed that the site was receiving a lot of international traffic. The two wanted to adapt the site in order to best serve its international users. So, in response, they decided to make the site available in those countries’ languages. The company began its international expansion by first adding the ubiquitous Spanish, German, and French language options, but Yalamanchi and Garg did not want to stop there. As hi5 increased its presence in countries with various dialects and languages—Portugal, Italy, and the Netherlands, to name a few—the company needed a well-rounded language translation vendor to meet the social networking needs of its clients.

Vendor of Choice: Lionbridge
Founded in 1996, Lionbridge Technologies, Inc. is a provider of language, content, and technology outsourcing services. The company focuses on localizing, translating, and adapting products and web content for international companies that want their content and products available in local languages. The publicly traded company has 4,500 employees, including prequalified human translators, across 26 countries. Lionbridge’s translation technology offerings include Freeway, a hosted translation management software platform that allows Lionbridge to interact with clients during the translation process via an integrated set of functions that automates and manages the authoring, editing, reviewing, and updating of multilingual content.

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