Software manufacturers are quickly becoming an invaluable partner for Language Service Providers (LSPs). And that’s something Prof. Dr. André Köhler of Lingo Systems knows a thing or to about. With a long career in software under his belt, Köhler stumbled into his first partnership years ago and hasn’t looked back since. MultiLingual contributor Nicolás M. Martín Fontana recently spoke with him about his career and the things that drive him.
Why do you like reading MultiLingual Magazine?
I really enjoy reading the MultiLingual Magazine. The articles are very well written, and it provides me with up-to-date information from the industry. Since I read almost everything else electronically, I really enjoy holding and reading a real paper magazine once a month. It’s a really nice feeling!
Why did you decide to work with Language Service Providers?
As a software manufacturer, we acquired our first Language Service Provider as a customer by chance many years ago. We were already very strong in agile software development at that time, but the LSP industry was completely new to us. We learned a lot about language services in our first project and got more and more excited about it. At some point, we liked the industry so much that we decided to specialize in it. We really enjoy language services projects because we can work with very modern technologies and feel that we are contributing to the further development of the industry. And the people we work with are all friendly, open-minded and very communicative. It is simply a very nice working environment.
Tell us about the German market. Is it hard?
We started in the German-speaking market, but then very quickly internationalized our business. Today we work mainly for companies all over Europe. I think that the North American market could also be added soon. Since every LSP is actually faced with the task of creating better services, higher automation, and more quality through better use of technology, we are a sought-after discussion partner. However, investments in individual technology solutions are certainly easier for medium-sized and larger LSPs than for smaller ones.
How has the market developed over the years concerning technological advances for LSPs?
A lot of interesting solutions have already emerged. However, this also brings with it the challenge for LSPs that it is not at all easy to keep track of what is on offer, to match it with one’s own needs and then also to ensure that the various solutions work together as desired. We expect the market for technology offers to consolidate somewhat in certain areas. In other areas, we will see a lot of momentum, for example around MT/AI issues.
Who was your first client?
Lingo Systems’ first client was Diction AG from Switzerland. I still have fond memories of how we met. I found it impressive how quickly the company grew, the success it had in the market, the speed with which decisions were made, and the modern and fresh culture there. We were on the same wavelength right from the start, and the collaboration was simply an great pleasure for both sides. We have been able to implement many interesting technology projects for Diction AG in recent years. I am pleased that business has developed so excellently for the company in recent years.
Is it a good time to invest in technology?
We prefer to call it investments in the future of the company. After all, technology is ultimately only a means to an end. I think many LSPs are facing the challenge of providing services at a better cost, with higher quality, and shorter delivery times. In addition, there will be more and more technological prerequisites to be able to do business with certain customers in the future, for example API integration with their applications. In this respect, I don’t think the question is “if,” but rather how to prioritize the various possible investment projects in terms of time. We see that many LSPs make technology decisions with a rather short-term horizon. But it is important to have at least a medium-term technology strategy. Which investments will best help us to support growth targets? Which investments will help us differentiate ourselves even better in the market?
Do you have hobbies or an artistic side?
I like to do sports. My best discovery in the pandemic was that I can do a lot of things at home. There are so many wonderful videos, apps, and equipment. I am much more flexible now, the hurdles are fewer, and my motivation is much greater than before as a result. I also have two wonderful sons who I spend a lot of time with. We have just started archery, which is a completely new experience for me.