#195 – May/June


Whatever language we speak, we’re looking forward to saying “hello” again.
From left to right: Arabic, Chinese, English, Greek, Portuguese, Guaraní

Read on!



ourism may have been severely neutralized in the past year — but it still managed to get me pregnant.
In the course of 2020, Idaho tourism, was, ironically enough, hopping. People flooded into my resort town from neighboring states, making the streets busier than I’d ever seen them. Idaho standards were comparatively lax, the local lake offered hundreds of miles of shoreline, and the mountains had plenty of hiking trails. I figured out how to be an AirBnB host, and subsequently met a guest I fell in love with and started dating. Several months later, and, well… as a result of COVID-era travel, I’m expecting my first child.

The travel and tourism sector isn’t dying so much as it’s figuring out its new nascent qualities. This spring, instead of taking my annual trip to Asia to escape the snow, I headed south with my youngest brother on a US road trip. We stayed with friends who had been vaccinated; took side trips into deserted areas.

Before, the annual trek to Asia coincided with work trips — for the 12 years prior to the pandemic, MultiLingual gave me opportunities to travel and the freedom to explore after working. When the pandemic hit, of course, everything changed, and meeting colleagues in the bars of Tokyo and Lisbon was no longer on the menu. Traveling was relegated more to the deserts and mountains of my own country.

MultiLingual, and all the cross-cultural exchange it represented, has had my love as long as I’ve known it. The joke was, before my actual baby, MultiLingual was my baby. I edited more than 100 issues, starting with issue #95 on machine translation, and ending with #195 on travel — a fitting note to conclude on as I move toward other things.

I have enormous affection for all the writers and other talented people I’ve worked with over the years, so thank you all. And I’m happy to offer loyal readers this, my final issue, delving into a topic that’s sure to be on our minds now more than ever. 

Katie Botkin signature


With Adam Asnes, CEO of Lingoport.

How did you get started in this industry?
I joined a startup in 1998 that was globalization engineer-ing focused. Besides being their first sales person, I got to lead partnership efforts, which gave me an excellent introduction to many influential industry leaders. I left and started Lingoport in March of 2001.

What are you working on now?
We just released new technology to make linguistic reviews and updates for software localization fast and easy. That capability, along with enhancements to our continuous internationalization and localization suite, could have significant impacts on how software localization is performed, I think.


Conversations with Character(s)

Jost Zetzsche’s just-published Characters with Character pays homage to some of these endangered scripts, for example.
The internet exposes us everyday to the more famous chil-dren of the Egyptian hieroglyphs: languages that use some form of the Latin alphabet — English chief among them — form the majority of written internet content, with Cyrillic, Greek, and Arabic and their variants also well represented. Less well represented, by several orders of magnitude, is the bichig, the traditional Mongolian script largely supplanted since the post-WWII era by the Cyrillic script in the Republic of Mongolia.

Women-led Language I/O raises $5 Million in its First Funding Round

Mergers and Acquisitions

Language focused customer support solutions provider Language I/O announced on March 23 that it had raised over $5 million in A round funding.

KUDO closes $21 Million in oversubscribed Series A Round

Mergers and Acquisitions

KUDO, Inc., creator of the eponymous cloud-based video conferencing platform that incorporates real-time multilingual interpretation

Ten LSPs form translate5 Consortium

Mergers and Acquisitions

Ten European language services providers (LSPs) have come together to form the translate5 Consortium, a group that’s investing in the open-source translation management system and editor, translate5….


Tourism Inside a Covid Haven

By Serena Puang

Before last year, Donny Yang, a tour guide in Taiwan, spent four to six months traveling internationally every year. He was in his home in Taipei so seldom that it made sense to rent it out, so he signed a five-year rental agreement and started his travels. He was in India when the pandemic started, and he had to return home… even if he didn’t have a literal house to go to.

“Due to my travel plans, I didn’t think I’d be back in Taiwan at any point in the next five years,” Yang said. “But the pan-demic screwed me over, and now that I’m back, I can’t kick just my renters out. We signed a contract.” Now Yang is bouncing between youth hostels in Taipei, staying two months before deciding if he wants to continue or try somewhere else. He’s no longer traveling (yet), but the money he gets each month from renting out his house covers his expenses.

The Art of the Pivot

By Jessica Roland

“Survival is the ability to swim in strange water,” wrote science fiction author Frank Herbert. This was never truer than for the travel and tourism industry today, as companies struggle to…

Remote Working in 2021

By Molly Lipson

It’s been a long year since the world was hit by this pandemic and our lives altered dramatically. Some of those changes were short-lived — famous musicians’ Instagram Live gigs quietly petered out while sourdough…

A Tale of Two Tourisms

By Michael Reid

Translation is a booming field, but for smaller economies that rely on tourism, the drive to use English as a lingua franca can mean leaving other languages off the menu…

Reconstructing Travel and Leisure

By Arle Lommel and Rebecca Ray

Life will never be the same again for anyone on the planet after this past year — and especially for anyone working in the travel and leisure industry, international or domestic. How-ever, as this sector begins to look forward to reconstructing, multilingual offerings should be part of most organization’s portfolios, even in the case of much domestic travel. Language should now, more than ever, be leveraged as a wow factor to win back potential travelers by rebuilding their confidence that the experience that you will deliver will have been worth the wait. The time to prepare is now.

Integrate TAM Data into Strategic Planning for Localization
As you put together — or polish off — your business plan or ROI proposal for this year, make sure that you have data based on your total addressable market (TAM) for audiences outside of your principal domestic market. Note that the data shared here is pre-pandemic; we recommend that you decrease the numbers provided by the percentage that you deem realistic for your sub-sector. Regardless, Figure 1 shows an example of how to use this type of data.


The 2021 Nimdzi 100

by Nimdzi Insights

The language services industry is growing and there is no end in sight. For your company to dominate the competition and be ahead of the game, you require insights. The Nimdzi 100 is widely considered an industry standard and is read by tens of thousands of people in the translation and localization space and beyond. LSPs, localization buyers, investors, savvy job seekers, and analysts alike will benefit from this invaluable resource.

This special section is just a preview of the detailed insights you’ll find in the full Nimdzi 100, one of the company’s flagship publications.


Managing Employees as an HR Expert

by Terena Bell

Who are the people who make interpreting happen? Ask people on the street — or in our own industry, even — and the first response you’ll get likely would be interpreters. But the answer doesn’t end there. From scheduling managers to quality assurance, linguistically, an entire team backs each interpreter, handling the language and logistical needs that get that professional on the line. So what about all those other people? From marketers to office managers, interpreting companies are filled with monolingual and multilingual professionals who make the industry go.

In this issue’s edition of “Behind the Scenes,” a MultiLingual column profiling these very essential folks, meet Elizabeth Garvin, director of human resources (HR) for Portland, Oregon-based interpreting giant Certified Languages International (CLI).

Metrics, What are they good for? Absolutely…Nothing?

By John Tinsley

Edwin Starr’s 1970 Number 1 hit “War” repeatedly asks the question, “War, what is it good for?” and the response is always “nothing.”

The Connective Multilingual Internet

By John Yunker

If the past year has taught us anything, it is how connected the world is, for better and for worse. In only a few short months, a virus encircled the planet, shutting down…

AI and Technology in Healthcare

By Christophe Djaouani

The previous edition of “Rules of the Trade” examined the role of patient centricity in clinical trials. I’d like to flip the coin and delve further into the growing role of AI and technology in healthcare.


Make Localization Part of the Experience

Sponsored Content

“We are waiting for translation,” “let’s launch in English only,” “let’s just Google Translate.” As localization managers, we’ve heard them all. We’ve all experienced the frustration of being the last one to know about a new feature being launched globally. Well, I wanted to change that.

When I started my role at Deliveroo, I was very lucky to be the first localization manager they’d ever had. There were quite a lot of issues to fix with the workflow. It was seen as too slow, not automated, and complicated.


The Present and Future of Natural Language Processing

By Babita Jain and Hardik Dwivedi

Since COVID-19 began to hold the world in its vice-like grip last year, artificial intelligence (AI), and more specifically its language-related applications where natural nanguage processing (NLP) plays an indisputable role, have become more relevant than ever. There are numerous areas of AI that had to evolve quickly over the past months to keep pace with everyone in the world craving information immediately and on their terms.


You’re Talking to my Dad

By Pushpinder Lubana

These greetings are a sample of what I might encounter on. a given day, both online and in-person. Some fit perfectly and others may not fit well at all, either in the tone or the level of formality or informality, given my cultural upbringing and the context of the interaction.

How we greet someone has a cultural, emotional, and social subtext and says a lot about how we perceive someone.


An Introduction to Religious Language

By Katie Botkin

An Introduction to Religious Language is exactly what it purports to be: a text introducing readers to theolinguistics, or the study of religious language. Written more for students of linguistics than laypeople, it is dense, with some sentences packing a particular punch. “All humans participate in sacred-making,” writes Valerie Hobbs in summary.

Hobbs, a senior lecturer in applied linguistics at the UK’s University of Sheffield, has spent many years studying the topic and interacting with religious texts in various capaci-ties — including some that made her a target of harassment. In 2016, for example, she made headlines in the Evangelical world when, along with blogger Rachel Miller, she uncovered plagiarism in a book authored by Randy Booth and Douglas Wilson, an already-controversial pastor.