Lionbridge and Le Monde partner up to offer English news service

Lionbridge announced earlier this week its partnership with Le Monde, a widely read newspaper based in Paris, to launch the newspaper’s English-language version.

The most widely circulated newspaper published in France, Le Monde is often cited as one of the country’s newspapers of record, with a particular emphasis on covering international events. Yet it has not, up until this year, published articles in any language other than French. Working with the Waltham, Massachusetts-based language service provider (LSP), Lionbridge, Le Monde will publish English translations of French articles, in an effort to expand its readership and appeal to a wider international audience.

Le Monde has ambitions to grow substantially and become a leading source of news and perspective for the world,” said Jaime Punishill, chief marketing officer (CMO) of Lionbridge. “To do that they had to transition from French only.”

Le Monde is currently aiming to reach one million subscribers to its print and web versions by 2025. As of April, when the English service was first launched, the paper had a total of 500,000. By offering English-language translations, Punishill says Le Monde is poised to tap into audiences in the United States, Canada, England, and many other English-speaking nations.

“With Le Monde in English, our aim is to accelerate our growing digital subscriber base and eventually have our international audience represent nearly a quarter of our subscribers,” said Louis Dreyfus, CEO of Le Monde.

Given the rapidfire nature of newspaper publishing, translating Le Monde into English is no easy feat. Punishill said one of the main challenges in working on Le Monde’s English-language version is minimizing the amount of time in between the publication of the original French article and its English translation. 

Utilizing Lionbridge’s artificial intelligence (AI)-powered Language Cloud platform, Punishill says the company is able to develop English translations of the newspaper’s content within six hours (for example, this article on the Ukrainian refugee crisis was published just about four and a half hours after the original French article).

“There is no way to do this cost effectively, or at this scale without empowering translators with cutting edge AI,” Punishill said. “Critical to this process is setting up the optimal linguistic assets to ensure close fit to the source content. We work closely with the team of English-speaking journalists to understand their expectations, refine our processes and the tools to improve the automated outcomes and continuously train our translators.”

Andrew Warner
Andrew Warner is a writer from Sacramento. He received his B.A. in linguistics and English from UCLA and is currently working toward an M.A. in applied linguistics at Columbia University. His writing has been published in Language Magazine, Sactown Magazine, and The Takeout.


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