BabelTop is a startup company that developed an online platform to match clients and translators providing professional translation outsourcing service for enterprises. Cho Eun-byul, CEO of BabelTop, had initially started off her career as a freelance translator after graduating Ewha Graduate School of Translation and Interpretation. However, she noticed the inefficiency of the existing translating market and decided to launch her own company.
“During my two years as a freelance translator, I felt that unnecessary socio-economic costs were arising in the translation market,” Cho said. “This was because the translating agencies high-handedly lower the translation fee due to competition when distributing work to translators. Also, translators are often required to complete a quick task regardless of their schedule or area of expertise, which results in low-quality translations.”
In order to solve this problem, Cho created BabelTop to allow translators and clients to match according to their needs and maximize their satisfaction. The clients will first select the category in which their work belongs to and the language they wish to be translated into. Automatically, the clients will be matched with the most suitable translators through recommended algorithms.
The platform also ensures the work-life balance of freelance translators. When the client uploads the original text on the website, it calculates the word count and the expected time and cost of translation.
“In this way, translators would no longer have to work on urgent translations given to them on the spot and stay up all night or spend the weekend working on them,” Cho added. “I wanted to guarantee an environment where the translators would not only receive more than the minimum wage but also maintain their fundamental rights.”
Cho explained how their system provides a three-way win-win strategy for clients, translators, and the company itself. First, clients would not have to worry about the quality of the translation. They can communicate with the translators through the chat system on a daily basis and minimize miscommunication by giving consistent feedback. The website itself is also programmed to detect poor translation.
For the translators, their workload reduces as jargon is organized in the website’s database and provided to them. Also, as translators are consistently assigned to translate original texts in their specific area of expertise, they become professionals in that field. This not only contributes to their self-development, but also builds a future portfolio.
From both the original text and translations, BabelTop obtains a database, also known as “corpus,” which is a collection of texts that the computer can analyze. Using this database, the translating engine is trained so that it can produce wordlists and provide contextual translation.
With recent concerns regarding the replacement of translators with Artificial Intelligence (AI), Cho replied positively on the prospect of translators.
“The job of a translator requires both mechanical and cognitive abilities,” Cho explained. “While AI does the mechanical work that reduces unnecessary labor, translators are in charge of the high-dimensional skills that require context, insinuations, and idioms. Hence, human translators will be freed from simple labor and use that time instead to develop their own specialized skills.”
Although BabelTop plans on collecting databases and expanding its business for now, it aims to reach the intelligentization of its system by 2021.
“My goal is to provide affordable and high-quality translation for everyone,” Cho concluded. “I hope BabelTop could bring socio-economic value and activate global business.