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01 Feb

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Insight Through Global Communication

February 1, 2011 | By | No Comments

As the web becomes more intelligent, it’s important for business to become more intelligent about the web. A recent case-in-point is the initiative by language translation and dictionary software company Babylon to become the “Quora for Linguistics.” It’s a lofty goal to create a global forum for real-time, online translation and communication, as well as generate the same social impact as Quora which just earned the Crunchie Start-Up of the Year Award (Though Quora has its detractors, Vivek Wadhwa among them as noted in his Techcrunch post, Why I Don’t Buy The Quora Hype. But more on that later.).

Babylon has 72 million members that can galvanize into a “linguistics community;” another indication of the connectedness of the global media ecosystem. Perhaps as importantly, this initiative has the potential to create a global conversation spot – merging and translating scores of languages into one-stop arena for information and intelligence, and perhaps closing the gap on miscommunication.

What does this mean for business? If indeed Babylon is on its way to, potentially, establishing a forum for global communication, it means smoothing translation bumps and creating, potentially, a window to the world for any business that has global aspirations or is currently doing business in more than one country. That means more, better business intelligence for companies. The web is littered with the cultural shrapnel of international marketing messages that exploded in translation. At the least, a linguistics community can mean better marketing insights. More importantly, the Babylon move signifies another shift in the way people can communicate across the globe and creates a great opportunity for savvy companies to monitor this conversation and derive actionable business intelligence – the voice of the customer heard, deciphered, and analyzed  – no matter what the language.

There are always issues as companies ride digital rails into new cultures, now there appears to be a tool that can smooth that ride and, in turn, give great insight into what the global customer is discussing.  Babylon’s objective is another good reason for companies to pay attention to what’s being said online.

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