Corrections or additions?
These articles by Barbara Fox were prepared for the January 7,
2004 issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Telelingua: Virtual Translations With a Global Reach
Lionel Mellet moved to Princeton to be vice president of technology
for Berlitz International on Alexander Road, where he designed and
implemented the technology for 400 global learning centers. When
Berlitz sold off the translation division in order to focus on its
language services, Mellet landed on his feet – he opened an American
branch of a Brussels-based translation company. He shares ownership of
Telelingua US with the parent holding company, founded in 1985 under
the name Translate International.
From his small office on Sayre Drive, in the heart of pharmaceutical
country, Mellet can use the Web to tap the services of any translator
worldwide. When it comes to meeting with clients, it’s easy to take a
train to New York or Washington, both fertile territories for
Telelingua’s customers include IBM, Microsoft, Sony, the graphic arts
industry (Canon, Epson, etc.), but the United States division focuses
on the pharmaceutical industry (GlaxoSmithKline, Baxter, Novartis,
etc.) Controlled by the Boucau family, the holding company has one
branch in Paris (Telelingua France, formerly Active Text), and a
laboratory (Telelingua Software), partly owned by the Catholic
University of Louvain, is located in Louvain-la-Neuve in Belgium. With
annual revenues of more than $10 million, the company has just 70
full-time employees, with most of the translators working on a
freelance basis from their homes.
Telelingua gets its competitive edge from a time-saving web-based
software platform, T-Remote Memory (TRM), which lets translators in
diverse locations collaborate on a project in real time. No matter
what software format they use, they can simultaneously tap the same
translation memories, which lets them slash their work time. Other
translation companies use various kinds of text recognition software,
but TRM is built to take advantage of the Internet.
Mellet explains that with his software program, the translators can
call up parts of the manuscript segment by segment. "It’s like a brick
wall where the bricks can be taken out, changed, and a different brick
put back." He claims that this technology cuts the standard
administration fee from 10 percent to 5 percent.
Lionel Mellet would seem to have been made for the translation
business. He was born in Morocco, where his father was the naval
attache for France, and he and his seven siblings moved frequently,
studying French, Latin, and Greek at French schools in Montreal,
finishing up at Mamaroneck High School.
He put himself through college, State University of New York, while
raising a family. His wife, Cecelia, also works with the company. But
he got his first job in translation by pure accident – through
connections in the horse world. "I was living in Middletown and riding
horses professionally – hunters and jumpers. There he met the man who
launched Logos Corporation, a now-defunct company that was attempting
to use computers to translate from English to French, and he worked
there from 1978 to 1987.
Also he ran the translation group for Unisys in Blue Bell,
Pennsylvania, and from 1987 to 1995 directed Unisys’ international
center in Europe.
Mellet moved to Princeton to be vice president of technology for
Berlitz International, where he met Hector Baraona. "We both had
translations in our blood," says Baraona.
Baraona was born in Chile, and his father is now a gastroenterologist
at Mt. Sinai Hospital. He graduated from Columbia University in 1982
as a computer systems engineer. At Berlitz Global Net he was director
of operations in Latin America and southeast Asia.
"For the time being our software is our exclusive tool. We have had a
number of significant inquiries about buying it, but right now it is
our competitive edge," says Mellet. "Why would we sell it?"
Mellet, CEO. 609-951-9511; fax, 609-951-0550. Home page:
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