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

translation services.

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?"

Telelingua USA, 46 Sayre Drive, Plainsboro 08536. Lionel

Mellet, CEO. 609-951-9511; fax, 609-951-0550. Home page:

www.telelingua.com


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