Interview: Tony Sailer of Enterpret on mobile translation

October 25, 2007 at 6:59 am

entrepid.pngUnless you’re a science fiction character, you can’t yet speak into your mobile phone in one language and be heard in another language. But companies such as Enterpret are making mobile translation easier. We talked with Tony Sailer, founder and CEO of Enterpret, which has four employees based in San Diego, California, about the challenges and successes of his product, the Enterpreter.

How does the Enterpret mobile translator work?
Sailer: The Enterpreter places a thin client application on a user’s mobile phone. The application is a Web 2.0 mobile application that accesses a robust translation data base to deliver translations to the phone.

Who was the Enterpreter designed for?
Sailer: The Enterpreter can be used by travelers, people studying a new language and can also be used to communicate casually with people who do not fluently speak a user’s native language.

What did you learn from your previous experience with translation tools and with the US Latino market?
Sailer: That the mantra in the translation industry is accuracy. Consumers want a product that they can rely upon and recommend to their friends and business associates.

What are the greatest challenges with mobile translation?
Sailer: The two greatest challenges we face is providing accurate translation on a regional basis and how to deliver options to the end user that will accommodate this challenge. Spanish for Mexico is not the same as Spanish for Argentina, and the same would apply for US English and UK English. Each region has subtle nuances that need to be accounted for when making translations.

What distinguishes you from your competitors?
Sailer: We stand apart from the competition because our translation database is hosted off of the mobile device. Since we don’t rely upon the limitation of the phone’s memory, we can provide the largest English Spanish mobile translation database, with over 600,000 words in each direction. We also have a unique feature that allows the user to make real time translations and communicate exactly what is being said, as opposed to being limited to pre-determined words and phrases.

How does Enterpret compare with mobile products such as ECTACO or Systran?
Sailer: Both ECTACO and Systran have excellent products. Enterpret’s database is stored off device which allows us to continually update and make changes that are viewable on the user’s device when they are made. We also offer free upgrades to the program whenever we add in new functionality.

Does your Web 2.0 interface make your product work better as well as look better?
Sailer: Because we are a Web 2.0 mobile application, we can provide so much more functionality and versatility than those devices that store the data on the device. Also, because of the limited storage capability of mobile devices, the only way to provide our level of functionality and accuracy is through a Web 2.0 application.

What can the Enterpreter do for me on a Blackberry or Symbian S60 that it can’t do on another 2g/3g phones with internet access?
Sailer: We launched the Enterpreter on Blackberry since, as a smart phone, it has wide acceptance and is broadly used by our target audience. We have now ported the Enterpreter to J2ME and BREW devices. Our next version will include Palm and Windows Mobile devices. Once this expansion is complete we will have the ability to deliver the Enterpreter to all main devices and operating systems. Obviously, using the Enterpreter is easier on smart phones with a QWERTY keyboard, but will also work very well with feature phones that have Internet access.

What languages do you plan to introduce next? What are your future plans?
Sailer: The next languages that we plan to introduce will be bundled into our “European Pack”, which will be comprised of French, Italian, German, Portuguese, and of course, English and Spanish.

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Entry filed under: ectaco, enterpret, interview, mobile applications, mobile content, mobile translation services, systran, tony sailer.

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