WHEN LANGUAGE MEETS TECHNOLOGY

story-k.jpg

During its 30-year history, Lingsoft has continued to evolve and diversify: from a research laboratory to a language technology supplier, from a translation agency to a full-service language management company, from a language sector multitalent to a language management partner and creator of linguistic digitalisation solutions.

Lingsoft 1.0: World-class technological innovation

Lingsoft's roots run deep in academic research. In 1986, the company was founded by language technology pioneers Kimmo Koskenniemi and Fred Karlsson from the University of Helsinki. They succeeded in developing a language-independent model for the recognition and production of word forms and a language structure analysis model that remains the de facto industry standard throughout the world. Thanks to the spelling and grammar check functions of the Microsoft Office suite, Lingsoft's structural analysis model has become the go-to tool in 21 languages for over tens of millions of writers all over the world. 

With their pioneering innovations, Koskenniemi and Karlsson were already navigating the waters of digitalisation and the new economy way back when the digital world that we are now living in was nothing more than a blip in the radar. You could say that Lingsoft 1.0 was truly ahead of its time.

Lingsoft 2.0: Machine meets man

Lingsoft 2.0 was created when Juhani Reiman's translation agency, Pasanet Oy, acquired the struggling Lingsoft in 2002. This resulted in a fusion of unparalleled language technology expertise with rock-solid experience in the production of individualised, forward-thinking language services. 

Lingsoft remained active in its technological developments and turned its innovations into language tools and software for consumers. In addition to this, the company doubled its efforts to apply its technologies in its language services, particularly in the production of translation services. This marked the beginning of an ambitious campaign to change professions into processes: quality and productivity would no longer be solely reliant on the skills of an individual translator or expert, but rather on the institutional capabilities of the organisation as a whole. 

Lingsoft also updated its own work methods while developing its service processes. The use of automation and Lingsoft's proprietary solutions made it possible to provide language services even more quickly, effectively and with a higher level of quality, thus giving the company a considerable competitive edge and accelerating its growth from one year to the next.

Lingsoft 3.0: Value from language management solutions

Today, Lingsoft's software products have taken a back seat: Lingsoft's innovative technologies have been integrated into its service production process and the company is focusing on providing more comprehensive solutions. However, Lingsoft 3.0 has still stayed true to its roots. Its language structure analysis technology remains at the core of its language tools and solutions and, in this age of digital information, has proven more topical than ever when it comes to the mining and analysis of large volumes of linguistic data. 

In addition to its linguistic technologies, Lingsoft's roots also extend to machine learning: Gurusoft, the company founded by the grand old man of machine learning, Teuvo Kohonen, is part of the Lingsoft Group. Lingsoft utilises machine learning and deep neural networks in for example automatic speech recognition, machine translation and text mining. Over the years, Lingsoft's expertise in solutions and language technologies has been enriched by the acquisition of such companies as Ellibs, ImageTalk, Suomen Puheentunnistus, The English Centre Helsinki, Lingonet and Agentum. 

Lingsoft's translation services still constitute its biggest business sector, one that we are constantly developing. In addition to translations, our services include other language services, such as localisation, content production, medical transcription, transcription, programme subtitling, AV translations and terminology management. We still refuse to settle for the ordinary − our mission is to revolutionise language and expert work. We want to get people and machines to work together, thus allowing experts to focus their time and efforts on more meaningful tasks and create new kinds of work.

Indeed, language management expert services constitute a significant part of the services that we now offer. Our goal is to work together with our clients and find out how we can use language technologies and service innovations to solve the challenges related to the production, management and utilisation of information. How can we best design a service as well as plan and implement a comprehensive solution that will ultimately generate the most value for our client? Is it enough to quickly convert speech into text using a speech recognition solution, or is it more important to analyse, enrich or visualise the contents of the text itself? Do we want to produce just a discrete, online ontology, or could one be integrated with various information systems as a seamless part of a more extensive enterprise architecture? We are becoming an increasingly comprehensive solutions provider and we are engaging in deeper and deeper partnerships.

Lingsoft 4.0: Language digitalisation, the language of digitalisation  

Lingsoft 4.0 is a partner that generates value for its clients. We want to conceptualise and create digital solutions that are based on the enrichment, refinement and utilisation of language capital. Whether the challenge is about multilingualism, interactivity, accessibility, discoverability, productivity, efficiency or quality, our primary focus is always on language: text, speech and meaning. 

We actively participate in the development of the language industry by attending collaborative forums, and we are developing new technologies and value innovations in co-operation with universities, higher education institutions and research institutes, both in Finland and in international co-operative projects. Our eye is on the future.

During its 30-plus-year history, Lingsoft has grown to become one of the largest language industry players in Finland and the Nordic countries. In 2018, Lingsoft employs nearly 150 people, and our partner network includes almost 2,000 freelance experts and subcontractors from various fields. In 2017, the Lingsoft Group's turnover rose to almost EUR 12 million. Juhani Reiman is still the majority owner and CEO of Lingsoft.

You can read more about Lingsoft's story and about the innovative history of the entire language technology industry in Lingsoft's 30th anniversary book, Kieli ja uusi talous. You can download it free of charge on the Ellibs e-bookstore, which is a subsidiary of Lingsoft.