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How’s everyone’s August looking? 

Up for some weekend reading?

Here’s some of the great stuff we shared with each other this month. Perfect reads from the rebellious academics, failed philosophers, restless souls, frustrated artists, and all-round geeks that make up the Unbabel team.

Every day at Unbabel we handle tens of thousands of translation requests across all kinds of content. Whether it’s directly via our API and customer order forms, or through one of our platform integrations like Salesforce and Zendesk, be it business critical or a low priority chat message, we must guarantee that all of that data stays private and safe. 

To do so, we have built several layers of protection which are continuously monitored and improved upon. 

At Unbabel we’re avid users of Slack, coordinating hundreds of overlapping workstreams, keeping the growing team of a multinational startup all on the same page, and generally living out our internal culture: one that values continuous learning about the areas we work in and on, and seeks to discover new and better ways to work.

As we’ve grown, more voices have been added to one of our channels, #worth_reading rebellious academics, failed philosophers, restless souls, frustrated artists, and all-round geeks— and we think the collective curation here has now become a resource worth sharing more widely. 

So let’s look at what we shared this month: 

Building the world’s translation layer is a fantastic mission. For us, that means becoming a transversal and pervasive service which can remove communication barriers anywhere, anytime, using a combination of artificial intelligence technologies (machine translation and an assortment of machine learning mechanisms) and a growing global community of bilinguals. 

This also means ingesting, processing and distributing a massive amount of data per second while guaranteeing that our customers’ standards for quality and speed are met. 

Translation services have traditionally been offered on a cost-per-word basis; and there are good reasons why. It’s transparent: we all agree on what words are, and it’s clear that more words require more effort. But if we look a little deeper, it doesn’t align well with the changing world.

Charging by the word is not new. In fact, part of the reason that we think it’s outdated is that the best example of charging by the word comes from 100 years ago the telegram. Because customers hated being charged by the word, a pioneer named Nelson E Ross carefully put together a guide to all the sneaky ways to avoid word fees while still communicating effectively. 

What if you found yourself in the middle of a crisis – and the only information available to you was in a language you couldn’t understand?

It’s a desperate thought, and yet one which is all too common. Natural disasters don’t respect borders. And we live in a globalised world where we travel, trade and make our homes in many other countries. In fact, practically every crisis will be affected by a language barrier.

Here at Unbabel, we want to enable everyone to understand and be understood, in any language. And that includes Salvador Sobral, Portugal’s first ever winner of the Eurovision Song Contest! 🇵🇹

Fuelled by Super Bock and Doritos, Unbabel’s marketing team banded together to create this little site with subtitles and lyrics (written by his sister, Luisa Sobral) for their beautiful song, Amar Pelos Dois, in 17 languages — all translated with Unbabel.

An article by Brandon Deer, originally published at OpenView Labs – “A Conversation on the Future of AI with Unbabel’s Vasco Pedro

Vasco Pedro has always been fascinated with language and the window it provides to how we process information. His undergrad studies focused on artificial intelligence and computational linguistics, and then he went to earn his master’s and PhD in natural language processing at Carnegie Mellon. Throughout his education, Vasco explored the fundamentals of how we think, how consciousness arises, and the core AI aspects of language.