Acquisitions Offer Translation Services

By Dennis Callaghan  |  Posted 2002-03-18

Convera Technologies Inc. and Globetech Ventures Corp. are adding new multilingual translation capabilities to their respective software offerings, thanks to recent acquisitions each has made.

Convera this month will make available Version 7.0 of its RetrievalWare search engine with new language modules based on technology acquired from Semantix Inc. earlier this month in a deal valued at $3.5 million.

The Semantix linguistics technology will enable RetrievalWare users to enter a search request in one language and receive relevant result documents in different languages. The combined technology is expected to appeal to certain vertical industries, such as government intelligence, according to officials at Convera, in Vienna, Va.

Semantix Chief Technology Officer and founder Francis Malka is joining Convera as vice president of advanced technologies.

Rob Lancaster, an analyst at The Yankee Group in Boston, said Convera needed to fill a hole in its language processing capabilities to keep up with other search vendors such as AltaVista Co. and Google Inc. "All of those companies are fairly strong in multilanguage capabilities," he said.

But Lancaster said multilanguage capabilities are generally only required by a small percentage of corporate search engine users, particularly in areas such as defense and government, publishing, and multinational retailing.

"I dont know that the need is that huge for this technology," said Lancaster. "Most search engine users are single-language speakers; theyre looking for documents in their own language."

Multilingual capabilities were also central to an acquisition this month in the telephony industry, as Globetech, of Vancouver, British Columbia, announced its intention to purchase communications applications service provider Net 7 Software Inc.

Globetech, the chief funder of Internet-based translation service provider, plans to use Net 7s linguistics technology to offer translation services across multiple messaging channels, including the Internet, the Public Switched Telephone Network and wireless networks, company officials said.

The combined company plans to offer such services as accessing e-mail messages through a telephone in a different language from the original message or translating documents and delivering them to fax machines, Globetech officials said.

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