Artificial intelligence is saving companies hundreds of thousands of pounds by cutting the cost of translation services in half, according to a senior figure in the industry. Christian Arno, founder and president of Edinburgh-based Lingo24, said that the use of AI was also reducing the time it takes to get products to market by 75%.

Faster translations are also filtering through to quicker revenue growth, with customers reporting an average increase of 44% in international sales, he said. His comments came as Lingo24 prepares for the official launch of Agility Multichannel Connector – which offers seamless and automated translation from Agility’s PIM system – today at the B2B Next Conference in Chicago.

Lingo24 has spent the past three years working with some of the fastest growing business-to-business (B2B) companies to develop its latest innovation.

Arno said: “AI is no longer some far-off fantasy from science fiction films like The Matrix or Interstellar – it’s already here and is already saving our clients hundreds of thousands of pounds. The firms with the fastest-growing B2B ecommerce revenues are using AI-enabled translation to cut their costs, speed up their time to market and, ultimately, grow their sales.

“But that doesn’t mean that computers or robots are taking over – we’ve found that the best results come when we combine the skills and experience of our talented translators with the latest AI-enabled computer technology to speed up repetitive tasks. Combining the best of both human translators and AI is a very powerful tool for our clients.”

Arno points to the time and costs savings made for clients when it comes to creating product catalogues. A typical catalogue might contain 50,000 products, with around 10% of them being replaced each year.

With 100 words of description for each product and ten languages into which the document needs to be translated, the cost of traditional translation work using no technology can soon stack up to several hundreds of thousands. Clients that opt for AI-enabled translation services are typically saving between 40% and 45%, a potential annual benefit of more than £300,000, the company said in a statement.

Some of Lingo24’s customers that have taken part in the trial stages of the new service have saved even more, it said. In 18 months, a global electronics distributor halved the time it took to launch products globally from four weeks to two weeks – with that figure coming down to just one week this year. Another client – an international specialist in plastic, fibre, foam and packaging products, which operates in 33 countries – reduced its cost per translated word by up to 50%.

Lingo24 was founded in 2001 and now has seven offices spread across Edinburgh, London, Amsterdam in the Netherlands, Auckland in Australia, Cebu in the Philippines, Panama City in Panama, and Timisoara in Romania, “serving clients 24 hours a day, seven days a week”. The company employs around 170 staff and has more than 4,000 translators working for it around the world.