State of the Union: The Next Generation of NLP


In 1968, during the height of the Cold War, our nation’s intelligence organizations and military were working to decipher and understand Russian communication threads coming through their offices. Answering the call, SYSTRAN was born. We provided the vital translation software that our nation’s security forces required in order to do their job effectively.

Back then, we were providing our services through the IBM mainframe. Thankfully technology got smaller and more advanced, allowing SYSTRAN to move into several different areas. With the advent of the PC, we developed a product that people can use on the desktop, translating text into 130+ language combinations, enabling real-time multilingual communication across the globe.

Then recently, just in the last decade, we experienced further advancements through the smartphone. Speech recognition software along with the smartphone provided a plethora of breakthroughs. For example, SYSTRAN developed S-Translator, the official translation solution on the Samsung Galaxy S and Note series. Now if you’re in a taxi in Korea you can use your phone to tell someone where to go without speaking a word of the native language.

The Next Evolution:

Now we are embarking on our next chapter as a company with the release of, a platform of all the capabilities of SYSTRAN’s software, broken down into a development kit. This allows start-ups to large corporations to utilize for their own businesses the same language technology that our enterprise customers have had for decades.

The biggest challenge I’ve seen in my 20 years in the language industry is supporting multilingual communication. If you hire someone to do translations for you, it’s a skill and an art and as such deserves to be well compensated. It’s expensive.

Today, however, with there is another solution. Small and medium-sized businesses just starting up can go global straight away. Companies of any size now have the ability to tap into our powerful tools from language identification to name recognition of places, people, timelines, and more to enable automatic, real-time translations within their applications.

Imagine this: I’m a small company selling my homemade jewelry on an e-commerce platform. I only speak English and Spanish, but someone has made an inquiry in Japanese. But I don’t have to worry. The platform I’m using to sell my goods has tapped into to develop a simple translation application so that I can type in my own language and have it automatically sent to my customers in their language. I can now provide the same level of service to my international customers as I do to my local community.


Ways to Use

This is just one example. We have seen in action in several ways already:

Real-time Multilingual Conversations- We recently experienced how can enable real-time multilingual conversations in chat, messaging and forum environments. With an integration into Slack, a leading communication platform for globally distributed teams, colleagues in different countries who speak different languages can have a conversation in real-time. Both the sender and recipient can type and receive messages in their native language. Key decision makers will never be left out of a conversation now simply because they don’t understand the language.

Enabling User OEM Capability- Hardware manufacturers can now utilize to create OEM software to give users a built-in translation solution. Like the Samsung S-Translator I mentioned earlier, Apple has also created a translation service for its desktop computers. That tool processes hundreds of millions of translations each month.

Understanding Social Media Sentiment- Today many big companies only understand what is being said about their brand on social media in a specific language. There are often several teams looking after individual languages. Conversations in France are just as important as those in Spain. What companies struggle with most is looking at user generated content horizontally to find trends in what people all over the world are saying. enables people to look at conversations across the web in multiple languages and pull all threads together. More importantly, with natural language processing we can now understand the sentiment behind these comments to truly understand what the collective brand audience is saying.

The full implications and uses of a tool such as are still being explored and discovered, but these are just a few ways we expect it to be used to communicate with and analyze a multilingual community.


The Next Language Frontier is just the first step in making technology that was previously only available at a certain price point available to everyone – but there is definitely more to come.

The future is moving from the ability to simply write in a different language to speaking it as well. We’re already experiencing the first stages of this technology: my car reads my texts and I can send a text back through my car. How do we do that across multiple languages? How can we communicate vocally with a global audience?

We don’t have the answers just yet, but is a promising step towards making natural language processing technology available to anyone. With this kind of technology available to all developers, customer experience companies, multi-national marketing departments, social media and marketing technology companies, we have only had a glimpse of what we can do. We expect to see new, intelligent uses of our technology that will no doubt continue to make our massive global community smaller and more accessible every day.

Click to download State of the Union – The Next Generation of NLP

Huffington Post Interview with Ken Behan – Have Multilingual Customers? Here’s a Solution for You

This article was originally published on The Huffington Post  Have Multilingual Customers? Here’s a Solution for You (Interview With Ken Behan)


“Languages are intriguing and challenging at the same time”

As kids we were always intrigued by the way Google Translator worked. While it translated those famous French quotes for us, there were limitations which even Google couldn’t surpass. Since then, language has been a barrier— hindering our global crusades. Be it a worldwide competition or business meetups across countries, a common language would have been the best idea which sadly is pretty hard thing to materialize.

Even readers at the Huffingtonpost must have had difficulties with other country specific domains, offering great pieces of work which couldn’t be accessed— owing the language barrier.

Here we interview Ken Behan, Vice President, SYSTRAN Software Inc. and understand what sort of challenges we face when it comes to a multilingual platform like the Internet. We will be asking him about the process involved with translations and analysis apart from the levels of accuracy. Lastly, he will be talking about the company and what purposes it can serve, towards the common good of this society.


So let’s get started:

Q-  What do you think are some important things to think about when entering the global economy for the first time?

  • Thanks to the internet, today’s start-ups are born Global, but while that presents a huge opportunity for companies, it also comes with one big headache – the barrier of language.

Areas that need particular attention are

  • Build your website with languages other than English in mind as words expand by up to 16% in other languages & Asian character sets need to be supported
  • Some colors and symbols don’t work or even may be offensive in some countries, be cautious with images
  • Be clear which languages you can support and be ready to receive tech support mails in multiple languages
  • Have a strategy for Multilingual IM chat and be aware that some cultures still prefer telephone support

Q- How should you modify your marketing approach when expanding to a different country?

  • One of the challenges Marketers face is not having a real sense of culture or experiencing day-to-day living in the target market. Simple things like checking if your product tag line works (Pepsi’s famous “Brings you back from the grave” in China comes to mind!)  is important, as well as obtaining local knowledge in relation to product functionality (4G is a benefit only if the local network supports it).

Make as much content available as possible; while it is important to have high quality marketing materials, support documents are really useful even if the quality is not perfect. A large Software Corporation Executive told me recently that they were surprised to find an 80% satisfaction rating with content that was produced using Machine Translation, on further examination it transpired that compared to having no documentation at all their customers really appreciated the effort the company made, so maybe it’s true – something is always better than nothing at all.   

Q- is open to the public now, what spurred this?

  • SYSTRANS’s technology has been developed over the last 48 years and, as its origin is a rule-based engine, we do many things that is now fashionably called “Natural Language Processing.”

We have also witnessed a huge growth in companies that need components of what we do but don’t want to commit to an enterprise license or cannot currently achieve an ROI for such an investment. For these customers, offers an opportunity to either test a concept or develop a specific application without the cost and approval overhead that is usually associated with enterprise applications.

Q- What types of companies can benefit from using this technology?

Three specific cohorts will benefit most from

  • SME’s that have developed an application for the global market, but need to support their product can build simple email translation templates and IM functionality into their product so their support staff can be language “superheroes” and interact with their customers in their language  
  • Entrepreneurs who recognize the challenge language brings and wish to take advantage of the huge potential in both cross language communication and analysis. One such individual spoke at the launch of regarding his amazing app that enabled IM chat in 50 language combinations using our platform
  • Marketing Departments in large corporations who need to understand what is being said on Social Networks across languages can use for everything from Sentiment Analysis to social media monitoring, giving them the power to understand and react across 50 languages

Q- How accurate are the translations from complex languages like Mandarin?

  • Evaluating the quality of a translation is one of the more difficult things to do due to the subjective nature of language review. It is true that rarely, even with a trained engine will a machine provide the quality associated with human translation. But what may be surprising is that MT does its best work in complex environments such as e-Discovery where the challenge is to find patterns across language threads in emails and messages that would be impossible to find manually. Equally, team collaboration via tools such as Slack work really well when you deploy a language BOT and open up the possibility of collaboration between teams across the globe.

Q- How can you spark conversation via social media or content without native speakers?

  • Chabots are the latest social media buzz concept that many see as the way forward for opening up the possibility of creating real connections with technology. One growth area we are seeing at SYSTRAN is the use of language BOT that enables social media platforms (and anywhere User Generated Content is created) to become truly global by eliminating language “silos” and allowing anyone to communicate with others in any language. This is only a short step away from Voice to Voice communication in any language which will be common place in 5 years’ time.

Q-What do you see as the future for expanding globally for small businesses as far as acclimating to new cultural norms?

  • Globalization has brought many changes to the way we live and work today. It was a common held belief at the start of this century that English would be the dominant business language and that consumers would adapt. Although this theory still holds some merit, what was not foreseen was the demand by consumers to speak (and read) in their native tongue even though they understand English. The impact of this on SME’s can be significant, and those that embrace the culture of their customers and speak to them in their language will prosper the most.

Unlike in previous decades, the technology to do this is now readily available at a price point that is bearable to SME’s who should be able to compete and be nimble against their large corporate completion.


About Ken Behan

Ken Behan is Vice President, Sales & Marketing, for SYSTRAN Software Inc, a pioneer in Language Technology since 1968; SYSTRAN provides defense and security organizations as well as leading global companies with the technology they need to listen, understand and react in 128 languages.

Ken is responsible for defining and implementing the growth strategy for SYSTRAN who have a global presence in the US, Europe and Asia. With 20 years’ experience in the language intelligence industry he is considered a thought leader in Natural Language Processing having held several Senior Executive roles within the industry.

A native of Ireland he is also a serial entrepreneur as well as business mentor to several Irish Start-ups.


This article was published on The Huffington Post by Zak Mustapha. 

Have Multilingual Customers? Here’s a Solution for You (Interview With Ken Behan)


The Top Security Threats Exposed in the First Half of 2016

Heading into 2016 there has been an increased awareness of the threat of possible data breaches and IT security threats worldwide. Following a challenging 2015 that was characterized by multiple large retailers experiencing massive data breaches as well as federal security threats, it is thought that more than 16,000 cyber attacks will be attempted in 2016. The Federal Government recently released the 2016 Data Threat Report which collated data from IT experts and government entities to discuss and ranks the biggest security threats. The study found that 90 percent of those surveyed believed their organizationwas vulnerable to a data breach. Of that 90 percent, 61 percent experienced a data breach including 1 in 5 within the past year. That is a startlingly high assessment for the experts charged with keeping the nation’s data secure. We took a look at the top security threats exposed early in 2016 to help your company identify arising security challenges, possibly within your own organization. Here is what we found:


Securing Healthcare Information

In February of 2016 the California Attorney General’s office issued a strong warning to consumers and IT industry leaders alike about the need for increased security around healthcare data. Now that more healthcare providers and insurance companies are relying on a shared network of medical data, there is significant concern about a data breach that would reveal not just social security numbers and other identifying information, but also private information about an individual’s health and well-being.


Flaws in Mobile Apps

In an effort to get the younger generation to buy into traditional savings and investment plans, a number of financial firms have developed mobile-friendly apps that allow people to invest their money on the go with the help of robo-advisors. While the end result has been a positive increase in the number of Millennials getting actively involved in saving and investing, there is also a reason for concern that there are hundreds of thousands of transactions taking place through apps that have not necessarily been tested for security.

In fact, one security report estimates that 25 percent of mobile apps include at least one high-risk security flaw. On average consumers are using mobile apps like these to connect with more than 150 unique servers a day, often using unencrypted data. There will be a boost in awareness as retailers and other service providers continue to integrate mobile apps with their day to day business operations.


Internal Threats from Lack of Training

The U.S. Federal Government’s 2016 Data Threat Report noted that the single biggest threat was not outside hackers but a skill shortage among the “wetware” of the system. That is, companies and governments lacked qualified personnel and training regarding proper security protocols. Until these deficiencies are addressed, data breaches will continue to be the norm.

Ironically, the biggest data breaches result not from support staff, but from the privileged manager or executive. These individuals have far greater access to internal systems and data than most employees. One of the most scandalous breaches of 2015, the Sony leak, resulted when several executives handed over their log-in credentials. It’s important to train all staff on proper handling of sensitive data to prevent breaches from occurring from internal sources.

The one bright spot in the report is that 53 percent noted an increase in funding to address data security issues.

Reduce Points of Access

A study from the Attorney General’s office found that while the majority of data breaches were caused by malware or hacking, approximately 17 percent are caused by errors, such as misdelivery (via email, for example) and inadvertent exposure on the internet.

SYSTRAN is unique among translators because its software operates behind your firewalls. It does not need the cloud to operate which reduces the points of access to your systems. This is critical to address the ongoing skills shortages as SYSTRAN provides secure translations for all of your employees. The fewer opportunities for employees to access unauthorized emails or websites from company computers and exposing them to the external web, the less likely you will experience a data breach.

Learn more about SYSTRAN translation software for customer service and support at:

Click to download The Top Security Threats Exposed in the First Half of 2016



6 Powerful Tips For Effective & Efficient Multi-Language Customer Support


This gallery contains 12 photos.

1. Increase your deflection rate by translating your self-service knowledge centers into multiple languages. 2. Improve satisfaction with the self-service experience by setting expectations up front. 3. Scale customer service into new regions by supporting additional languages. 4. Respond to … Continue reading

SYSTRAN and PETIT FUTE, rewarded at the Digital Innovation Challenge for their Ready2go! project

A brand new travel guide and translator coming soon

Systran et Petit Fute logos

SYSTRAN and PETIT FUTE’s Ready2go! project, an innovative mobile application for tourists from all over the world, has been rewarded at the 3rd edition of Digital Innovation Challenge supervised by the General Commission for Investment (CGI), and backed by the Directorate General for Enterprise (DGE) and Bpifrance.


The Digital Innovation Challenge rewards projects based on new technologies, innovative uses, disruptive business models, etc. In this 3rd edition, 79 projects were reviewed, 34 audited and 18 rewarded. The ceremony took place on June 16th in the presence of Axelle Lemaire, French Secretary of State for the Digital Economy.


Crédit photo : mein-DHSimon

Continue reading

At ISS World South Africa, SYSTRAN will showcase its MT and NLP solutions for Intelligence

At ISS World South Africa 2016, held in Johannesburg, from 10 to 12 of July, SYSYRAN will showcase its machine translation and Natural Language Processing solutions dedicated to Intelligence Community.

FlyerISSWorldSouthAfricaISS World South Africa is the world’s largest gathering of Southern Africa Law Enforcement, Intelligence and Homeland Security Analysts as well as Telecom Operators responsible for Lawful Interception, Hi-Tech Electronic Investigations and Network Intelligence Gathering (see the official website).

SYSTRAN will attend as a key technological provider of National Security agencies, Military Intelligence services, Law Enforcement Agencies, and Criminal intelligence units. SYSTRAN offers secured and offline translation servers which can easily be integrated in your existing intelligence platforms. In short, SYSTRAN, as a Natural Language Processing expert, facilitates Big Data processing in more than 45 foreign languages and ensures information security.

Continue reading

Join SYSTRAN at the 1st Hackaton on NLP @Google Paris Office on Euro 2016 thematic !

During the joint conference JEP-TALN-RECITAL 2016, will take place at Google Paris office, from July 2nd to July 4th, the first edition of a hackathon dedicated to NLP (Natural Language Processing), co-organised by research centre in “Text, Computing and Multilingualism”.

The aim is to bring the community around data and software tools to exchange, model, prototyper, coding, implement, develop, test, assess… and much more!

The tasks proposed concern the event detection and implementation of dialogue management system. The thematic selected is Euro 2016, which will bring a practical application case, data (tweets and structured data) and could also make possible real time experiences.
SYSTRAN, the leading provider of language translation technlogies, organizes the event detection session and will award a special price for the winner.

Detailed program and registration here (in French).

Hackatal July 2-4, Paris

SYSTRAN co-organise le 1er Hackathon dédié au traitement automatique des langues !

Dans le cadre de la conférence jointe JEP-TALN-RECITAL 2016, aura lieu la première édition de HackaTAL du 2 au 4 juillet 2016, un hackathon sur des problématiques liées au traitement automatique des langues, co-organisé par l’équipe de recherche ERTIM. L’objectif est de réunir la communauté autour de données et de briques logicielles pour échanger, modéliser, prototyper, coder, implémenter, développer, expérimenter, tester, évaluer… et bien plus encore !

Les tâches proposées concernent la détection d’événements et l’implémentation de système de gestion de dialogue. La thématique retenue est l’Euro 2016, ce qui permettra d’apporter un cas d’application pratique, des données (tweets et données structurées) et pourrait également rendre possible des expériences en quasi-temps-réel.

SYSTRAN, leader des technologies de traduction automatique, organise la session consacrée à la détection d’événements et remettra un prix spécial au vainqueur.

Programme détaillé et inscription ici.

Hackatal-2-4 juillet 2016

VOCAPIA and SYSTRAN demonstrate an automated speech translation solution at EUROSATORY 2016

In the context of EUROSATORY exhibition, SYSTRAN and VOCAPIA are demonstrating how they combined their language processing technologies to provide Intelligence professionals with an automated speech translation solution available in more than 45 languages.


Continue reading