Martech Interview with Diego Bartolome, CTO at Language I/O

Diego Bartolome, CTO at Language I/O highlights the most exciting topics in MarTech and gives a sneak peek into their recent developments.

The innovation pace is extremely high and even if many new technologies and solutions fail, leaders need to think outside the box and play with them to learn continuously.

1. Can you give us a brief of your career before Language I/O?
Prior to joining the team at Language I/O, I worked in cognitive services (language, speech, vision and decision) at Microsoft. I’ve spent nearly 17 years understanding and dissecting the intersection of languages and technology to help people and companies communicate in any language. I’ve built cohesive teams to create, improve and scale tech products with a business impact both at my own start-up tauyou and at TransPerfect. I hold a doctorate and master’s degree in electrical engineering and a bachelor’s degree in management and business administration.

2. Could you tell us more about Language I/O and your role there as the CTO?
Language I/O is not a traditional translation company –– it’s a technology company that specializes in translation. This makes it an ideal place for someone like myself with a technical background and a love of languages. The platform allows our customers to provide multilingual customer support to their customers in more than 150 languages over email, article and chat translation. As chief technology officer, my main role is to create the best possible technology while expanding the sales and partnerships teams to increase our market share further.

3. Which industries do you mainly cater to?
It’s difficult to narrow our specialty to a specific industry because Language I/O’s solutions cater to any organization prioritizing connection with its global customer base and enhancing its multilingual customer support efforts. We’ve worked with organizations specializing in anything from travel and retail to sports entertainment and video games.

4. What are the technology solutions that Language I/O offers?
Our translation personalization is driven by our core technology, which intelligently selects the best neural machine translation engine for each request and imposes preferred company translations for product names, industry jargon and slang. By embedding our products into four of the largest customer relationship management systems (CRMs) — Salesforce Service Cloud, Oracle Service Cloud, Zendesk and Service Now — as well as providing an API that can be used within any CRM, our customers can seamlessly provide multilingual customer support to all of their customers. If a company has a different CRM of choice, it can use a recently released browser plugin to leverage Language I/O on any web page.

5. Which pain points do your customers approach you with?
Our customers’ main pain point is providing accurate, efficient multilingual customer support solutions quickly without breaking the bank — that is, with low capital and operational expenditure. One agent and the integration of many languages in less than 24 hours: that’s a very powerful and very unique value proposition.

6. What makes Language I/O unique? How does it stand out from its competitors?
The tech approach at Language I/O is unique and probably the best I’ve seen in the industry. We provide software that enables monolingual customer support teams to chat, email and provide self-service support in over 150 languages in real-time while correctly translating key terminology through a Self-Improving Glossary solution. With our proprietary machine translation technology, we can get teams up and running with accurate, secure translations within 24 hours of signing. Alongside the fast, real-time translation, our commitment to customer data security (ISO-27001-certified and PCI- and GDPR/CCPA-compliant) offers our customers and their consumers the peace of mind that others in the industry can’t.

7. Could you give a sneak peek into the recent developments at Language I/O?
Some exciting improvements that will come this year are related to speech/voice interactions and chatbots and active learning processes for our terminology and translation. We are also improving our real-time engine selection and quality estimation of machine translation. Finally, we are creating datasets (glossaries and sentences) so that it becomes even easier for our customers across several industries to use our platform with the optimum quality.

8. Could you tell us more about your work culture, and what makes Language I/O’s culture unique?
Innovative technology isn’t the only thing that sets us apart at Language I/O — our culture is paving the way for future generations to seamlessly integrate their careers into their lives without the cost of their mental health. Heather Shoemaker, CEO of Language I/O, makes it a priority to offer employees above-average salaries and benefits, letting them know from the start they are appreciated. In addition, Language I/O offers unconventional benefits that promote a healthy work-life balance such as extended maternity/paternity benefits, pet bereavement, health/wellness allowance, fully remote work arrangements, no meetings Fridays, mandatory 15-minute meeting buffers, unlimited PTO, annual all-hands retreats and in-person social events. As a Barcelona-based employee, the flexibility allows me to work within a schedule and time frame that makes sense for me without giving up the ability to be present in my family’s life. By the way, we’ve just come back from the yearly retreat in Jackson, Wyoming, and it was so amazing. Everyone loved it.

9. In your opinion, what are the most exciting topics in MarTech right now? How do you keep up with the constantly changing landscape?
There are a lot of exciting topics in MarTech right now, so I will just mention a couple related to the technologies we work with at Language I/O. It is very hard to keep up with the constantly changing landscape, so I devote a bit of time to reading specialized publications, following thought leaders on social media (Linkedin and Twitter mostly) and tracking general media to stay current on what’s becoming mainstream.
In terms of machine learning and natural language processing, the use of large language models to generate marketing copy is evolving at an impressive rate, thanks to the new trend of prompt engineering. Combining this technology with image generation tools like DALL·E and others will help us improve the content we create via email, websites, blogs, social media and more. And the next step that will come soon is multilingual, AI-generated video to maximize the return on the investment in marketing campaigns. Certainly, these solutions might not be well-suited in all cases, but the potential is high.
Besides the above, omnichannel chatbots are relevant to interacting with customers, as they can adjust to text, speech or video preferences. These chatbots can be personalized for every customer by leveraging previous transactions and other data. With the latest advances, sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between a machine and a person. The first use case is to remove the actions where a person doesn’t add value since people will always be needed in high-touch situations.

10. What is the biggest piece of advice you would want to give to company leaders?
Today, more than ever, any leader should keep up with the newest technology trends related to AI and machine learning.

The innovation pace is extremely high and even if many new technologies and solutions fail, leaders need to think outside the box and play with them to learn continuously.

Once leaders find something that works and enable the business to improve, more resources should be invested to achieve its full potential. Not easy, but worth the effort.

11. Where do your passions lie? What do you think defines you as a person?
Outside of work, I love running. Running every morning helps me organize the day and think about difficult topics, and I need to be away from a computer for that deeper thinking. I do not track how fast or how many miles I run — I just do it for fun. I love having lunch and dinner with my daughters and talking about anything. And one fun fact is that I have been taking creative writing courses, and my goal for 2023 is to finish a novel and a short story. I also love being with good friends and family, listening and always trying to help when anyone needs me.

12. Which motivational quote drives you to achieve more at work?
Maybe two:
Make sure that what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony.
You fail if you don’t try.

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Diego has been working for over sixteen years at the intersection of languages and technology to help people and companies communicate in any language. He has built cohesive teams to create, improve, and scale tech products with a deep business impact both at his own start-up tauyou and at TransPerfect. Prior to Language I/O, he worked on cognitive services (language, speech, vision, and decision) at Microsoft. He holds a PhD and an MS in Electrical Engineering and a Bachelor in Management and Business Administration. He speaks Catalan, Spanish, English, French, and German. Besides languages, he loves running and writing.

Language I/O's software enables monolingual (i.e., English speaking-only) customer support teams to chat, email, and provide self-service support in over 100 languages in real-time. With our unique machine translation technology, we can get your team up and running with accurate, secure translations for your company and industry within 24 hours.
Our GDPR compliant and ISO-27001 certified software integrates with all major customer relationship management systems (CRMs) including Salesforce, Zendesk, and Oracle. By providing translations to your customer service agents in the platforms they already use, we empower them to respond to customer email and chat queries with the click of a button.

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