Local Ethics in a Global World: Where Does Language I/O Fit?

Business ethics is a form of applied ethics or professional ethics, that examines ethical principles and moral or ethical problems that can arise in a business environment. It applies to all aspects of business conduct and is relevant to the conduct of individuals and entire organizations.” Wikipedia

Language I/O is a software company that provides global corporations the ability to communicate with anyone in the world across all e-channels, without knowing their language. One of our end goals is of course making money, but we believe the journey to achieving any monetary threshold is far more important than the threshold itself.

We Choose Our Ethics

Full disclosure. Language I/O is in a very lucky space. We have bootstrapped our operations for years, the stress of that effort borne by our co-founders, Kaarina Kvaavik and Heather Morgan Shoemaker. We’ve had a seed round of funding, but we are majority owned by our co-founders who, oddly enough, also co-founded the LIO #insomnia Slack channel.

“Every day we balance our customers’ current needs and pair them against their future needs,” said Kvaavik, CBO. “Because we’ve been bootstrapped and have been fortunate enough to maintain a customer retention rate above 95 percent, we get to say how our customers are treated. No matter how many books about business are written, it all comes back to the Golden Rule: Treat others the way that you want to be treated.”

Quality and Transparency Are Our Sirens

We’ve had some struggles over the years —no holding back there—but as our customer base grew and our list of Fortune 1,000 clients expanded, we knew that our tech was kicking butt and was here to stay.

Unlike language translation providers, we are a software company. We have proprietary technology that effectively and quickly provides the best translations in the market for messy UGC (User Generated Content) like email and chats. In addition to that, we also automate article translations, all through apps that connect to existing CRMs (customer relationship management) and APIs. Instead of reinventing the wheel and building our own machine translation engine, we’ve integrated with the best machine translation engines in the world and made them even better. We train them to correctly translate company and industry terms and also to recognize hard-to-read user generated content (UGC) like this chat request, “can’ find mi pssswd,” so that it can be translated correctly in more than 150 languages.

Who Hears Our Call?

Companies come to us when they understand how critical multilingual customer service is to their bottom line. Sometimes this happens when they enter a new market or when the cost of finding and retaining multilingual support agents is too steep. Sometimes it happens after an attempt at localization fails and they end up offending customers who speak a certain language.  And sometimes it happens after they have had a negative experience with another software company in our industry.

The Case of Skyrocketing Costs

When you’re in the lucky position of being able to set the direction of your own ethical compass, you get to make the rules. One of ours is to never ever bait and switch. We never have and never will lure you in with false claims and then throw them aside when contract renewal time comes.

We will never increase your costs by 300 percent at renewal time and then negotiate you off of the ledge because it’s Christmas Eve and your KPIs rely heavily on successfully serving an international, non-English speaking market. That’s just not who we are. Just ask our customers, many of them who have been with us since the inception of the company.

We’re mothers, we’re human and we are the majority shareholders in LIO.

How can we put you first?

For more information on how to vet a software company that provides B2C translations, read this article.