SAN MATEO (04/25/2000) - The promise of e-business globalization received a jump-start Tuesday, when ASP (application service provider) Uniscape Inc. partnered with Internet ad giant Doubleclick Inc. to enable Doubleclick to localize ad campaigns in French and German.
Meanwhile, Uniscape also unveiled its Globalization Infrastructure for eBusiness, a software platform aimed at creating multilingual, multicultural e-businesses.
Preston Dodd, senior analyst with New York-based Jupiter Communications Inc., called the Doubleclick-Uniscape partnership significant because it adds credibility to globalization initiatives.
"When you start getting the Doubleclicks of the world involved, it's the type of thing you need to see for legitimacy in the marketplace. It's still a nascent market, but the technologies are catching up," Dodd said.
According to Gartner Group Inc., global e-businesses are in for a huge growth spurt, with more than half the business-to-consumer and business-to-business share of the marketplace happening outside of North America by 2003.
Yet Eric Schmitt, analyst with Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Forrester Research Inc., found that even among global Fortune 100 companies, few have made the jump to multilingual e-business.
"We took a look at the Fortune 100 and we found that only 36 of them had sites in a language other than English. I'm willing to bet 99 of them do business in other countries -- probably all of them," Schmitt said.
Unlike machine translation, in which methodology is word for word and unable to handle idiomatic phrases, Uniscape's technology is a repository of manually translated phrases that allows reuse of the expensive and time-consuming translation process, according to Howard Schwartz, vice president of marketing for Uniscape.
One of my favorite examples [of machine translation] is Kentucky Fried Chicken -- 'It's finger-licking good' comes out 'It's good to lick the fingers,'" Schwartz said.
A new extension of Uniscape's technology, the Global Content Manager monitors changes on corporate Web sites and automatically triggers multilingual content localization processes directly from Web sites, content management solutions, or databases, according to Schwartz.
Schmitt compared the need for globalization within many companies to the remediation necessary for Y2K.
"A lot of companies are out there building sites with little thought given to globalization -- they're building these houses that will have to be torn down.
So it's not totally like Y2K in the sense there will need to be some remediation. ...Perhaps your million dollar content management system doesn't play well with doublebyte characters," Schmitt said.
Uniscape.com Inc., in Redwood Shores, California, can be reached at www.uniscape.com.
Geneva Sapp is an InfoWorld reporter.