Global expansion is a key priority for eBay, both to connect consumers with the things they need and love, and to enable businesses to reach new consumers in new markets around the world. Currently, 20 percent of eBay transactions are cross-border, and one of every three new users to eBay comes through a cross-border transaction.
It should come as no surprise that the majority of these shoppers prefer to transact in their native language. And for brands and merchants looking to expand their businesses, being able to communicate with customers around the world is one of the most important capabilities.
To deliver the best international experiences for shoppers and merchants alike, eBay is working to bridge the language gap – online and on mobile.
To do that, the company must solve a unique challenge: Provide accurate multi-language translation across a large number of language pairs that encompass more than 650 million individual listings globally.
It’s complex – and exciting. So, today eBay announced plans to acquire the machine translation technology and related talent of AppTek, a machine translation and speech recognition company based in Virginia. AppTek has developed proprietary machine translation technology that will allow eBay to improve its current machine translation efforts, and advance its new translation capabilities more quickly.
While traditional machine translation approaches solve for fluency (or readability), eBay’s customers expect translations that understand the context of shopping. Over the past two years, eBay has rapidly built an internal team and in-house technologies that solve for fidelity (the nuances of item titles and descriptions) specific to commerce.
The machine translation talent and technology of AppTek will springboard the company’s efforts in this space. Integrating AppTek’s machine translation technology with the eBay platform will scale global language translation efforts and provide eBay shoppers and merchants with increasingly better native language experiences.
With an office in Aachen, Germany, AppTek’s machine translation talent and technology will also play a role in European cross-border trade, an important area of growth for eBay. eBay will maintain the Aachen-based research function, and expects AppTek’s expertise in language pairs to complement future efforts in Europe.
eBay delivers one of the world's largest online marketplaces to customers via any connected device, connecting people with the things they need and love. With 145 million active buyers globally, eBay is one of the world's largest online marketplaces, where practically anyone can buy and sell practically anything. Founded in 1995, eBay connects a diverse and passionate community of individual buyers and sellers, as well as small businesses. Their collective impact on ecommerce is staggering, and more than 650 million items are listed on eBay. For the latest stories about eBay, including recent financial performance, visit our News Center.