Inside Digital Mission NYC: Lingo24

NYC Street

Digital Mission went to New York from 1st - 5th November, along with 19 fantastic, UK-based digital companies.

As part of the 'Inside Digital Mission NYC' series, each company was asked if they would like to go into a bit more detail and share their individual stories.


This mini-interview is with Christian Arno from Lingo24, based in Scotland. 

What's your role within Lingo24?

I'm the MD here at Lingo24. Our other director, Jack Waley-Cohen, is Operations Director, so I handle more of our strategy and sales and marketing, and he makes sure we keep our promises.

What led to setting up Lingo24? 

I studied languages at uni, and had always fancied setting something up. I saw no translation companies were really taking advantage of the opportunities the web was offering and, on my year abroad in Italy, set up a student translation service to fill the gap and make some beer money.

Lingo24 has since become a professional, global 24/7 translation service provider with 140 people in offices around the world. I do sometimes find it hard to believe this has happened.

We're developing beyond our core translation offering pretty rapidly - integrating more closely with clients through plug-ins with their CMSs and, increasingly, help companies make more money from their investment in translation through foreign language internet marketing or, as Sam calls it, SEO-enabled translation.

The foreign language internet is a huge opportunity for UK businesses online as it's so much easier to get to the top of the search engines in 'anything but English'. We're helping companies actually do it.

Christian Lingo24Tell us a story about the mission...

Well I've never had to do a real elevator pitch before - at least, not in an elevator!

On a visit to a very cool new incubator, I needed to find a restroom (got to get with the lingo 'n' all that). This was a bit of a wild goose chase, and I ended up asking a random, senior looking person in the elevator for help.

He asked what I was doing in his office building (understandably enough), and when he found out that Lingo24 can deliver high quality, creative adaptation in multiple languages - what we call transcreation - he asked for a card.

It turned out he was the top marketing banana for one of the leading ad agencies in New York, which occupied the whole top floor in this massive office block. Apparently the founder of the agency was the inspiration behind one of the characters in Mad Men, so I felt I had something of a brush with a legendary New York ad figure as well as a good sales lead! 

What is the best thing to come out of the Digital Mission for you?

Impossible to name one thing - we're hoping to get some coverage on a major US digital site in the coming days; we've had a follow-up meeting with a major New York publisher who's looking to translate up to 40 million words into Latin American Spanish; we've seen how helpful UKTI can be (big thanks to the dynamic duo - Niall and Patricia on the ICT team in NYC); and we've made a whole host of new friends who will, I hope, be Lingo24 partners and clients within a matter of weeks. It was a tremendously productive week.

Who was your Digital Mission superstar and why?

I think the gong has to go to Patricia Young at UKTI New York. She is relentlessly thinking about how she can help UK businesses. So if everyone else could keep their hands off, I'd like her to focus on Lingo24, please.

What's in the future for Lingo24?

We're growing rapidly geographically (our Asian hub will launch early next year) so that'll complement our offices in the UK, the US, Panama and Romania well.

We're also going to develop more technology that makes it easy for our clients to manage the flow of content between languages, and to make a healthy return on that investment.

Of course it's not only technology - our service offering will broaden to help people generate revenue online in languages other than English. I'm particularly keen that we help SMEs access customers online in non English-speaking countries (and indeed within English-speaking countries, in the case of Hispanics in the US and Poles in the UK for example).

Christian's LinkedIn

Lingo 24's website // Twitter // LinkedIn

Photo (cc) Sam Michel