One of the earliest ways people did business was by making impressions on tablets made of clay.Thousands of years later a new Web site language translation company has given a nod to the past by using that media as a symbol for its business.
Clay Tablet Technologies opened its doors in Toronto last month, offering customers a way to quickly translate and update Web sites into 50 languages.
Company owner Robinson Kelly said he will announce a channel program next month for VARs to resell and install its products.
But it’s also a service VARs wanting to make their own sites multilingual could take advantage of.
Clay Tablet is a spinoff of another firm Robinson owns, Creative Standard Canada (CSC), which creates Web sites for clients ranging from school boards to Bell Canada.
Among CSC’s products is a custom-built content management system, which has been modified to become the heart of the new company.
It began two years ago when a customer asked CSC how it could translate its Web site in several languages.
What it found, Kelly said, was the effort was challenging for most small and medium businesses.
“We did more research and clients started popping out of the woodwork.
“As soon as we asked people how do you do this, they said ‘We’ve got this system we cobbled together’ or ‘We do this manually.’
“We realized that’s a strong opportunity.”
While CSC had a good roster of clients, it didn’t have a focus, he said.
So Clay Tablet was formed to concentrate on the translation market.
The company is a marriage of its Windows-based content management system (CMS), and a partnership with ACCU Translation Services of Burlington, Ont. It’s the first of several language service providers Kelly hopes to sign.
The CMS includes a workflow process and an automated “one click” system for uploading and downloading content customers want to have translated.
ACCU, which uses some automated computer technology for language conversion, says it has over 200 in-house and freelance translators, editors, proofreaders and linguists around the world.
Customers can either buy the CMS, which uses Windows Internet Informa-tion Services and a SQL Server database, for $50,000, or pay for it by a three-year subscription, with the application hosted by Clay Tablet.
The company is also working on an application service provider version.
Translation costs are extra and set by the language service provider.
Kelly came to software development by an indirect route. He graduated in 1989 with a degree in broadcasting from Toronto’s Ryerson University and started work at the CBC “as a (video) shooter and cutter.”
But his first job in IT came three years later with SoftArc, which sold a messaging and groupware solution, where he joined the sales team and rose to be a channel manager.
Then he worked as operations director for a Web development firm before founding CSC five years ago.
It has been a relatively modest firm, with annual revenues of less than $1 million a year.
But Clay Tablet is expected to achieve annual revenues of $30- to $50-million after five years, Kelly said.
So far he’s signed six of CSC’s customers.
Details of the reseller program were still being worked on at press time, but will have four levels. In addition to offering system integrators service fees for installations, it will also include payments for referring customers to Clay Tablet.