Tag Archives: Lyle Ball

In the News: MultiLing Quietly Handles Business Translations for Global Commerce

daily heraldProvo, Utah’s local newspaper – the Daily Herald – published an article Sunday about MultiLing’s quiet presence in the city, while at the same time being a hugely global company as it provides business translations for intellectual property departments at global enterprises. MultiLing has had its headquarters in Provo since being founded in 1988 by Michael Sneddon, who is currently president and CEO.

MultiLing_Michael_SneddonThe Daily Herald reported on the company’s strategy and unique culture: “For the first decade of the company’s operations, Sneddon drew on the natural linguistic talents…and the many international speakers that flocked to the valley. The company translated anything and everything. That changed 17 years ago.”

Sneddon saw an opportunity to focus on translating technical patents for companies and “really innovated the way corporations translate the legal documents associated with patents,” said Lyle Ball, COO.

“We’ve specialized ourselves in highly technical patents….All of our translators need to speak three languages, actually – their native language, English, and lawyer-speak,” commented Jeremy Coombs, senior vice president of operations.

And Coombs, who’s been at MultiLing for almost 17 years, enjoys rubbing shoulders with 20 to 30 cultures each day. “Our office is a little U.N. here, but the MultiLing culture is the recipe that holds us together,” Coombs added.

You can access the full article in the MultiLing news room.


lyle ballI ran into a client at the airport not long ago and asked how things were going. I was pleased to hear his complete satisfaction with MultiLing services and our relationship. I asked if there was anything more we could work on and he replied tongue-in-cheek that maybe we could give his company a better price. I asked if he was sure — did he really want to pay less for something that was going so well and providing so much value? Recognizing the impact his wish could have, he quickly agreed that he really didn’t want to pay less.

Price versus quality is an ongoing tension in most business relationships and in this IP Frontline article, titled “The Real Cost of Accurate IP Translations,” I outline several ways MultiLing clients receive value from accurate translations—far beyond the words on the page.


With global patent activity increasing, especially to and from Asian language markets, translation errors in patent applications are increasingly wreaking havoc

Companies of all sizes value the need to file patents in multiple jurisdictions to protect their IP, especially the resulting global revenue those patents generate. When it comes to obtaining quality translations necessary to file the patent in multiple foreign jurisdictions, however, many filers are shocked by the costs and disappointed that this expense will likely limit the scope of their filing strategy.

The problem with this view is perspective. As I shared recently at the IP and Innovation Summit 2014 in China, there’s a strong case for how investing in accurate quality translations can actually increase global IP protection and revenue, while reducing the overall cost of patent ownership.

With global patent activity increasing, especially to and from Asian language markets, translation errors in patent applications are increasingly wreaking havoc on both the prosecution process and enforcing the patent—and often the weaknesses do not surface for many years, which creates a ticking time bomb in your patent portfolio. To support this fact, three countries the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) reports as having the most patent applications received—China, the United States and Japan—are also home to the three languages recently reported as having the most patent errors related to translation. According to a study published in November 2013 by the Steinbeis-Transfer-Institute Intellectual Property Management of Munich, translating to Asian languages from Western languages, and vice versa, represents the most difficult translations.

The Steinbeis study further revealed that 80 percent of people directly involved in patent filing have also dealt with translation errors, a statistic confirmed by a show of hands of audience members at the presentation in China. How did translation errors impact the cost of patents? Again, according to Steinbeis, the cost of translation errors came from:

  • Waiting longer for a patent to be granted due to office actions,
  • The latent risk of an unenforceable patent,
  • Additional internal and external costs,
  • The disappointing result of having to limit the number of patents filed due to unexpected costs that exceed budget.

The dilemma is real: Accurate translations are imperative, not just nice to have, and yet the cost of accurate translations can also limit the jurisdictions where an inventor can file.

Transition to a Streamlined Translation Model

The answer to this no-win scenario is a new model for defining and producing quality IP translations—a model that enables filers to better manage and reduce the overall cost of their patent portfolio, while improving scientific and legal accuracy.

Traditionally, original patent applications are sent to regional law firms for “processing,” which includes translation as one of the filing services. Patent owners have little say in the cost and quality of translation. Law firms rarely—if ever—have enough translation business to maintain an active pool of translators and reviewers with sufficient scientific and local market expertise, or to invest in technology to enhance this process. In addition, their translators have little capacity to interact with translators in other jurisdictions or directly with the client. The translation results regularly prompt office actions due to translation errors and clarity issues, increase the risk of litigation and create inconsistency across multiple language translations of the same patent. No wonder the costs are high. Yet, the Steinbeis study concludes that half of all organizations still use this traditional model for foreign patent filing and another 34 percent use this model in conjunction with other processes.

Fifteen years ago, MultiLing worked with one of its largest enterprise clients, Procter & Gamble, to overhaul this process. The result is a centralized, streamlined process for patent translation that can be applied to Global 500 legal teams and is being adopted, by both legal teams and patent translation service providers, as a superior method for creating quality and efficiency. Essentially, patent translation is managed by one translation company, with global operations centralized by technology and is performed at the beginning of the application process. This allows for several benefits:

  • Law firms and foreign agents can focus on legal work,
  • Clients receive quality translations from translators who are not only highly skilled in language, but also have technical expertise in the client’s field,
  • Clients benefit from technology investments that improve translation process, quality and security, and create efficiencies over time with terminology management and translation memories.

As an example, MultiLing has been able to invest more than $10 million in its technology solutions – an amount no single translator or foreign agent contracting with translators would likely afford.

Another MultiLing client, a manufacturing company in Japan, believed it could improve how its IP department operated. Its stated goals were to eliminate office actions related to translation, reduce the patent time-to-grant by three months and reduce the total cost of owning the patents by 10 percent. After six months of incorporating MultiLing’s streamlined model for translation, the company had filed 183 patents in eight jurisdictions. Twelve translators had translated 2 million characters and contributed 5,200 terms to the manufacturer’s database. Results attributable to MultiLing’s translation process and quality were:

  • The elimination of translation and clarity-related office actions,
  • Time to grant was reduced by six months—double the goal,
  • The company’s total cost of patent ownership was reduced by 30 percent—three times the goal.

Quality Qualifications

The final element critical to any translation model is quality. Several criteria must be met for an IP translation to be considered high quality and these criteria go far beyond words with the requisite technical and scientific accuracy. Quality IP translations support:

  • Project timelines with reduced office actions and faster time to grant,
  • Project budgets with a lower total cost of ownership for patent strategy at an enterprise or law firm,
  • Protection of your IP with the absence of opposition or invalidation of patents due to translation issues.

A streamlined translation model can address all these quality issues by eliminating the most frequent reasons translation errors happen in the first place. The people + process + technology equation available with a dedicated IP translation partner brings the skills of native-language scientists and engineers with a knowledge of patent prosecution. The workflow of document translation in a streamlined model includes agreeing on definitions of quality by all parties—basically, how accurate the client expects the work to be depending on the purpose of the translation—and a stringent quality control process. Finally, technologies create consistent translations to express the same idea and intent across multiple languages and documents, again helping to increase overall quality and eliminate the cost—in both time and money—of office actions and even the invalidation of the patent.

When you truly identify and budget for the real benefits, threats and costs of IP translations, such as those outlined above, a streamlined model for translation makes the most sense for any size company.

IPO 2014: MultiLing is at Booth 301

Welcome to Vancouver! Not only is it home of the IPO Annual Meeting 2014, but also of the Gelato World Tour North America winners – Bella Gelateria. Perhaps you can enjoy some of the local flavor on us when you stop by the MultiLing booth (#301) and ask, “Gelato, anyone?”

We have global flair and international goodies to share, too. Who can resist a good chat about improving your IP translation and foreign patent filing processes over a good bar of European chocolate? That’s what we’re talking about.


MultiLing CFO David Urry, COO Lyle Ball and Reneé Inman, Business Development Manager, along with Matt Goldberg, Regional Account Manager, look forward to meeting you and sharing how you can benefit from MultiLing services.

MultiLing pioneers best practices in IP and patent translation services that help enterprises reduce the total cost of patent ownership with faster time to grant and foreign patents that are better able to withstand prosecution. MultiLing’s streamlined translation process, as well as technologies such as terminology management and translation memory, helps clients optimize timelines and costs for their most important assets.

#ipoam2014 #ip #patents #translation


MultiLing-Lyle-Ball-enYesterday, I attended an awards luncheon with MultiLing CEO Michael Sneddon and his wife where Utah Business magazine honored MultiLing as one of the fastest growing companies in Utah (see press release here). MultiLing has more than doubled its revenue over the past five years – the period evaluated for the magazine’s annual Fast 50 list – which is no small feat for any 26-year old company, especially one in Utah.

Do you realize that Utah ranks as the top state for business for the third year in a row, according to the Pollina Corporate study for 2014, a joint endeavor with the American Economic Development Institute? The study examines 32 factors and has become recognized as the “Gold Standard” for evaluating states. Additionally, Utah was ranked No. 1 on the Forbes’ List of The Best States for Business three years in a row.

Let me share three areas that I believe are contributing to MultiLing’s impressive growth:

1. A strong focus on the IP market – we know our strength and we’re playing to it.

2. The increased demand for IP translations from Global 500 enterprises in the United States, Europe and Asia.

3. A strong executive team working together to make the right decisions for the company.

MultiLing is the innovative leader in developing  best practices in IP and patent translation services. We help enterprises reduce the total cost of patent ownership with faster time to grant and foreign patents that are better able to withstand prosecution. Our streamlined translation process, as well as technologies such as terminology management and translation memory, help clients optimize timelines and costs for their most important assets. We are attracting pharmaceutical, life sciences, technology and IP law firm clients and we look forward to many more years of growth!

Watch for MultiLing at the upcoming Intellectual Property Organization (IPO) Association’s 42nd Annual Meeting, Sept. 7-9 in Vancouver, at booth 301. We hope we have the chance to see you there.

Lyle Ball, MultiLing COO


Can a 25 Year-Old Company Have an Entrepreneurial Spirit?

Lyle Ball, MultiLing COO talks to Kersten Kloss at Entrepreneur.com’s Inspiration Station, about being an entrepreneur and how the principles that spur growth in a start-up also can be applied to transforming a 25 year-old company. Kersten and Lyle discuss many other topics too, such as managing a globally diverse workforce and how technology can make communications more important.

Watch what Lyle has to say by playing the video below or at inspiration.entrepreneur.com.

MultiLing Leaders in the News

Have you noticed MultiLing in the media lately? In addition to articles in Risk Management Magazine and MultiLingual Magazine, Intellectual Property Magazine has recently published two articles bylined by MultiLing COO Lyle Ball.

IPM_October_2013_CoverIn the September issue, Lyle identified how one mistranslated word in a patent application can result in millions of dollars in lost revenue. He makes the case that when it comes to patent translations, investing more upfront helps avoid costly delays and mistakes down the road. Read the entire article here.

In the October issue of IP Magazine, Lyle and Tyler Young, MultiLing patent project manager, authored an article titled Translation pitfalls mirror the Asian IP boom. While patent applications from Asian countries are on the rise, so are the errors in translation to and from these languages. The article outlines several common translation traps, as well as proposes a new standard of quality that is measured by results such as lower filing costs, faster time to grant and increased revenue through commercialization and licensing, rather than measuring technical accuracy alone. Read the entire article here.

IP Magazine is based in the UK and is published 10 times each year. The magazine targets a global audience to explore and debate the latest IP trends. To see all the latest news coverage for MultiLing visit our website at http://www.multiling.com/News/PressCoverage.aspx.