Tag Archives: michael sneddon

Patent Translation Isn’t Possible Without People—Invest In Them

B2C_LogoAt MultiLing, we frequently talk about the technology we use for patent translation and the efficiencies it brings. But the truth is, no matter how savvy the technology, we couldn’t translate without people. In his latest Business2Community column, MultiLing CEO Michael Sneddon highlights exactly this idea:

“While I previously wrote about the importance of building long-standing relationships with clients, equally important are the relationships developed between employee peers, employees and managers or executives, and executives and members of the board. These relationships are fundamental for the success of any organization,” writes Sneddon.

MultiLing executives took a trip last March and spent 10 days at four offices in Asia, with the goal of learning firsthand how each employee feels about the company. After meeting one-on-one with 83 of the company’s 90+ employees in Japan, Korea, China and Taiwan, they had a better understanding and common strategy for what needed to be done to help strengthen the company in the region. They also came away a feeling of mutual trust from each employee with whom we had met.

MultiLing_Michael_Sneddon“This type of interaction with company directors is not a cultural norm, but it definitely worked—and was obviously much appreciated. Nearly every employee opened up very quickly, creating a real sense of camaraderie and trust even in a short 10-15 minutes,” continues Sneddon. “They are now open and ready for additional training to help improve the company.”

This is only one example of the value that people—and their relationships—bring to an organization, and the importance of investing in those people along the way. However, if you don’t have the budget to travel or time to meet with every employee, Sneddon proposed other ideas as well. For example, getting to know employees can be as simple as using flashcards to help you learn and remember faces and names, job responsibilities and something personal about each employee.

Additionally, help employees get to know each other with team-building activities. Encourage and recognize employees in their activities outside of the office, whether that’s caring for family or volunteer work or hobbies. Finally, don’t be afraid to invest in employees with professional opportunities they are interested in—it will only give you a better employee!

You can read the full B2C article here.

Easing the Transition of Change: 5 Tips from a CEO

B2C_LogoKeeping pace with the lightning fast changes born of technology is a stressful and daunting task. Michael Sneddon, MultiLing CEO, recently published an article in Business2Community with some tips for embracing change since it is clear that the rate at which we are searching out and adopting new tools and processes is not slowing down.

MultiLing_Michael_Sneddon“Ironically, our seemingly insatiable passion for innovation sometimes results in changes we then resist. This is especially true with change in our lives that is driven by others.” remarked Sneddon.

Resistance to change and the lack of leadership and knowledge needed to affect change is well documented. Sneddon references an IBM survey revealing that only 40 percent of professional around the world believe they have the right skills in place to successfully manage “change projects.” However, having led—and continuing to lead—his patent translation company through change has given Sneddon some insights on how to make transitions smoother for your employees and even yourself.

Sneddon believes that mental preparation, patience, practice, encouragement and open discussion are all key steps to managing and embracing change.

“Change can be difficult, especially after decades, or even just years, of doing things a certain way. Being willing to accept and embrace change—and helping others do the same—is the key to success, personally and in business. Nothing stays the same, so it’s futile to try to hold on to the past,” concluded .

Read the full article here.

Meet MultiLing for Bio Patent Translation Services

How does a patent translations services company make waves and get noticed at a life sciences trade show like the 2015 BIO International Convention—where 1,700 exhibitors are competing for a captive audience?

LSIPRMultiLing received an excellent introduction to BIO attendees when an editor for Life Sciences Intellectual Property Review (LSIPR) published an interview with Michael Degn, MultiLing senior vice president of worldwide sales. The article, titled BIO 2015: Lost in translation? Meet MultiLing, highlighted how MultiLing’s patent translation services can help life sciences companies to better protect their R&D around the world.

Michael DegnSaid Degn, “The clients we work with are multi-billion dollar companies, but they have budgets. And budgets are getting consolidated, and contracted. We’re trying to figure out how we, for less money, can give them the same coverage.”

MultiLing consistently invests in its people, process and technology to help clients around the world accurately translate their IP for foreign patent filings. Using a streamlined model to produce consistently accurate translations, MultiLing is able to offer its clients faster time to grant, fewer office actions and a lower total cost of patent ownership.

Access the full interview from the MultiLing newsroom.

In the News: Three Skills of a Quality Patent Translator

B2C_LogoMultiLing is always on the lookout for another excellent patent translator and the company has learned a thing or two about their key characteristics. Michael Sneddon, MultiLing president and CEO, recently shared some requirements the company has of its patent translators in an article for Business2Community.

“For the inexperienced company preparing to expand internationally, seeking, finding and qualifying competent patent translation services to assist with overseas patent applications or other technical translations isn’t necessarily a high priority. It should be, however, as even one inaccurate or confusing translation can jeopardize the entire operation, or at least potentially cost millions of dollars in lost revenue and damaged brand reputation.

MultiLing_Michael_SneddonWhile accurately translating product and marketing materials is important, translating patents is even more so, with the scope of an entire product defined and judged forever by what is included in the final patent. As a result, being a patent translator requires much more than just a bilingual background. The position requires having the same level of technical expertise as the individual writing the original patent. Without this expertise, a company greatly increases its risk of costly litigation and potential loss of intellectual property (IP) protection.”

Sneddon maintains that technical expertise, language expertise—both with linguistics and legal jargon, as well as understanding the patent filing system are three areas of knowledge where a patent translator should be a subject matter expert.

Link to the full article in the MultiLing newsroom for examples of why patent translators need this expertise and how you can know if they possess it.

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.

EP Validation Primer: A More Efficient Process for European Patents

IPFrontline-scaled-logoMultiLing CEO Michael Sneddon recently authored an article for IP Frontline on how to best manage the patent application process for European patents using the European Patent Office (EPO) system. Filing a patent with the EPO is a unified first step, but then the approved application must also be validated in each member country where protection is sought. Validation requires patent translation services and effective management of deadlines.

There is just a brief three-month period when the national validations must be accompanied – in all but a handful of countries – by translated patent claims or full patent specifications in an official language of the respective country. This time-consuming and complex task can involve working with up to 40 different European agents, depending on the number of countries where validation is sought.

MultiLing_Michael_Sneddon“By consolidating the work of managing deadlines and translations to interactive and specialized teams that report to a single project owner, the validation process is simplified for the applicant, more consistent across all jurisdictions and much less costly than if isolated foreign agents worked on the project in multiple EPO countries,” explains Sneddon.

For more details and tips on effectively and efficiently translating and validating patents in Europe, you can link to the full article here.

MultiLing Sees 33 Percent Growth in 2014, Plans To Continue Trajectory in 2015

2014 was a great year for MultiLing — one that accomplished many goals and moved us in the direction we want to be going. The most universal measure of this success is revenue growth — and MultiLing saw 33 percent growth in 2014.


  • Expanded its Asia region capability with an increased physical presence in Taiwan, China, Japan and Korea.
  • Increased corporate headquarters’ office space by 25 percent.
  • Solidified executive team—including David Urry, chief financial officer; Michael Degn, vice president of sales; and a strong team of next-level managers.
  • Invested in new technologies and processes to give clients the quality legal translations they require.
  • Achieved ISO 9001:2008 certification, the internationally recognized set of quality management standards from the International Organization of Standardization. (At the same time, we also renewed our EN 15038:2006 certification, the European quality standard for translation services.)
  • Acquired more than 1,000 additional scientific translators to better meet the needs of Global 500 legal teams across the globe.

We’re looking forward to more great progress in 2015!


5 Tips for Building Successful Relationships

MultiLing’s investor, Frontier Capital, believes that any business investment should begin with a solid and trusting relationship between the two parties.

Getting to that point – a “true partnership” – takes some hard work and time. Money isn’t just going to change hands; instead, there will potentially be years of working together on strategy and business development to help your companies succeed.

MultiLing CEO Michael Sneddon agrees with the need to get to know each other first, especially when millions of dollars are changing hands.

Michael Sneddon, CEO of MultiLing Corp.“Whether your company is providing or accepting an investment or paying for services, you’ll want to know what each party brings to the table so you’ll feel comfortable that you can work together to make the right decisions for both companies and resolve any issues that may emerge along the way,” Sneddon said. “Over the last couple of years, our relationship with Frontier has become a true partnership, with valuable give-and-take from both companies as we work to expand our IP translation services across the globe.”

ceologoFrontier partner Michael Ramich shared five tips on how to establish a successful business relationship in an article on CEO.com and used MultiLing as an example of a connection that was established long before any transaction took place. You can read the full article here.

CEO Spotlight: GALA talks to MultiLing CEO Michael Sneddon

The Globalization and Localization Association (GALA) recently interviewed Michael Sneddon, MultiLing CEO, about what might have contributed to MultiLing’s growth over the past five years and plans to keep it going in the years ahead.

Here are a few of the questions:

galaxy newsletter logo

GALA: Michael, to what do you attribute MultiLing’s growth over the last few years?

Michael Sneddon, CEO of MultiLing Corp.Sneddon: We attribute MultiLing’s strong growth to a few things:

  1. Pivoting our strategy to focus marketing and sales efforts on the intellectual property (IP) market, instead of diluting it between IP and technical translations.
  2. The increased demand for IP translations from Global 500 enterprises in the United States, Europe and Asia, many spending millions of dollars per year on translating foreign patent filings. This increased focus on the IP space has required more understanding of the unique needs global enterprises face when aiming to protect their IP worldwide, as well as an enhanced ability to communicate how our unique streamlined translation model meets these needs.
  3. A stronger executive team that works together to make the right decisions for the company.

GALA: What challenges have come alongside strong growth for your company and how have you overcome those?

Sneddon: The increased request for our IP translation services over the past few years has required additional expert translators with specific language, scientific, engineering and legal skills, as well as project managers that also meet these needs. In addition, some of our largest clients (both new and long-term) have asked us to expand our services in specific countries in which they are increasing businesses, which in some cases has required new offices or expanded offices to prepare for the expected demand in the specific region. These requests require significant financial resources, and as a company with no debt whatsoever in an industry with long sales cycles, meeting these needs has sometimes been a challenge.

To overcome these challenges, we made the decision last summer to bring in an outside investor – Frontier Capital – so we could focus on increasing our sales and marketing channels worldwide, which includes expanded language teams as well as new sales and marketing executives that better understand the needs of Global 500 legal teams across the globe.

GALA: What major initiatives/goals are in your company’s near future?

Sneddon: With our new office in Taiwan and expanded offices in Japan, Korea and China, we’re specifically expanding our Asian region capacity to meet the IP translation needs of both global enterprises wanting to do business in these countries as well as Asian-based enterprises wanting to do business worldwide.

We’re also working to expand our service offerings throughout the United States, Europe and Latin America.

GALA: What excites you most about your company’s future?

Sneddon: What excites me most about MultiLing’s future is how we’re continuing to bring together the right people, processes and technologies to give our clients the quality legal translations they require. In fact, we’re increasingly seeing new business from existing long-term clients as they share their continued satisfaction with other divisions within their organizations.

GALA: What makes your company more than “just another” localization service provider?

Sneddon:  MultiLing focuses exclusively on IP translations and other foreign patent filing services, as opposed to broad translations. In addition, we combine the most qualified people (native speakers with advanced scientific/engineering degrees); the latest processes (centralized, streamlined) and the most recent and advanced technologies (terminology management, translation memory, machine-assisted translation and translation project management) to give our clients the high quality patent translations they require. Even more unique, we feel, is how we work closely with each client – many for more than a decade – to develop and refine best practices that work for them as well as the industry as a whole.

The full article is published in the Q3 2014 GALAxy Newsletter.


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