“Trade Me” exec joins ambitious language services internet start-up

The following is the text of a 27 July Media Release (New Zealand):

Key Trade Me executive Alan Howard has joined a new internet business that aims to revolutionise the US$31-billion global trade in language services.

Howard, Head of Development at Trade Me, New Zealand’s largest and most successful online marketplace, has joined Wellington-based start-up OpenBorder as its Chief Technical Officer.

OpenBorder.com is an online B2B marketplace for the global translation industry.

Translation providers compete on more than just price and capitalize on strengths such as earlier delivery, specified quality standards and verified subject expertise.

Buyers will be able to find professional translation services anywhere in the world that can meet their exact requirements.

Buyers and providers of professional translation services transact business through OpenBorder’s multi-lingual web interface. Participants interact in real time in their own language and currency.

“The global translation market is forecast to climb to more than US$39-billion by 2014*,” says OpenBorder CEO Jamie Kruger.

“OpenBorder will drive the same paradigm shift in the way language services are traded globally as Alan and Trade Me did in the way New Zealanders bought and sold goods.

“As the world’s first global translation broker, OpenBorder won’t just define the marketplace – it will be the marketplace,” says Kruger.

Despite being a ‘natural’ international industry, the translation business globally is highly fragmented and translation businesses generally small in scale. OpenBorder enables the buying and selling of translation services to be conducted from a trader’s desktop. Both buyer and provider benefit from access to the global market.

“The digital platform that Alan and his team have developed allows trade across time zones, countries, languages and currencies, generating income 24 hours a day,” says Kruger.

“It operates in real time, all the time – whenever and wherever people are awake and working.”

TradeMe was sold to Fairfax Media in 2006 for $NZ750-million and is currently valued at between $NZ1.4-1.6-billion as Fairfax contemplates a partial or full sale to reduce its debt.

Before joining Trade Me in 2004, Alan Howard was founder/creator of ImpelHR, a web-based recruitment and candidate management system used by businesses in New Zealand and Australia.

CEO Kruger led software and web start-ups in Asia and Europe, including being an early stage investor and part of the senior management team at PrimeLocation.com.

OpenBorder is the brainchild of linguist and majority shareholder Dr Paul Sulzberger who made headlines around the world in 2010 with the publication of his doctorate that found the best way to learn a language was through frequent exposure to its sound patterns – even if you hadn’t a clue what it all meant.

OpenBorder is actively seeking both LSPs and buyers to test, critique and develop the platform. OpenBorder: www.openborder.com


* Common Sense Advisory (CSA, http://www.commonsenseadvisory.com), the leading translation industry consultancy, sizes the world translation market at US$31 billion in 2011, climbing to over US$39 billion by 2014, primarily driven by increasing international trade.

For further information contact:

Related articles on OpenBorder:

  1. Real-time, cross-border trading for the language services industry
  2. Would the translation buyer be willing to pay more if you offered to commit harakiri?
  3. The OpenBorder Story
  4. OpenBorder’s “Win-Win” economic model
  5. An auction for translation services? You must be joking!
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