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The Library of Congress

The Library of Congress selected Lingotek to translate indices of international historical treasures for the World Digital Library project. Visit project link at

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Case Study

Lingotek Collaborative Translation Platform: A Vital Player in World Digital Library Multilingual Translations

Company Overview

The Library of Congress is the United State’s oldest and most prestigious federal cultural institution and serves as the research arm of Congress. It is also the largest library in the world, with millions of books, recordings, photographs, maps, periodicals, research publications and manuscripts in its collections.


U.S. Librarian of Congress James H. Billington proposed the establishment of the World Digital Library (WDL) in a speech to the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO in June 2005. The basic idea was to create an easily accessible internet-based collection of the world’s cultural riches to tell the stories and highlight the achievements of all countries and cultures.  This collection is intended to promote cross-cultural awareness and understanding, in part by making its content available in seven languages: English, Arabic, Chinese, French, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. This localization process complicates both the site development and maintenance. In order to make the site available in these seven languages simultaneously, the traditional method of single-source professional translation would not work.


The WDL emphasizes openness in all aspects of the project: access to content, technology transfer for capacity building, partner, stakeholder, and user participation. Technical and programmatic networks are seen as vital to the sustainability and growth of the WDL. The Lingotek Collaborative Translation Platform was chosen to facilitate the translation of the metadata, navigation, and supporting content such as curator videos over a short span of time.


Each metadata record in the WDL project contained a paragraph that described the historical significance of the item. The records also provided other bibliographic information including title, author, subjects, and a physical description. The records were uploaded to Lingotek through our open API, after which they were translated. The translation of each record was immediately added to the translation memory so that when a record with similar content came up during the balance of the project, the professional translators could leverage the previous translation to help with the new one. Translations of common strings of words were used and reused, making the process fast and efficient.

“By leveraging the tools in our translation platform, we are actually able to have the content translated faster than they can feed it to us,” Lingotek CEO, Rob Vandenberg added. “Lingotek is also creating a new approach to social networks and social production to drive translation of content on a global scale. In the future, social production or the use of volunteers who speak languages outside the initial target languages may be leveraged to help with the translation process. The Lingotek Community Translation Platform is an ideal solution to serve as the core for this type of project.”

About Lingotek

Lingotek is the leading provider of Collaborative Translation Technology. By harnessing the power of communities, products and services can now be distributed around the world in each market’s localized language, while simultaneously increasing product loyalty among users. Lingotek’s Collaborative Translation Platform brings machine translation, translation memories, terminology management together with a social network to enable the social production of localized content. More information is available at

Metrics Data

·       Translation of Metadata records, descriptions and curator video transcripts, LOC received and entered content digitally from 60+ worldwide libraries.

·       English into Chinese Simplified, Arabic Modern Standard, Spanish Mexico, French France, Portuguese Brazil, Russian.

·       Portuguese Brazil and Arabic into English.

·       1,000,000 words translated.

·       24–36 in-country contractors engaged by Lingotek Translation Services, translated and reviewed files in parallel using Lingopoint.

·       Delivered on schedule and on budget prior to launch of website ( at the UNESCO headquarters, Paris, April 2009.

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