Meet Bryan Murphy, Chief Executive Officer at Smartling:

Bryan Murphy is the Chief Executive Officer at Smartling, a leading force in translation and localization. With over three years at Smartling, Bryan, alongside Battery Ventures, recognized the $50 billion market potential in translation. Leveraging Smartling’s cloud-native solution and expertise in machine learning, they’ve productized translation efforts, establishing Smartling as a leader in cost-effective AI translation. Bryan’s leadership continues to propel Smartling forward, shaping the future of translation in the digital era.

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In the latest episode of Default Global, a regular platform for interactions with global-first entrepreneurs and remote work experts, I welcomed Bryan Murphy, CEO of Smartling, a leader in AI-driven translation and localization. We had an in-depth discussion about his journey to Smartling, the challenges of localization, how AI is transforming the translation landscape, and the importance of a ‘default global’ mindset for businesses today.

Journey to Smartling

Bryan Murphy started his journey with Smartling three years ago, backed by Battery Ventures, a private equity firm specializing in software companies. The primary allure of the translation and localization sector for them was its immense potential for disruption by software, machine learning, and AI. The aim was to improve the quality, cost, and speed of translation, which Bryan believes they have achieved by productizing the translation effort, making Smartling a leader in cost-effective AI translation.

Challenges in Localization

Murphy’s previous experience in various international organizations has shaped Smartling’s direction. Over the years, he has dealt with the pain points of traditional translation and localization, such as high costs, slow turnaround, and lack of automation. Smartling has automated 99.9% of the translation process, leading to significant cost reductions and improved speed to market. Murphy’s approach to Smartling’s development is customer-centric, focusing on providing companies with efficient, dynamic, and affordable AI and machine translation services.

Smartling’s Competitive Edge

In a competitive market like translation and localization, Smartling differentiates itself by offering both tech and translation solutions. It provides a turnkey solution, from the translation management platform that automates and integrates the entire process to the actual translation itself. The company’s strength lies in its ability to offer a spectrum of solutions, from high-quality neural machine translation to perfect human-quality AI translation, all at a fraction of the cost.

The Evolution of Human Language Experts

The role of human language experts has evolved significantly, with AI technology tripling their productivity. By combining neural machine translation technology and Gen AI, the bulk of the translation work is done before the translator sees the content. The translator’s role has shifted from translating to managing the machine and providing expert insights to perfect the translation. In the future, Bryan believes translators will become invaluable AI operators.

The Importance of Localized Content

Bryan underlines the importance of language in building trusted relationships in business. While AI and machine translation technologies are advancing rapidly, the preference of users to consume content in their native language remains strong. Thus, the focus is on creating personalized, localized experiences for customers.

The ‘Default Global’ Mindset

The ‘default global’ mindset is crucial for businesses today, especially smaller companies looking to expand into global markets. With the advent of high-quality machine translation and AI, the cost of creating localized experiences is no longer prohibitive. Companies need to think globally from the outset, or risk being outflanked by competitors who do.

Smartling’s Strategy for Global Expansion

Smartling’s global expansion strategy involves having a dedicated team for AI R&D to discover new applications for AI in products. Bryan advises businesses to allocate resources specifically for leveraging AI and be aware of the opportunities AI provides. He predicts more sophisticated applications of AI, particularly in analytics and language quality assessments, in the future.


The conversation with Bryan Murphy provided valuable insights into the future of translation and localization, the transformative power of AI, and the importance of a ‘default global’ mindset for businesses. As the CEO of Smartling, Bryan is at the forefront of this rapidly evolving field, and his perspectives offer a fascinating glimpse into what the future might hold.