The world of medical innovation is always changing and expanding. More people than ever have access to technology across the world but what role does translation play in the industry?
If you are a company looking to launch a new technology globally, what considerations do you need to make and how can you maximize your reach with translation services?
Brandon Fiegoli joins Adrian Cohn in this episode to talk about his company, Butterfly Network, and their recent global product launch.
- What regulatory requirements you need to consider in regards to translation
- How working with Smartling simplified the process
- What happens beyond launch
To learn more about how Butterly Network utilizes Smartling, take a look at their customer case study.
Timestamped Topics and Summary:
[01.14] About Brandon and Butterfly Network. Brandon works as the Product Manager at Butterfly Network. Their aim is to make medical imaging more accessible to everyone across the globe by developing an ultrasound probe that can send imaging files directly to your iOS or Android smartphone via their app for a quicker, more flexible process.
[03.48] Why create this product and what applications does it have? This probe is much more cost effective and portable. A regular unit would be $30,000 used and $200,000 new. It uses digital camera technology with added silicone drums to produce soundwaves instead of the standard crystals. It also only uses one probe for all areas of the body opposed to three on a standard ultrasound.
[09.25] Why did you need language translation? Translation is essential to enable global education about the probe. It is also required to meet regulations that allow medical devices to be distributed.
[13.03] What had to be translated to meet regulatory requirements? Labelling, UI and instructions all had to be translated to comply with regulations.
[14.22] What were your top priorities for the translation project? Some priorities weren’t immediately apparent, but we needed to ensure high quality translations. We realized we would need knowledgeable translators due to the technical language used. We had to provide context for the translations and terminology. We also knew we wanted a team to integrate seamlessly with our internal team which Smartling easily accomplished.
[15.55] What preparation did you make going into the translation? I prepared the phases of translation alongside researching and familiarizing myself with the translation process. Smartling was recommended to me by an engineer because of their tech expertise.
[18.04] What technological challenges did you face? Layering was an issue. The languages behind the English version were more difficult than anticipated to fit into the UI. For example, the German translation would be twice as long as the English and would cause breaks in the UI and it would even push certain buttons off screen. We would send strings to be translated and then find around 10% of the app hadn’t been encompassed.
[20.24] What was your timeline for the translation? Translation began in July of last year and we launched October 1st. Our internal deadline was September 15th so we could perform adequate quality assurance.
[21.50] What aspects of the process internally and collaborating with Smartling made it work? Internally, the project was a priority, not an option. Multiple departments all focused on it. Smartling understood the importance and ran with us.
[23.50] What happened after launch and what happens in the future regarding translation? The period after launch has been a kind of exciting chaos. There is still a lot to be done and we are working on translating our knowledge base, content and website. We will be staggering priorities including ad-hoc things like subtitles for our video content.
[32.54] How do you report back to the team about translation progress? I work on a basis of “the best report I can give is no report.” I measure success by how many people can access the service.
[34.19] What kind of results have you had since launch? We have global clearance in 23 countries and probes in every corner of the globe.
[35.24] What do you wish you had done differently? Going in, I wish we had more time as it is a lengthy process. Localization is a new thing that you have to account for. Smartling really helped on that front by having a language pre-flight to offer context. That really helped our quality and overall speed. The technological platform Smartling uses is also incredibly quick and easy due to its transparent nature.
[38.09] How did you choose which markets to launch in? We looked at physician numbers. How easy it was to get clearance also factored. For example, all of Europe requires the CE mark for medical devices, so once we had that we knew we could launch anywhere in Europe. We also looked at places which already had existing, developed ultrasound programs to ease integration and educational aspects.
Resources and Links:
- The Butterfly Network Website
- Brandon Fiegoli on Linkedin
- Butterfly Network’s response to COVID-19
- Contact Adrian Cohn at Smartling
Full Transcript that almost certainly has typos (forgive us!)
Announcer: You're listening to The Loc Show, presented by Smartling.
Adrian: Hey, what's up, everyone. It's Adrian Cohn from Smartling. Thank you for listening to The Loc Show. My guest today is Brandon Fiegoli. Fiegoli, an Italian name. Brandon is a product manager at Butterfly Network. Butterfly Network is a digital health company whose mission is to democratize healthcare by making medical imaging universally accessible and affordable.
Adrian: They have this beautiful handheld device that is able to create images that render on your iPhone or Android. Brandon is also a standup guy with a great story. So, let's get into it and thanks again for listening.
Adrian: Hey, Brandon, welcome to The Loc Show. How is it going?
Brandon: It is great. Thank you so much for having me.
Adrian: I am pleased to have you. You're such a fantastic person to connect with. We've had the opportunity to chat on a number of occasions. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you right now and who do you work with?
Brandon: Sure. So, I'm sitting in my apartment. I'm in Manhattan right now. Lived in Manhattan, and outside of Manhattan my whole life. At the moment, I work with Butterfly Network. I'm on our product team there. I lead a couple of our different product offerings, focus really across all of our core platforms, so Android, iOS, cloud, work on our international expansion, really a very broad role that has gotten me involved very, very deeply into our translation systems.
Adrian: So, what exactly is Butterfly Networks?
Brandon: Butterfly Network is a company that builds a handheld ultrasound system. And most people are familiar with ultrasound. If they've had a child, sometimes if you go into an emergency room. Hopefully you're not there too much, you may get an ultrasound. Ultrasound is a really, really cool technology. I think in the last 10 or 15 years, it's gained a lot of popularity largely because it's quick and also because it's safe. And I would say, most importantly because it's safe.
Brandon: If you think about an x-ray or a CT scan, they're also quick, they bring that ionizing radiation. And with ultrasound, you can get a window into the human body with mere sound waves.
Adrian: That's amazing. So, the innovation that Butterfly Network brought to the market though is that this thing is it's a handheld device, right?
Brandon: It is. So, I'll share the story in just a second. I'll pull it out. It lives in this case. This is a handheld device that fits in my pocket. So, let me just grab the device here. Here you go. This is the entire ultrasound probe. This is actually a special probe, the butterfly probe is a special one because it actually works with your entire body.
Brandon: In a traditional ultrasound system, there's usually a large cart. They get wheeled in as you imagine your 1980s computer to look on a cart, and they usually have three probes with them, a linear phase and a curved transducer. Our entire probe is very different because it actually uses semiconductor technology to function as all three of those probes.
Brandon: So, we could dive into the semiconductors if you'd like or we can just keep going.
Adrian: It sounds really interesting and what I think is particularly cool though is that this is a mobile device and it's corded. So you can actually plug it into your phone?
Brandon: It is. So, the device comes in lightning and USB-C, works with both iOS and Android devices. It's incredibly flexible. Some people use it on tablets. Some people use it on their phones. We fit the entire spectrum.
Adrian: So, what's the point of developing such a product? I mean, isn't what we had before sufficient?
Brandon: Great question. So, we talked about first of all the size of ultrasound carts. You wheeled them in, but that's not really where the problem exists. The problem exists in their cost today. Their cost and the ease of use of those systems. So, if you think about a traditional ultrasound system, you may be able to get a used system on the order of $30,000.
Brandon: But if you go out there and you buy some of the most advanced cardiac imaging systems, they could be upwards of $200,000. And I don't have to tell you this, but you would imagine that in many parts of the world, and even in many parts of the US, it's simply not feasible to buy one of those systems.
Brandon: So, you think about it, an emergency room today may have one. A really modern very busy emergency room may have three or four. In a smaller setting, you may have one or you may have none. Now, we talked about this a lot as actually being able to replace that stethoscope. So, 200 years ago or so, you started with the stethoscope. You could hear into the human body. You start to hear if somebody has pneumonia, an arrhythmia and now, 200 years later in 2020, we're able to look into the human body. That's sort of remarkable.
Adrian: It is remarkable. And because you have both an iOS app and an Android app, the image is rendered in the moment on the screen of your phone?
Brandon: Absolutely. Plug the device in, sign into the app, plug in the probe and you're ready to go. We like to say pick a preset, not a probe. So, the probe actually does all the work for you in regards to focusing, in regards to adjusting the proper frequency whether it's deeper in your body, whether it's more superficial, all controlled by software.
Brandon: Just for anybody out there listening, just to compare that sort of with traditional ultrasound technology, this is typically done with piezoelectric crystals. So, those are actually crystals that are grown in a lab. When you pass a current over them, they vibrate and that's how you generate the sound waves.
Brandon: In our device, we're still using sound waves. However, we're using the technology that a digital camera may use today except we've added little silicon drums on the top of it and when that electric current gets passed, those drums actually vibrate to generate sound waves. We have about 9,000 microdrums on the transducer itself.
Brandon: A traditional ultrasound machine has anywhere between 90 and 190 crystals. And because it's all software controlled, we can adjust how those little drums on the probe resonate. This is really where the innovation started, all with the semiconductor chip and then we sort of have built out the ecosystem with the various software platforms, with the storage, with all of that.
Adrian: Wow, that technology allows you to look at a whole range of different things inside the human body to reveal whether or not a person is healthy.
Brandon: Absolutely. So, I think at the most positive use of ultrasound, we talked about it a lot with obstetrics. So, pregnant women. One of the most positive experiences they can have is going and seeing their growing child. So, I think a lot of people have very fond memories of ultrasound in that sense.
Brandon: The other side of the spectrum, people are using ultrasound for everything. Cardiac arrest, it's been very popular for looking at people's lungs. We call them B-lines for the COVID outbreak. The uses are sort of endless. Things like inflamed tendons, inflamed muscles, even ocular scanning. Basically anything, and when you think about the portability and the cost, and not necessarily having to go, have radiology bring you to go get an x-ray, it really is quite exciting.
Adrian: That's awesome. I love technology and I specifically love medical technology. My grandfather was a surgeon. My great grandfather was a surgeon. My mother is in the medical publishing space. So, it's always like really interesting to me to see all the advances in science and technology that enabled doctors, physicians, people to take scans of their bodies or to learn more about their health or condition.
Adrian: I'm particularly interested in how as COVID-19 became this global healthcare crisis, Butterfly Network was able to utilize its technology to help people diagnose themselves or others with the infection. Is that right?
Brandon: That is correct. I wouldn't go as far as to say diagnosing. As people were getting more ill, we're able to go and actually take a look at the lungs and get a better sense of what's happening. We still are obviously relying on the actual test. However, this was an incredible tool and remains a really incredible tool to track how serious people are doing.
Brandon: Often time, someone may say, "Hey, I'm not doing that bad or I don't feel that badly." When the labs come back, when the imaging comes back, you see something different and vice versa. So, this is just a massively helpful tool. When you think about COVID also, one of the big things they talk a lot about is contamination and the spread of it obviously.
Brandon: Talk a lot about getting a CT scan for somebody's chest, those rooms that those CT scanners are in may be done for 45 minutes or an hour between patients while they get sanitized. With this, you drop it in a probe cover, covers the entire cord, covers the mobile device. You're ripping off that covering, you're patient to patient very quickly.
Brandon: In COVID where every minute matter, this really became an incredibly powerful and versatile tool.
Adrian: So, where, Brandon, does language translation fit into all of these?
Brandon: It's a great question. So, language translation is an essential part of our business, I would say. So, if you go all the way to the top and you think about our mission from our founder, Dr. Jonathan Rothberg, his mission, our mission is to democratize medical imaging.
Brandon: And to do that meant a couple of things. The first meant getting some groundbreaking technology. If you are going to democratize something, you probably need to do a little bit differently than it's being done today. So, they've been working on this technology for six or seven years.
Brandon: The other thing meant, "Okay, now that we have the technology, how do you share it with the world?" And that's everything from education to commercialization and everything in between that. So, when you think about that and we've talked about this before, you really think about, okay, if we're going to give education, there has to be multiple languages. Not everybody around the world speaks English.
Brandon: If you're going to sell in other languages, you obviously need to have information that's relevant, that's correctly translated all in those languages every other area of the business. So, from shipping, making sure that people's shipping information is communicated to them in a way that they understand.
Brandon: I think we take for granted quite a bit that fortunately many people in the world speak English. However, democratizing this technology really means we hope to be in rural insert X country. And you could imagine that in those countries, they don't speak English. I guess the other point that I would be remiss if I mention was just about the regulations.
Brandon: So, we are a medical device. We are FDA cleared, and obviously, we have CE mark and clearances in every country we ship in but part of that clearance, part of those regulations for us, especially as a medical device is that our labeling, that our information for use is in the appropriate language. And again, that's for safety reasons.
Adrian: Yeah, so when did this translation journey start for you? What was it like? How long ago was it?
Brandon: Yeah. So we started this, I guess, almost a year ago now. I've been asked to look at our international expansion as a company. So, everything from how do we store data safely in the cloud in other countries through how do we ship these devices and make them appear on people's doorsteps. We are sold largely via an ecommerce model, so unlike a traditional ultrasound system today, you're going online. You're certifying that you're a medical professional and you're paying and that device arrives at your door.
Brandon: So, there was a lot of work streams that went on here and one of the big ones is obviously translation. And it sits, as I just described, over all of those. So, part of my role was overseeing that entire project. So, at that point, as we started looking at this, we realized it was going to be critical to our success and frankly, critical to even being able to do it.
Brandon: The place we always start is at regulatory. So you can go to market and do a bad job marketing something but you're not hurting or breaking any rules. You may just not achieve your goals. For us, it really started with how do we legally sell this device? How do we meet the regulations so that we're not getting in trouble and we're not hurting anyone? And that started with regulatory.
Brandon: From there, it moved on to things like data privacy and then it moved on to other work streams, how do we sell it, how do we market it, what do our websites need to look like? But our first goal is meeting those regulations and really finding a translation vendor who is going to be able to run with us.
Adrian: What content did you have to translate to meet regulatory demands?
Brandon: So, the information we have to translate is what they call the Information For Use, the IFU. And like many guidances you see today, it doesn't get hyper-specific. So, it says any directions that are needed to use the device in a safe and effective way.
Brandon: For us, it became really important. Obviously, the instruction manual was the first place we looked. And then after that, of course, the UI of the system.
Adrian: The mobile or the-
Brandon: And mobile app and/or desktop app. After that, everything was sort of from there, it was about how do we commercialize it and how do we get our messaging into the right languages.
Adrian: You started with how to use the product and actual product content. That was the baseline that you needed to translate to meet regulatory concerns. And then after you accomplish or started thinking about how to tackle that, you would move on to go to market content?
Brandon: That's actually right.
Adrian: Cool. That's still a pretty significant volume of work, I would imagine. Like I get products all the time and sometimes the user manuals are super thin and sometimes even for a simple device, they're really thick. What were some of your priorities when you started to consider how to go about accomplishing this project? What was important to you?
Brandon: Yes. I think there were a couple of things and to be honest, not all of them were apparent to me when we started. I think first and foremost, we needed to make sure that the translations would be of high quality. So, again, if you think about the regulatory side of things and just the quality side of things as a brand, focusing more on the quality and the regulatory means that the translations are accurate. It means that people are "brought up to speed" with your product. What are they translating? Is it giving context making sure that they're familiar with it?
Brandon: So, ours is obviously in the medical space. There's a lot of big words in our app. There's a lot of very scientific words in our app. Just last week, we were translating stuff about our fetal calculation packages which are the short name would be OB calc, so for obstetrics calculations, for measuring the size of babies, there was all kinds of abbreviations in there.
Brandon: So, having translators that could work with that and understand it and ask questions when they needed to was really critical for us. So, the first thing was making sure that people had the right domain expertise. The other things were things like having a team that we could tightly integrate with and basically become part of our team.
Brandon: There's nothing worse than buying a service and then you're only told, "Hey, the only way I can get in touch with these people is file a support ticket." Like that, at the volume we were running, at the rate we were running with, it would never work that way frankly.
Adrian: Yeah. What were some of the things that you had to prepare as you went out to start translating all of those content? You talked about having two mobile apps, an iOS app, an Android app, you have a help center that you needed to translate and also support documentation that it sounds like it was user manual, maybe offline content.
Brandon: It is offline content, yeah.
Adrian: Offline content.
Brandon: We did it in phases when you talk about that. Where we really started was two things. We've spoken with a couple of vendors. We had even tried a couple of passes just with some vendors in the industry as we're honing in. We wanted to understand a little bit about how they work and nobody on the team was particularly familiar with translations.
Brandon: So, we would send out little bits of content and we would get them back and we would think about the experience. I'll be honest, we didn't have a lot of time. So, just given our company goals, given our volume of work, we had to move fast. When we got to Smartling, all of those things that I just mentioned, the expertise in the domain area, the reliable support team and I would say they sort of swarmed us. They sort of encapsulated us and said, "Here's the plan. Here's how we're going to implement this." And it worked.
Brandon: And then obviously, the technical expertise was a big one for us. So, I personally had never thought about how this really works, but certainly putting a bunch of strings in a spreadsheet, sending them off to get translated and getting those back and pumping them in is not how it works.
Brandon: There's a lot of really complex integrations that need to work seamlessly if you want this to just become part of your everyday process.
Adrian: That is sort of like a requisite for a fast-moving company because the way I sometimes think about translation is it's a very layered process. From the surface of your phone like you see one language but if you turn it to the side at an isometric sort of view point, there are a lot of layers that go behind it that are each of the different languages that I don't use. I speak English.
Adrian: But the Spanish user of your tool or the German user or the French user of your tool, they need to access the versions of the content that are behind the English version, right? Was that a significant technology challenge for you all to think about solving?
Brandon: I will be honest. I'm thankful I wasn't the person who had to do that. I was the person sort of overseeing it. If you talked about the steps we took, so we found somebody who ... We got recommendations internally. We had one of our engineers actually recommend Smartling as they had worked with them in another company. We got, I call it swarmed on the overview. We got so many questions answered.
Brandon: Everything from our quality team, how is this done? Why should I believe that these translators know anything about healthcare? Through how do you guys do your translation and edit steps? Somebody is translating it. Somebody is editing it. So, nothing is getting to us before there's at least two sets of eyes on it. Through people like Sergio as our technical solution architect, going and sitting with our engineers and looking at how our strings were set up.
Brandon: For the year before we started doing this, the engineers always said to me, "No problem." When we're ready to translate this, we were wrapping our strings. We wrapped them in a special ID that says, "They're ready to translate." I said, "Great." We decided we're going to run a test. We sent something up to Smartling. They sent us back what they called pseudo-translated files, and those files basically take all the strings in the app and they doubled them.
Brandon: And we found out two really important things. One, there is about 10% of the app that we just didn't have wrapped in those strings, in those IDs. So that was a bit of a project to find those. That was great, solved pretty quick. The second one was more of the important one. And that was what happens to the UI when German is doubly as long as English?
Brandon: And at that point, we found out there were places were things broke. They didn't wrap properly. Buttons were pushed off the screen. That was another project that we implemented and we went through and we took an inventory of everything that broke. At that point, we had decided to go with Smartling. We were moving along on the API integrations and then we really begin to work through automation.
Brandon: How do we automatically send those strings up? How do we pull them back? How do we merge that code back into our code base? And then I guess the other one would be what you just mentioned is how do you actually display those on the screen? So that required a couple of changes in our app. But it all happened. It was very quick. It was a little bit stressful but we had a really good core group of people focused on it and I think that that was critical to our success and to meet our very, very aggressive timelines.
Adrian: What was the timeline? Because oftentimes, translation does sort of come in, in the last minute, and people like you are expected to make miracles happen and you do because you work hard at it but it can be a very stressful time. What sort of time were you working on?
Brandon: I wish I could be lying to you and tell you it was longer. I believe these conversations started late in July and we went live October 1st in 13 countries. So, those translations were actually done, I believe our internal deadline was September 15th, and that was because for all regulatory purposes, did our own QA actually sent devices out to people in those countries and had them run QA on it to make sure everything we were sending to the public was safe and accurate. It came back really cleanly thankfully because I think otherwise it would have been really tight to hit that deadline.
Adrian: That is an awfully fast deadline and it makes a whole lot of sense to me that you would have sent that out to experts for quality assurance given the value of the content and the type of content and complexity that it carries. Why do you think it went well?
Brandon: I think it went well for a couple of reasons. I'll talk about us first then we can talk about you. Internally, it was a priority. It was not an option, as are many things at Butterfly. It was not an option to fail. So one way or another, that content was going to get translated. Joking aside, what that really translated to was a lot of people focused on it.
Brandon: So it was a top engineering priority. It was a top priority to get the contracts with you guys through legal. It was a priority for me to be on top of it every time an issue was opened with the translators to respond to it quickly because we knew if we drop any of these balls, we weren't going to hit our deadline.
Brandon: On the Smartling side, you guys really excelled in basically understanding the importance, the significance and then really running with us. And I think a lot of times you don't find that. We had a CS manager. We had a solution architect. We had someone on the language services team. We had our account manager when we realized we left something out of the initial order, we would be able to add that on. It was a really well-oiled operation, I would say, from that front. And there was daily check-ins and things were clicking.
Adrian: So, you started this project in July. You finished the initial effort in September, to send devices out so that they could be tested for quality. You got thumbs up from the people who you sent the devices to. You go live with your, how many languages?
Brandon: I think we got a bonus because I think we got Austria using Germany's. So I think it was 11 non-English speaking languages. I think we did adoption into English for the UK, and I think it was 13 countries. So, 11 languages, 13 countries.
Adrian: Okay, so you've translated content to 11 languages ready to deploy for 13 countries. You deployed this experience in October, what happens next?
Brandon: That was really the start of a lot of really exciting chaos. It was a really good problem to have. We had been building excitement for Butterfly to go global for a while. So, at that point, we activated all of our channels, marketing, digital marketing. And at that point, the requests, the sales started coming in for devices and we very quickly became a global operation. But we also learned a ton.
Brandon: So, you jumped to the punch a little bit before, but things like our knowledge-base, things like our website and our website was actually part of that initial push. But things like our knowledge-base, things like video content, all of that still had to be translated. And I think one of the things that you and I have spoken about previously is, it's one thing to meet the regulations. It's one thing to launch internationally. But I think to be a global business and a global brand is a totally different ballgame.
Brandon: I think it's nice to be able to say, yeah, we excel internationally. But people don't want to read your English content. They don't care. Even if they speak English, they want to see it in their language. It would be like I read a very little bit of Spanish, and even if I could get through the passage, I'm going to be more comfortable with it in my native language.
Adrian: It's so interesting that you say that because all I speak is English. And the language translation problem for me is far less visible because English is my native language and so much content is in English. And when I think back as to like when I've been challenged most, it's when I'm forced to try and buy something that's not in English. I'm thinking about like holidays that I've booked in Italy or in Spain, Airbnb's or before Airbnb with a real bnb or a hotel and you're trying to decipher their content, a double bed is that two beds versus like a single bed that's a little ...
Adrian: All of those things come into play and it certainly rings true with me that the effort to translate the content does have meaning that may be a little bit harder to understand for those of us that are English native speakers and don't think about language on a daily basis.
Brandon: I agree with that fully. And I think we're given a lot of really amazing tools. When I read something when I get an email that's literally in Mandarin and this happens, I'll pop into Google Translate and in five seconds, I have an idea of what that email is saying. But I would say us trying to sell something and say, "Hey, Butterfly is in these countries," or not even, forget selling. Saying, "Hey, Butterfly is in these countries," but not giving the tools for the experience that, "Hey, we're really here and, hey, we've really invested in being here," I think is a whole other discussion in itself. And I think that was really important for us.
Adrian: And I want to ask a question about that but before we do, I want to go back for a minute because you said something that really was interesting to me about how when you launched, it was not just that you flipped a switch and all of a sudden your translations were available through the app and on your website. It was a fully integrated company wide effort.
Adrian: You're on the product team, you spearheaded and centralized this whole process. What was it like working with all of these different teams to coordinate a launch that's company-wide?
Brandon: It was really fun. It was really challenging. I felt like I was running a flight crew at NASA although let's be clear it wasn't that fun. I think the last email I sent out on the night of September 30th, I think the subject line was something like "All Systems Launched."
Brandon: So, it was a little bit of everything. It was excitement. It was frustration. It was everything. We're trying to meet regulatory requirements. That's our top company priority, above everything else is don't break the law and don't hurt anyone. Those are, I think, any company's priorities or if they're not, they should be.
Brandon: So, make sure we meet our regulatory priorities but then it's things like you're getting pulled from the marketing team. I need this email translated or we need to start doing this. It was really a prioritization thing. We said we can do it all, we just needed to sort of stagger it. And we looked at it and we said, "Okay, regulatory, check." Now, we start getting emails in other languages for support, making sure that we can start to get that content actually sent over to them in ways that they understand. It was a little bit of everything.
Brandon: Making sure that we're dealing with sending our shipping information in the right language, getting our quotes translated, it touched really on every bit of the business and I think the one thing we had going for us amongst a lot of things but the really important thing was everybody saw the importance. And while there may have been a lot of challenges, everybody was driving towards expanding imaging, expanding this device to other parts of the world.
Adrian: You sure chose a great time to do that.
Brandon: I promised it was completely by accident. It is really humbling and exciting to know that our device is making a difference. Our founder, Jonathan, whenever he's in the office, he loves to say he measures our success by the number of lives saved. And for anybody who's in business, I don't know that everybody can do that and I think it's really cool.
Brandon: One of the things we love to do is to share those experiences, and a couple of them come in yesterday. And it just makes everybody remember how important all of these is.
Adrian: Well, certainly, the product and the mission of the business is quite aspirational and humbling. So that's a really strategic advantage that you have and your colleagues have working there and serving the global community. I think that's really cool. The effort that you had to undertake to get this initial push out the door or the "All Systems Go" email that you got to send, that was just the beginning. I mean, you were able to get through that sprint. But that's not where the story ends, I assume.
Brandon: It's not. Translation and localization today, I don't want to say are a part of our workflow, I would say are very close to becoming. So, on the technical side, things are running smoothly, I mean almost no thought which is great. The only thought is, "Hey, do we make sure that we merge all those strings before we send out the app?"
Brandon: On the marketing side of things, things are really, really close. And that's not for lack of trying, it's that we are moving so quickly that the only thing I have to keep reminding that team is I need 24 to 48 hours to get that stuff translated. And to be honest, I think I've pushed the Smartling team really, really hard and they have not yet disappointed. I hope they don't hear this.
Adrian: They probably will, Brandon.
Brandon: I probably shouldn't have said that. They always deliver it and what I'm really saying is just getting people to remember there are humans looking at these strings and we can do it really quick. Just give us 24 or 48 hours before you plan to send this thing out and you'll get a really great result.
Adrian: You're exactly right, like there is a human process here that has to be considered. But what you're also sharing with me is that you're still translating a lot of content. It's not like you had this initial push and then you're done. You're translating on a daily basis, weekly basis?
Brandon: Absolutely. So, the way our tech systems work, actually every time code, we use GitHub for it to manage our code. Every time, what we call pool request, which is a bit of code gets pushed into our system, it actually triggers a process and that process actually calls the Smartling systems and sends those strings.
Brandon: Every time every night, I believe it is, we automatically call Smartling and we say, "Bring these strings back, anything that's been translated that day." And that's where we talk about that app automation working.
Brandon: On the support side of the house are knowledge-based just actually in the last few weeks. We've set that up to fully automate. We rewrote the whole thing and it's just about done. I think tomorrow everything will be back. And then we have some more ad hoc stuff. We have subtitles. I'm working with our video marketing team. We're working to get a bunch of our videos subtitled. We've done a little of it already. We're trying to scale that up.
Brandon: We use the GDN, Global Delivery Network, to handle our websites, so making sure that that content, the right content is served. That's something that just runs because we're doing our user manual, I would be hard-pressed to find a service that we're not using at Smartling.
Adrian: So, how do you report back to your team on the efficacy of this translation program that you're running for Butterfly?
Brandon: Yeah. I think I said this jokingly to you before, the best report that I can give, no report, which is nothing is broken, nobody has said the word is wrong. We have forgotten a string, like that is my goal from a quality perspective. From an overall perspective, what do I say to people? I tell people all of our tech systems are translated. If we add a new piece of content, so the announcement that I'll be making next week when we launch it is that our knowledge base is translated.
Brandon: It is now so ingrained in our processes that there's not a lot to say thankfully. And I think this is one of those things that is the less you say, the better. I don't think anybody is going to say, "Oh, wow, that's in French." But if it wasn't in French, I promise you we would hear about it. Just like if you go to Amazon.com, you're not going, "Wow, thankfully, they put it in English," but if the only way you could get to Amazon.com was in French, I bet you your top complaint would be that's it all in French.
Adrian: So, measuring in terms of the number of people who can access your product or service is one of the most important benchmarks that you have as a company for language translation?
Brandon: Absolutely. I think that's really well stated.
Adrian: So, I think this is all really fascinating. The products now are available effective in October. How have the results been? Have you been able to ship devices around the world with some level of success and you get app downloads so that people are using those devices? Are you tracking this?
Brandon: We have. It's obviously really important to our mission. So I believe we have global clearance in 22 countries, 23 possibly. And these devices are having more impact that we can ever imagine. You probably saw us tweet out the other day. Our probes are in every corner of the globe on the Mars desert testing, understanding what they can do in space. I know they went to Base Camp at Mount Everest. Whether they went up higher than that, I'm not sure.
Brandon: Every corner of the globe, and it's amazing to me where we see people we can sell in those countries and deliver it at scale. But when you hear about these stories of people taking their probes with them missions all over the world, that's really where things get very interesting and I think the most exciting for me.
Adrian: Yeah. Brandon, when you look back on all the success that you and Butterfly have had in delivering solution to all of those different countries, what do you wish you had done differently?
Brandon: What do I wish we had done different? That's a great question. I wish we had more time. Anyone listening and any company who's about to do this, one of the reasons that we were very thoughtful about it is because we know that taking on translations, taking on localization, taking on support in other languages is a new thing that you have to account for. It's not always easy and I think having some time to develop that strategy, having some time to educate the company, your peers, your coworkers about it would be really important.
Brandon: I think the other thing would just be to know a little bit more about how translation works. So, one of the things that was exciting to us about Smartling was the language pre-flight we did. It was a little painful for me in the sense that I had to go through our app and actually capture screenshots of all of our error states and everything. But being able to send up that context to the translators so that they can say, "Oh, this is what the word means in this context," improved our quality and actually, I think shortened our time to deploy so much.
Brandon: I think having a platform, a transparent platform that I can go in and click through. We started this session talking about how if I had to do this over email, it would have never worked. I mean, how many emails a day could I send versus how many times do I go into the Smartling platform and actually look at something or adjust something? Doing it without that, I think, would be impossible. I would urge everyone to think deeply about their technology and the technology that they want in their partner. I think those would be the big things.
Adrian: The first takeaway that you have, I think, is it's almost like a poetic one which is it's more than just setting up the integrations, translating the content and getting it out to the users. It's a commitment to your business and to your customer base that you are going to support them no matter what. It's a lot easier, let's put it in another way, Brandon. It's probably a lot easier to say you will support a new market than it is to take away that market.
Brandon: I agree with that. The one thing I did know about translation when we started all these is once you start, you can't stop because people do notice. And you hold a commitment to your customers, to your users, to your patients that that content will remain high quality and frequent. And all of the things that you could imagine are really sort of prominent company.
Adrian: And this is a question that probably would have been well-suited at the beginning but how did you choose the markets that you currently support?
Brandon: Yeah. It's a great question. So, we looked at a couple of things. Like everything, it was multi-faceted. So everything from number of physicians and medical professionals, so looking at the biggest impact we could make, places where we were able to get regulatory clearance.
Brandon: So for example, Europe, everyone in Europe or all countries in Europe use the CE mark. CE mark was something we had worked for, for many, many months. And we knew it was going to be really exciting because when you got CE mark, it opened all Europe. It also opened to all of Australia and New Zealand.
Brandon: So, impact regulatory clearance developed ultrasound programs so we know that we're still in early days and we have a long way to go on how do you educate these users and how do you move past just ultrasound experts but also enabling people who are not familiar with ultrasound. And in a lot of the European markets and the Australian market, it's quite developed. So, this got a jumpstart to this democratization and now obviously, we circle back and are deeply committed and deeply focused on that educational aspect.
Adrian: Wow, Brandon, I feel like I've learned so much from this conversation. And I am so impressed by all the amazing work that you and your team have put into delivering this solution to the global marketplace. Thank you, thank you for being on The Loc Show.
Brandon: Of course, thank you for having me. It's fun.
Adrian: Yeah, it was great to have you. And we're going to make sure that people know how to find you. The URL for your company is?
Adrian: And I really encourage everyone to go to their website and just check it out. First of all, for those of you who are marketers here, they've got a beautiful website. There's great product marketing. You can really understand the solution that they offer, see images of the product, see images of the image that the product shows on the mobile app. There's just so much cool stuff there. Brandon, we'll make sure that people can find you too on LinkedIn.
Brandon: Perfect. Yeah, feel free to reach out. Lots of info to share, a really fun journey, really excited. There's more coming, so stay tuned.
Adrian: We will do that. Thanks again, Brandon.
Brandon: Thank you.
Adrian: I hope you enjoyed that conversation with Brandon as much as I did. If you like this episode of The Loc Show, hit the Subscribe button so the next episode will be waiting for you. And if you loved this podcast, please leave a review. Five-star reviews go a long way. If you're not ready to give a five-star review, give our next episode a shot. We appreciate you're listening. If you have any feedback or want us to interview one of your favorite people in localization, just email me, firstname.lastname@example.org.