Internet Retailer features an article on QuikDrop. The company is going to offer sellers free translation of auction listings in up to eight languages. According to the article, the company is does “about 15,000 auctions a week” with 40% of their bidders based outside the US.
I contacted QuikDrop co-founder Jack Reynoalds and he says that the seller will not pay for this service; QuikDrop is footing the bill. “We make money by drawing in foreign bidders to our eBay auctions. This drives up the final selling price of our eBay item,” says Jack.
So how is QuikDrop going to cover the translation costs and still turn a profit?
Answer: Machine translation.
QuikDrop has a deal with MT vendor, Systran, using an API to manage translations via Internet.
Although machine translation isn’t exactly known for the highest quality translation, Jack stresses that “selling into international markets on eBay is all about credibility. People are afraid that when they pay for the item, the eBay seller will not ship and they will have no legal recourse. MT for our auctions shows the international eBay community that we take their business seriously. All of our eBay auctions have pictures next to the text to assist the bidder in understanding the item.”
You can view a translated listing yourself here by selecting this eBay auction.
It’s a pretty nifty interface. I can’t vouch for the quality of the translation (or the product), but I do like the presentation.
Jack says that translation is increasingly becoming a necessity: “eBay is growing internationally faster than it is domestically. Long term, all eBay sellers are going to have to use MT to stay competitive…”