בבילון: מילון בלחיצת עכבר
המוצר: תוכנה לתרגום ואחזור מידע
המפתח: אמנון עובדיה החברה: בבילון תוכנה
תחילת הפיתוח: 1996
Product: Software for Translation and Information Retrieval
Developer: Amnon Ovadia Company: Babylon Software
Start of Development: 1996
In 1996 it sounded almost impossible: setting your mouse cursor on an unknown word, clicking a key and immediately receiving translations to a variety of languages. That same year, the entrepreneur Amnon Ovadia presented the program “Michal”, which was a spell-checker and a Hebrew-English-Hebrew dictionary. One user expressed his frustration at not being able to use it while reading a document in English. He explained that it would be useful if a translation appeared above each word he clicked with the mouse.
Ovadia realized that it was an ingenious idea that could potentially become a global success and began to develop a suitable software.
About a year later, the software began operating and was registered as a patent. It received its name from the story of the Tower of Babel. In 1997, after investors were found, Babylon was established, and the product was officially launched. It was easy to explain the need for the new software in a world where many deal with reading documents in languages other than their mother tongue. Babylon enabled them to receive instantaneous translation of every unknown word, without interrupting the flow of reading. 10 million downloads were made in the first year alone.
The initial business model was based on a free software with advertisements. When the internet bubble burst, the company switched to a license sale model. As a result, the company became profitable and issued an IPO. In 2007, a group of investors headed by Noam Lanir acquired control of the company.
In 2014 the translation and information retrieval business were sold for about 2.5 million dollars to a company owned by Amnon and Bela Ovadia called Babylon Software. The company operates from its offices in Or Yehuda and Haifa and employs 25 employees.
Many services have been added over the years in addition to the translation engine, including worldwide leading dictionaries, language learning programs, translation of entire documents, hearing the desired word with the correct pronunciation and more.
The highlight of the innovations is a dedicated software for organizations and businesses, called Babylon Enterprise, which in addition to translation, also retrieves information at a click from the organization’s databases.