How Subway Deployed Machine Translation for Franchisee Training

Subway Globalization Services Manager, Carrie Fischer, and Intento CEO, Konstantin Savenkov, at SlatorCon Remote

This was the biggest year for Subway in terms of content-creation and translation with a short turnaround, according to Carrie Fischer, Globalization Services Manager at the quick-chain food giant. 

In the SlatorCon Remote December 2021 track she shared with Konstantin Savenkov, CEO of MT-integration platform and Subway vendor, Intento, Fischer recounted her “first foray” into machine translation with the audience: “MT had always been on the back burner for me. This year was my first foray into MT of any sort. It came about when I was given a project of around half a million words in English — and everything needed to be translated in three weeks!”

Next, Fischer had to deliver e-learning courses for franchisees. This time, it required cartoons with a voice-over. She said, “Getting professionals to do it for this amount of content — it was over 400,000 words in 9 languages — we didn’t have the budget.”

She did not expect that MT would work for an e-learning course, but it did. Looking back, it made sense given that the course was “very informational: teaching franchisees how to run their restaurant,” rendered in straightforward language. “So once again MT came to the rescue. But we did have to post-edit,” Fischer said.

“I was very nervous about it — until I heard the samples,” she added. Fischer sent the videos to Subway’s “very picky” in-country reviewers. The result? Even the German reviewer was “blown away by the quality,” particularly the speech and intonation of the voice-over.

Discussing other use-cases for MT (and AI, more broadly) Intento CEO Savenkov noted the uptick in demand from the education sector for translation as well as text to speech. He also showed the audience how a workflow — to deliver, say, multilingual avatars — would be set up for an enterprise working with an MLV and SLV, and how Intento closes the loop.

According to Intento’s Savenkov, “MT is far from being a commodity as it requires thoughtful set up and customization […] and with the right tools it actually becomes craftsmanship.”

Missed SlatorCon Remote December 2021? You can catch the full conference via Slator video-on-demand here.