Localization and the Electric Ride

By Derek Coffey, SVP Technology and Development at Welocalize

livewireDCI recently had the opportunity to test ride a completely new electric motorbike. The folks over at Harley-Davidson invited me to test drive the latest model — Project LiveWire, their electric motorcycle.  Harley-Davidson is not selling this bike yet. They are touring the country offering some of their customers the opportunity to try the new bike and provide feedback.

As a long time Harley owner, I have to admit I had misgivings about the idea of an electric Harley. I couldn’t imagine how they could take the V-Twin heart of my Heritage Softail and replace it with what amounts to dozens of laptop batteries connected to an electric motor, and still bring a smile to my face when I twist the throttle.

My experience was full of surprises.  The bike isn’t a traditional Harley cruiser – it’s a lightweight, sit-up-straight urban commuter, with design concepts that leverage more from the latest sci-fi movies than the history of Harley.

You can read all about the bike over at http://project.harley-davidson.com/en_US. For me, one of the stand-outs is acceleration. When they tell you that all the power is available immediately, you can have no idea just how much this bike wants to snap your neck when you twist the throttle.  The bike uses a traditional braking system without ABS, and it works fine. The regeneration system kicks in as soon as you release the throttle, long before you touch the brakes this thing has thrown the anchors out. It is quite a sensation when you first experience it.

Being an electric bike, you don’t get the traditional Harley sound, but you don’t miss it either.  The bike does sound like a small jet engine whirring up. After a few minutes, it sounded exactly like it should.

So what has this to do with localization?  If someone had asked me what the first electric bike I would ride would be, there are probably four or five manufacturers I would have listed before Harley.  Harley-Davidson, producing bikes since 1903, are often associated more with tradition and evolution rather then revolution (although a browse through the company history would show that this is a misconception).

As we look to innovation in the localization industry, where are the next surprises?  At Welocalize we’ve been doing a lot of work with our supply chain to create a truly connected environment, with translation web services allowing our clients project data to move seamlessly throughout the supply chain, including integration with systems like Plunet and XTRF.

Our clients are always looking for better data to help with their decision making. One of our continuing challenges is creating visibility right down to the individual translator.  Aggregating all the available data associated with delivering translations and serving it up in a way that enables better decisions, prioritizing content to specific resources, reducing or removing review where it’s not needed, seeing a multivendor delivery model through a single interface – all enabled through data sharing.

Compared to Project Livewire, I am not sure our industry innovations will ever be as cool, but I’m excited to be working with our clients and supply chain to address our challenges. After all, who knows where the next great innovation is going to come from?  It might just be electric!


Derek Coffey, SVP Technology & Development

All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.