A recent study by economists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Washington University in St. Louis demonstrated that artificial intelligence tools can help boost international trade by helping sellers overcome the language barrier.
Based on data taken from eBay, researchers compared sales between the United States and Spanish-speaking Latin American countries before and after the e-commerce platform has introduced a translation tool based on artificial intelligence.
Until 2014, eBay provided its users with an automatic translation, but the use of artificial intelligence substantially improved the quality of the service. The new tool had practical application in the titles of the listings and the search queries.
Analyzing the data, the researchers came to the conclusion that improved translations lead to higher sales. After the introduction of the IA tool, exports from the United States to the countries under study increased by 10.9%. It should be noted that in the study the researchers took into account other factors that could influence the results, such as the investment in marketing or the duration of the listings.
In addition to the effect in Latin American countries, the study found that there had also been improvements in exports to Russian, Italian and French speaking countries, where artificial intelligence translation was also implemented. The researchers even consider that the introduction of such tools can reduce the distance between two countries by up to 26%, concluding that "they have made the eBay world significantly more connected."