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Alumni Profile

Elizabeth Golluscio, MBA ’01

Vice President of Marketing, Smartling

Elizabeth Golluscio, MBA ’01

  • Leads marketing at cloud-based website translation company Smartling; clients include foursquare, IMVU, SurveyMonkey, and Scribd.
  • Works with MIT Entrepreneurship Lab teams and MIT alumni/student externship program.
  • Married to Elio Narciso, MBA ’01.

Elizabeth Golluscio’s children are trilingual. They live in Manhattan and speak English. Their father is Italian, and they attend a bilingual private school. They speak Spanish with their babysitter.

This is today’s world: Speaking one language is sufficient, but never seems like enough.

“I feel like everybody I know, if they don’t speak another language, they’re really serious about finding the time to learn another language,” Golluscio said.

But until they do, there’s Smartling, where Golluscio helps clients like foursquare and SurveyMonkey build instant, dynamic translations for their websites and mobile apps.

Golluscio joined Smartling in June after using the service to build a German website at another startup. Frustrated with the old style of website translation—little more than translating content and inserting that copy on a new site—she needed language sites that could keep up with almost daily changes to her English website.

“Sites immediately get out of sync with the English,” Golluscio said. “So this is really about finding a way to insert the translation workflow into a Web 2.0 business model for Web marketing.”

Smartling responds to constant changes in website code, content, and features by providing tools for translators to easily convert new pieces of content. Changes to client websites are automatically detected by Smartling, which updates the translation platform. When a user requests, say, the Spanish version of foursquare, they are redirected to Smartling servers, which matches translated strings to the original English page and sends back a Spanish version.

“We’re very, very quickly hitting the English page and matching it to the stored Spanish translation, and sending it back to that browser,” Golluscio said.

With such linguistic diversity in her life (Golluscio cited the number of international students at MIT Sloan—today about 40 percent—as a reason she chose the School), Golluscio saw the potential for Smartling’s service as users around the world seek access to new web applications.

“In both my personal and professional circles right now, language is the foundation for growth and opportunity,” she said.

Those circles include an MIT Entrepreneurship Lab team working for Smartling, which is composed of students from France, Japan, and Russia.

“The team is superb,” Golluscio said. “I can feel that all of them are really excited about our project. All of them speak, if not fluently, proficiently at least one or two other languages. Smartling just resonates so strongly with them personally.”

The MIT Entrepreneurship Lab is a course that pairs groups of students with startups for targeted business consulting. Golluscio’s team at Smartling is the second with which she has worked. The group will present the results of their project to Smartling’s CEO and board.

“I want them to know their work is going to be valued and recognized at the highest level of the company,” she said.

Golluscio maintains other professional connections with MIT Sloan. She uses the Institute’s student/alumni externship program to hire students for short-term projects. She tapped her MIT Sloan network for initial customer research at Smartling, and she served on her class committee for Alumni Weekend 2011.

“This year was great for me, reconnecting to MIT Sloan in so many ways,” she said.