A SCOTTISH translation company has secured the largest contract in its 11-year history.

Lingo24 said the deal with an unnamed American technology firm is worth at least $1 million (£630,000) in the first six months and could go up to $6m.

The "highly complex" project involves translating from English into three European languages.

The deal was helped by a connection made through Scottish Enterprise's Global Scot programme, which links Scots in foreign climes, with home-based entrepreneurs and businesses.

Christian Arno, founder and chief executive of Edinburgh-based Lingo24, hopes further large contracts will follow.

He said: "The contract is by far the biggest we have ever had and it is a huge step for us.

"It is starting to feel like we might become a decent sized company. Things have been moving quite quickly.

"We have spoken to the client in detail about doing $6m worth of work and there could be more to come.

"I spend a lot of my time to get people internally to believe we can do things they don't think we can do. So this proves we can handle multimillion-dollar contracts and go and win more of them."

Lingo24 set up American operations in 2008 with five employees and now has 25 staff there.

Mr Arno wants its Americas arm, which also includes a main office in Panama, to grow to a similar size as its 130-strong European operation.

The company is projecting turnover will grow from £6.5m to £8m in 2012.

It is also working with Edinburgh University on a software package to improve productivity among its translation staff. Early tests suggest it could help cut translation costs by up to 80%.

Mr Arno confirmed the product will provide a new user interface for translators to work to and hopes to begin rolling it out towards the end of this year..

He said: "Of that core process of the translator putting it from one language to the other there is nothing which assists productivity and helps the translator. That is the gap we are trying to address. It uses machine translation which is a lot more sophisticated than it was even a few years ago.

"There are clever usability techniques to make it intuitive for a translator to go quickly and it measures every keystroke so we can optimise the layout and functionality over time. From our initial tests we believe it can reduce translation costs by between 40% and 80% which could have a major effect on the industry.

"Any company not using it would not be able to remain competitive."

Mr Arno founded the com-pany from his parents' home in Aberdeen in 2001.

The Prince's Scottish Youth Business Trust provided a £5000 start-up loan while he also turned a £500 student loan into £15,000 by investing on the stock market.

Lingo24 now works with clients in more than 60 countries and operates across four continents, with overseas offices in Europe, Asia, Australasia and North America. Customers include Royal Bank of Scotland, BP, Bloomberg, American Express, Orange, T-Mobile, World Bank and MTV.