With nearly 400,000 employees in 170 countries, IBM is well placed to tap people's ability to provide and update word translation pairs, with a particular emphasis on business and technical vocabularies.
IBM volunteers provided around 1.3 million words over a two-week period earlier this year, and there are current efforts to expand and improve the language data.
IBM envisages making the technology available as a product or service. A particular attraction of taking the product route is that - unlike web-based translation tools - it would provide greater security as there is no need for the text to travel outside the corporate firewall.
"To become a smarter planet, the world needs a shared vocabulary for collaboration -- particularly the business community," said David Lubensky, an IBM Researcher managing the n.Fluent project.
"We see n.Fluent as just such a tool, helping to expand commerce, cement relationships and make the world that much smaller, one word at a time," he added.
Other crowdsourced projects underway at IBM are aimed at making it easier for people to locate, transcribe, synchronise, tag, caption and share audio from video files.
The company identified real-time language translation as an emerging business area in 2006.