Transfluent: Why translation matters

Our world as we know it is shrinking. The ubiquitous web of technology has changed the way we communicate with one another, virtually allowing us to connect with people around the world from cultures we have never encountered before. As a global community we are hurtling towards a common understanding and one tech company is […]

Our world as we know it is shrinking. The ubiquitous web of technology has changed the way we communicate with one another, virtually allowing us to connect with people around the world from cultures we have never encountered before. As a global community we are hurtling towards a common understanding and one tech company is working to further this goal.

Transfluent, a platform that does translations for social media and apps, announced recently that they raised $2 million from angel investors around the world in Pre-Series funding. Transfluent has the capacity to move within almost any language by using a massive network of human translators working around the world.

“We have something like 53,000 translators in the network, but it keeps growing every week. They cover the whole world. We have 80 languages which is just about every language you can use on the Internet today,” Jani Penttinen, CEO and Founder of Transfluent said.

His company has reported a 900% increase in sales following the news about their successful fundraising. Currently located in Silicon Valley, with an office in Finland as well, they hope to spread across more of the United States and several Asian markets. Their goal is to snip the final thread that keeps international trade from being a seamless experience. They hope to become the standard of language translation on the Internet.

According to Jani, “The language barrier is basically the only remaining barrier right now during global trade. You can ship internationally and you can pay internationally, so the only thing that stops you from being able to sell stuff is that you cannot talk to the clients in another country. Now we are here to change that.”

While the idea of translation and a world existing in simultaneous languages is a fairly straight forward sell in Europe, Transfluent has had some resistance in America.

“The main obstacle for us has been the education we have to do for clients. American companies often have an attitude against translating and think that it’s enough to speak English on the Internet because every body understands it. That’s not really true so we have to give them examples of why you have to translate. I think the message is sinking in though, and there’s been more and more talk in the media about that, so we’re getting over it,” Jani said.

Despite this attitude, Transfluent has had some very impressive clients in the US since it began. The band 30 Seconds To Mars used the product when they launched their world tour last spring in order to communicate with their fans before shows. The most notable client however, is President Obama.

“Our first major client was president Obama for his election campaign two years ago. We translated the president’s twitter feed from English to Spanish, and that we were able to do within five minutes of the English tweet being posted,” per Jani.

This instance stands as validation of the idea that language and communication are the most powerful elements on earth. The ability to move easily between different languages is paramount in a global community and the world economy.

Jani reflected on the current state of his company and mused, “What makes me really excited is that we are able to change the world. We are making a big difference. We’re empowering businesses big and small to actually increase their sales and making products available that were not available before. So it is very cool to be able to build a company that makes a difference in the world.”

Going forward, Jani hopes to tackle the US Sports Entertainment industry and help them reach a more international audience.

 

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