Featured Startup Pitch: Transfluent combines human translations and automation to help users overcome the web’s language barriers

By Editor December 6, 2013
Courtesy of Transfluent.

Courtesy of Transfluent.By Jani Penttinen, Transfluent founder and CEO

Elevator Pitch: Transfluent is the ultimate high-tech solution for language translations in social media, web and apps. We do what traditional translation companies cannot—fast, dynamic, and yet high-quality.

Product/Service Description

Transfluent makes it possible take an English post and have the contents professionally translated into practically any language in nearly real-time. Today, no machine is really able to understand online content or translate text accurately, apart from single words and the simplest expressions. To translate content, humans are needed—specifically, professionals who are native speakers of the target language. We provide that service for our partners. Transfluent provides instant, cloud-based translation services in over 80 languages. It localizes content for social media, customer service requests, web applications and games globally. Our service is integrated to Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Weibo, Magento, Zendesk, and Unity, and our API makes it possible to embed professional translation to any platform out there. For game developers, we’ve even added native support for translating iOS and Android resource files. We are also launching a new language localization app for Zendesk’s cloud-based customer support solution. The app enables support agents to interact in a customer’s native language.

Founder’s Story

I am an entrepreneur, avid traveler and photographer. I have significant experience in international business, and a strong background in programming and technology. After working as a business manager in Europe, Asia, and the U.S., I became an advocate for cross-cultural communication, and am passionate about technologies that make it easier for people around the world to communicate with each other. I launched Transfluent in 2011 to help make that happen.

Market Opportunity

About 2.7 billion people—almost 40 percent of the world’s population—are online today. However, only half of them actually understand English. Even of those who do understand English, most will react much better to communication in their native language. If you truly want to connect to the ‘world’ wide web, you need to offer more than the English language. We help facilitate this—if you want to reach new marketplaces or a new fan base, offering multilingual services is of essence.

For instance, everyone wants to be big in China or otherwise globally popular, and Transfluent offers the perfect tools to make that happen. By far the biggest reason for enterprises and artists not using Transfluent yet is that they do not know it is even possible to communicate with foreign audiences in their own language. Several large enterprises are already using Transfluent, coupled with our partner Zendesk, to translate help desk tickets in foreign language markets. With our solution, customers can truly reach global markets today.

The gaming market is particularly fast-paced, and games are a worldwide pastime. A game maker cannot afford to wait several weeks for his or her game to be translated into other languages. For example, Unity is a flexible and high-performance development platform used to make creative and intelligent, interactive 3D and 2D experiences. Our development plug-in gives game developers direct access to Transfluent rapid language localization and translation technology directly from Unity’s developer platform, saving precious go-to-market time. Unity’s two million-plus developers can easily create games for global markets using Transfluent language localization capabilities, which are embedded directly into their development platform. Not only is it easier for developers to target specific languages, the translations can be made rapidly and at the same time they write the code.

How We Differentiate From the Competition

It seems no other company is combining the power of automation with human interaction at this point, so the competitors out there are either machine-based translators, which often lead to inaccurate or blatantly wrong translations, or translation agencies, where you need to test, find, and contract before you can actually get down to business. We are powered by a unique combination of technical expertise and deep understanding of languages. Usually, translation companies are non-technical, and tech companies have very little clue about multilingual communication. We focus on building easy-to-use integrations to the tools businesses use to communicate. The key is to make it as effortless as possible to use languages. Our vision is that translating content to the customer’s language should become a fairly standard thing to do, and the only way to get there is by integrating the translations to the familiar tools that are already in use. Further, we leverage over 20,000 human translators who are native speakers of the 80-plus languages our service supports. This is the key differentiator from any machine-based translation tools in the market.

Business Model

Our pricing model is very straightforward. We charge for every word that is translated, per language, so your total bill is ‘number of words x number of languages x price-per-word.’ Transfluent works through resellers and also has several key technology partnerships, including helpdesk pioneer Zendesk, and gaming companies like Unity.

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Courtesy of Transfluent.Website: www.transfluent.com

Founder: Jani Penttinen

Headquarters: Sunnyvale

Investors: Private investors, Angel investors, Tekes

Year Founded: 2011

Employees: 13

Twitter: @Transfluent_EN

Facebook: facebook.com/transfluent

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/transfluent

AngelList: angel.co/transfluent

CrunchBase: crunchbase.com/company/transfluent