Smartling lands $160M to help companies translate their content automatically

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As epidemics drive businesses online, translation is becoming a key part of the digital transformation equation. A large-scale behavioral study in 2014 showed that 75% of consumers are more likely to purchase products from websites in their native language. Another, this one by Localize, found that businesses that invest in translation are 1.5 times more likely to see an increase in revenue.

Against this background, Smartling, a self-described cloud translation company, has raised $ 160 million in a venture capital round led by Battery Ventures. CEO Jack Weld says the proceeds will be used to increase the number of smartlings while supporting product development and marketing efforts.

Smartling, founded in 2009 by Welde and Andrew Axelrod, is a language translation company that enables customers to localize content across devices and platforms. Smartling takes advantage of a combination of AI-powered translation tools and human translators, localizing content for specific markets to ensure its purpose and meaning remain the same – and not misunderstood.

“Two truths have emerged about today’s ventures: all businesses are global, and content drives global business,” Welde said in a statement. “It simply came to our notice then. This is a tremendous opportunity, and we are excited to experience it together with Battery. “

Localization of content

Smartling uses automation to quickly translate content into different languages. New content on customer sites and applications is flagged for translation and sent to translators for rewriting; When changes to the native language are detected, all foreign language versions are flagged for translation. Changes are then delivered to front-end users through the backend of the customer’s system, independent of application updates.

In 2017, SmartLing launched a mobile delivery network designed to deliver updated translations to smartphone apps in conjunction with updates to the app’s core code. The idea is that international users quickly see translated content without having to update the app in advance. Instead, updates and new translations may appear as soon as the user opens the app.

Smartling claims to work with a few thousand translators in addition to a staff of about 160 to provide text and video translation services. Translators do their work in a computer-aided translation tool, followed by a translation review, legal review, and editing process.

Smartling partly relies on machine translation – that is, AI-powered translation – for “high volume, low priority” content translations. Although generally accurate, studies have shown that machine translation systems can produce text that is less “lexically” rich than human translations – and more biased. Google recently identified (and claims to address) gender bias in the basic translation model to Google Translate, especially in the case of resource-poor languages ​​such as Turkish, Finnish, Persian, and Hungarian.

We have contacted Smartling for more information about its efforts to reduce AI bias and will update this article if we hear back.

Opportunity for growth

As a boon for smartling, the market for online translation services continues to grow. According to Statista, it doubled in size from 2009 to 2019, reaching $ 49.6 billion two years ago. Mordor Intelligence Projects, with a compound annual growth rate of 7.1% from 2021 to 2026, the machine translation market alone could reach કિંમત 230.67 in the next five years.

Underlining the opportunity, more than 361 million people worldwide participate in cross-border ecommerce. A study by Standard Chartered found that nearly half of U.S. businesses today say their best growth opportunity lies outside the U.S. and according to Common Sense Advisory, 76% of buyers say that when faced with a product they have a product with information in their own language. Likes to buy. With a choice of two identical products.

Smartling’s language is competing in I / O, a startup that provides AI technologies for real-time, company-specific language translations. Among the other competitors in the Unbeatable and Lilt segment. But Smartling has managed to attract “hundreds” of big business-to-business and business-to-consumer customers, including InterContinental, Pinterest, Shopify and SurveyMonkey.

“Industries generally succeed on the strength of technology, supply chain, people and workflow. As content has become essential to go-to-market strategies, content distribution has in some sense become its own supply chain and workflow. And, As that content supply chain expands globally, translation at the grassroots level has become an important last milestone for global enterprise growth, “said Morad Elhafed, general partner at Battery Ventures, in a press release.

Smartling has raised more than $ 220 million in venture capital so far.

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