The Slovenian start-up filling the void between translation agencies and Google Translate

A Slovenian-based machine translation platform has raised 1.2 million euros in seed finance from the venture capital fund Fil Rouge Capital, bringing its total funding to date to 1.4 million euros. The firm, TAIA, will use the latest investment to fuel its expansion in Western Europe and the US and further develop its platform.

TAIA’s platform helps businesses manage their translation needs via proprietary technology that automatically translates content in a matter of minutes. Users track the process from a dashboard where they can also involve human professionals to fine-tune the texts and include any locally distinct language elements.

“Users get the best of both worlds – in only a couple of clicks. There are no emails involved, quotes are instant, and the files are kept encrypted in the platform,” says Marko Hozjan, co-founder and CEO of TAIA.

In comparison to other machine translation providers, including Google Translate, TAIA uses its own translation memory technology that logs the history of translated content for each user. The company claims that this means frequent users receive ever-more personalised translations.

TAIA also enables users to upload files and receive translations in their original format. The platform currently supports 65 different file types, including websites and catalogues.

Since late 2018 up to now, TAIA has been used by over 1,800 users, collectively translating more than 15 million words. The company’s client base includes international corporations, such as Red Bull, 3M, Hervis and Müller, among others.

The company’s attractiveness for investors is clear, says Stevica Kuharski, principal at Fil Rouge Capital.

“At the moment, translation is not automated and, therefore, not scalable. TAIA tackles this issue by rendering translation scalable. We think there is a void between broken ‘old school’ translation agencies and Google Translate. TAIA is perfectly positioned to fill that void,” he adds.

According to Hozjan, two trends are creating ever-greater demand for machine translation.

“One is the need for content localisation, as 75 per cent of consumers prefer making purchases in their language. And second, the advancements in AI technology have opened new ways to make translation processes more efficient. By combining both elements, we provide companies with an out-and-out solution for faster and cheaper expansion to foreign markets,” he says.

Hozjan and co-founder Matija Kovač first started working on their Jezikovna Akademija brand more than five years ago, and it is today one of Slovenia’s largest providers of language courses for companies, individuals and children. In addition to language courses, clients were also increasingly looking for translation services, so the pair started to develop a translation agency within Jezikovna Akademija, and then created a separate company.

But the founders soon discovered that things in the translation market were similar to what they were 10 years ago – most of the files, offers and other content were sent by e-mail, while the translation process itself was often still done manually, without the help of modern technology.

“In 2018, we became aware of the potential for automation in this industry, so we decided to develop a platform that will connect both clients and translators in a directly connected environment,” says Kovač.

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