Localise, localise, localise. Even as the web is connecting people around the world even more closely, this openness is igniting a countertrend of niching, where relevant content is locked away from the general English-speaking internet, using a local language and preventing the access by most other web users.
That said, there exist many translation companies and startups aiming to take localised content global and vice versa, utilising innovations such as artificial intelligence and crowdsourcing to generate accurate translations that capture precisely the information within the content to be translated. Now, a Japan-based startup Minimal Technologies aims to make this process simpler for site owners.
The beauty of WOVN.io, though, is that users are given the choice to amend these translations, preventing funny gaffes such as these. By providing a bridge between quick yet unreliable machine translation, and slow but accurate human translation, WOVN.io opens itself to collaboration with crowdsourced translation services like Gengo or Conyac.
According to Founder and CEO Takaharu Hayashi, the expected target for WOVN.io is small business owners, who are incurring increasing outsourcing costs in terms of web development, which include the expense of engaging translation companies. Even so, translation is a service that can be applied to practically all text-based content on the web, and Jeff Sandford, Engineer at Minimal Technologies, notes that tourist sites, restaurant websites, music and games news sites all make up WOVN.io’s potential customers.
With seed funding from Incubate Fund in Tokyo, Minimal Technologies is ready for the next step, which is monetisation. Currently a free service, users of WOVN.io can look forward to being able to request professional translations for a fee, in addition to the free machine translation service now offered.