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Human-powered translation platform Smartling gets a fresh $25M

Image Credit: Smartling

New York-based Smartling provides a cloud-based platform built around translation, and on Thursday the company announced it has scored a fourth institutional round of $25 million to support its sales and marketing expansion.

“Our goal,” CEO Jack Welde told VentureBeat, “is to make a run on the market” by keeping a focus on the large enterprise but without alienating the small business.

Welde compared his company’s approach to Salesforce’s, where a small company can “sign up for a $5-per-month contact manager,” while Salesforce can still land the multi-million dollar contracts. Although Smartling offered a free version when it started in 2009, it doesn’t currently.

The new funding, on top of about $34 million raised in previous rounds, will be used to hire about 50 new people in sales and marketing, mostly for the New York and Boston offices.

Smartling’s platform is designed to facilitate the translation workflow, which it hands out to any of 200 specialized translation agencies worldwide.

“Google Translate [and other automated systems] aren’t good enough,” Welde said, “and ninety-five percent of what we do is connect our customer with the ideal third-party agency.” Welde noted that a demanding customer might need, say, an agency that specializes in legal content for pharmaceuticals.

A key competitor is SDL, which touts its machine translation technology, but virtually all of Smartling’s translation is done by hand. Welde said the turnaround is usually 12 to 48 hours, regardless of volume – although some news-oriented customers require a one-hour turnaround.

“Eighty percent of the slowness [for most translation],” he told us, “involves packing up the content, questions back and forth, and putting it all back,” which Smartling’s workflow automates and streamlines.

The platform is integrated into most content management systems. “You push a button, tell us you need this in French and Spanish, and it shows up back in the application,” he said.

Additionally, the company offers a global delivery network, using worldwide data centers built on top of Amazon Web Services and Rackspace to deliver the translated sites. Welde said the network currently serves “about three billion page views per month.”

This funding round was led by ICONIQ Capital, and included participation by previous investors – First Round Capital, Harmony Partners, IDG Ventures, Tenaya Capital, U.S. Venture Partners and Venrock.

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4 comments
jwelde
jwelde

@StanfordAsh Thanks, Ashley. We need to get you guys on the platform! Enjoy the holiday weekend!

Aurora Humarán
Aurora Humarán

Will a demanding client like to have his/her documents (legal content for pharmaceuticals, the example mentioned above) in the cloud and translated via clownsourcing?


I wonder.

TVadSync
TVadSync

@xBarryLevine also see Xaxis Sync, Wywy, MediaSynced and our good selves. But why sync to channels with low audience share?

krees
krees

@VentureBeat I remember when that was simply called "translation service"