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This article was published on June 11, 2012

Transfluent could eradicate language barriers in social media

Transfluent could eradicate language barriers in social media

Negotiating the Web in various languages has become easier lately with services like Google Translate on Chrome, translator add-ons for Mozilla and of course websites dedicated to quick approximations of text in other tongues.

The instances of automated translation mistakes used to be the butt of jokes and although things are improving, there are certainly still cases where a reliable outcome is needed.

For all of its glory, Google Translate is not accurate 100% of the time and of course linguistic colloquialisms are often an area where things can go a bit wrong. Facebook has a translation service powered by Bing – but the results can seem a little unusual at best.

Xiha, more usually known for its cross-cultural exchange community, has launched a service called Transfluent that uses human translators to help post to social media accounts in near real time.

While Xiha is aimed at bringing communities together through language barriers, Transfluent targets business with a similar plan in mind. It currently works with Facebook, Twitter and WordPress.

One of the high profile examples the company uses is a version of Barack Obama’s Twitter account that appears in Spanish.

Friends in high places

There are of course other organisations that cater to translation for social media such as SDL, or more traditional translation services that also deal with social media monitoring, such as TranslateMedia but it is the team behind Transfluent that makes it interesting.

The company, based in Finland, is  a wholly owned subsidiary of Xiha Ltd. Xiha is owned by its founders, key employees and investors and those investors include Veraventure Ltd and Lots Ltd as well as company’s founders and advisors.

Photographer and entrepreneur Jani Penttinen is the CEO and his advisory board shows some very strong connections to other firms that may benefit from a little translation themselves. Like Xiha, Transfluent’s senior advisors include Louis Castle, VP of Studios at Zynga, Peter Vesterbacka of Rovio, home of Angry Birds and Paul Bragiel, founder and partner at i/o Ventures.

That’s an interesting selection of game, mobile and investment support rolled into a translation service.

A human based translation service is maybe not the surprising thing on the Web, but one that works hard in the social media space is more interesting and one with strengths in mobile and gaming is even more intriguing.

Transfluent is working on making language issues across many platforms and we’ll be watching to see how it develops. With an advisory team that has seen big successes in so many directions, it will no doubt see future moves that will soon be gaining attention.

Check out the video to see how the service works.


Image Credit: St33vo