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myGengo lands $5.25M for online translation that really works

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myGengo, a startup that provides customized language-translation services, has taken on $5.25 million in Series A funding from London-based venture capital firm Atomico and 500 Startups.

Right now, the translation market has two main segments: a high-end market dominated by full-time in-house translators, and a low-end market dominated by Google (s GOOG) Translate. myGengo’s service aims to occupy the space in between the two markets by offering “human translation services at scale.”

Essentially, myGengo is like an oDesk built specifically for translation services. myGengo has assembled a group of more than 3,000 translators worldwide who work on a freelance basis through myGengo’s own dedicated software program. myGengo serves clients directly, and also has an API to let other startups include myGengo’s translation services in their apps. myGengo says it is targeted at people and businesses who occasionally need high-quality, fast translation services, but aren’t in the market to hire an in-house translator for the job.

myGengo costs only a small amount — 5 cents per word for a standard job — for two main reasons, the company says on its website: “Many professional translators use myGengo as a backup where they do some work when they are between larger projects. They accept a lower compensation for the convenience. Plus, we avoid a lot of office related costs.” Depending on the level of complexity and sophistication a client wants in the translated language, myGengo promises to finish projects in between 1 hour and 16 hours per page.

The Tokyo-based company says it plans to use its new funding to expand its presence in the United States. “myGengo is going to be the #1 way for companies to go global and communicate with foreign audiences,” myGengo CEO Rob Laing told me via email this week. “We’re confident in our market, so we’re growing our engineering, sales and marketing teams to reach new customers in the US and Asia.” The company currently has 12 full-time employees (translators are sub-contractors) and expects to grow its team to 25 or 30 staff by the beginning of next year.

Previously, myGengo took on $1.75 million in seed funding from 500Startups and a group of angel investors including Mitch Kapor. myGengo currently provides translation for 15 different languages, and its customers currently include eHow, Evernote, VW and Audi Financial Services, and others.

Feature image of the Rosetta Stone accessed through Creative Commons: © Hans Hillewaert / CC-BY-SA-3.0

5 Responses to “myGengo lands $5.25M for online translation that really works”

  1. BB-girl

    I’m a myGengo “Pro” Japanese to English translator who’s done over 500 jobs there. After 30 years in this business with 100 big clients, I’ve come to enjoy MyGengo very much. The rates may seem terrible–we get something less than the posted rates–but the diverse jobs cycle quickly and when payday comes I find that it was worthwhile, especially as filler work between larger projects. The staff respects us. The website isn’t just pretty, it really works. I’m happy.
    I wish the team every success in bringing the world together through translation.

  2. I was a bit offer by the fact that they only pay five cents a word, but then again, the translations I’ve been involved with have been technical, which seems to be something mygengo doesn’t do. Five cents per word for something that doesn’t really need explaining and could be done in a couple hours seems reasonable enough… too bad they don’t offer my language pair :(

    Looks like they’ve got a pretty sweet interface for translators to work in and good customer service, though, and that’s more than I can say for a lot of other places I’ve worked with.

  3. Gary Hess

    I stumbled across this press release and it sounds like such big news: “$5.25M for online translation that really works”. But look closer: it’s really nothing more than ANOTHER new translation agency in an industry swamped with companies with great marketing, good programming and a willingness to cut their consumer prices to the bone in the hope of gaining market share.

  4. – “5 cents per word for a standard job”

    What planet do you live on? In developed countries, $0.05 per word is not anywhere near a realistic wage for professional translators. Perhaps you can find unemployed people from other professions who are happy for anything, but no professional translator works for that rate. You really do a disservice to the profession with this nonsense.