Yappn rolls out global strategy for real-time language translation solutions

While Yappn has a hybrid go-to market strategy, they are looking to the channel to lead the way, and are particularly interested in attracting top eCommerce-focused partners.


Ed Karthaus, Yappn’s President and CEO

Markham ON-based startup Yappn, which makes real-time language translation solutions, has reached the point where it is about to launch its global go-to-market strategy.

“The company is really moving into a significant growth stage in the business,” said Ed Karthaus, Yappn’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Yappn has been around for a few years in the development and awareness space, and now we are really moving into execution. We are creating a global footprint, bringing in global resellers, and doing some significant things with them in Asia Pacific, including China, Japan and Singapore, and are in discussions in Europe. We are really starting to launch our global strategy.”

Yappn is in the real-time language translation space.

“We translate languages in real time into the language of the user,” Karthaus said. “We bring people together that speak different languages, with significant value at the intersection of language translation, time and scale, and we do it quickly and globally.” Their customers range from large international e-retailers all the way down to small mom and pop ecommerce companies that use a service like Shopify or Magento.

Real-time translation has been around for a while, but Karthaus said that Yappn brings some new capabilities to the table.

“What’s unique about us is adding both contextual and syntaxual capabilities,” he said. “With a phrase like ‘the basketball player was travelling,’ we can distinguish between travelling in-game, or if the player is moving between cities. We have the editing capability to get as close to 100 per cent as possible.

Until this fall, Yappn’s focus has been primarily on platform development, marketing and eCommerce, with their product offering limited to one of their solution sets, around eCommerce. The company revised its strategy at that point into five core areas.

The first is eCommerce.

“This is our ability to support eCommerce websites and make them deliverable in language of the client,” Karthaus said. “Our software by default will recognize the language setting on the browser of an individual visiting the site and make the site readable in that person’s language. It can be either dynamic or static.

Customer care is the second focus area.

“This takes chat platforms for customer care and converts it into a multilingual platform,” Karthaus stated. “For example, if a customer service agent speaks English, and the client is typing in Mandarin, they will see it in each other’ language. This drives customer satisfaction up, and drives down the cost of customer support, because you don’t need to hire staff with multiple language skills to support the customer base.”

While most of Yappn’s business will be outside Canada, customer care will be the most important element in demand within Canada.

“Everyone in Canada has had French or English capability for years, but now there is more demand for simplified Chinese or Mandarin,” Karthaus said. “Real estate companies responding to interest and queries from outside Canada would be an example of a use case.”

The third focus area is enhanced messaging.

“This is the ability to sit on corporate or external messaging platforms and take advantage of the Microsoft Bot Framework to make the messaging platforms multilingual,” Karthaus explained. “This has very significant ramifications in both the corporate and social world. In the corporate area, one use case would be multi-national consulting teams, where today language is a barrier that hurts collaboration capability.”

Karthaus identified the fourth area of emphasis as social marketing and intelligence.

“Our tools allow us to do social marketing uniquely, to create social walls that integrate different social media,” he said. “Our monitoring tools like Global Tweets and Twitter Chat allow monitoring of Twitter presence globally, so companies can see what people are saying about them in different languages. They can also tweet back to them in their language of choice.”

Karthaus noted that social marketing is exceptionally hot at the moment.

“We have been seeing more interest in this over the last 90 days,” he said. “It has driven a lot of activity into the company.”

The fifth area is dynamic website translation.

“This lets you convert a website from one language to another, so that you don’t need multiple local sites in different languages,” Karthaus said. “It also improves SEO, and allows you to customize the experience.”

All of this is available now.

“We can sell all five of these today,” Karthaus said. “They all incorporate a common engine and are extensions off our core technology platform.”

Karthaus also indicated that they are toying with establishing a sixth focus area.

“We have had inquiries around real-time video closed captioning, and have done projects providing real-time caption services for a major rollout of a motion picture,” he indicated. “This would also be for companies who would like to covert their video libraries from a closed captioning perspective. We could take these libraries and run them through a closed captioning process.”

Yappn has a hybrid go-to-market strategy.

“We have a reseller component, a referral component and a direct component,” Karthaus said. “Our goal is to engage as many resellers and partners as we can with our solutions, including embedded solutions. Our main growth strategy is a channel-based strategy.”

The reseller strategy has a heavy vertical emphasis.

“Where we believe we can have tremendous value-add is specializing in market verticals,” Karthaus said. “The top channel providers in the eCommerce space – that’s where I’m focusing my time. But if other resellers come to us and want to use our technology, I’m not going to say no.”

Karthaus also emphasized the importance of Yappn’s close relationship with Microsoft.

“We have been working closely with Microsoft, and recently became an Approved Microsoft Co-Sell partner,” he said. “We are adding our solutions into their catalogue, starting with our ecommerce suite. This relationship gives us not just access to Microsoft personnel, but their partners around the globe.”