Language translation is a much-needed service for web products which aim to serve the world, like Facebook, Google, YouTube, and Twitter.
But it’s a tough process because content keeps changing and it is a real hassle to keep your translation agency constantly updated with minor tweaks. But things can be done better with technology, where a website or mobile app can integrate an API that helps to streamline the process, making translation a simpler task.
OneSky is a Hong Kong-based start-up that provides such a service, and its co-founder, Fanny Ma, took time to explain to me how it actually works with a step-by-step example :
- Step 1: Imagine Steven Millward is a mobile app developer who wants to translate one of his apps to some other languages. To use OneSky’s service, Steven can choose to upload the string file (Localizable.string) to OneSky or he can integrate with OneSky’s API / plug the pre-built SDKs into his app. Once done, OneSky automatically extracts all the strings to the platform and gets them prepared for step 2, which is the actual translation work.
- Step 2: Steven can choose three different ways to do the translation – by machine (such as with Google or Bing); or order a translation service directly from OneSky’s translation agency network; or by crowd-sourcing the translation, i.e. invite the app’s users to help translate content.
- Step 3: This step is all about continuous improvement and updating future translation work seamlessly. Users can help review the translation by voting, reporting badly translated content, or even suggesting a new translation. With the integration of the API, new strings or modified strings in the source code will be detected and automatically sent to the OneSky platform. All translation done on the OneSky platform will be sent to the app and automatically updated.
Founded in January 2011 by Fanny and Loki Ng, OneSky has worked with clients who are in the mobile app and gaming space.
We also learned that it is currently working with the call and group-messaging app Viber to roll out a crowd-sourced translation project for 31 languages. OneSky follows a freemium model where a premium account is charged at $159/month, which includes Facebook integration and single sign-on. It faces competition from similar translation services like Smartling, Mygengo, and Conyac from Japan.
Greg Sung, founder of aNobii, and Garry Tan, Venture Partner of Y-Combinator and Co-founder of Posterous, are advisors to OneSky.