ImageTranslate is a Bangalore based startup founded by Harsha Mudumby and Ankita Arora.
ImageTranslate automates and puts all these three steps in one simple and intuitive flow. You only have to take care of the post-editing the translation, says Ankita.
We got an opportunity to talk with Ankita, and see what she has to say. I am sure her interview with us will inspire you.
Give brief info about your startup?
Images are everywhere on the web. A lot of them with text. And they are impactful, in a way that they immediately grab attention and carry a lot of information within a small space. But the textual information contained in an image is in one particular language. When it comes to the translation of those images, to spread the word in multiple languages and carry their impact to more people and more geographies, there is a lot of effort needed. At ImageTranslate, we are trying to automate and ease the process of translating images and recreating them in multiple other languages. Using image and natural language processing, we are able to bring down the turnaround time to less than 1 minute .
What made you start your startup and what problem does it solve?
Having seen the requirement of image translations and the complexity involved in the current process, we decided to solve this problem for ourselves and other translators and marketers.
The steps involved in translating images traditionally are:
OCR : Involves one tool to recognize the text from the image
Translate : Another step to copy the text from OCR results and translate (done by translators)
Cleaning and Redesign: Requires good design skills and expertise of tools like Photoshop and manually erasing the original text from the image and putting the translated text back in the appropriate font, size and color matching the original image and retaining the layout. (Also known as typesetting) (done by Graphic Designers)
This is a time-taking and complex process involving multiple teams like Translation and Graphic Designers with the overhead of project coordination. As technologists, we were determined to find a simpler way to do this. ImageTranslate automates and puts all these three steps in one simple and intuitive flow. You only have to take care of the post-editing the translation.
Tell us about yourself, your previous jobs/ventures? What were you doing before this startup?
We are BITS and NSIT alumni. We were both working in language tech startup prior to this venture where we had worked on Research in Machine Translation and other Localization solutions. One of us, Harsha, also had a startup in the Image Processing domain prior to this.
Where is your startup based out of? Why do you think that is the best place for you?
Our Startup is based out of Bangalore. It is very well known that Bangalore has the best opportunities and exposure for tech ventures.
As a startup founder, what are you paranoid about? What keeps you awake at night?
As founders, we are paranoid about our product not being able to solve the problem it is aimed for and the problem remaining unsolved for translators, marketers and other individuals. Something that can easily be done with the help of technology is eating up a lot of their precious time. This is also what keeps us awake at night, the urge to make the product better each day and making it reach the users who face this problem day in and day out. For a freelance translator, it is a lot of overhead and headache right now when a client asks for a translation along with the image recreation or a document with layout retained. They have to reach for heavy toolings like Photoshop and different OCR software, which is ideally not their job. And LSPs need to engage with a Graphic Design team altogether.
Who are your competitions and how are you better than them?
Most other tools that do Image translation are doing only Image text translation Including Yandex image translate., but do not recreate the image in a new language. Google translate does but the use case is more of B2C, just for the understanding text translation, and doesn’t allow download or create a production-grade image for re-use. Our focus as mentioned above is more on B2B, where the image in the target language is needed for re-circulation in Marketing or just localization purpose. However we have spotted a clone recently called IMGtranslation, which came up recently and is mostly trying to copy what we are doing, but supports only Chinese, Japanese and English and focuses on Comic and Game translation
How hard is it to have a work-life balance as a startup founder and how do you manage it?
Being a start-up founder, not yet funded or making enough revenue, the first thing you have to do is cut short on your luxuries. Which includes leisure time, time spent with family and friends including extra working hours and just one focus. When you spend 12 hours at work, you are not really left with much time for yourself. So finding a work-life balance is really difficult at a very early stage. As we mentioned to manage it, we need to cut short on good to have things and live on basics for a while. No frequent visits to the home, no parties, no travel. As Sam Altman (President, Y Combinator) tells to founders: “ Work on your product, talk to users, exercise, eat and sleep, and very little else. ”
Have you raised funding? If yes, then we would like to know the details. If no then please tell us if you are looking to raise.
We haven’t raised any funding yet, but we are looking to raise in coming months to be able to accelerate.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about you? Why do they have that? What’s the reality?
There are two misconceptions that people have about us:
- We are one more addition to machine translation providers like Google, Bing, etc, probably because this is a new concept and people don’t understand that completely yet. The reality is that we do not have any role to play in the translation itself and we openly display it on the website itself that the machine translation is powered by Google Translate and the final verification of translation has to be done by a human for professional purposes. This is also the reason that our target customers are translators and Localisation Service Providers themselves.
- The other is that the tool just scans the text from the image and translates it, like most other image translate software like Yandex, translate-image do, probably because this is what was available till now. The differentiator about ImageTranslate is the recreation of the same image in other languages for the purpose of Marketing, re-publishing of localization of websites, user manuals etc. in general.
What gets you excited about this company?
If we went the distance, the full distance, imagine a web where all images can be translated at the wink of an eye. An API that takes an image in one language and returns an image in 10 other languages in real time. That’s going to make a tremendous amount of difference in how information is shared on the web. It’s going to be delightful. We’re all in for it!
Tell us how a day in your life looks like? Your schedule for a day right from the time you get up till you hit the bed at night.
At the stage where we are right now, we are seriously trying to reach out to the potential clients which mainly include freelance translators and Language Service Providers. So our day includes all the activities that it takes to get to those users, including marketing activities, engaging with current users on phone calls and emails to get feedback, writing 50 emails per day to reach out to more and more users and doing product improvements as and when we get more feedback.
Tell us about your team and how did you meet each other?
We are a team of three people full time, and two more helping us part-time We both founders met at our previous company and were working on the same team for 3 years, and the third one is an intern we recently hired to help us with marketing.
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