Tokyo-based Anydoor, the startup behind crowdsourced translation service Conyac, announced today that it has raised funding worth 60 million yen (approximately $600,000) from three Japanese VC firms: United, Mitsubishi UFJ Capital, and SMBC Capital. Coinciding with this announcement, Conyac also unveiled that its total number of corporate users exceeds 1,000.
With these new funds, the company plans to intensify business and system development efforts.
We’ve been using Conyac for translating news stories between Japanese and English. In the interests of full dislosure, I spoke with some of the investors to help them understand how much potential the startup might have. Here is the points I told them:
- Language barriers can be a big problem, especially here in Asia where languages are so diverse.
- There could be big potential in launching news media sites that making the most of translation services like Conyac, in the same way that we do.
Many people in Japan have difficulty finding information because of language barriers. If the startup can eliminate the loss of such business opportunities, it could potentially have a great impact on business and culture.
Even in this era, I’m still a little skeptical about whether or not machine translation services will be able to overcome language barriers. Crowdsourced translation services is just one available option.
I think they might need to publish more case studies about how companies or entrepreneurs can expand their business by breaking language barriers. For many users, if you can recognize Conyac as a platform that enhances your business, then you can recognize the real value proposition of the platform.