Our Investment in Viva Translate
When Belinda Mo shared with me the origin story of Viva Translate coming out of one of her Stanford classes as a real world challenge that faced legal organizations, I knew that this was a big opportunity. Most of us go through our daily lives in the U.S. not thinking twice about the support we are able to get as native English speakers. Meanwhile, a significant percentage of the American population does not speak English as their primary language. These people require the same services from customer support to medical advice to legal counsel that they cannot get if there is no translator available. The problem is that it is expensive and difficult to find real-time translators with on-demand availability. I knew first hand from my wife that there was an urgent need for translators at domestic violence hotlines. It is just as important today with the rise in Asian hate crimes which are notoriously underreported because of language barriers. We take for granted that every support service is designed for English speakers.
When I found out Belinda and her co-founder Tony were solving this problem with software that improved upon existing translation engines with AI, I was instantly intrigued. At Pared, we had this exact same issue and opened an office and hired CSRs in San Antonio, TX who were bilingual because we needed to support our Pros who only spoke Spanish. With Viva Translate, we never would have had to open that office, because we would have been able to use Zendesk with a Viva Translate integration so our same English-speaking CSRs could support Pros in both English and Spanish.
Belinda and Tony were able to make translations more conversational and natural so no one could tell if they were in a chat with a native English speaker. The integration allows support teams to seamlessly interact with a non-native speaker with instant translations. The most important factors for translation is accuracy and speed, which Viva Translate has in spades. The service was so valuable that they had two legal organizations paying them 6 figures for this software integration. Because translation is federally mandated for certain organizations, they chose Viva Translate because the cost savings of not using human translators was very significant.
“Viva Translate seeks to create an equitable world, where effortless communication can be achieved regardless of a person’s language.”
I love their mission because they are serving the broader community of Americans that are often marginalized and forgotten. They are part of our communities and deserve the same access as the rest of us have. The sky is the limit for Viva Translate because customers in both the public and private sector will need translation and ignoring it will become a competitive disadvantage. I am proud and honored that Hyphen is an investor in Viva Translate.