http://www.digitaljournal.com/tech-and-science/technology/ai-translation-as-a-service-provider-unbabel-raises-23m-funding/article/511963

AI Translation-as-a-Service provider Unbabel raises $23m funding

Posted Jan 12, 2018 by James Walker
Unbabel, a startup developing an AI-powered translation network, has raised $23m in Series B funding. The company combines AI translation with human refinements provided by 55,000 linguists around the world. It targets its service at global enterprises.
A person browsing the Internet on a Windows Phone smartphone
A person browsing the Internet on a Windows Phone smartphone
Photo Mix / Pexels
Translations provided by Unbabel are initially generated by the company's neural networks. They're then handed to the firm's linguists, all of whom are approved before they join the program. The human operators refine the translation which is then checked again by the AI. The process continues until the AI and the human linguist agree the translation is correct.
The degree of input provided by the humans can be altered depending on the accuracy required. Unbabel says this unique mechanism of human AI augmentation makes its translation platform superior to regular rivals, such as Google Translate. The service isn't directly accessed though, with most companies integrating it into their products to improve translation performance.
Facebook, Buzzfeed and Pinterest are amongst the firms currently using Unbabel to improve internal collaboration or communication with customers. Unbabel's API already works with enterprise software and cloud platforms including Salesforce, Mailchimp and Zendesk. This allows companies to improve the accuracy of their support channels and internal communications by connecting Unbabel to their existing services.
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TechCrunch reports Unbabel's new $23 million Series B funding round will be used to make further investments in the company's innovative AI platform. With the company beginning to significantly grow its operations, the machine learning side of the tech stack needs to scale to support the increased demand. Some of the funding will also be used to improve the company's sales and marketing strategy.
The funding round was led by Scale Venture Partners and also included contributions from Microsoft Ventures, Salesforce Ventures, Samsung Next, Notion Capital, Caixa Capital and Funders Club. The Lisbon-based company was founded in 2013 and raised $5 million in Series A funding in October 2017, with total previous funding standing at around $8 million.
As more companies switch to the cloud and seek to communicate digitally, effective translation will be an important component of success. Unbabel's platform is aiming to be the solution large enterprises require. It also provides an example of how AI and humans can work in tandem, creating a service more sophisticated than either could achieve alone. The platform currently supports over 70 language combinations.