One of the startup jokes is, "We only need to get 1% of the Chinese market and we'll be millionaires..." but all joking aside, how would you do so? Today at the LAUNCH festival Helsinki-based Transfluent is releaseing Sina Weibo (think: Chinese Twitter) support, letting brands hit new markets effortlessly by letting Transfluent's army of translators provide near real-time translation. Three unlikely player's came together last week thanks to some innovative marketing and access to new markets.
One of the early adopters of Transfluent is Thirty Seconds to Mars, a popular American rock band. They just launched their new single Up In The Air into space aboard the SpaceX Dragon rocket. The launch was followed by over 10 million fans within the band's social media streams. The band was able to communicate the events as they unfolded using 10 languages, reaching the majority of their fans in their native language.
As a result, 32% of all the comments posted to the band's Facebook page were in languages other than English. And the delivery was not limited to Facebook. The band has a loyal following on Sina Weibo, the top Chinese social media site (with 500M+ users Weibo is the second largest social media service in the world, second only to Facebook), where the band's messages were posted in Mandarin.
I don't know much about Weibo, but with Transfluent you don't have to. You can continue to use the same social media strategy your marketing is already doing in English on Twitter, and Transfluent translates and localizes it.
On Transfluent's Facebook page they write, "The results are quite staggering: Weibo immediately blasted past Facebook as our second biggest source of traffic (right after Google search)."
The all inclusive pacakage for Weibo support runs $12,000 a year, which is still fairly low compared to a full-time translator. Their Lite package runs $500 setup with $250 a month and €4 per tweet. A self service (where you plug in the translations yourself) runs $50 a month at $4 a tweet.
Transfluent is becoming a pretty serious Helsinki-based company. They're expanding to new markets and platforms constantly, and they're grabbing customers from rock bands to universities. Maybe ArcticStartup needs a Weibo feed. If we could only get 1% of the Chinese market...