For international platforms looking to break into the Middle East, local companies looking to go global, or even bilingual platforms like Wamda, translation is a constant need. But, let’s face it- it can be expensive, slow, and difficult to source.
Dubai-based Qordoba, who launched today, are changing the game. With 400 translators and editors in 30 countries and 15 time zones, they’re making translation affordable, undercutting traditional agencies by 30-50%.
What’s more, unlike many translation companies that seem to function like a black box, Qordoba has an online platform that makes the entire process transparent. Anyone can create an account, log in, list a deadline, and submit translations. You can see the individuals that are assigned to each piece, track its progress, and even chat with translators live.
This allows them to provide human-quality translation for high-volume customers, including those that translate up to 1 million words per month. We here at Wamda work with Qordoba, and while we translate a fraction of that amount, we’ve found Qordoba to be the most affordable solution for us.
The hope is that this affordability will facilitate companies entering the region. “The Arab world is under-equipped to bring quality Arabic language content and innovative software to global audiences. We want to make accessing new markets fast as well as affordable,” says founder May Habib.
But Qordoba isn’t just a translation mechanism; it’s also a growing regional community. By employing freelance translators and editors through its online platform, it aims to create jobs for those that otherwise might not have an easy outlet.
“Developed economies in recovery are seeing that up to 50% of new jobs being created are in fact freelance jobs, “she says. “I think that especially in the Arab world this labor model will be a key driver of job creation over the coming years. Post-Arab Spring, you’ll have millions of young people forced to look beyond the government for economic security.”
The company recently closed a round of angel funding from investors who include current and former partners of Intel Capital, CMEA Capital and the Mubadala Development Company, as well as the CEO of Aramex, Fadi Ghandour.
With the help of Dr. Mona Diab, a scientist at the Center for Computational Learning Systems at Columbia University, who is their senior adviser for language technology, they look to continue pushing innovation in translation.