Tethras derives its name from an ancient Irish sea Goddess who was Chief of the semi-divine Fomorians. That it sounds a little like Tetris is a happy coincidence for the Dublin based company which was founded in 2010 by Brian Farrell and Brendan Clavin. Tethras provides software for developers to help them provide localization services for their apps.
If the content of your app is in English and you want a Frech, German or some other language version then localization services have been the traditional places to go to to have translations done of your text, audio and so on. Brian explains why their service is unique and different, “We are offering a software service that is resident in the cloud. Our customers and suppliers can log on and either provide us with goods and services or purchase goods and services from us.
“A normal localization company would normally appoint an account manager to you as a client. Then there is the finance aspect of the billing and you will have a project manager who may work with an engineer to extract content from your software. You will also have someone else who will either inhouse or outsource the translators.”
As a consequence, inside a standard bricks and mortar localisation you are looking at a number of different people fulfiling a number of different functions which all have to be paid for.
As Barry explains further, “Our offering removes those layers from the process. It allows the developer to do the same functions of all those people. We have effectively automated all those jobs.”
There is significant potential in this market. In the last quarter Apple up until January 2011 Apple’s total revenue was $26.741bn out of which the Greater China market accounted for some $2.6bn or 9.7% of all sales. According to Gartner in 2010 Western Europe and North America accounted for 52.3% of all smartphone sales. It is fairly easy to surmise that there is a growing opportunity to provide apps for people in their native language.
According to Brian, “By publishing only in English developers are ignoring up to half their potential market.”
Tethras only works with the Apple ios at the moment which runs on the iPhone, iPad and iTouch. However, they will be able to work Android apps soon.
One question that many startups get asked about their business is, ‘How do you compete with Google.’ Or in this case, Google Translate.
Brian responds, “Google Translate is a machine translation service and you couldn’t really ship a quality product with machine translation in it. It is quite obvious to the end user that it is not a human translation. To be fair, just like Ryan Air, it does exactly what says it will on the tin. It’s a very useful tool to view foreign language web sites and actually make sense of them. It does a very good job at that.
“If you are selling something in foreign language your customer would expect to be able to read that with out a problem. We have 400 translators at the moment. They are freelance and work assignment to assignment. Our business is limited in its ability to scale by the need to find more translators. We have inhouse multi-linguists who work to keep the quality high through checking as opposed to doing translation themselves.
“For instance, 3D Heartpro is a medical app. You don’t mess around in terms of translating medical content. It’s the sort of thing that can get you in front of a judge fairly sharpish. For that job we used the highest quality medical translators many of whom were actually doctors.”
“We not only do translation and localization of your words we will do translation and localization of your images. Some of our customers have audio in their games. We would strip the audio out and use and we would have a proper foreign language actor come into our studio, speak the words and then put them back in the game where they should be.
“We offer the same service that a full-size localization company would offer but we do it in such a way the developer doesn’t have to deal with all the different layers and the cost point is reduced as we have eliminated a great number of the intermediate processes.”