Stepes Aims to Become Uber of Translation Services


Stepes was recently featured in South China Morning Post.

Stepes founder Carl Yao launched the mobile app in December 2015 and was quoted as saying that he wants his company to become the “Uber of translation services.” He believes the translation industry is ripe for disruption. The Beijing-based start-up is aiming to revolutionize the US$38 million language services industry with its chat-based translation app that allows almost any multilingual person with a smartphone to become a translator and earn income.

“There are only 250,000 professional translators who service the world’s demand for translation, but there are over 3.65 billion people who are able to speak more than one language,” Yao told the South China Morning Post.

Stepes draws its name from the Eurasian steppes, vast swathes of grassland between Europe and Asia. This area is hailed as the birthplace of about 400 languages, said Yao.

He seems to have picked a ripe market. The global industry for language services was valued at US$38 million in 2015 and is forecast to hit US$47 billion by 2018, according to statistics portal Statista.

“By allowing translation to be easily accessible, we’ll be able to reduce translation costs so that more businesses are able to translate and localize,” said Yao, adding that many SMEs do not localize their content because of the high costs of translation services today.

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