Growth stories

FOCUS ON TRANSLATED - Translated blends the best of human and machine translation

  • 24 June 2022

  • Growth

Reading time: 3 minutes

Table of contents

    In June 2021, Ardian Growth became the first external investor in Translated. The company, founded by Isabelle Andrieu and Marco Trombetti in Rome in 1999, is a leader in neural machine translation. Read the interview with Isabelle Andrieu, Co-Founder and Chairwoman Translated, Bertrand Schapiro, Managing Director Growth Ardian and Olivier Roy, Senior Investment Manager Growth Ardian.

    What was it that made you decide to partner for the next stage of Translated’s development?

    Bertrand Schapiro: We had done a huge mapping exercise of the translation market and Translated emerged as a player with disruptive technology that was gaining attention. Then, when we met Isabelle, Marco and their team, we all got on well and had similar ideas about where the translation business is going. They had an ambitious vision for their product, which we admired, they had identified a highly innovative way to use technology and they had executed brilliantly.

    Isabelle Andrieu: We were impressed because they were different. They were very proactive, they knew a lot about our market and they listened to our vision for Translated. The timing was right for us because Marco and I owned 100% of a very successful company but we had invested everything we had in it for 20 years and we were becoming a little too cautious. Partnering with Ardian allowed us to take more risk and move faster.

    • $ 50 M


    How has Translated managed to reach such a strong position in such a challenging area of computing?

    IA: From the very beginning in 1999, we always focused on what people wanted and pushed our team to look for innovative solutions. Over time, customers wanted a faster solution and more qualified translators, so we built technologies around that to help our translators produce more words per day. We just tried to fine‑tune the expectations of clients and translators and create this symbiosis between human and machine to serve our community better. We always asked ‘what do people want?’ Analyzing every step, every request, makes the difference.

    BS: They were among the first to bet on neural machine translation, which was a breakthrough. Twenty years ago, most people were betting on machine translation, a mathematical approach, whereas neural machine translation puts humans in the loop. And because they made this bet early, they have gathered awesome amounts of data, which means that now their algorithm is much faster and better trained than the others. This is how they won a contract worth more than $100 million with Airbnb, the biggest in the history of their industry.

    • 50 %+


    What is your plan for the next few years?

    Olivier Roy: Our main objective is to help scale Translated’s technology platform and expand geographically across Europe and in particular in the USA. We are notably helping to build the USA team and work with trusted entrepreneurs from our network who can join the board and support Marco and Isabelle. A significant share of Ardian Growth’s portfolio companies is active in the US and we have a strong track record of helping entrepreneurs enter this market. We have already done it notably with companies like Planisware, Ivalua, Neotys and IWD.

    IA: Our goal is to make sure people understand each other and have no language barriers. It is an enormous task. It has taken us 20 years to fine‑tune our technology and it could easily have taken us another 10 to achieve our vision on our own. By injecting more capital we can push harder. Now is the time to accelerate.

    • 30 %+


    For more stories like this, discover Ardian’s 2021 Annual Report