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Marko Hozjan, Co-Founder and CEO of Taia Translations: Growing Businesses With Smart AI-Assisted Translation Solutions​

Taia is an AI-assisted translation and localization-management platform that combines AI with experienced translators for fast, efficient, high-quality translations.

The Taia platform serves as a one-stop shop for various translations needs, ranging from machine translation through to professional human translations. We’re combining the neural language networks with a team of professional translators in a seamless platform with little to no human interaction. This process allows us to reduce the time and costs of translation services while ensuring accuracy and the highest translation quality. Our customers can translate just about anything, and they can translate into 97 different languages. We have headquarters in London (UK), and offices in Ljubljana (Slovenia), and in Zagreb (Croatia).

We are on a mission to build a future without language barriers, and to help people work more efficiently and conveniently through the use of modern technology such as AI. The work we do at Taia and our mission are also in line with our company’s core values. We are dedicated to a corporate culture where we are all equal, autonomous, respect each other, we are constantly learning and growing and are doing our best to deliver a service of premium quality.

Tell us about yourself?

I am a serial entrepreneur. I am an economist passionate about leadership, so I have started six companies already. I have had two small successful exits. Two of the companies that I founded and am still the owner are still operational. One is a language school, and the other one is Taia. I failed with one company and left the other one, so for my age (38), I have a track record of six. I also do a lot of other things. I am a bookworm – I read at least 50 books per year. I am also a passionate sailor, so one of my businesses was to make the biggest nautical school in the region. I taught about 500 people how to sail and I got a skipper license. I also published four books. These days Taia occupies most of my professional time.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

I have been searching for a scalable tech business for some time because I could not scale most of the businesses that I had before. Now with Taia, I finally think that I am in the scalable universe. However, the idea itself was born very organically, about four years ago. Matija, the co-founder, and I own a language school, and out of that, we started translating as a traditional LSP (Language Service Provider). As we dug into the market, we quickly realized that the industry was outdated as most LSPs were using old technology and old ways of running the business and that they were only competing on price.
Taia is now becoming a tech company, which means that we have solutions that are hand-in-hand with technology, and it is becoming a one-stop shop for all your translation needs. But, more and more, we are going into the SaaS market and we are grasping MT as a tool.

What is your magic sauce?

In my opinion, it’s the unique combination of AI and highly experienced translators that we use to help companies localize their content quickly and efficiently – this is what sets us apart from our competition. It’s also our uncompromising commitment to deliver a service of premium quality and making Taia a one-stop shop where customers can translate just about anything they want – documents, websites, software or subtitles, or obtain legal translations, get documents proofread, book interpreting services or voice-overs.

But none of this would be possible without the people behind the Taia platform, my co-founder Matija and the team of amazing experts in their respective fields, who bring their A-game to work every day.

Where do you see your company going in 5 years time?

The translation industry is huge, it’s three times the size of the music industry, and it’s growing because of globalization and various technological and cultural trends.
Everything is being localized and everything will become localized into all world languages, everything to the last series, game, app… This means that the market is rising. So, a few years ago we found a sweet spot in this industry that is much bigger than the music industry, but it’s not as sexy because no one knows it, because it’s a business service in the background. Translation is something that is not so interesting.
As we see the industry from the inside and its further potential for growth, we are doing all in our power that in three years time Taia will be the platform of choice for all internationally expanding businesses. Taia as a platform will offer tools and services for all types of translations. From HQ instant MT, translation tools, translation management systems up to human translations.

What has been your biggest setback so far?

It wasn’t so much of a setback but more of a challenge that we faced when we launched Taia. Very soon after we decided to jump into the translation industry, we realized that at the time we had 150 teachers that worked at our language school, but none of them, not even one, could be a translator. When it comes to teaching a language, it is a totally different sphere than translating. Teachers usually have a language on a lower level than a translator, so we could not really harvest anything from that, except a general business experience and a reference. So this is one of the first challenges we had to overcome.

Another one, also from the early days of Taia is we had to acknowledge that doing business as a language service provider was a completely different ballgame as doing business as a language school. So we quickly learned about the obvious shortcomings of the translation industry, and used our insight and technology to stride into the new era of the industry and start overcoming the competition at the same time.

What is the next big challenge for your business?

I see two main challenges for our business in the future.
The main challenge is connected to the people’s perception of machine translations, as most people associate the term with the early days of awkward and bad translations done by Google Translate that turned into countless memes and keep on living in people’s heads. But machine translations have improved immensely over time, and people can get great results even when they use just the publicly available and free tools such as Google Translate. And when using services such as ours, where we combine machine translation with translation memory systems they get much better results. This is a battle that we’re battling, changing the perception of potential customers. We usually tackle this problem just by showing them the product and people very often cannot differentiate between the work done by a computer or a human. We’re also lucky that there are other players in the industry, bigger than we are, that are also working on changing the perception, and so we’re not battling this battle alone.

The second challenge that we have is that the translation industry is really big, there is huge, and growing demand for translation and localization services, additionally driven by several technological and cultural trends. There are so many different use case scenarios and so many different personas that can use our services. We need to focus on what we do best, on the areas where our strengths lie, and try to understand our customers so that we can serve them to the best of our abilities.

How do people get involved/buy into your vision?

As I mentioned earlier, we firmly believe that all teammates are equal and contribute to the company’s success, so our company’s structure is really flat. I’m convinced that people need to feel the purpose and the impact of what they do so we are a community of dedicated, constantly learning and primarily autonomous people, who are empowered enough to constantly share ideas and question things, think differently and do their best work. We put a lot of emphasis on high empathy, team spirit and cooperation.
This said, we are excited to work with people who are constantly seeking knowledge and ways to grow, are autonomous in their work, but still highly dedicated to being the best and empathetic human beings they can be.

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