Ulatus is a language services company present in 125 countries that focuses on Asian language translations.
Founders: Shilpa Mittal
Year it was founded: 2007
Where it is based: Mumbai
The problem it solves: Language services
Funding raised: Bootstrapped
When Shilpa started Ulatus, she was 26 years old. Coming from a finance background, Shilpa had worked with the likes of Citibank, HSBC and Morgan Stanley. However, she knew in her heart that starting something of her own would be the way to go. In her earlier role she had worked in equities and treasury and had deals in foreign exchange, money markets, and other dealings.
It was during this stint that Shilpa realised the need for language translation services for academic purposes, as 10 years ago there was a lack of any such service in the market. With the little contact she had in the market, Shilpa hired people in Japan and different translators in Mumbai.
“Ulatus today is present in over 125 countries and provides translators to most of these countries. Today, we have a team of around 100 people in Mumbai, 15 people in the Japan office, four in the US office, six in the Korea office and six in China. Apart from this we have over 2,000 translators working for us from across the globe,” says Shilpa.
What does the company do?
The bootstrapped company, founded in 2007, primarily offers Asian language translation solutions to academic researchers to get their research published in international peer-reviewed journals. They also help corporate firms appeal to different global audiences in the languages they understand. The company offers Chinese, Indic, Korean and Japanese language services.
“We also cater to the life science industry's localisation needs to launch drugs in foreign markets. We do clinical trials translation for them, regulatory submission translation and linguistic validation for pharmaceutical companies, CROs, medical device companies and biotech companies,” says Shilpa.
The other services include website localisation, book translations, and game translation services. The platform also provides transcription along with translation services. “We have the capability to work with an almost limitless variety of audio/visual formats,” says Shilpa.
Initially, finding the right people was difficult. Additionally, what continues to be a challenge is finding expert translators for languages like Japanese and Chinese who also have the experience in dealing with top-class path-breaking research.
“Since our business is based out of these countries, we need assistance of these people to talk to clients in local language and also do online marketing activities for our websites, as our websites are in native languages,” says Shilpa.
Building the team
Reaching out to her contacts in the field, Shilpa initially hired a few people and later to attract the expat workers, she offered them easy incentives, so that they looked at India as a long-term career option.
“Since we work with only native translators from countries like the US, the UK, Japan, China, Korea, Australia, and New Zealand, we get work from these countries and outsource it back to these countries from India. This is what we proudly call ‘Reverse Outsourcing’. We have successfully placed India as an employer to the world. For this feat, we have been recognized by Google and FICCI,” Shilpa exclaims.
She was able to hire Yuko Furuya as the marketing head in Japan. Yuko had worked with renowned publisher Kodokawa, as a magazine editor. She had then joined one of the largest newspaper companies, Asahi Shinbun, as a Japanese language expert. Yuko has been working with Ulatus for 11 years now.
Allan Fernandes, a management graduate from Mumbai, who has several years of experience managing websites, heads marketing in India.
Pranjal Thapliyal is an expert in business communication, market analysis, product development, nurturing, and relationship management. After completing his Master’s from London School of Commerce, UK, he was involved in starting, managing and successfully running Model Advice, a multi-million dollar consultancy service. Michael Asquith is VP Sales and BD, Chicago office, and he looks after new business and expansion of the Ulatus brand. Michael has over 15 years of sales and business development experience.
The market and future
The firm charges the client for every word translated. The cost ranges from $2 to $20 depending on the amount of work. It has translated over 6,00,000 documents, from over 125 countries and has over 2,000 translators.
The market for language services is fast growing. According to market research firm Statista, the global language services industry was $43 billion in 2017. The report adds that the revenue for translations and interpretation services was at $3.61 billion as of 2016. Apart from this, players like Google are closely looking at language translations. There are others like Semantix, Mayflower, Modlingua and many more.
Speaking of their future plans, Shilpa says,
“Ulatus aims to be the most recognised translation and localisation solution worldwide for Asian languages. Our target is to be the go-to brand for academic translation in Japan, China, Taiwan and Korea. Globally, our goal is to be an established player for Asian languages. If a client has a need for book translation, website localisation, life science localisation or any other vertical for Asian languages, Ulatus wants to be the preferred choice for them.”