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Going global from day one with Unbabel CEO Vasco Pedro

Language is the final frontier for scaling SaaS. With English as a language dwindling on the web, the need for better localization is greater than ever. Listen to my chat with Vasco Pedro, Founder and CEO of Unbabel, a company tackling this very problem with both AI and human-powered systems.

One of the biggest barriers to SaaS businesses going truly global from day one is localization. That is, the process of adapting your product to meet the language and cultural requirements of a specific target market.

Vasco Pedro is co-founder and CEO of Unbabel, which removes language barriers between companies and their customers by blending artificial intelligence with a global network of translators to provide real-time, human-quality translations at scale.

Originally from Lisbon, Portugal, he has a PhD in Language Technologies from, and was a Invited Researcher and Research Assistant at, Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. A serial entrepreneur, since 2013 he has led Unbabel, taking it through Y Combinator and raising a total of $8 million in funding.

This discussion with Vasco is a must-listen for anyone approaching new markets or thinking about localization of their product.

There are hidden challenges here and common misconceptions that completely change the game. Did you know for example that English is a shrinking language online? The need to localize software is higher than ever, and it was great to hear how Vasco’s team are tackling this with a hybrid AI and human-based approach.

“If you look at the amount of content online, it used to be about 80% English around 1998. And now, English represents about 20% of online content and it’s expected to bottom out at about 10%.”


“We’re now about 3.5 billion people online. We’re expected to hit 4.5-5 billion in the next 3-4 years. Most of the people coming online right now are from developing countries — the next 400 million people in India to go online won’t speak English.”

Listen to the episode

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