Startups: Reach Millions More Users with OneSky Translation

September 22, 2011

12:30 pm

Apple reported that iPhone sales almost quadrupled in the Asia-Pacific region in the third quarter of 2011, while rising 142.2 percent overall – the sign of an expanding market abroad. Meanwhile, many startups target local or national audiences, missing out on millions of users. Hong Kong startup OneSky helps developers reach those users by streamlining the translation of websites and apps.

“The purpose of OneSky is to let you quickly and simply roll out different versions,” says OneSky adviser and seed investor Greg Sung. Adds cofounder Loki Ng, “We’d like to help companies in the United States go to Korea or Japan.”

For monthly packages starting at $69, OneSky’s public beta connects you to translation agencies for an initial translation, with OneSky picking up a referral fee. This integrates “seamlessly” with programming platforms – a claim that developers should evaluate by checking out their different libraries.

On top of that, OneSky adds an optional crowdsourced layer: users can change translations if the new text wins enough votes. The voting system grew out of Sung’s efforts to translate his startup aNobii by user-generated translations alone, which were constantly disputed.

Many of OneSky’s clients develop iPhone and Facebook games and VoIP apps, such as China’s game company Lakoo and Skype alternative Viber. These startups and many others are realizing the advantages of translation, and the sheer and growing number of Asian app users suggests that translation – by OneSky or its competitors, like Smartling for websites – is something to look into.

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact

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