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Why Only the Uncomfortable Succeed in Japan – Jeff Sandford – Wovn.io

By Tim Romero: Serial startup founder in Japan and indomitable innovator

The translation and localization industry has seen some impressive innovations over the past decade, but in many ways, it has remained stubbornly resistant to change. Today we sit down and talk with Jeff Sandford co-founder of Wovn.io. The Wovn team has developed a way to take the pain out of web localization and translation. They promise to do it all with a single line of code. We talk a bit about the mechanics of web-site localization and state of the industry as a whole, and we also discuss some important but surprising differences between with makes compelling UI/UX design for Japanese and for Western users, and what kinds of tasks machine translation can really be trusted with. Jeff also explains why he decided to start a company with someone he had never meet. It’s a great discussion, and I think you’ll really enjoy it. Show Notes for Startups Why website translation is important but often overlooked Why Jeff chose to start a company with someone he had never met  How to combat Japan's "Design by Committee" problem Why you should not trust machine translation for e-commerce When you need to change from a bottom-up to top-down sales strategy The challenges of working with Japanese enterprise customers as a startup Advice for foreign engineers and founders who want to come to Japan Why Japan needs to get uncomfortable Links from the Founder Wovn.io homepage Wovn.io on Twitter Wovn.io on Facebook [shareaholic app="share_buttons" id="7994466"] Leave a comment Transcript from Japan Disrupting Japan, episode 86. Welcome to Disrupting Japan, straight talk from Japan’s most successful entrepreneurs. I'm Tim Romero and thanks for joining me. Today we’re going to talk about something that you and I, and probably everyone else listening right now has struggled with. Translation and localization. It’s been an industry that has both seen some impressive innovations over the past decade, but is also somehow quite resistant to change. Localization is a part of business that almost every firm has to deal with, but almost no one looks forward to. It’s a lot like dealing with lawyers in that way, I suppose. Well, today we sit down with Jeff Sandford, cofounder of Wovn.io who say they’ve developed a one line of code method for taking the pain out of localization and translation. We talk a bit about the mechanics of website localization and the state of the industry as a whole, of course. We also talk about the important and surprising differences between what makes great UI/UX with Japanese and western users. And what kind of tasks machine translation can really be trusted with. And Jeff shares a story of what made him decide to start a company with a cofounder who he’d never even met before. But you know, Jeff tells that story much better than I can. So let’s hear from our sponsor, and get right to the interview. [pro_ad_display_adzone id="1411"  info_text="Sponsored by"  font_color="grey"  ] [Interview] Tim: Cheers. Jeff: Cheers. Tim: So I’m sitting with Jeff, cofounder of Minimal Technologies and the creator of Wovn.io. And thanks for sitting down with me today. Jeff: Thank you very much. Good to be here. Tim: Wovn.io at a high level is simply localization for a website. But it’s more than that. It’s more interesting than that so why don’t you tell us a bit about what it is. Jeff: So often people when you tell them you do website localization, they think translation, which it actually isn’t. Translation is a very integral part of it, but what we focus on is the system of localizing a website. So let’s say you have an English website, and you’ll like to create a Chinese version or Spanish version of that website, we handle all of the details of actually creating those versions, and also managing them and serving them to users. Tim: Now there’s a lot of companies that are doing that,

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