Understandify is a new app that welcomes both amateurs and professionals to act as interpreters. Communication between Ukrainian and English is the starting point.
Understandify is the name of a new Vaasa company and a new app. The app can be used, for example, when someone has an urgent need to quickly understand someone else or needs to communicate in a foreign language.
– It can be anything from exchanging a few words with the bus driver to translation assistance for a doctor’s appointment or business matters, says Thomas Höglund, CEO of Understandify.
Starting with Ukrainian-English
In the app, users choose the languages they need help with. The range of languages is growing steadily, but initially the focus is on a few selected languages.
The start-up company puts initial effort into helping Ukrainian and English-speaking users to understand each other, because this is where there is a huge, recognised demand. This is also why the app is available with both English and Ukrainian interfaces from the start.
Linking demand with supply
The app shows immediately which interpreters are available. A user can freely choose among them and also provide a brief description of their needs to ensure that the linguist is the right person for the job.
The app can call several interpreters at the same time to see who answers first. Video calls also work, which can be useful, for example, if you need to show documents.
Can be used free of charge
The way Understandify works is that interpreters and linguists decide how much they charge for their services and when they are available. Linguists may, for example, provide their services free of charge because they find it rewarding just to help others or to develop themselves.
– There is of course also a big difference in the requirements for translation quality, if you are a tourist and want to interact with the local population, the requirements may not be that high, says Thomas Höglund.
If the person doing the translation job, does it for free, Understandify does not charge anything either. After the calls are made, users can rate the interpreters, creating a system that weeds out rogue operators.
Professional interpreters are also available
The free interpreting services may be sufficient to meet everyday needs, but sometimes expert help is needed. The platform hosts both laymen and professional interpreters. All service providers set their own per-minute rates.
– For professional interpreters it can, for example, be a sideline on top of their regular job, says Thomas Höglund.
Understandify is currently approaching various interpreting agencies to build a larger base of available interpreters.
The development work behind Understandify has been done within Done Enterprises, also a Vaasa based company. Recently, a separate subsidiary, Understandify Ab Oy, was created to commercialise and develop the app further.
Done Enterprises is also the parent company of Done Robotics. Done Robotics develops robots for hospital and logistics needs, for example. Both Understandify and Done Robotics are now entering an expansive phase where both companies are looking for external financiers.