SA’s Zivo Learning launching translation marketplace


Pretoria-based startup Zivo Learning, which in April launched its free language learning app on Android, will launch its translation marketplace at DEMO Africa later this month.

Founded earlier this year, Zivo Learning is one of 11 South African startups that will pitch at DEMO Africa, where it will launch its translation marketplace, a crowdsourcing tool for language translations aimed at improving the speed and quality to translating language.

The startup launched its language learning app in February, and will now roll out its marketplace ahead of the launch of a language certification testing centre in October.

“It basically works by getting language translations from two or more people. A translation is placed in the database when the text translations match,” chief executive officer (CEO) Greg Kawere said.

“In six months we believe we will have the world’s largest African language technology platform, with spellcheckers, word translators, grammar tools and natural language processors, which we will monetise using our API.”

Kawere said Zivo Learning’s business model relies on building a critical mass of users on its free language learning app. He feels there is a real opportunity for the startup.

“Africa is an emerging economy that presents lots of opportunities for companies, but Africa is also home to more than 2,000 languages, so doing business in Africa requires multi-lingual content,” he said.

“There is also a drive by many African countries to localise content, both for learning and product information in indigenous languages.”

The self-funded startup, which takes a 20 per cent commission on all translation jobs, also plans to launch a crowdfunding campaign to collect language translations for 180,000 words in the English dictionary into African languages.


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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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