How the startup is rivalling machine translation giants

AI translation has transformed the way we communicate, breaking down language barriers in an unprecedented way. The sector’s global market size is projected to reach $12.3bn (€11.3bn) by 2026 — and big and small players alike are aiming to cash in.

Among them, Cologne-based DeepL has been raising industry standards even compared to tech giants like Google Translate and Microsoft Translator.

“We’ve always been rivalling big companies.

The startup was born from online dictionary Linguee and has grown fast since its founding in 2017 by Jarek Kutylowski, a computer scientist who’s also serving as the company’s CEO.

Born in Poland, Kutylowski moved to Germany at the age of 12 where he attended school without speaking a word of German. This made him realise the importance of language and the difficulty in having to communicate in more than one.

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When he began working on DeepL in 2017, he saw that neural networks might offer a breakthrough that would enable technology to solve this problem. “We kind of knew that machine translation was going to go in this direction. And we knew this was going to be immensely helpful. Seeing this opportunity, we thought ‘Hey, let’s build something great,’” Kutylowski tells TNW.

Jarek Kutylowski