Our Investment in Viva Translate

Bridging the Language Gap
February 17, 2022
min read

It goes without saying that the pandemic accelerated the shift to remote and distributed work. But work isn’t just distributed across the US – it’s increasingly distributed across the world, giving anyone with the skills the ability to work to the best of their ability. And yet there are language barriers today that prevent much of the world from participating in the global economy fully. Language gaps impact us in so many ways: working across borders, acclimating to different work cultures, and building long-term careers independently of geography.

When we first met Belinda and Tony at Viva Translate, we were blown away by their commitment to bridging the language gap: meeting people on their own terms, removing the barriers culture and language can create, and making social and professional communication even more inclusive. That’s why today we’re proud to announce that we’ve led their $4M seed round.

Viva Translate is building deep, domain-specific translation tools, beginning with freelancers in the Spanish-speaking world. English is the most spoken language in the business world, but 80% of the world doesn’t speak English, locking them out of participating in the global workforce. Viva’s translation tools solve this by more accurately conveying tone and professional context for Spanish-speaking freelancers. Importantly, Viva’s key insight is that broad-based translation products struggle to capture both domain-specific vocabulary as well as professional stylistic cues that interactions hinge upon, enabling freelancers to be judged on the quality of their work – not their English-language ability.

Belinda and Tony’s vision aligns well to our thinking around tailored productivity: ultimately, abstracting away cultural blockers creates the opportunity for freelancers to be more strategic in their work. Both enterprises and individuals need an alternative to transitional translation software which can miss professional vocabulary and emotional cues. They benefit from deeper tooling that takes into account stylistic choices and cultural differences. With Viva’s unique technology and ability to grow domain-specific translation expertise, more professionals have an opportunity to communicate confidently across Spanish to English and take part in global commerce.

General Catalyst is committed to helping to build companies with intention, embracing an inclusive mindset, and creating impactful outcomes through the idea of Responsible Innovation. We know Viva’s mission and innovative solution will make a meaningful difference in the lives and livelihoods of many millions of professionals in Latin America and beyond.