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How to Lead in the Digital Translation Era with Vidby’s CEO

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Esther is a business strategist with over 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur, executive, educator, and management advisor.

How to Lead in the Digital Translation Era with Vidby’s CEO

In this interview, we sit down with Alexander Konovalov, the CEO of vidby. This company, under Konovalov’s leadership, has emerged as a key player in the digital translation space, offering rapid and efficient translation services into over 120 languages and dialects.

This conversation delves into the innovative journey of vidby, exploring the challenges and triumphs of introducing a fully automated translation service in a market ripe for disruption. Konovalov shares insights on the technological advancements driving vidby, the company’s approach to navigating the complexities of language and culture, and his vision for the future of digital translation.

Alexander Konovalov
Alexander Konovalov, CEO of Vidby

Inspiration Behind Vidby’s Creation

SBS – What inspired the creation of vidby, and how does it address market needs?

Alexander – The inspiration behind vidby is the desire to create products that can be used by people from all over the world. Before vidby, my professional journey led me through local industrial enterprises and the world of legal and consulting services. However, I felt a need for something more impactful that could transcend geographical boundaries and truly help people.

That’s why in 2013, my business partner and vidby’s co-founder, Eugen von Rubinberg, and I took a leap into the world of innovation by launching the world’s first video calling service with built-in translation. Despite the noticeable success, in 2018, our team encountered a number of obstacles that stalled us and forced us to pause work.

This initial success revealed the untapped potential of real-time translation in video communication and sparked our vision for the future. We were a little ahead of the time, and only in 2021 did we feel that the right time had come: The technology had reached the required level, people began to need such tools, and a market started to form. So, we were back with an improved AI-powered video translation concept. This is how vidby was born.

Today, the world is moving at tremendous speeds, and the use of AI tools is already the norm. The old-fashioned translation and duplication process is less efficient and can sometimes become a real headache. But with the help of automated solutions, we optimize the entire localization process, minimizing human intervention and reducing costs and turnaround time.

Eugen von Rubinberg, co-founder and co-CEO

Quality Assurance in Translation and Dubbing

SBS – How do you ensure the quality and accuracy of the translations and dubbings provided by vidby?

Alexander – In our pursuit of translation accuracy and voiceover excellence, we’ve introduced and developed a comprehensive set of solutions. This includes overseeing the pronunciation of brand names, handling terms and names during translation, conducting interlingual analysis, and controlling the speed of voice delivery while maintaining the tempo of the source language. We’ve also addressed challenges, such as length synchronization of phrases, and implemented robust quality control measures.

It’s crucial to highlight our distinct approach. While others focused solely on subtitle translations, we took a groundbreaking step in 2021 by venturing into the more intricate realm of AI translation and voice acting. This shift represents a considerably more challenging undertaking, showcasing our commitment to pushing the boundaries of innovation in the field.

Technology Driving Vidby

SBS – Can you describe the technological infrastructure that supports vidby’s services?

Alexander – Today, vidby has evolved into a sophisticated enterprise-level software product. Our infrastructure is built upon a micro-service architecture where individual micro-services handle distinct stages of order processing, and we have already deployed multiple products successfully. The core of our service revolves around our AI developments, including SpeechTempo (which determines the length of phrases in 45 languages) and a suite of speech technologies designed to enhance translations, speech recognition, and synthesis.

Furthermore, our AI solutions, encompassing lip synchronization, text-to-video replacement, emotion recognition in speech, voice cloning, and speech synthesis with emotional nuances, are currently undergoing closed testing and continuous refinement. We are a multi-product company, and each product is overseen by a dedicated team, which enables us to efficiently tackle various tasks in parallel. Internally, we maintain separate teams for AI and speech technology.

Highlighting our industry partnerships, we proudly stand as the Google technology partner, the certified Microsoft partner, and the vendor recommended by YouTube. It’s important to note that a thorough technical audit of our operations preceded all these affiliations; thus, we take great pride in the current results achieved through our commitment to innovation and excellence.

Handling Dialects and Cultural Nuances

SBS – How does vidby handle different dialects and cultural nuances in translations?

Alexander – The main concern with AI is its accuracy and quality when translating tricky idioms, complex phrases, cultural references, and context-specific content. AI-driven systems might not fully grasp all the cultural nuances and culturally sensitive issues that require extreme accuracy. It’s crucial to ensure that the translations and dubbing are culturally appropriate and don’t unintentionally offend or misrepresent certain cultures or communities; we deal with that by offering a human touch when the AI translation is ready. But the development of AI is accelerating. The latest trends in the AI market show that AI will be able to handle those “human-only” tasks and issues in the coming years. However, I want to stress that we don’t intend to replace humans but, rather, offer a quicker and cheaper alternative for everyone who needs to translate and voiceover the video or be more efficient.

Overcoming Challenges

SBS – What have been the biggest challenges in developing and scaling vidby’s services?

Alexander – Translating videos comes with its challenges, primarily due to variations in speech length and pace across different languages. Handling scaling issues is undoubtedly a hurdle. When dealing with audio and video files, speech processing, and managing large volumes, it’s crucial to employ specialized approaches in organizing workflow configurations.

Vidby’s Future Vision

SBS – How do you see vidby evolving in the next five years, particularly with advancements in AI and machine learning?

Alexander – In the future, our goal is to advance technology that enables the transfer and synthesis of speech with emotions in new languages. We’re currently in the final stages of developing a neural network, and the initial testing results are impressive.

This first version focuses on identifying emotions in the source file and replicating those emotions, along with the speech intonation in the new language. This represents a cross-lingual cloning of voice and emotions. Achieving perfection in this technology will require another 3–5 years, with the ultimate aim of using only AI to fully dub feature films.

Additionally, it’s crucial to revisit and enhance speech recognition systems that currently pose a challenge in the market. Despite numerous available solutions, they all have similar shortcomings. Even with 99% accuracy, there are 1–2 errors per minute, which is considered a significant issue. In film dubbing, only 100% accuracy in speech recognition is deemed acceptable.

Customer Acquisition and Retention

SBS – What strategies have you employed to attract and retain customers for vidby?

Alexander – When it comes to our flagship product, we offer the world’s best combination of quality, speed, convenience, and price compared to our competitors.

Simultaneously, we present four options for quality, price, and speed, providing a flexible range of choices. This allows users to avoid unnecessary expenses and opt for a quality level that suits their specific needs, especially considering the context of video usage. For instance, striving for 100% accuracy and wrestling with literal translations might be extra for internal instructions.

Our overarching strategy revolves around developing technologies that facilitate global communication, emphasizing the importance of understanding to enhance people’s interactions on a global scale.

Efficiency in Video Translation

SBS – How does vidby manage to maintain faster translation speeds compared to traditional translation agencies?

Alexander – Typically, video translation and dubbing via traditional translation agencies require significant labor, time, and money. We offer an all-in-one platform that covers the whole circle of video localization; all they need is to place the order, pick the order type, make all necessary settings, press the confirmation button, and we’ll handle the rest. We pay great attention to usability and interface to ensure easy order placement and management within minutes. We aim to minimize the human labor in the loop and keep them only where it’s really needed: dealing with cultural nuances, idioms, final revision, and other tricky issues that machines can’t cope with. So, our clients save time and money at this stage.

And, of course, the heart of our service is AI. AI-powered solutions like ours can translate and dub videos into various languages and dialects with high quality within minutes. Dubbing, transcribing, voice cloning — the technology makes everything at the speedlight.

Client Success Stories

SBS – Could you share a success story or a case study where vidby significantly impacted a client’s business?

Alexander – Once, we successfully processed more than 120 hours of content by translating and providing voiceovers for videos across 30 YouTube channels within a single creator ecosystem. The outcome was an expanded viewership that reached audiences in Spain, France, Germany, Poland, Portugal, Brazil, Latin America, Korea, and a host of other countries, all achieved without incurring exorbitant costs for localization. According to our customer’s conservative estimates, they have saved tens of thousands of dollars on translations for their bloggers.

Data Security and Privacy

SBS – How does vidby ensure data security and privacy, especially with sensitive video content?

Alexander – We must also consider ethical and social implications when talking to AI. On this point, vidby has introduced the ethical code that follows the principles of non-discrimination, security, and integrity of linguistic AI. We need to find a balance where AI can serve a good purpose by helping prevent discrimination and dissemination of fakes and promote linguistic diversity.

For example, to use our voice cloning feature, the user must confirm that the provided voice belongs to them by pressing the confirmation button. Once generated, the voice is securely stored within the user account, exclusively accessible to the creator. This restriction reflects vidby’s ethical approach to the use of AI.

Advice for Aspiring Tech Entrepreneurs

SBS – What advice would you give to entrepreneurs looking to start a tech-based service company?

Alexander – Brace yourself and get ready for a lengthy journey. If a task can be done quickly and well, it’s simple. And if it’s simple, it’s something anyone can handle. Initially, you’ll likely do it poorly and not very fast. Then, you’ll do it poorly but quickly. Later, you’ll reach a point where you can do it well, but it might still take time. Only after a few years will you do it well and quickly if you manage to reach that stage. The challenge is learning to sell your solution right away, even when its quality is poor and time-consuming. It’s crucial to remember that the market you’re entering probably doesn’t exist yet. So, the key is to just get started and move to the phase of doing it well and over time as quickly as possible. Seek your clients actively, disregarding advice and competitors.

Staying Ahead in a Competitive Market

SBS – How does vidby stay competitive in the market, especially with the emergence of similar services?

Alexander – Vidby’s journey involves continuous innovation and evolution. The foundation has been laid, and our commitment to improvement is ongoing. There is no final point of readiness in the realm of innovative IT products; it’s an endless path of refinement. This approach sets us apart, emphasizing the dynamic nature of our solutions compared to more static and traditional businesses. Day by day, we make our tools better and better.

Here are some examples of tools that simplify the user’s life. First, we introduced video editing tools within the platform. During the order placement, the user can easily cut out the unnecessary segments of videos (for example, advertising blocks) and translate the particular parts instead of the whole pieces, reducing the costs accordingly. Second, we have order templates with specific parameters that can be used to make new orders without wasting time setting the video’s parameters if it’s unnecessary. Third, we have the automated translation of YouTube video descriptions. You give us the link; we dub the video into chosen languages, including description, while preserving the text’s original format, including line spacing and even emojis. So, yes, we are pretty crazy about the details.

Last but not least, we offer one of the best quality, speed, price, and usability combos on the market. Plus, our support team is ready to help you 24/7/365. That’s why our clients turn to us again and again.

Innovations on the Horizon

SBS – Can you discuss any plans for new features or services that vidby might introduce in the future?

Alexander – Today, our vision extends towards creating an ecosystem of AI-powered translation tools designed to assist people in various life situations: document translation, offline gatherings (with this purpose in mind, we created vidby’s MeetUp), and online calls (vidby’s Call Translator). We aspire to continually enhance and expand our offerings, ensuring we remain at the forefront of innovation in language technology.


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How to Lead in the Digital Translation Era with Vidby’s CEO