Sogou Invests USD 6-7m in Shanghai-Based UTH in Scramble for Translation Data

UTH International (UTH) successfully raised a round of funding in the RMB 40 to RMB 50m (USD 6.0 to 7.5m) range from Sogou Inc, putting its valuation above RMB 600m, according to Executive Vice President Henry Wang. The Shanghai-based company had successfully completed three initial rounds of fundraising prior, the most recent of which was a Series A+ investment worth “tens of millions of RMB.”

Sogou, one of China’s top three search engines, is a subsidiary of major Beijing-based internet company Sohu, Inc. Sogou Inc. has been making news recently by eyeing a US IPO targeting a USD 5b valuation.

UTH develops products derived from what it claims is “the world’s largest accessible translation memory corpus.” The company provides clients with applications and services anchored upon this multilingual big data platform integrated with tens of billions of translation units.

According to Wang, the company “has aggregated a total of over 8.7 billion parallel segments of high-quality human translation memory (TM) data which covers over 222 languages.” 

Henry Wang , EVP at UTH International

UTH was unable to share any data regarding their revenues, clientele, and projections, choosing to keep them confidential for now. Wang confirmed, however, that the funds are going into research and development as well as growth opportunities in mergers and acquisitions. He shared that UTH will focus on the language services, education, e-commerce, travel, legal, financial, technical communications, and life sciences markets.

Investor Sogou Inc. performed due diligence on UTH in 2016, after which both parties “engaged in long-term communications regarding strategic investment and how Sogou Inc. can best leverage UTH’s data and other resources… to accelerate growth,” Wang said.

Among other applications, Sogou Inc. is looking to utilize UTH’s large amount of human translation data to enhance neural machine translation (NMT) effectiveness and the overall quality of output of their other MT engines.

Sogou Inc’s SogouKnowing-NMT earned top marks in the Second Conference on Machine Translation’s Chinese to English and English to Chinese translation task for news, held in Copenhagen, Denmark. Asked whether UTH International is involved in Sogou Inc’s NMT projects, Wang said “Not in the past, but will be deeply involved from now on.”

He commented that they have been witnessing developments in NMT in the past two years. “We have been benefiting from it in terms of our solution delivery and product innovation,” he said, adding: “UTH continues to be committed to the fast growing of its high-quality human translation data, while digging deeper into these sets of data and tapping into a bigger potential of its application into the AI and IoT [Internet of Things] innovations.”