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Title Korea CQ - Epilogue of Lecture on 'Language takes Flight, the Future of Translation'
Posted by webmaster Hit 2000 Date 2017.04.07
Dear Korea CQ members,

I hope you are having a beautiful day.
On April 4, Korea CQ had the lecture ‘Language takes Flight, the Future of Translation: Human vs AI’ by Mr. Simon Lee, CEO of Flitto, at the Flitto in Samsung-dong.
H.E Arslan Hakan Okcal, Pinar Okcal, Simon Lee, Bill Miner, Lissa Miner, Erwan Vilfeu, Sumi Jang, Susan Ling, Ian Jeong, Jae Woo James Park, Jake Kim, Min Sun Park, Hyung Taek Hong, Chang Sup Lee, Kwon Ha Ryu, Crystal Park, Joel Lee, Jungwha Choi, Didier Beltoise attended this forum.

CQ members arrived on time and had time to catch up during the reception with a glass of wine. Following the reception, they enjoyed the delicious Korean dosirak for dinner, one consisting of cooked glutinous rice with sweet pumpkin, Bulgogi with fresh vegetables, the other with cooked glutinous rice, roast tender chicken and salmon stake. 
After dinner, CQ members enjoyed refreshments and coffee, thoughtfully prepared by CEO of Flitto, Simon Lee.  
Following the enjoyable dinner, the lecture by Mr. Simon Lee, CEO of Flitto, started. He is a member of Presidential Committee of Young Generation, was selected as Forbes Tomorrow People : Asia’s rising star, won Minister Prize (Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning) and worked for SK Telecom / Investment & Global Alliance Team from 2009~2012.
Opening the lecture, CQ members were received a picture of smoking warning messages in Korean and tried to translate it into English with the greatly-used Google translator. The result turned out to be nonsense because of word for word translation. After that, Mr. Lee tried it again but this time with Flitto application. Its translation was much better than Google translator, but was still not fully understandable. However, Flitto‘s translation process didn’t end here; it sent the translation to nationwide Flitto’s translators to get a successful result within 1~2 minutes.

The biggest problem of AI translation is that it cannot guarantee the result - it always needs humans to validate its translation. That is why the issue of reliability continues to resurface.
As a car needs fuel, AI needs data. Flitto is producing the data to increase the quality of translation service, selling data to Google, Microsoft and Naver and so on. In a nut shell, companies like Google makes machines, humans translate, and Flitto acts as a platform connecting AI and Humans by analysing the translation,
The process of Flitto is as follows; first, AI translates, then humans inspect the result to send the data to the machine for it to learn. The reason why big companies like Google buys data from Flitto is because other companies have either focused only on machines, or only on human translation. Nobody thinks about the data filtering work between them. Flitto spotted that niche market and uses various translation systems as a part of gathering data.
For example, for someone who doesn’t care about money but professional translation were matched to more professional translators; to someone who needs an instant translation with little money were matched to suitable translators. 
Flitto can translate perfectly from modern slang to ancient Chinese. For example, Flitto provides translation service to celebrities like Paulo Cohelo and Psy’s twitter, and also to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy, MOMA in New York, Tokyo and Kyoto. For the Uffizi Gallery, Flitto only needed two days to finish all the translations, even though it has over 10,000 art works. What made this possible was that Flitto split the work between the 1.2 million Flitto translators so each translator would do 4~5 pieces. 
Flitto also does business-to-business (B2B) businesses, currently providing its services to Airbnb, Amazon, Panasonic, Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute(ETRI), Naver and also recently Seoul city to tear down language barrier.                
All members were absorbed in the humorous and interesting lecture by Mr. Lee, having an active Q&A time after lecture.
Having lived in various countries, Mr. Lee said he has found that people are all same no matter what his/her skin color and nationality, but they have misunderstandings due to the language barrier. Since then he made up his mind to dispel that misunderstanding, and that was the beginning of his business. He also says he wishes to preserve language which contains culture and history, and he will keep his conviction with Flitto. Making inroads into the world market like US and other countries is another goal of Flitto.
We deeply thank Simon Lee for his warm hospitality and outstanding lecture, making it an unforgettable night for Korea CQ members. We would also like to thank all members who attended the forum.
Last but not least, we would like to thank Crystal Park for her wonderful interpretation help.

Thank you again for your unwavering support and have a nice day.

Korea CQ Semi Ham
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Q) Jungwha Choi, President of CICI: What made you start Flitto?
A) Simon Lee, President of Flitto: Having spent most of my youth abroad in various countries, I’ve realized all people are the same regardless of their skin or nationality but misunderstandings have been produced due to different languages. So I wanted to end the misunderstanding, and that’s where I began Flitto.

Q) Bill Miner, Country Chairman of Chevron: You’ve mainly talked about written translation - is verbal translation also possible?

A) Simon Lee, President of Flitto: Yes, it is, but only verbal to written translation is possible. We do provide t
ext reading function with mechanic voice.  

Q) Didier Beltoise, President of Cs: What percentage of translation accuracy can Flitto guarantee?
A) Simon Lee, President of Flitto: 82~90% can be secured for instant AI translation, but almost 100% for real-time translators.  

Q) Lissa Miner, Chevron: What is your biggest challenge right now?
A) Simon Lee, President of Flitto: I think it would be Twitter and Facebook trying to copy our model. Facebook is using our system but if Facebook does what Flitto does on itself, it could produce better results than us because it has much more users than us. 
Q) Erwan Vilfeu, CEO of Nestle Korea: What Flitto means?
A) Simon Lee, President Flitto: ‘Flit’ is ancient English, which means ‘gently fly’ – like a butterfly. Most translation companies use ‘language, trans..’ for their names, but we approached in a more casual way and tried to deliver our aim through our name, Flitto. 

Q) Pinar Okcal, Spouse of Ambassador, Embassy of Turkey: When I use Facebook translation service, it is sometimes awkward. Why is it? 

A) Simon Lee, President of Flitto: That’s because when people write something in Facebook, they don’t care about grammar at all. So all gathered data should be a mess which led to poor translation. 

Q) Hong, Hyung Taek, Secretary General of East Asia Foundation: Could you tell us the proportion of AI and Humans in Flitto translation?
A) Simon Lee, President of Flitto: It’s hard to tell the proportion between them because basically all translations are firstly done by AI and then those results are passed to Humans. After humans do the translation, and
they pass the data AI again. This is how Flitto process works.

Q) Hong, Hyung Taek, Secretary General of East Asia Foundation: If so, we could tell most of the translations in Flitto are done by humans, right?
A) Simon Lee, President of Flitto: Yes. If enough data are gathered in the future, AI can do most of translation work, but it’s hard to tell how much data will be enough to get to that stage.

Q) Hong, Hyung Taek, Secretary General of East Asia Foundation: Where is Flitto main server?
A) Simon Lee, President of Flitto:  Everywhere. But if I have to pick one, it would be Singapore. We originally planned to have our main server in China but due to the regulations of the Chinese government we couldn’t. 

Q) Pinar Okcal, Spouse of Ambassador, Embassy of Turkey: How big is your company?
A) Simon Lee, President of Flitto:  Our last funding was 14 million US dollars and we have 70 employees. We’ve grown fast.
Q) Didier Beltoise, President of Cs: How could you start your business 5 years ago? 
A) Simon Lee, President of Flitto: When I worked for SK Telecom, I shared my idea about Flitto and met the co-founder in the company. Also in 2012 everybody started to have smartphones so I thought this would be great help for my business. At that time we didn’t have a proper office so we moved from England to China. It has only been 3 years since we have been staying at this office here in Seoul. 
Q) Didier Beltoise, President of Cs: How were you convinced to start your business 5 years ago, when you had nothing? 
A) Simon Lee, President of Flitto: Desperation. I was young and very passionate about my old dream to tear down the language barrier. That was the point I emphasized to the investors. Also, I didn’t fear failing. For me, my wish to do this was the most important factor in my life. 

Q) Lee, Chang Sup, President-publisher of the Korea Times: Recently, children have been saying that they don’t have to study English or other languages because they have translation apps like Flitto. What do you think about this?

A) Simon Lee, President of Flitto: We’ve heard a lot of that kind of misunderstanding, but actually, translation apps broaden the ways of learning languages rather than remove the need for it. Furthermore, learning languages is a tool to extend opportunities to do what one wants to do. We cannot overstate the importance of learning languages.   

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