KUDO, the New York City-based company behind KUDO Marketplace, was recognized earlier today as one of the 100 most innovative inventors of 2021 by TIME.
“Since 2018, we’ve been working towards the mission of breaking language barriers. With KUDO Marketplace, we’re one step closer to democratizing access to skilled interpreters, so that everyone has the power to understand and be understood in meetings and events,” said Fardad Zabetian, co-founder and CEO of KUDO. “I’m honored that TIME magazine recognized KUDO Marketplace as a top invention of 2021 and think this speaks to the importance of our mission.”
KUDO has had a big year, with the launch of programs like KUDO Language Access and KUDO Marketplace. TIME listed the company’s platform KUDO Marketplace among the top 100 inventions of 2021, noting that the platform has made the process of hosting multilingual meetings online significantly easier. The magazine commended KUDO for streamlining videoconferencing for companies and other entities that conduct business globally.
“KUDO Marketplace is perfectly placed at the intersection of technological innovation and the world’s largest roster of interpreters,” said Ewandro Magalhães, co-founder and chief language officer of the company. “Adding language to meetings just became a whole lot easier.”
This year, the magazine’s list of best inventions prominently included innovations that have made life a little bit easier during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with KUDO Marketplace listed alongside other inventions such as vaccines against the virus. Others that made the magazine’s list include advancements in artificial intelligence, more accessible and efficient text-to-speech programming, and developments in e-learning. KUDO Marketplace was categorized as a major innovation in the “Connectivity” category.
KUDO Marketplace allows hosts of meetings to offer interpreting services in more than 200 different languages, 147 of which are signed. The platform, which TIME noted resembles Zoom, allows meeting participants to then select their preferred language from a dropdown list; the resulting interpretation is created by human interpreters, rather than any sort of machine translation (MT) mechanism. Currently, Zoom plans to expand its translation functions with an MT-based solution within the next year.
“It’s awesome to have the opportunity to build technology that is helping to improve accessibility and inclusion in the global meeting space,” said KUDO’s co-founder and chief technology officer Parham Akhavan.
Sarah Hickey, the vice president of research at Nimdzi Insights told MultiLingual that it’s particularly exciting to see outsiders to the language industry recognize accomplishments in the field of language services.
“It is interesting that among the many innovations that KUDO has brought to the VRI market, TIME would have chosen the Marketplace,” Hickey said. “What really matters is that traditional media is taking notice of the advancements in the language services space, which benefits the industry as a whole.”
Note: An earlier version of this article implied that Zoom does not currently have translation functions, which it does. It has since been corrected.