Kowango, a social media tool and offshoot of the Ortsbo.com's real-time translation platform, will go into private beta in about two months. The mobile application integrates location-based services with multiple language translations, and connects users with their surroundings without having to know the local, native language.
Ortsbo, a software program that translates email and instant chats in real-time, provides the backbone for Kowango. And as marketers reach out to consumers on multiple continents, translation will become a key to inking that connection.
"Americans have become arrogant," said Gene Simmons, KISS rock legend and Ortsbo business partner, during the keynote at the Mobile Marketing Association conference in Los Angeles Thursday. "We think everyone speaks English. It turns out that the largest broadcasters in Los Angeles are Spanish-speaking stations."
For marketers that want to take campaigns global, the translation tool will allow users to find like-minded people in social networks through conversations. It could lead to influencing the buying decision in real-time, according to David Lucatch, Ortsbo.com president. We are not about turning the red into rouge," he said. "It's about the experience of getting from red to rouge."
The video and chat product suite, Ortsbo, will also soon translate audio in real-time as well as text. Lucatch would not confirm the new feature, but he said: "We're actively looking into voice translation."
Lucatch said Ortsbo focuses on lifestyle and experience similar to the BASF branding promotion that made the point "we don't make the colors. We make the colors brighter" rather than reinventing the technology powering the feature.
Ortsbo, initially designed as an entertainment product, has five pending patents, with other applications on the way. The tool -- dubbed as the largest language translator -- supports 40 million users worldwide for free, translating since inception in 2010, about 287 million minutes of conversational text. Several commercially available programs being tested today will soon become available for a fee.
Simmons stepped in as a partner earlier this year to support Lucatch's efforts. He is fluent in five languages, including English, Hebrew, Hungarian, and German, as well as some Japanese and he is working to add Mandarin. The rocker helped build KISS from a small New York City brand to a global pop culture brand icon.