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What’s New with Waygo: Instant Chinese Language Translation App Expanding to Android and Two New Asian Languages


Declared unanimously as the favorite app of appAttack GMIC SV 2012 by all 5 judges of the competition, Waygo (previously Waigo) is a cutting edge mobile app providing instant translation of Chinese menu into English. No internet is needed, and it requires very low usage of memory space on your device.

Waygo is perfect for travelers! Upload the app, point your mobile camera to any Chinese dish in a menu (in simplified or traditional Chinese) and you get instant translation of the name of the dish in English, and sometimes additional information.

Their OCR technology (optical character recognition) was built in-house, providing a much higher quality than many other apps on the market. This drew the attention of famous angel investor Dave McClure, who welcomed them in his incubator 500 Startups (500S).

We met with the Translate Abroad team, who produced the Waygo app. Ryan, Rob and Huan-Yu caught up with us on another beautiful day in Mountain View. Since GMIC SV2012, here’s what we got for you!

  • The Translate Abroad team wasn’t expecting to win appAttack and got caught off-guard as they didn’t prepare for people to get in contact with them after GMIC.
  • They still managed to get some good investment meetings and one commitment from someone they met from GMIC. In total, including this investor from GMIC, they closed 110,000USD of investment after the conference. Very exciting!
  • Before GMIC, their user base was very small and user acquisition was irregular. Attending appAttack was the first marketing push for the app, and Waygo gained tons of downloads during the conference week.
  • They fully utilized the marketing campaigns offered by appAttack competition partners Startmeapp and appsfire and decided to keep working with one of them for future campaigns. They met with AppTap at the GMIC conference and worked with them on their marketing campaign. Their user base has kept growing ever since.
  • They were just starting the 500S incubation program when they won the appAttack competition which set a tone straight-away on expectations for the Batch #5 of 500S’ incubator! When they came back to the incubator with their hefty prize check, Dave McClure responded: “I guess you guys are buying drinks tonight!”. They didn’t.
  • Waigo recently changed their name to Waygo for branding reasons. While Waigo in Chinese pinyin means “foreign country”, people unfamiliar with mandarin were pronouncing it as “Why go?”. So…Waygo is the new…way to go.
  • Right now Waygo is still entirely free, translating as many Chinese phrases as the customer wants. However, there will later be in-app purchases for topping up a customer’s daily or monthly quota of translations. But no worries, they will have weekly plans for travelers and unlimited plans for expats. You can also still download it for free and give it a try!
  • Rob has never been to China. Ryan has spent one year there developing mobile app. Huan-Yu is from Taiwan. They might travel there towards the end of the year.
  • Their goals and milestones for 2013:
    • Adding 2 other Asian languages,
    • Releasing the Android version,
    • Securing one major partnership with a travel-related company (or hotel, airline booking) to allow travelers in Asia to download the app before flying and to gain the best experience possible from their trip.
  • Currently they are recruiting amazing developers with computer vision, image processing and OCR skills.

We wish them the best of luck for the next step of their start-up adventure!

Last but not least…

appAttack SV 2013 will open soon!

If you are also developing a kick-ass mobile app and you are looking for marketing exposure, or a push in user acquisition and connection with investors.. ? Subscribe to our newsletter now and get notified when the competition opens! You may be the next Waygo!

Contact us at carole[at]

Contact Waigo on Twitter at @WaygoApp

About Translate Abroad 

Translate Abroad is the company behind Waygo, a simple translation app using your smart phone camera to instantly translate Chinese text without internet. Now available for simplified and traditional Chinese, Waygo was the winner of appAttack competition at GMIC SV 2012.
appAttack is a global mobile app competition hosted every year by the Global Mobile Internet Conference in Beijing since 2010 and in Silicon Valley since 2012.

About GMIC

The Global Mobile Internet Conference (GMIC) is a leading independent mobile and Internet conference, held annually in Beijing and Silicon Valley. GMIC brings together executives, entrepreneurs, developers, and investors from around the globe to learn from industry thought leaders, better understand mobile technology trends and the future of internet, and build partnerships. Last GMIC SV was hosted at San Jose Convention Center on October 19-20, 2012.


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