After 25 years of wrestling the language barriers of international trade, a Swedish entrepeneur launches an online marketplace, addressing 5.5 billion people.
How do you say, "Let's do Business" in Turkish, German, Russian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Arabic or Persian? Swedish entrepreneur and international businessman Andreas Isaksson, founder of the multilingual advertisement web portal commercus could probably tell you, and then give you at least 39 alternative ways to say the same thing. Poised to steal some thunder from online giants such as eBay and Alibaba, Commercus is currently available in 39 languages (and counting), allowing buyers and sellers in more than 100 of the world's most populated markets to easily communicate with each other.
According to Isaksson, Commercus.com is the only true multilingual ad web portal on the market. "If you want to buy or sell a product or service, just post your ad in your own language – and then select the languages you would like it to be translated into," he explains. "Our translation service will convert the content of your ad and will display it in your chosen languages on the site.
Commercus.com offers more than 400 categories of goods and services, and applies machine translation into any of the available languages at a rate of 3 per language. This is in contrast to existing alternatives that are often country specific and based on a single language.
Isaksson says that Commercus.com is an idea whose time has come. "In an age of globalization the world is full of people who are on fire to do business 24/7, but one significant obstacle has remained," he says. "Although it's easy to transfer money instantly, and transportation is relatively cheap, the language barrier remains a major obstacle. Commercus.com was founded to knock down that barrier and open up a new era of truly global commerce."<
In the past quarter-century Isaksson has done business all around the world, working in Iran, Russia, Hungary, and Turkey among other places, and later partnering with a Japanese machine manufacturer – not bad for a farm boy from Gothenburg, Sweden. Though he often used interpreters to communicate with his clients, language barriers were a recurring issue. "Having to depend on interpreters to communicate with clients can sometimes be like trying to find your way in total darkness," he says.
One point he came to realize in his years of conducting business all over the globe was that English, though very useful and widely spoken, is not the universal language it had long been touted to be. "That's nothing against English," he says. "But English speakers who don't speak any other languages are limited if they want to do business globally, unless they have an interpreter, or a powerful tool like Commercus.com. It is the same the other way around, there are more people on this planet that do not speak English at all and have a very limited possibility to reach outside their own country. At the same time you can take a national perspective. In the US as an example there are big Spanish, Korean and Chinese minorities and in Europe there are big minorities from Arabic speaking countries. Commercus.com is a perfect tool to address these minorities."
As an incentive for new users of Commercus.com, the first 150,000 advertisements – including translations are completely free. "I think that once people discover how easy it is to use our service, and they see how it helps them reach new markets, they'll want to use us again and again. Users can easily promote a product or service and reach a 5.5 billion audience." says Isaksson.
He adds, "Success in business depends upon success in presenting your offer. But if you can't communicate with your clients that's a real challenge. Commercus.com is opening up new streams of communication and therefore of commerce, offering everyone a way to advertise products and services on a genuinely global level for the first time. Commercus.com is a game changer."