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Here’s How These Sisters’ Startup, Langwords, Is Connecting the World

It’s hard not to get excited when we see female founders trailblazing the Malaysian startup scene. Many have become “movers and shakers” who are building and have built successful startups from scratch. 

One of them is Ooi Hui Joy and Ooi Hui Yin from Langwords, a pair of twin sisters who were recently honoured on Tatler’s 2022 Gen.T List. Their exemplary feat?

It is to break down linguistic barriers through their startup, Langwords. Since 2015, Langwords has been offering tailor-made language solutions in 50+ languages. Their services include translation, localization, interpretation, copywriting, transcreation, and even subtitling. Their focus is simple: to help their customers achieve a global impact.

With all the highs that the year has brought, we sat down with Hui Yin to talk about achieving success as a linguist and pioneering a pathway for future female founders. 

What made you both turn your interest in language into a business?

Hui Yin: “We started a small team to accommodate the growing demands of clients. This led us to think that establishing a small company would be the next best thing to do. We then followed our gut and built Langwords from scratch. One year and seven months later, it’s still here and making gradual progress, day by day.” 

How does Langwords help to bridge the language barrier?

Hui Yin: “We are passionate about helping others localize into a myriad of languages. “Localization” is the process of adapting a language to a particular location or culture. It does not only include translating one language into another but also includes date and time formats, currencies, likes and dislikes, and more. 

The relatively easier ones are from English to Malay, Indonesian, Thai, Spanish, or translating these languages into English. The least common does not involve English and has fewer native speakers, let alone language experts. Examples are direct translations from Pashto to Aymara. Whether it is a common language or one that is rarely spoken, at Langwords, we aim to make the process as hassle-free as possible.”

What encouraged you to join Alpha Startups™?

Hui Yin: The structure of Alpha Startups™ appealed to us. Plus, the accelerator programme was flexible because it was 100% virtual. We could study the modules at our own pace without worrying that we couldn’t participate due to client meetings, appointments with suppliers, et cetera.”

How did you feel when you were in the top two of Alpha Startups™ Cohort 41?

Hui Yin: “It was unbelievable! Joy and I could not believe that we made it to the top two. It was such an honour because there were many other promising startups in the same cohort as us.” 

What are you both working on now? What is next?

Hui Yin: “The next step for Langwords is to implement the strategies presented during the Demo Day of Alpha Startups™ Cohort 41, which is to develop a portal for our clients and freelancers. This is to increase our company’s efficiency and brand reach.”

Do you have any advice for other female founders in Malaysia who want to launch their own businesses?

Hui Yin: “Remember why you started. Make yourself aware that it will always be difficult. Sometimes, you will probably feel like quitting because you think you are a lone fighter in a battle you can’t win. Whenever you feel this way, take a deep breath, remember the moment you set your mind to making a change, and make that change.

Did the Ooi sisters inspire you? Do you see yourself as a future entrepreneur?” At 1337 Ventures, we’re all about turning ideas into successful startups. Get in touch with us via Pitch Tuesday or register your interest in the upcoming Alpha Startups™.

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