By Danny May
CEO, Lingmo International
“Hello, I Love You” is why I started Lingmo International.
My story started in China when I had my passport stolen and I tried to communicate with people to ask for help and get directions to the local police station. Failing miserably purely because my hand gestures, miming and pointing were not working. Not to mention I looked odd dancing around the street!
I felt completely lost and alone, and didn’t know how I could communicate to the crowds of people near me because I knew they didn’t speak my language. It was a daunting feeling when you are in a foreign country and don’t speak any other language.
I decided to download a translation app (now competitor!) and thought this would solve my problems and get me to where I needed to go. While I was waiting for the app to download I spotted a local police officer so with my app in hand, I headed towards him with a new-found confidence knowing I would be able to communicate with him. “Hello, how are you?” I said into the translation app and waited for the translation to play for the police officer to hear. Now this is where it went horribly wrong.
What the police officer heard was obviously not what I had asked as he looked very angry and I was scared, really scared. I looked down at the translation that he had heard and read the English text only to find to my horror that I had said to the police officer “Hello, I love you”.
I was frozen and as the police officer’s hand went down towards their gun. I really thought I would be thrown in jail.
Luckily, I wasn’t shot or arrested but I did find the Australian Consulate in the end, through miming and pointing, and got everything sorted.
After my ordeal, I recalled the event and the one opportunity I had to ask for help failed me. The translation app had not translated my questions, had not detected my accent or dialect and the speech recognition obviously did not work.
From that day on, I was on a mission to develop a translation device that would not give the same results I had experienced in China because I didn’t want anyone else to go through what I had been through. Now this was easier said than done, considering I was a plumber by trade with no formal qualifications in technology or developing software. Honestly I knew that this was outside of my comfort zone, I was told I was crazy for even considering such a project, but I felt so strongly about helping people I buckled down and started my research.
That was 3 years ago and through selling my family house to initially fund Lingmo International, bringing on 2 partners, building a development team, hiring staff and opening international offices, the dream of bringing a tangible translation solution to disrupt the global language barrier has grown steadily and is being adopted by the B2B and B2C market.
It has not been easy, in fact it has been very challenging but that the passion my team and I have keep us driving forward. We understand the high’s and low’s and with each knock back we grow, we learn, and we build on what not to do!
It’s been incredible to see where we started to where we are now. For me, it’s all about changing people’s perceptions and giving them a solution. Whether it is for cross-border communication, internal communications, a tool for travelers or a method of learning a new language, our products are developed to give people the flexibility to understand one and another no matter what language they speak.
So in a way ‘Hello, I Love You’ will always resonate with me. If I hadn’t declared my undying love for that police officer I would have never experienced the opportunity to be an entrepreneur and more importantly, would not have been able to help bridge the language barrier gap.
For more information visit our website: https://lingmointernational.com/
About Danny May
Danny May founded Lingmo International when he was still working full time as a plumber. He formed the start-up with no prior knowledge of how to set up a company and had no technical industry background. After a lot of handwork, research and a lot of late nights, Danny now has a thriving start-up and has a dedicated team who share his vision allowing Lingmo to break down the global language barrier with their intuitive translation technology. Danny thrives in mentoring people who are keen to start their own business. His focus areas are fund raising and letting people know you don’t need to be knowledgeable in your chosen industry to form a business.