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This Translation App Helps Professionals Traveling in China and Japan

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This story appears in the October 2014 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

When it comes to tea, knowing the local language is what turns leaves into profits, according to Elyse Petersen, CEO of Las Vegas-based online marketplace Tealet. Petersen travels to China and Japan several times per year to source products; the problem is, no one on her four-person staff speaks or reads Japanese or any Chinese dialect.

In an effort to streamline Tealet's transcription burden, Petersen began experimenting with transliteration tools and found Waygo, a mobile app that takes a snapshot of, say, a menu, street sign or document, and translates the text into basic English. The app doesn't need to connect to the web to work; a week of use runs $1.99, and lifetime usage costs $6.99.

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