(Reuters) - Irish startup Tethras on Friday rolled out a translation service aimed at helping mobile application developers target non-English speaking users.
The service will initially be launched in the United States for Apple's applications but will later be expanded for other mobile platforms and geographies, Tethras said.
Wireless application sales, which have surged since Apple entered the mobile industry, are expected to reach $9 billion this year, compared with just $249 million three years ago, according to research firm Gartner.
With the growth coming increasingly from non-English speaking countries, and with services of leading companies like Lionbridge focused on large companies, Tethras aims to find a market niche attracting smaller development firms.
Tethras' software platform grabs text needed to be translated straight from the application, allowing developers to focus on software.
Tethras co-founder Brendan Clavin said he plans to expand the service to other countries, and to work with Google's Android software, Microsoft's Windows Phone and Research In Motion's Blackberry platform.
"We are heading east. Our plan is to follow the smartphones," he said. "It started in the United States, it's moving to Europe, and then to Asia," he said.
Clavin and Brian Farrell, who founded the firm last year, have financed the development work themselves so far, but they are now in the middle of a funding round to raise external capital for further growth.
(Reporting By Tarmo Virki in Helsinki; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)