Insights from DeepL's Founder on the evolution of AI and language translation

In a Q&A at London Tech Week with CNBC's Arjun Kharpal, Jarek Kutylowski, CEO and Founder of DeepL, shared his perspectives on the transformative impact of AI, particularly within the realm of language translation.

DeepL is an AI startup specialising in language translation technology. Founded in 2017 and headquartered in Cologne, Germany, DeepL has quickly become a prominent player in the field of machine translation, leveraging advanced artificial intelligence to provide high-quality translations across multiple languages.

The shifting perception of AI

Kutylowski began by reflecting on the changing perception of AI over the past two years. He noted that previously, the mention of AI in headlines often induced worry rather than excitement. "I think like two years ago, we could only put AI in our headline because some people do worry about that rather than be happy about it. That perception has totally changed," he said. This shift in sentiment underscores the growing acceptance and enthusiasm for AI's potential across various industries.

DeepL’s strategic focus on language translation

DeepL's journey into language translation was driven by the universal need to overcome language barriers. Kutylowski explained: "Language barriers and those problems, they're kind of everywhere, and technology was there to solve them." Being a European company, DeepL saw a natural and logical choice in addressing this challenge through AI, aiming to provide high-quality translations that maintain fluency and accuracy.

Kutylowski highlighted the importance of precision in DeepL’s technology. Unlike broader AI applications, DeepL’s technology is narrowly focused to ensure precise translations. "It's more of a question of getting this technology to really, very precisely do the best possible job for all of these use cases that are just so important for so many companies," he stated. This targeted approach has allowed DeepL to excel in providing accurate translations for various applications.

Training AI to handle nuanced translations involves extensive data preparation, neural network design, and quality assurance with human involvement. Kutylowski elaborated on this process: "There's a lot of work that goes into the preparation of data for the training. We are applying for the high-quality bar to whatever we're putting in. This is what our customers are accustomed to."

Navigating the competitive landscape

Kutylowski addressed the competitive landscape, acknowledging the presence of tech giants like Google and Microsoft. However, he emphasised DeepL's focused expertise in language translation. "We are really making sure that we're running the best research,” he explained. This dedication to specialised research has set DeepL apart in the AI-driven language translation market.

Overcoming hardware challenges

The conversation also touched on the challenges of securing necessary hardware for AI development, particularly in a competitive market. Kutylowski mentioned various obstacles, from Bitcoin mining impacts to supply chain issues during the pandemic. "Everybody is kind of trying to clinch onto some AI hardware," he remarked.

Financial strategy and market expansion

Kutylowski discussed DeepL's financial strategy, including recent investments aimed at expanding their capabilities and market reach. He emphasised the importance of being profitable and demonstrating product-market fit early on. "We've been profitable very, very early into our company's history," he noted, highlighting DeepL's commitment to sustainable growth.

While an IPO is a future consideration, it is not immediate. "I think it's too early for us as a company to really follow the trajectory towards an IPO," he said. Instead, DeepL is focused on enhancing its technology and expanding its presence, particularly in the US and Japan.


The conversation between Arjun Kharpal and Jarek Kutylowski provided valuable insights into the evolving landscape of AI and language translation.

As Kutylowski aptly put it: "Language barriers are everywhere, and technology is there to solve them."

With ongoing advancements and a clear vision for the future, DeepL is well-equipped to continue breaking down these barriers and enabling seamless global communication.