Translated restores Einstein’s father’s hydroelectric power plant to deliver translation services powered by clean AI

ROME, September, 30th, 2021

Translated is happy to announce that we are going to recover a hydroelectric power plant designed by Albert Einstein’s father in 1895. The 1895 watermill is back to its original mission: powering innovation. It will produce enough electricity to serve the startups hosted at Translated’s innovation district, Pi Campus.

In the past few years, Translated’s energy consumption linked to AI tasks has increased exponentially, and it now accounts for two thirds of the company’s total consumption. Unfortunately, training translation models for just one language can produce as much CO2 as driving a car for thousands of kilometers. For this reason we have acquired the plant located in Sannazzaro de’ Burgondi (near Pavia, in the north of Italy) and dubbed “il Luciòn” (“the big light” in the local vernacular) for about €800,000. Although some restructuring works are required, the former owner had already revamped the original Kaplan turbines inside the watermill — among the first in Europe used to produce electricity — and the plant is already active.

Reuse is rooted in Translated’s DNA. Our founders Marco Trombetti and Isabelle Andrieu started as early as 15 years ago by replacing plastic bottles with canteens and water filters, adopting tissue towels, and providing office kitchens with ceramic dishware.

Einstein’s plant was used to illuminate the roads of the nearby towns until 1934, when producing energy ceased to be cost-effective due to the nationalization of energy resources. In the following years, it provided mechanical power to various companies until it was finally decommissioned in 1967. In 2000, Gamma Tecnologie acquired the plant and did a great job of restoring the building without any structural changes, but didn’t complete its original project.

The Luciòn has finally returned to its original mission: powering innovation. The electricity produced by the plant is more than enough to cover Translated’s energy consumption for the present and near future, as well as that of the startups hosted at Pi Campus, the innovation district that has grown around Translated’s venture capital arm in Rome.

By reselling the unused energy, Translated is already generating revenue that - on the long term - will cover the acquisition costs. And we also hope that this initiative will inspire other companies to push forward with hydropower for clean AI.

About Translated

Translated is a translation company that pioneered the use of artificial intelligence to help professional translators. It was founded in 1999 by computer scientist Marco Trombetti and linguist Isabelle Andrieu and has always been focused on a powerful combination of human creativity and machine intelligence to craft consistent quality translations at speed. Today, it is one of the most successful online translation companies in the world, with 180,000 clients, offering translation in 177 languages in 40 areas of expertise. Translated has been rewarded on several occasions, including the TAUS Innovation Contest. In 2015, the European Commission recognized Translated’s CAT tool Matecat as one of the best AI research projects of the previous 7 years. In 2017, Financial Times included Translated as one of Europe's fastest-growing companies.