You may have noticed that our name looks different as of yesterday. From here on out we’ll be known as Waygo, pronounced “way go,” as in “way to go.” Wai? Let’s start from the beginning.
Two years ago Ryan was working in China building mobile games. He was in the process of learning Chinese and found it extremely difficult, especially having only studied romance languages. (Fun fact: Ryan double-majored in college in Spanish!) He thought if there were only a tool that he could look up characters by simply pointing a phone camera at the text, his–and many others–lives would become much easier. And vuala, the idea for Waygo was born! At first the idea was purely an educational tool, but eventually it grew in Ryan’s head that this could help any traveler in any country see with new eyes. Since the app helps travelers go to a foreign country, A.K.A. 外国 (wàiguó) in Chinese, we thought it an appropriate name.
Foreigners that have not studied Chinese and therefore unfamiliar with the pronunciation system, pinyin, were confused about how to pronounce Waigo, the English adaptation of wàiguó. Some pronounce it “way-go” and others pronounce it “why-go,” so we decided to change the name to make it clearer.
Chinese has been our first language focus since it’s the language the team had most experience. Chinese was also one of the most difficult languages to solve and we were up for the challenge! The new name “Waygo” can also be interpreted as allowing foreigners to travel (and go) in places (and ways) that have been off-limits in the past. We plan on expanding Waygo beyond Chinese, but the name will always remind us where we first started.
Although its just a single letter difference, we’ve got lots of work to do. We’ve updated our websites and social media outlets, but If you see an “i” somewhere there should be a “y” please let us know. Cheers to changes!