Ryan Frankel Appears on ABC Baltimore’s The List


Ryan Frankel entered the Shark Tank, and came out a winner.

Mr. Wonderful, Kevin O’Leary, beat out Mark Cuban and the rest of the sharks to invest in Ryan’s company on the season finale of the hit ABC show.

“Quite honestly, every single one of the sharks could have added value to our business. We certainly did our research on what the ultimate outcome would be,” said VerbalizeIt’s Ryan Frankel.

The Pikesville native and Park School alum co-founded and conceived the translation app, VerbalizeIt.

“We enable people to use their phones to instantly connect to a human translator. Any time of the day. From anywhere in the world and from any phone,” Frankel said. “You’re instantly connected to a live person somewhere around the world that can communicate directly on your behalf,” he added.

The idea popped in Frankel’s head after a trip to China. Let’s just say he ordered the wrong menu item and didn’t feel well the next morning. Since that trip, VerbalizeIt has grown into an international success.

“We have 25,000 customers, 10,000 translators. We have users on every single continent. We’ve got clients ranging from an individual traveler to a multi-national corporation to a small local business that just want to navigate language barriers,” Frankel added.

So whether it’s Spanish, French or maybe even “Bawlmerese,” Verbalize it can translate it for you. 
“We’re thinking about it. You know the Baltimore hon is tough, but we’ve got plenty of people up for the challenge,” smiled Frankel.

* The List is an entertainment news magazine show, highlighting the latest national stories and some of the hottest events, stories, and places to see in Baltimore. It airs locally on WMAR | ABC2 at 7 p.m. You can also check out their content on www.thelistshow.tv .

Read the original article on The List’s Website here.

Earning Understanding: Knowing Your Market and Embracing Their Language

Industry: Of the Top 15 nationalities traveling to the US in 2011, 12 of them come from countries where English is not the primary language:

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For many decades, our economies revolved around buying locally and buying from people we knew. We knew who grew our food, baked our bread, and made our clothing. The industrial revolution, global supply chains, and the internet, have forced companies to rethink their growth strategy—their survival strategy.

Yet, even amidst all of this globalization, our universal desire to trust those we are buying from remains strong. It can be argued, that in our hyper-connected world the demand for trust and transparency is returning us to centuries past when we expected to know whom we were buying from. Common Sense Advisory’s (CSA) report, Can’t Read, Won’t Buy: Why Language Matters on Global Websites showed that seventy-two-percent of consumers say they would be more likely to buy a product with information in their own language. CSA also states that fifty-six-percent of consumers say that the ability to obtain information in their own language is more important than price.

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This means that companies looking to simultaneously reach global markets and build trusting relationships with consumers must focus on earning understanding with new suppliers and new consumers. The first step in this process is to understand their language. The next step is to understand how they perceive your language. The final step is gain senior leadership support to embrace approaching emerging markets by eliminating language barriers both externally and internally.

At VerbalizeIt we can help you though each stage of this process. With access to a community of 10,000+ translators, we offer the highest level interpretation for all of your business needs. Using human interpreters allows you to get the real meaning behind each exchange, while our technical integration allows for seamless partnerships between VerbalizeIt and your company. Alongside our quality, we offer our services at a price point that your company can integrate on every scale. Learn more about how your business and VerbalizeIt can work together as you move into emerging markets.

Download our white paper, Interpreting Emerging Markets, to learn why translating today will give you the competitive edge tomorrow.

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VerbalizeIt’s Newsletter 6/18/2013

This past month has been a rollercoaster. Since appearing on national T.V. we’ve had a lot of attention. The New York Times ran a story on the growth of our business, Bloomberg T.V. invited our CEO to be interviewed and Businessweek wanted to know how we started a “feeding frenzy” on Shark Tank. We’re thrilled to say the least.

Scroll down to see everything we have going on below and as always, thank you for helping us break through language barriers.

-The VerbalizeIt Team

VerbalizeIt Featured in the New York Times

“It has been about a month since ABC showed the season finale of ‘Shark Tank,’ the reality show that gives entrepreneurs in search of financing a chance to plead their cases before five tough-talking investors, or ‘sharks.’ At VerbalizeIt…the effects of the show’s appearance can already be quantified.“ Catch our full write up on the front page of the New York Times business section.

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VerbalizeIt Featured on Bloomberg TV

Our co-founder and CEO Ryan Frankel discusses VerbalizeIt’s translation services with Pimm Fox on Bloomberg Television’s “Taking Stock.” Watch how we’re disrupting the language service industry.

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Businessweek: Wharton Grads Start a Feeding Frenzy on ‘Shark Tank’

After surviving Shark Tank, Businessweek points out that our “mobile translation app is now part of a full-service translation platform that delivers interpretation, document translation, and audio and video translation.” Catch our full Shark Tank episode and read the Businessweek article.

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The World’s Best Interpreters!

“The reason you will always need humans – is that understanding local context, dialect, sarcasm and emotion is difficult. There’s so much that a machine cannot pick up on that humans are capable of picking up on.” Read the rest of our co-founder, Ryan Frankel’s thoughts in Reuters

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#FoundinTranslation Campaign

To celebrate our new partnership with Rosetta Stone®, we launched a #FoundinTranslation Campaign where you can submit a photo, encourage friends to vote and win a trip to explore the world. For every sign up, a dollar is donated to Children International to help children in poverty. Submit a photo
and sign up today!

As an added benefit we’re also offering you $100 off of Rosetta Stone®’s language learning software and 30 free minutes of VerbalizeIt live translation. That’s $150 value in language services. Get your coupon.

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Partners: How VerbalizeIt Scaled for “Shark Tank” by Outsourcing to Ideation

VerbalizeIt reached out to Ideation Inc., a startup-focused software development and web design agency, for guidance on how to prepare and scale their platform for 7 million viewers nation-wide. In only two short months, Ideation needed to help VerbalizeIt re-brand their marketing, launch an Android version of their popular iPhone consumer app, and build a scalable business platform and self-service dashboard for translation. The craziest part: they did it. See how

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Hungry for More? VerbalizeIt Partners with Menu Bolt

We’re proud to be partnering with the developers at Menu Bolt to help restaurants translate their menu into different languages. Tourist, business travels, and yes, even locals don’t always know how to read a menu. Menu Bolt and VerbalizeIt solve that.

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VerbalizeIt Was Featured in the New York Times Because of You


You can tell from the subject line that we’re both thrilled and honored to be featured front and center in the New York Times Business Section, reaching millions of people all over the world.

But what’s most important is not the growth story or the amazing press, it’s that we’re helping our amazing customers communicate across language barriers in both business and travel scenarios.

I wanted to reach out and give a personal thank you to our community, to all those that have been with us since the beginning. Your support means the world to our team. Like us, you believe that the world should be a smaller place and that any barrier, language or otherwise, should never get in the way of meaningful connections—human connections.

Thank you,


Co-Founder & CEO

A glimpse of Kunal when he was first reading the New York Times piece in the paper

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A Small Company’s Reality Is Altered by ABCs ‘Shark Tank’

Mark Cohen authored the original article which appeared in print on June 13, 2013, on page B1 of the New York Times with the headline: A Small Company’s Reality Is Altered by ABC’s ‘Shark Tank’. The full online version was published in the New York Times on June 12, 2013.

It has been about a month since ABC showed the season finale of “Shark Tank,” the reality show that gives entrepreneurs in search of financing a chance to plead their cases before five tough-talking investors, or “sharks.” At VerbalizeIt, a technology start-up that was part of this season’s final segment, the effects of the show’s appearance can already be quantified.

The start-up’s co-founders, Ryan Frankel, 29, and Kunal Sarda, 31, promote their company as the world’s only instant, 24-7 “human-powered” translation service. Inspired by a harrowing episode when Mr. Frankel could not communicate the symptoms of a virulent stomach bug to a pharmacist in Beijing, the service takes just 15 seconds to put mobile users in touch with a human translator fluent in both English and any of 11 other languages. In other words, it combines the speed of Google Translate with the precision of a traditional translation service — at least that was the pitch Mr. Frankel and Mr. Sarda made to the sharks.

Within 72 hours of the segment being shown, 20,000 new customers had downloaded the VerbalizeIt app, according to Mr. Frankel. Daily revenue, he said, more than tripled. The company charges about $1.50 a minute from individual consumers and as much as 27 cents a word from businesses that use the same network of about 10,000 freelance translators to translate documents and videos.

The segment became one of the most debated of the show’s fourth season. Many “Shark Tank” followers discussed on chat rooms, blogs and Twitter how Mr. Frankel and Mr. Sarda erred when they turned down an offer of $250,000 for 25 percent of their company from Mark Cuban, a shark who owns the Dallas Mavericks and has previously invested in translation companies.

Read the full story in the New York Times

Embracing Uncertainty: English is Not the Common Link Between the Fastest Growing Markets

If you are trying to reach a consumer in an emerging market there is a fifty-seven-percent chance that your potential customer, supplier or business partner will speak little to no English. Of the 15 fastest growing global markets reported by the The Economist, eight are emerging markets where English is not the native language.

Put simply, if you plan to take your business international, the likelihood of you running into language barriers is high and potentially debilitating. As seen by the chart above, North America and Europe have yet to fully recover from the impacts of the 2008 recession. With the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. economies largely flat-lining the last five years, looking to the growth economies of the world becomes more than a nice-to-have, it becomes a must have for any business looking to grow in the twenty-first century.

The inevitable question comes into play: how do you reach these emerging markets and grow your business? Answer: not with English. Although the British Council reports a continued rise in popularity, English still remains a barrier to entry into emerging markets around the world. Furthermore, the certainty that English will be the language of the future remains foggy at best. The British Council Reports:

A wide range of change is occurring in the status and form of English around the world. Some changes are relatively swift and ephemeral (such as fashions in vocabulary), others are more profound and long term (such as shifts in families). –British Council

With the United Nations tallying more than two billion internet users worldwide, finding out how to connect with these people offline by understanding both their native tongue and their interpretation of English will become paramount for any company looking to reach emerging markets.

-Kunal Sarda, CoFounder and COO of VerbalizeIt

Download our white paper, Interpreting Emerging Markets, to learn why translating today will give you the competitive edge tomorrow.

Exposure for Good: How We’re Helping Children International

As a global translation organization, we are constantly looking for ways to break down language barriers to help people connect. When we had the opportunity to be featured on the season finale of ABC’s Shark Tank, a show that draws seven million viewers each episode, we wanted to make sure that we made the most of our opportunity, not only in business but also for the global community we are all part of.

We believe strongly that people matter. Our company runs on a community of more than 7,500 translators and interpreters all over the world. We approached Children International to share our exposure from the show and were thrilled when they said they would participate in our campaign, as some of the largest blocks between sponsors and the children they support are language barriers. Removing language barriers allows for deeper connection between a sponsor and their sponsored child. 

To celebrate our television appearance, we launched the #FoundinTranslation Campaign encouraging visitors to sign up for VerbalizeIt (it is free) and trigger an anonymous donation to Children International. Users may also submit a photo of where they’d like to go in the world. By entering a photo and receiving the most votes, you could win a trip to anywhere around the globe. 

Going into the show’s airing, we had no idea how much traffic would come to our website or how many people would sign up. We were pleasantly surprised. We had more than 20,000 people sign up for VerbalizeIt, which triggered a $20,000 donation to Children International, and sign-ups are still rolling in.

We’d like to encourage Children International supporters to enter the #FoundinTranslation Campaign by signing up, submitting a photo, and generating a donation to Children International. By entering, you support Children International and VerbalizeIt while ensuring that language never gets in the way of you and the people and places you care about.


Kunal Sarda, Co-founder and COO of VerbalizeIt .

VerbalizeIt recently appeared in the New York Times. Read the full article on the Times’s Website here. 

VerbalizeIt: Scaling a SaaS Platform for the Shark Tank

When you travel as much as I do, you tend to think about getting sick or injured while away from home. I don’t worry too much about the quality of the care that’s available in the developed world, but I do worry about being able to explain my symptoms and to understand the diagnosis and the preferred treatment.

The Problem
Ryan Frankel of VerbalizeIt found himself in this very predicament while traveling in China a few years ago. He was violently ill and was not able to communicate with the pharmacist to understand what he had been prescribed. After he regained his health, he realized that there was an opportunity to use technology to connect anyone in need of translation services with a worldwide network of multilingual people. He investigated what was available and saw that there was market gap. On the one side, machine translations were quick and often free, but not especially accurate. On the other side, dedicated call centers provided accurate results at a high cost.

The Solution
Ryan decided to fill in the gap and created VerbalizeIt, a human-powered translation service, with the goal of providing call center quality at prices more often associated with machine translation. He wanted to create a Software as a Service (Saas) platform and a market that would allow people to monetize their translation skills.

He expanded his team and they took part in TechStars. Things started taking off, they rebuilt their platform on top of AWS to increase scalability, and then applied and were selected to appear on the season finale of ABC’s hit show Shark Tank. The episode was shown on May 17th, during the all-important “sweeps week,” to an estimated 7 to 10 million viewers.

Here’s an overview that will show you how VerbalizeIt works:

Meet VerbalizeIt: The World’s First Human-Powered Translation Service from VerbalizeIt on Vimeo.

Ready to Scale
The team at VerbalizeIt knew that they had a one-time opportunity to make their service known to millions of TV viewers. The web site had to scale, not just once, but in each time zone and then again for re-runs. A team of AWS Solutions Architects reviewed the design and the implementation to make sure that it made efficient use of EC2, S3, and CloudFront.

The VerbalizeIt also worked to scale the human side, making sure that they had access to enough qualified interpreters to efficiently handle a large increase in demand.

I asked Ryan and his team at VerbalizeIt to capture some metrics and some graphs to give a behind the scenes look at what happens when your web site is featured on prime time television. Here’s what they saw:


VerbalizeIt experienced nearly a 7x increase in unique visits, a 7x increase in page visits and a more than 6x increase in page views.

VerbalizeIt for Developers:

During my conversation with Ryan I learned that VerbalizeIt is also a platform and that it has APIs for developers! The API is simple and effective. After you get an API key, you can call APIs for voice and text translation. The voice translation API facilitates a phone call to a suitable translator. You start by calling the languages function. It returns a list of language names and the associated codes. Then you call the live_translation_requests function with the desired pair of languages and a phone number. The function will return another phone number, which will be expecting a call from the one passed to the function.

— Jeff;

This article originally appeared in the Amazon Web Services Blog on May 20th, 2013

Meet Romio: VerbalizeIt’s Translator Spotlight

Our community is real. It is full of real people working in real time towards one real goal; breaking down language barriers. We routinely interview some of our best translators and longest standing community members who truly understand the nuances of human interpretation. This week Damla, our Community Manager, interviewed Romio.

Damla: Hi Romio, we’re thrilled to have you on board! To start off, could you tell us a bit about yourself?

Romio: Hello Damla! My name is Romio Pradhan. I’m a Localization and Language Expert with 7+ year background in the Localization & Globalization Industry in Hindi. I have done translation and interpretation voice over for many translation companies. For example, I have done portal dealing in Iphone, Blackberry, Symbian android Apps, Pc, Mac Games, Softwares, Social Networks websites etc. I also proofread for websites, apps, SEO, and typesetting in various DTP software like Akruti, Baraha,Corel Draw, Ms word, Pagemaker, I-leap.

Damla: Where are you from and what languages do you specialize in?
Romio: Well I am from Puri, Orissa, India, and I speak English, Hindi, and Oriya.

Damla: How did you end up interested in interpreting?
Romio: Actually it all began when one of my interpreter friends opened an office in India. I ended up working with him, and translating became a part of my routine. Eventually I ended up getting into interpretation.

Damla: What are you up to nowadays?
Romio: At the moment I am a full time interpreter and I have started my own language workshops called Oriya Translators. For me, interpreting is the perfect job, as its 100 % fun and a good Income too. Today, I enjoy being an interpreter with VerbalizeIt for the same reasons.

Damla: It seems like interpreting is pretty ingrained in your life.
Romio: You’re quite right– my friends even call me a Localization nerd 🙂

Damla: Thanks for your time Romio, and we love having you on our team!

We often talk about how we have more than 7,500 translators in the VerbalizeIt community. Each one of those translators is a human being, not a robot, with real stories and an ability to understand human interaction. Join us on Facebook to read more Translator Stories.