Hiring a Professional Translator in the New Sharing Economy

Whether you are requesting an Uber Ride or hiring a professional translator, you are taking part in the sharing economy. Shouldn’t you expect the same transparency from your professional services as your taxi app?

” The sharing economy is booming, with a fast-growing list of online services offering consumers a chance to meet part-time needs… for cars, bikes, vacation homes, jewelry and more…without busting the budget with a full-time purchase.”- The Kiplinger Letter, Oct. 3, 2014

Chances are that you have heard of, or even used on-demand services like Uber and AirBnB to order a taxi ride or book a room for your next vacation. These services have been credited for being highly disruptive by bringing distant buyers and sellers together in global marketplaces and making it easy to match nearby supply and demand via geolocation and mobile devices. For consumers, this means on-demand access to services at a better price and experience than ever before. At VerbalizeIt, we believe that businesses deserve the same ease of use and transparency in hiring a professional translator as consumers do in hailing a taxi.

But what really makes Uber a “disruptive” experience for customers? We believe that beyond providing access to high quality cars and drivers, Uber has leveraged technology to enable customers in answering three questions, making them comfortable to step past status quo and to take part in the sharing economy.

1. Who is My Driver?

Would you ever order an Uber taxi knowing that the company had no visibility to or control over whether the person who showed up at your doorstep was actually an Uber driver? By leveraging the power of mobile and putting both its customers and drivers on the same online platform, Uber knows and takes accountability for the driver you are taking a ride from. Simply having this information available for you to see and share creates tremendous comfort with getting in a car with a stranger.

Hiring a Professional Translsator- Who is Translating?

Traditional translation agencies have operated “offline” for years, giving customers (and frequently the agencies themselves) no visibility to who is actually translating the content. Unfortunately, this is at least in part by design- unknown to customers hiring a professional translator, agencies frequently outsource work to outside translators, whom in turn may outsource it to others in their network. VerbalizeIt overcomes this lack of visibility by taking these translations “online”- meaning that content is translated on an online platform, rather than on individual’s desktops, VerbalizeIt and in turn our customers can achieve accountability and comfort associated with knowing exactly who is handing their content.


2. How Far is My Car?

If you need to get somewhere on time, standing on a street corner and hoping for a taxi to show up any minute is an anxiety most customers would rather avoid. Again, Uber has leveraged technology to build the “killer feature” of showing customers exactly where and how far their taxi is.

Hiring a Professional Translator- Progress

Much like knowing who is translating your content, having visibility on progress and delivery times should be top of mind while hiring a professional translator. Of course, you can request frequent status updates from translators via email and take their word on it, eventually making desperate calls to ask about your translations when approaching a deadline. Alternatively, hire professional translators that have this visibility baked into their process, preferably through a web or mobile interface you can ping at any moment to get a true status update.

3. Can I Rate My Driver (And So What)?

What happens when your Uber driver knows that you are likely going to leave feedback on your ride, which will directly impact their reputation and future opportunity? First, it creates an incentive to going beyond doing what is necessary to take you from Point A to B, and to providing you with an exceptional experience. Second, it allows Uber the opportunity to react quickly, in the event of a sub-optimal experience. Finally, and very importantly for a sharing economy, it allows the “system” (the platform and its customers) to learn more about a provider and improve all subsequent customer experiences.

Hiring a Professional Translator- Feedback

Real-time user feedback is a simple and incredibly powerful concept, yet one often missing from professional services. When hiring a professional translator, ensure that there are incentives in place for your translation partner to exceed your expectations on your current project, and that there is infrastructure in place to improve your (and others) experience on subsequent interaction with these translators.


What else do you think companies like Uber have done, that would improve the way in which companies are hiring a professional translator, and provide them with greater visibility and confidence in the process?


Preparing Your Content for Translation

VerbalizeIt is an incredibly flexible platform that makes it easy to translate across multiple mediums of communication and file formats. However, our ability to provide you with the highest quality and timely translations is dependent on receiving content in a format that our platform can “understand” .

This tutorial covers the following four most common questions users encounter while preparing and uploading content for translation on VerbalizeIt:

I’m getting an error about an unsupported format

My files contain content that shouldn’t be translated

I’m seeing an error, or the word count for my content seems too low/ incorrect

I’m still having trouble

Ensure that your files are in a supported format : At the moment, VerbalizeIt supports the following file formats for translation

  • Microsoft Word (.docx only, not .doc)
    If your file is in .doc format, please convert it to .docx format before uploading
  • Microsoft Excel (.xlsx only, not .xls)
    If your file is in .xls format, please convert it to .xlsx format before uploading
  • Plain text (.txt)
  • PO, Strings files
  • Standardized XML-based formats: Resx, XLF, XLIFF, YML and YML


  • MP3 or WAV
  • A link to where an MP4 file is hosted publicly (not needing login/ authorization for access) – for example, a link to an mp4 hosted on Dropbox


  • A link to where an MP4 file is hosted publically (not needing login/ authorization for access) – for example, a link to an mp4 hosted on Dropbox
  • Link to a Vimeo video

Reformatting your content for translation: The VerbalizeIt platform uses specific rules to understand what content should be translated, what should be left in the native language, and what should be treated as instructions.

Content Needing Translation : Any content that is uploaded in “Step 1” is treated as content needing translation, and included in your word count.

Frequently, Microsoft Excel files will contain row and column names, as well as special instructions. These need to be removed from the file you upload if they are only for context. This should be treated as described below.

Excel file translation

In addition, text-based files will frequently contain special instructions/ phrases which are required to stay in the source language. These should be enclosed in ^^double carets^^, as shown below :

Word file translation

Dealing with word counts that seem incorrect: This may happen for one of several reasons:

1.  Your content contains a lot of images, scans or other items from which text cannot be extracted: Here is an example of a document that VerbalizeIt would not recognize as text:


scanned image translation

This happens frequently for MS Word files, where text is embedded into an image(s). To fix this, please consider one of the following steps:

  • Run any scanned content through OCR (Optical Character Recognition) in order to extract text from images and scans
  • Transcribe any content contained in images, and upload a “clean” version of the document

2. Your content is hosted in a location we cannot reach: This will happen often with hosted audio/ video files. Ensure that content isn’t hosted behind a firewall, and that it doesn’t require user authentication for us to access it.

Still having trouble? Contact us at info@verbalizeit.com for any other questions, or consider upgrading to VerbalizeIt Premium, and let us handle all this for you!