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February 01, 2013

VerbalizeIt Crowdsources Translation Worldwide

By Rich Steeves, TMCnet Web Editor

StartupCamp 7 is a bit like the show Shark Tank – but without the egos and with a telecom focus. At this year’s event, several dynamic companies shared their wares, including VerbalizeIt. This is a company that seeks to help people all over the world communicate easier by breaking down language barriers.

Ryan Frankel shared a story about getting sick while travelling in China during StartupCamp. He was unable to communicate with a pharmacist, and even though he knew exactly what he needed, he was unable to communicate it due to his lack of knowledge of Mandarin. This inspired him to develop VerbalizeIt, which finds you a human translator from a crowdsourced pool. This way, if you are stuck in a foreign land and need help, this is a more reliable solution than mechanical translation. Humans can understand slang, context, emotions, dialects and more.

The company works to crowdsource a pool of translators, then routes the calls to those translators through an Android or iPhone (News - Alert) app or via a toll-free number. But VerbalizeIt also has an API that can be coded into existing applications, like Skype or Twilio. This API expands the target market. The company already has relationships with travel and education companies to help people manage communications during their travels.

Frankel wants to give the power of translation to the masses for a reasonable price. In the last six months, the company has gained customers on all seven continents. The service works on a pay-per-use model, and the human capital costs are reasonable because of the type of translators that are part of the VerbalizeIt network. He said that the company strives to make sure that nothing is ever lost in translation.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi
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