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...just got this, 1st I heard of this particular outfit, followed all of the links provided and would love reading your views about this concrete instance of what's happening to conference interpreting in this brave new world...


We are contacting you because we have an upcoming interpreting gig that may match your skills and language pairs.

It is to provide REMOTE interpretation for a major technology conference happening 9-12 September (TechCrunch Disrupt). You can find more info about the event at

We’re aware this is a bit last minute but we have a few sessions yet to be filled. We are looking for English to Portuguese professional interpreters with experience in simultaneous interpretation, who are available for some of the sessions at our pay rate for this language pair of $49 USD per hour (we will send you 100% via PayPal, calculated per minutes of actual interpretation done).

The service will be run through our remote interpretation platform (you’ll be watching the live video stream on your computer, all you need is a headset with microphone), so please start by signing up to and make sure to complete your profile including languages, timezone, accents, credentials, availability, topics of expertise, etc. You can also read more about Babelverse over on our website, and also at and

Once you have created and verified your profile you can then indicate which sessions of this conference you are available to interpret at this link: (you need to log in to your Babelverse account before clicking it). Please select as many as possible for the time-being we will then be in touch to finalise details and assign specific speakers.

Should you know any colleagues who might be interested, please forward this message to them too. And if you have any questions please feel free to email us at and we’ll get them answered.

Looking forward to working with you during this gig and beyond!

All the best, The Babelverse Team

asked 07 Sep '12, 17:14

msr's gravatar image


edited 20 Feb '13, 15:33

Vincent%20Buck's gravatar image

Vincent Buck


Thank you very much, Danielle and Andy... the fee is what it is - in Portugal or Germany :-) - and parties will draw relevant conclusions... also in light of "delegates' tickets starting at 3000 USD"... I was mainly concerned with the other "details" which make it hard for one to recognize one's profession in this caper... team? booth? preparation? feedback? contact? non-oral message? "trainees, experienced and professional", etc, etc and reading comments on their site, people are taking whatever they serve at face value as being CI... are we doing what we should in this regard?

(08 Sep '12, 09:13) msr

This question has not received any new answers in 6 months but there have been a number of recent blog posts on the matter of Babelverse that anyone interested may wish to read.

Such posts have attracted a few comments from practicing conference interpreters, including yours truly, who have raised additional points.

I am making this answer a 'community wiki', meaning that anybody with at least 500 karma points is welcome to edit it and add yet more blog posts or articles that I may have missed.

If you wish to chime in, may I suggest that you do so not here, on, which is a Q&A site and not a discussion forum, but in the comment threads under one or more of the blog posts below.



The Interpreter Diaries


Corpora Translations

Become an interpreter!

January 2017: Babelverse is no more : Babelverse - So long, and thanks for all the fish!

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This answer is marked "community wiki".

answered 20 Feb '13, 15:31

Vincent%20Buck's gravatar image

Vincent Buck

edited 23 Jan '17, 08:57

Gaspar's gravatar image

Gaspar ♦♦

You may be interested in Babelverse's recent presentation at the InterpretAmerica Summit, were we addressed many of the questions and concerns of the profession. The slides are available here (the video recording should be published soon):

We have also put up a page with Frequently Asked Questions by interpreters:

Please keep in mind once again that we are a project in "permanent beta" and constantly integrating feedback to improve it. So much of the information in this thread is out-of-date (besides the points that were incorrect in the first place). So please check our current practices and rates before making up your mind.

Do contact us with any other feedback or questions you may have!

(16 Jul '13, 09:19) mayel

Well, for your information, German colleagues have received the same "offer" at $57 USD per hour...

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answered 07 Sep '12, 19:23

Danielle's gravatar image


Regardless of the language rates, how many colleagues noted the statement that followed the stated rate? "per hour (calculated per minutes of actual interpretation done)". The greater the number of interpreters per booth, the fewer the minutes each colleague actually interprets, the less he/she is paid at the end of the day... Just how sneaky is that?

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answered 10 Sep '12, 07:12

MGG's gravatar image


... that is indeed one the "nicer" twists, I gather we can soon expect a deduction for glotal stops... on the other hand, we may well be going back to "madaaaaaaame, mes homaaaaaaages"! :-) On a more serious note, if I understood their system correctly, specific time slots will be allocated to specific "interpreters"... and presumably that's how the cookie will crumble, come what may...!

(10 Sep '12, 08:33) msr

More info inc video presentation here:

The happy enthusiasts are a trifle naïve about the language biz, witness inherent contradictions in the proposal. I note the "fairness" argument in setting a per minute rate (deduct PayPal transaction fee from the handsome total) for a language pair according to country of said language, irrespective of the volume of paying service users.

I expect there's a virtual saucer for the virtual tips.

Looks like #IntJC is organising a live Twitter chat on this very subject on Saturday September 29th 2012.

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answered 17 Sep '12, 10:49

parthenope's gravatar image


Thank you VERY much for this. I'm afraid I'm way out of my depth when it comes to Twitter chats and similar creatures :-)... but the more this unfolds the more I feel the profession should make itself heard, lest it's believed that we're all raring to go behind our computers with headsets, saucer at the ready! I suppose the brave new world will all be about 140-character pearls of wisdom or musings of the soul, I very much doubt I'll be able (or willing, for that matter, such are the depths of my turpitude) to keep up, woe is me!

(17 Sep '12, 15:07) msr

msr, for info the 29 Sep 2012 TweetChat on crowdinterpreting has been chirpified here
(you may wish to skip the effusive mwah mwah greetings at the outset)

For my money, the most salient contributions are

1 << focusing on tech is a strategy to have you not think of business model>>

2 << I think the main problem is that old notion that if you can speak a foreign language, you can interpret or translate from & into it. >>

Babelverse also chirped in to defend its corner and encourage sign up Computers have enabled us to do the work of travel agents, bank clerks and now sound engineers for free, see virtual booth features

(29 Sep '12, 14:00) parthenope

Many thanks again, also for adding another word to my vocab :-). Their Q&A about interpreting for them is very educational...

(29 Sep '12, 17:20) msr

@parthenope, it is sad that you have chosen to repost the 2 most cynical chirps from the whole debate, and them alone and not the many responses and other debate topics.

I won't respond to them here, as the rules of this Q&A site say it is not a forum for holding debates. So to anyone interested in real answers rather than misinformation, I suggest reading the entire debate at and also some of Babelverse's explanations at (you can also comment on that page to ask further questions, or feel free to contact us directly).

As a side note, I personally don't use computers to search for flights, but rely on the power of people on On there, enthusiasts and experts (including travel agents), find way better itineraries and rates than any automated search engine.

I don't understand such a reaction to a service that is giving you new tools & access to a global market. It's not replacing you with machines, but rather using them to provide you with a new and improved work & life -style.

(29 Sep '12, 18:22) mayel

Mayel, Babelverse seems to want to operate the controls of a market it has only recently discovered. I think your platform might prove a useful tool for remote conferences, particularly if a) professional language service providers and their end users could negotiate fees directly between themselves b) Babelverse operated a flat-rate access fee, rather than taking 30% of what is charged for interpreting Setting fees (globally, noch!) and trying to categorise standards of interpreting smacks of puppy-like enthusiasm &/or hubris.

In other words, I think you're on to something by focusing on interpretation by human being rather than by algorithm, but you would have more buy in from professionals if you offered a channel through which they could deliver their service, period. I suggest you meet and talk to associations of practising interpreters to find out what they do and don't like about their current work & lifestyle, you'll find quite a few with a preference for disintermediation.

You have a singular take on the concept of misinformation. I highlighted direct quotes from the TwitterChat and also provided the same link as you did to the whole exchange.

(29 Sep '12, 19:53) parthenope

Pay rate for this language pair of $49 USD per hour (calculated per minutes of actual interpretation done)

For 2 in the booth, working non-stop, for a 7 hour day, that's a grand total of 171.50 USD for the day. There are places where that's enough, even a lot of money. I'm sure they'll find takers. An English booth is going to make much less!!

There will be more of this sort of remote interpreting in the future.

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answered 08 Sep '12, 05:23

Andy's gravatar image



The interpreter diaries just published a very interesting post, i.e. an open letter to the founders of babelverse

(20 Feb '13, 16:09) KaPe

The interpreter diaries just published a very interesting post, i.e. an open letter to the founders of babelverse

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answered 20 Feb '13, 16:09

KaPe's gravatar image


If I'm not mistaken, isn't this how much of interpretation in the US already works? I remember when I was little, going with my parents to Home Depot (hardware superstore) there were often these cards with 40 or so languages printed on them. If you needed assistance you could point to your language and they'd essentially Skype an interpreter who'd help you explain your lumber and plumbing needs. The same cards are often at the front desks in emergency rooms and doctor's offices. In fact, my Chinese teacher at Chinese Saturday School was a medical interpreter and she often worked remotely if the patient was at a particularly rural hospital with no on-call interpreters nearby.

I guess I fail to see how remote interpreting is new or revolutionary at all. Furthermore, I don't understand how the interpretation that Babelverse claims to offer is CI. Are they hoping to interpret conferences? Or will it mostly just be individual needs or short business calls?

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answered 25 Feb '13, 08:39

charlielee's gravatar image


The offer is insulting for any professional conference interpreter and must be rejected and company ignored.

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answered 27 Feb '13, 20:08

Cyril%20Flerov's gravatar image

Cyril Flerov

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question asked: 07 Sep '12, 17:14

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