Fairwork Translation and Transcription Ratings 2023

Posted on 28.01.2024

 In 2023 Fairwork launched a second round of the Fairwork Translation and Transcription Platform Ratings, extending our research to digital labour platforms offering language services. Translation and transcription platforms are an important sector in the platform economy. They can provide significant income opportunities for skilled workers in the Global South and are widely used by numerous organisations, from large companies like Amazon or Microsoft, to media producers like Netflix, to research institutions.  

This year’s ratings find that most language platforms are not close to safeguarding the basic standards of fair work expressed in the five Fairwork principles. The only exception was one platform, Creative Words, that was able to meet all the thresholds of the Fairwork principles. Through engaging with Fairwork, Creative Words has done substantial changes to their policies and practices, as a result of which they became the first platform to receive a 10/10 Fairwork rating. 


The ten platforms studied in 2023 Fairwork Translation and Transcriptions Study were selected based on their global reach, their performance in last year’s ratings, the specific sector segments they are part of or their unique business model. One platform scored ten points (Creative Words) out of 10, one scored eight (, one scored four (TranscribeMe), and two (Gengo, Unbabel) scored 1 out of 10. 

Platform in focus: Creative Words 

Translation services platform Creative Words has become Fairwork’s first ever 10/10 firm, meeting all the the thresholds of Fairwork principles in the 2023 ratings.  

Fairwork has worked closely with Creative Words to bring about changes that improve the lives of workers using the platform. The engagement was remarkably productive, leading Creative Words to implement a significant number of changes to their company policies. As Giada Gerotto, Customer Excellence Champion at Creative Words, put it: 

Our collaboration with Fairwork was a thorough journey, underscored by the invaluable support of the Fairwork team. Our focus was not solely on the outcomes but on the tangible improvements we could implement. Working closely with Giulia and Patrick, we discovered areas where we excelled and others that needed more formal documentation. The dialogue was extensive, and the feedback on our documentation, processes, and actions proved to be priceless. Though it required time and effort, the journey was undeniably worthwhile.”

This unprecedented achievement is a testament to the fact that treating platform workers fairly is possible.  

Increased transparency for workers  

Many of the implemented changes consisted of formalising pre-existing good practices, increasing transparency of decision-making and accessibility of appeal processes for workers. In the past, Creative Words had significantly relied on informal guidelines for project management, which can result in workers not being always aware of how decisions affecting them are taken and if/how they could be appealed. Creative Words has now added several explanatory paragraphs to their official documentation, detailing the work allocation criteria, the rate negotiation process, the account deactivation policy, and the relevant appeals processes. Additionally, Creative Words has improved its non-discrimination policy, establishing a solid baseline standard for all workers.   

Removal of any non-compete clause  

A fundamental improvement made by Creative Words in the past months has been the removal of any non-compete clause from their worker contracts. Clauses like these usually forbit workers from contacting any client they worked for outside of the platform. Given their freelancer status, this means that workers are faced with a significant potential reduction in job opportunities. Creative Words has now removed any such clause, avoiding unfairly reducing their workers’ labour market prospects.   

Supporting worker representation  

Creative Words has also made important improvements to their policies concerning worker representation. The company made an official commitment to support its workers’ efforts to collectively organise and engage in negotiations with a worker body, were one to come forward.  Finally, Creative Words committed to involving workers more when changing their company practices. A policy of consulting workers before modifying work allocation methods was introduced, together with a 4-week notification period for any contract changes, allowing workers to make informed decisions.

More change is needed 

Fairwork welcomes the changes Creative Words has implemented and encourages other companies in the platform economy to follow the lead. The translation sector still largely fails to provide workers with basic safety and decent working conditions. For seven platforms out of 10, Fairwork was unable to evidence that the platforms met more than one of the ten Fairwork thresholds. In the case of five platforms, we could not find evidence that they met any single threshold. Significant change will be needed to ensure that every worker on translation and transcription platforms is offered fair working conditions. 

What can I do? Join the Fairwork Pledge! 

As part of Fairwork’s commitment to holding platforms accountable for their labour practices, particularly in promoting worker health, safety, and security, Fairwork invites organizations to announce their public support for decent working conditions in the platform economy by signing the Fairwork Pledge. 

Organisations like universities, schools, businesses, investors and charities that make use of platform labour can make a difference by supporting platforms that offer better working conditions. Organisations have the option to sign up to the Pledge as an official Fairwork Supporter or an official Fairwork Partner. Those signing up to be a Supporter must demonstrate their support for fairer platform work publicly and provide their staff with appropriate resources to make informed decisions about what platforms to use. Becoming a Fairwork Partner entails making a public commitment to implement changes in their own internal practices, such as committing to using better-rated platforms when there is a choice. 

More than 40 organizations, including GIZ, Solidarity Center, Learning Lions, WZB Berlin Social Science Center, and FES, have already signed the pledge. Join them in demanding a fairer future of work!