Zak Haitkin runs the localization department for Lyft. This is no small task, considering the company offers car rides, scooters and bicycle-sharing on demand, and point-to-point transportation that leverages public transit options.
Lyft operates in 644 cities in the U.S. and 12 cities in Canada. Zak, with a degree in Spanish and International Studies, tells us how his passion for language landed him a job at one of the fastest-growing companies in North America.
This episode unpacks the various localization challenges Lyft navigates with software, services and teamwork. Zak shares how transcreation and translation work to improve Lyft’s UX; and how Lyft’s utilization of Contentful (and Smartling’s integration with Contenful) make it so much easier to scale their content and keep up with the rapid feature release cycles.
To top it off, Zak also shares details about Lyft’s philanthropic endeavors, including their commitment to accessibility and community via their new initiative, LyftUp. This episode is 🔥🔥🔥
What you’ll learn in this episode:
- How Zak advanced the ladder at Lyft and benefitted from a valuable mentor.
- What the content experience at Lyft looks like and what the important touch points of their UX are.
- How transcreation is shaped by services rolling out into new territories.
- The delicate dance between UX and transcreation regarding terminology in new languages.
- Exciting UX updates and news about their newest community project, LyftUp.
- The importance of revisiting translation memory and glossaries to limit potential future errors.
- Challenges Zak navigates as Lyft’s app is translated and localized.
What to listen for
[3:12] Zak explains how he combined his passion for language and sports in his first podcast series.
[4:11] How Zak got involved with Lyft and the history behind his journey.
[9:05] Who Zak learned under and how it shaped his career within the company.
[11:05] How Lyft curates its voice and user interface and experience.
[14:45] The history of ride hail programs and how Lyft builds an experience for their users.
[18:12] How “rideshare” causes language issues.
[23:18] Managing translation memory and the importance of translation memory management.
[29:52] Accommodations for people who are visually impaired.
[32:57] The integration of Figma and the problems with inconsistencies of language translations within screenshots in the app.
[37:10] The localization of both the driver and user apps and how they launch changes.
[38:08] Supporting changes through quarantine and the shift of focus to new goals.
[41:15] Zak’s thoughts on how the MLB started up again and concerns with the model.
[44:08] Zak’s closing thoughts on linguistics, localization and creation.
Keep up to date with Zak and Lyft
And find Smartling online too!
- Smartling’s site
- Smartling’s Twitter
- Download our FREE e-book, ‘The Ultimate Guide to Maximizing Your Translation Value’
Full Transcript that almost certainly has typos (forgive us!)
Announcer: You're listening to the Loc Show, presented by Smartling.
Adrian Cohn: Hey, everyone. Welcome back to the Loc Show. This has been such a fun podcast to produce. Every week I get to meet with people all over the world who share their passion for language, localization, and making the global end user experience top notch. About seven years ago, today's guests was hosting a podcast about baseball in Spanish. Today, he runs the localization program for Lyft. That's right, Lyft. Zak Haitkin is responsible for the localization pipeline for all app, server, website, internal and external communications, and Help Center content. And for some context, Lyft uses Contentful and stores their mobile strings and repositories. Current languages supported; Spanish, French and Portuguese. Let's dive in. Zak, thanks so much for being on the show. It's great to have you here.
Zak Haitkin: Absolutely, happy to be here.
Adrian Cohn: So you were just sharing with me, Zak, that a few years ago, you had a podcast of your own.
Zak Haitkin: Yes. I had just finished my undergrad about 10 years ago. My degree was in Spanish language and International Studies. So I just gotten back from studying abroad in Oaxaca, Mexico for three months. And wanted to continue on my Spanish journey. So I'm a huge baseball fan. And so I decided to make a podcast in Spanish that talked about all things baseball, particularly in Latin America. So I did about 19 episodes of that, and done it in about eight years. But it was a good experience.
Adrian Cohn: So cool. I have two friends who are sports fanatics. I love cycling, I love baseball, I love tennis and golf. These guys love all of those sports, plus football and basketball. And like every art soccer, they can go on and on. And I've had this idea of starting a podcast with them to talk about sports, every topic in the world. Now I would be the guy who has no idea what's going on in half the sports, but I love getting into hardcore conversations with them. Because they're so passionate about the different ... everything from fantasy sports to how the trade system works or draft system works. And how players are compensated, and how they work with managers and everything. It's I find it fascinating. And it sounds like your podcast was a really cool opportunity for you to use passion in both language and in sport.
Zak Haitkin: Exactly. And that's and exactly why I did it. It was a combining of those two passions. And so the content was there was a lot of fun for me. The editing and producing part was not so much fun, but the recording and the coming up with content. That was what I really enjoyed.
Adrian Cohn: I wonder if, I would guess the editing has become simple or more simple now. We work with people to produce this show, and it's ... really it takes like four days once we're done, which is really cool. But I'm really excited to have you here today because you are the Program Manager of Localization at Lyft. We all have heard of Lyft. And this is like a really important product. So I'm really curious to learn about how you became part of the company and what your background looks like, and just soak up as much knowledge as I can and learn from you about how you have created a localization program at this fast growing company.
Zak Haitkin: Sure. Yeah, I've been at Lyft for over six years now. And probably started around the time that Lyft was more or less 200 people. It's grown to over 5000. So I've certainly witnessed quite a transition from a small company with giant pink fuzzy mustaches on the front of cars and a handful of cities [crosstalk 00:04:35] in the US, right?
Adrian Cohn: Yeah.
Zak Haitkin: To now having a major footprint in the US and Canada. So even taking a step back and going before that, I was working here in San Francisco at a restaurant as a bartender. And a friend of mine approached me and said, hey, there's this new app you put mustache on your car and then you pick people up and you make $45 an hour. And I'm like, really? That seems like a taxis. He's like well, it's kind of like a taxi. But you get in the front seat and people fist bump you and it's awesome. So I signed up to be a driver and I drove late nights after bartending. And one night I picked up a support team manager, a Lyft employee. This was probably March, February 2014. He and I had a good conversation and he ended up inviting me to a recruiting event they were having for their support team. And that's how I got the job at Lyft as a support associate. And that was back in April, 2014. And so I started just answering emails and phone calls at the night shift actually, the other 9:00 to 5:00. 9:00 PM to 5:OO AM. And so I started I was, at the time I was the only person even though I'm not a native speaker. I am fluent in Spanish. So I was the only person who could handle Spanish language phone calls and emails. So I ended up taking those and being the go to person for those types of cases. After about a year of that I moved to the operations team. This was before Lyft had a dispersed management model. So we managed most of driver communications and incentives centrally. So I had three different markets. I had Miami, Chicago and Atlanta. All of which have a good base of Spanish speaking people and drivers in particular, especially Miami, of course. And so I continued to try and push multilingual content, particularly in Spanish because I could do the translations myself to communicate with drivers. After about a year of that I was pulled on to the competitive intelligence team because while I was driving for Lyft, I was also driving for Uber. And so they kept asking me, well, what does the Uber app look like here? What driver incentives are happening? So I kept feeding them information. So I got pulled onto that team for two and a half years. And then right around early 2018, there was a big push for Lyft to localize. And Lyft when it was originally built, which allowed us to move really fast. It was built for one language, one currency, one country. And so when we launched in Toronto, we were able to solve the one currency one country problem, but we hadn't solved the language problem. So it took a massive effort throughout the entire company to basically rewrite our code base more or less, to be able to handle more than just English. And so even though I wasn't officially involved on the localization effort, I was unofficially the liaison between the translation vendor that we were using, and the engineering team that was working on building our translation pipeline. And we can get into that in a little bit. But then in October 2018, when it came time to hire a project manager to manage the logistics, five or six people in the room pointed right at me and said, this person has been doing Spanish language, has been advocating for localization for a long time. Let's put him in charge here and have him worked on it. And yeah, and that's how I really got into localization by combining my love for language and advocacy for non English users.
Adrian Cohn: That is fascinating. Cheers to that, right. And from bartending to running the localization program over the course of six and a half years at one of the fastest growing companies worldwide. That is simply a remarkable story, what a journey you've had.
Zak Haitkin: It's been quite a journey. And I've definitely kept my eye on the prize the entire time. Not without help, I definitely need to give a shout out to, when I first joined the localization effort at Lyft there was a program manager. His name is Brian McConnell, who's actually a good friend of your CEO, Jack Welde. He and Brian go way back. So I really got a chance to learn under an experienced localization veteran like Brian. And learn a lot from him and watch what he does. And I definitely have to credit him for a lot of the skills and knowledge that I have for localization. Because he really, he put me in the right spot to be able to learn enough to take over the program eventually.
Adrian Cohn: We love Brian. And Brian, if you're listening, we're going to get you on the Loc Show too.
Zak Haitkin: Yes, yes. We'd love to hear from him.
Adrian Cohn: Yeah. That's fantastic. Okay, so, man, where do we begin? So the first effort was, you joined the company, Spanish support tickets are coming in, you're doing triage eventually things grow within your role. You're doing competitive intelligence, you're looking at what your primary competitor is doing in the market, you think through the different ways that you and Lyft can add value to the company. This is fascinating. So what is the Lyft content experience look like? I mean, I'm a user of Lyft. I use left all the time. I use the app on the iPhone. So that's the experience that I'm most familiar with, but there's probably a lot more and I'd love to hear from you. What are the different touch points that consumers have with your brand, and what is the technology that you're using to deliver those experiences?
Zak Haitkin: Yeah. So the Lyft voice is something that is very real. It's something that is curated, it's maintained. It's something that is very important to Lyft as a company, as a whole. And so that's something that we really have to keep in mind when we do localization. Like you said, Lyft has a very strong brand, a very strong brand presence. And so one of the things that's incredibly important is how do we maintain that outside of just English. So there are style guides that we've painstakingly put together with one of our language service providers. Mother tongue is one that we use and we really appreciate the partnership with them. They've done a really great job of helping us put things together with that and maintain our voice. The different touch points, I'd say, like you said the app is probably the main touch point that that people have. But we've really done a good job of covering all the surfaces in terms of the way people would interact with Lyft as a company. So lyft.com, our Help Center, the app and then of course, all messaging, primarily email. Those are all localized as well into a variety of languages right now. I would say the most important part is being able to choose the right transcreation. And I want to specifically use that word because that is something that we do value and put forward. I know there's a webinar coming up on Thursday, that I will definitely be attending about that. And so we definitely have to make sure that we get the right content into the hands of the right writers. And so that's what our goal really is because Lyft is such a specific brand and it has a specific voice. We really want to make sure that carries over to other languages.
Adrian Cohn: Well, I'm glad you brought up that webinar in specifically transcreation. Because the way that I've been thinking about this lately is how the product experience used to be the fundamentally most important aspect of a business. So let's talk about your vertical for a moment. Your vertical is transportation. If I wanted to get to the airport 15 years ago, 10 years ago, whatever it was, I would pick up the phone and I would call 666-6666. And the product was a car that showed up at my doorstep and took me to the airport. The only way I could communicate with this company, it was through a telephone call. And frankly, they did a good job. The price was high, but they did a good job. And it was totally appropriate for that day and age. But when we were delivered the iPhone and the experience of ride-hail apps, the experience was not just getting into a car and going to the airport, it was how do you book the car? How do you resolve a problem when you're on a trip? How do you add a tip? How do you pay for the ride? How do you communicate with the driver before, during and after the experience? All of that is powered by digital content now, it's not just the car experience getting to the airport.
Zak Haitkin: Yeah. So being able to make it easy. So it's not just a matter of reliability, it's also a matter of facilitation. So, yeah, it's easy to dial all those sixes. I think here in San Francisco, it's all threes. It's yellow cab. But yeah, so it's building an experience that's just as easy, but also adds in the layer of transparency as well. So it's been really remarkable I would say. The ability that Lyft has done with taking something that seems mundane, like transportation. But that's so essential, and making it really easy to get around when in a major city and even when not in a major city it's getting easier and easier as Lyft expands throughout the US and Canada. So that product experience, that app experience as smartphone apps have taken over our world, continuously improving on little things. So I mean, in the beginning Lyft you were able to press a button and a car would show up. Or you'd see the car, it would come to you, it'd pick you up and would take you where you need to go. Now there's all other products that are a part of it, there's a way to schedule a ride in advance, where you can say I want to get picked up at 5:00 PM. Now you can order if you want a really nice car, you can order a higher tier of car. If you want to donate the change the difference, there's something called Round Up & Donate or LyftUp. Where if your ride is 1150, it rounds it up to $12 and donate 50 cents to the charity of your choice, or a charity from a list. So all of these features and improvements that have come along with the development of Lyft are nothing short of amazing in my opinion. I mean, I remember I've been in San Francisco for 10 years. Lyft has been here about six and a half, seven years. Before Lyft and the other people, and I spell other with a U. It was really difficult to get around if you weren't on a main street. So I just, I have a lot of appreciation not only for Lyft as a company now as an employee. But just overall as a service as well.
Adrian Cohn: Yeah, I mean, I'm equally blown away by all of these different features. And we were talking about transcreation a lot of these features are either entirely new, they're entirely new concepts. So the words or phrases that Lyft and others use to convey the message of the feature or product are new. They have to be translated in a very particular way. And the content is what powers all of these different features. It's the little buttons, the little options that you can tick or flick through to make your experience using the entire product and the end, a more rich and meaningful way of getting around.
Zak Haitkin: Exactly. And yeah, like you said the terminology, there are brand new terms that didn't exist before rideshare. And speaking of rideshare, that term rideshare has been a little bit of a thorn in our side, because it's tough. That term is inherently English as the development of app based, car sharing or ride sharing is tough to really carry over. And so we've tried to ... I'm actually in the process with one of our Spanish riders to try and come up with and slowly wean people off of using the word rideshare. Because right now we just, we don't translate it. We treat it as an English term because that's what people know and are familiar with, even if their first language isn't English. But other languages, we have other translations as well for that. But yeah, things like ... there's a feature for drivers where right before a driver drives off a passenger, they can have another ride added to their queue so that they're always busy. That's something called pre-matching. So pre-matching, that's another term. How do we convey that in another language, but that's not really a term that means anything outside of rideshare. So that's really been the challenge and that's really where we lean heavily on transcreation to be able to pick the right term that conveys the right message.
Adrian Cohn: Your primary product is mobile applications. At least that's the way that we engage with the Lyft product. What are the challenges that you face in localizing this app and how have you been trying to mitigate the risk that these challenges introduce?
Zak Haitkin: Yeah, so I think probably the biggest risks and this isn't unique to Lyft at all, is speed and turnaround time. In a company that moves really quickly, there's definitely a push to try and get as, not I don't want to say as much content. But push through meaningful things as quickly as possible. And sometimes localization, I don't want to say it goes by the wayside, but it's certainly secondary to the message here. So that's where my role comes in is not only as a program manager, but also just being an advocate and being part of the conversation internally. And making sure that when someone has a new program. For example, LyftUp. Which is a new program that encompasses Lyft's philanthropy and their grocery access type thing. That's just one example of it. Being a part of those conversations is really important. And if I'm not in that room saying, "No, we need to make sure that we don't launch this content before we get translations back." Then they probably would push things out a lot more often in English, and we'd have to rush and play catch up. So I think that's one risk. Another thing too, I think is making sure going back to the terminology. If I don't give good context, and if I don't build a good glossary of terms, then we run the risk of non English users having a bad experience. And that really is what keeps me be up at night, is making sure that we have the right term in the right place. And when I inevitably catch things, because mistakes get made, we're human it happens. But I really do my best to try and minimize those type of mistakes that might happen. And not mistakes because someone translated it wrong, it's because they didn't necessarily understand the concept of it. So translation, memory management and glossary building I cannot stress this enough as has been really, really key in our success. Which has been, the vast majority of the time has been extremely successful in terms of the way we translate and transcribe things. So those are probably a couple of the main things that we risk on a daily weekly basis.
Adrian Cohn: Some of these themes are familiar from other guests that we've had on the show, but one that you just mentioned is one that I don't believe that we've uncovered or unpacked at all. So I'd love to hear a little bit more from you about what you mean by the importance of translation memory management. What does that mean to you and how do you manage translation memories in Lyft to extract the most value?
Zak Haitkin: Sure. So when we have a new term, for example, let's say for a driver incentive, there's a new type of bonus that Lyft will come out with. Where there's a different way for a driver to earn. For example, there's something called ride streaks. Where if a driver does three rides in a row, without signing offline, they can earn a certain dollar amount bonus. So that's a specific type of incentive that's to Lyft. Now, we had a translation for it in Spanish. And I'll focus more on Spanish for a couple of reasons. Number one, I have the best, I have the most amount of knowledge in terms of another language besides English. And it's by far our biggest non English user base here in the United States and Canada. So we had a translation that we had agreed upon on it, and we were okay with it for a while. But like all things, it's important to continue to revisit terms. And revisit glossaries and terminologies. And I have a touchpoint pretty often with our main Spanish translator from our vendor. And so, he mentioned to me he's like I've been seeing this term come up a little bit more and I'm just, I'm just not feeling like that's really conveying. It doesn't sound like the Lyft voice. It doesn't really convey ... it's understandable, it's okay. But it's not the best we can do. And so we're undertaking a project now to move it to a different term. And not only change the strings that are existing and new strings as well updating the glossary. But also going back and changing the translation memory as well. So that's what I really mean by that. So when changes get made to specific terms, it's really important to go back and remove or and change all of the translations that have already been done. So that there's not any errors in the future that happened with translation. Because I would love to have one person work on all our content but the amount of content we have, that's just not possible. So we have several writers, several translators working on our content at any given time. So making sure that the memory is correct every single time they see this specific term, along with the glossary is going to make them successful. So that's what really what I mean by translation management, is revisiting and making sure that any changes get propagated throughout the entire memory.
Adrian Cohn: And you were talking about build cycles and how quickly things move at Lyft, how have you been able to partner with different teams to ensure that localization is part of their process?
Zak Haitkin: So, I have been able to ... and I want to say get my foot in the door. And it truly is like putting my foot in the door and saying, "I want to be a part of this meeting. I want to start the conversation early with product marketing managers with the creative team, even before products launch." So it's important for me that when a new idea or a new program is being launched, that I'm in that room advising them on what they want to do. If they have any specialistic ideas about localization, I want to include them. And make sure that we make the best translation or transcreation for a term. I think Lyft Pink, I don't know if you've heard of that. That's the memberships program that Lyft has that's been very successful. That was a long conversation about should we localize this, it's very specific. Pink is the, is one of the colors of the app. It's the pink mustache, pink and Lyft have kind of gone hand in hand for a long time. So that was a conversation I had with the product manager, the product marketing manager, the creative team is this something that we're going to localize? We ended up not doing it. Because it's, they wanted to be a much more branded term than something that would end up being translated. And that's, I'm not saying that everything needs to be translated, not everything needs to be localized. But being part of the conversation is hugely important. And at the very least, getting feedback and giving feedback around terms is super important. The other thing that I've been able to work with is the accessibility Task Force. So there's a group of people from dozens of different teams that get together on a bi weekly basis, that talk about accessibility. And typically, when you think of accessibility, you think of maybe blind Lyft users, deaf or hard of hearing users or wheelchair accessible vehicles, things like that. But localization is a part of that and making the Lyft experience accessible to people whose first language is not English or people that use their device in another language. That's something that I'm also a part of, and I also push for. Something that we've really done a lot of lately is finding videos, particularly driver training videos that in the past weren't subtitled, or were only subtitled in English. And making sure that they have subtitles not only in English, but also in any other languages that we want to support. So that's been a really good effort at Lyft to be able to make us more accessible and more inclusive to everybody that wants to use Lyft.
Adrian Cohn: I've gotten into Lyft before and the driver has been hard of hearing, I got a message in the app. But I've never actually thought about the consumer experience for people who are blind. What is the accommodation? How does that work?
Zak Haitkin: So there's something that is called a screen reader. I think either for Android or for iOS, it's called something different. It's a different product. But it's basically a voice readout. It's a program that reads out what the user is selecting on. So they're able to, if they're in the Lyft app, and I haven't experienced this too much, but I work with someone who is blind, who does use this. And he talks about it all the time. So if you're in the Lyft app, and you're in the search bar, there'll be a voice cue that says search or search bar or search address. And so they'll be able to scroll through different selectable fields in the app, and hear a voice readout of what they're selected on. And so they're, those are strings, those are actual strings that get read out. So those strings are also sent for translation. And so if the user is blind, but has a device in Spanish, instead of search, it'll say, [foreign language 00:30:57] or whatever the Spanish equivalent is. So that's the experience that how localization can can play a role in accessibility as well.
Adrian Cohn: Absolutely, fascinating. So cool. This is what I love about software companies. It's there's no limit to the ability for the company to provide a variety of services to any person. I mean, it's remarkable the level of customization, the level of flexibility that software allows. The level of innovation that people like you and your colleagues are delivering on to make this experience possible. It's just so cool.
Zak Haitkin: Yeah.
Adrian Cohn: I wish that I had a mind like that. I'm creative, I do marketing and I love that. But what an amazing accomplishment. Just that part of the app a lot, it's so cool.
Zak Haitkin: Definitely.
Adrian Cohn: So you talked about getting your foot in the door. And you want to have the opportunity to start the conversation about translation and localization earlier in the process. You and I actually met for the first time a couple months ago, because we were talking about integrating Figma with Smartling to pre translate content before your developers even built the experiences. What's your read on this opportunity? Are you diving into this with your UX team and looking at how to accelerate the pace of translation and localization by starting at an earlier timeframe in the process?
Zak Haitkin: Yeah, absolutely. You nailed it. The Figma, so Lyft is a relatively new Figma user. In the past, we had used Sketch and Abstract and combine those two. But, and I'm not a huge user of Figma. I have a rudimentary understanding of it. But it combines those two experiences like a Google Doc/sharing more collaborative platform for designers. And so what ended up the main driver for me to get involved with this was when we were using product screenshots in communications, particularly emails or website. They weren't getting localized screenshots. They were just putting English screenshots on a Spanish page. And so that leads to a really inconsistent experience and can lead to non-English user having ... not understanding exactly what we're trying to communicate. Particularly of as something as important as the app. Especially, when it comes to drivers. And I want to stress too, that if you think about it, when you're a rider and you open up the Lyft app, you enter a few things, you press a few buttons, a car comes and picks you up. And that's pretty much your whole experience with the app when you're done. If you're a driver, and you drive for an extended period of time, you're interacting with the app for five, six, seven, sometimes 10 hours at a time. So it's so important that the driver is able to understand how the app functions and all that it can do to make sure that they have a positive experience as well. So, sorry to get a little off topic there. But back to product screenshots. That's really what the problem was, is that designers and creators were putting English screenshots with non English content. So I wanted to create a way that it was much easier for designers to take these product screenshots, and get them localized and be able to deliver them to the people building the content so that we could provide a consistent localized experience. And so this Smartling Figma plugin is something that's really done an amazing job with that. I just had a meeting mid last week, where I had someone who reached out to me and she's like, "Well, I have these product screenshots, I need to make sure that the translations will fit." And she didn't know that we were using that plugin or that it existed. And this is something that I need to do a better job is evangelize that across the company. But I was able to show her how it worked. I used the pseudo translate to give her an immediate view of how something would look like if it was 30% longer. And then was able to get her set up and send things for translation. She got them back in a couple days, and was able to make the design adjustments accordingly. So it's really served two purposes, to not only facilitate providing localized screenshots as well as giving designers a better sense of how things will fit and to make sure that they're designing their the app in a way that's able to accommodate longer pieces of content even on smaller phones. So yeah, it's been a huge win. I've seen a lot more content come through from designers as we've gotten more and more people on boarded onto it. And yeah, it's been really great.
Adrian Cohn: Yeah, that's awesome. And I love that you brought up by the way the driver app. Because as a consumer you don't really think about it unless you're really interested in software and how are services delivered. But you make a good point, the driver in that app for five to 10 hours a day. So that experience has to be a really good one and you're localizing the driver app as well?
Zak Haitkin: Yes. So both rider and driver apps are completely localized currently into Spanish, Canadian, French, and Brazilian and Portuguese.
Adrian Cohn: And so do you keep, and so you keep both apps in language parody, you don't ever do one before the other?
Zak Haitkin: No, no. The way our translation pipeline is set up for both the client and server strings. And we would want to make sure that we keep those in parody. And when we launch a new language, we would launch it for both and not just one or the other.
Adrian Cohn: Yeah. So what are some of the things that you and your team have had to do? A lot of businesses we've had to make serious changes to their service delivery model and what their product actually is, what things has Lyft done and how did you support those changes through the lens of translation and localization?
Zak Haitkin: Yeah, so certainly it's not a surprise or a secret that rideshare overall business has been impacted. As lockdowns have occurred throughout the country, fewer people are going out. So rides are down. They are slowly starting to recover as the country opens back up, but we've certainly had to move towards trying to focus on really getting the company in a place where we feel good about the long-term. It's not a secret based on our earnings reports as a public company that Lyft is not profitable at the moment. So that's definitely something that the company is trying to move towards. That's pretty obvious as a company grows, and wants the scale to move towards profitability. So that's something that has become more of a focus during this pandemic. The other thing I'd say from a localization standpoint that's changed is we started communicating a lot more about health and safety to both riders and drivers. Because as a car that's a shared vehicle, there are multiple people getting in and out making sure that the car is clean. Especially during a global pandemic is extremely important. So what we've had to do, there's been a weekly touch point for drivers and riders in the form of an email, more so on the driver side. Where we've had to push out content really quickly, where content will come in the same day that we need to send it out. So what I've had to do is build a workflow. It's a dynamic workflow where if a string has a specific tag, it's tagged urgent, it goes into an urgent workflow. And we have a vendor work on it and turn it around in the same day. So because the situation is changing very rapidly, we don't have the luxury of having a multiple day turnaround time for this. Fortunately, it's not a ton of content. It's only about a few hundred words a week. So we're able to handle it. But that's something that we've had to adjust and adapt to is having a shorter turnaround time for some of this COVID related content. And being able to ensure that it not only goes out on time in English, but also goes out on time and in any other language that we support.
Adrian Cohn: Changes occurred not just in your industry, but also In the world of sports. We started with baseball, we're going to end with baseball. What are your thoughts on how the MLB has reintroduced sports?
Zak Haitkin: So I'm a huge baseball fan, it's definitely my favorite sport. I'm wearing a Dodger hat right now. Even living in San Francisco behind enemy lines, I still can't escape my roots. I grew up in Los Angeles. So I'm definitely a huge baseball fan, particularly the Dodgers. So I am concerned about the way they're doing things. I think the NBA is a better model where they created a Bubble. I think is the term they're using and everyone is playing in the same place and they're not as exposed to the outside world at the moment. So I think that was probably a better model. I'm very concerned with the recent developments with the Miami Marlins and the players that have tested positive there. I really hope that doesn't put this season in jeopardy. I've really enjoyed this past weekend watching quite a bit of baseball on my MLB TV subscription. So I really hope that they can put some good procedures in place to try and stop a full blown outbreak. But I am concerned, I would say is the biggest emotion that I'm feeling right now.
Adrian Cohn: I share your concern. And I also I'm concerned about some of the new rules that they've put into play, adding a person to second base for extra innings. That just doesn't sit well.
Zak Haitkin: You're purists, baseball purists every turning over in their graves, seeing that. I am not a fan of it. If at the very least I know that the owners and the Players Association, which is a union, they negotiate these things. So if that's something that multiple people agreed to then that's fine, they can do that. I would not personally vote for it. I also don't like the DH. Now that they're using the DH in the National League. I'm always a fan of pitcher sitting just because I'm a nationally guy. But yeah, I will take all of those things to have baseball though, to just let them play. And so I'm willing to take those necessary evils in order to march forward with the season.
Adrian Cohn: Well, we wish the players good health and some good sport this season. But I also wish you Zak, you and the drivers of Lyft and the riders have Lyft good health and prosperity. It's been great having you on the Loc Show. Thanks so much for being here.
Zak Haitkin: Absolutely, this was a lot of fun. And I'm very passionate about language in general and localization is this wonderful intersection between technology, and language, and linguistics, and creation of new terms. And all of this is really fascinating to me. So I'm really thankful that I have a chance to be in this industry. And thankful that I get a chance to work with some really talented translators and linguists, and use a piece of software Smartling that makes my life easier every day. And I know it sounds like a little bit of a plug. But I truly mean that, is I could not do my job and Lyft could not be successful with our localization program without the right tools. So I really appreciate that.
Adrian Cohn: It was so great to have Zak on the Loc Show. Don't you think? We're so impressed with what Zak and the Lyft team has been able to accomplish. The standout takeaway for me this week is the depth of localization. It touches every single area in the business, every product, every feature. Zak said it best. You have to literally put your foot into the door of different teams to provide guidance and expertise early in the process to maintain the competitive edge and realize the first mover advantage. That's it for me this week. Again, thanks for listening. If you haven't had a chance to do so already it would make my day if you share this episode of the Loc Show with three friends in the business. And hey, maybe you'd like to be a guest on the Show, let me know. Send me an email at email@example.com. See you next week.