Pioneering Change in Certified Translations: The Story of William Hartley

Today, we are happy to introduce you to William Hartley, an inspiring entrepreneur of English-French origin. He’s the mastermind behind Certling, a service aimed at transforming the certified translation process through cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI) technology.

Dive into William’s story of innovation, resilience, and professionalism with us.

How Certling Came to Be

To tell you more about how Certling came about, we need a little background.

In fact, William is the co-founder of another company, Pilcrow—a translation agency based in the small city of Canterbury.

The traditional method of manually transcribing documents, such as visa applications, into a digital format for translation was highly inefficient for his team.

“We often received walk-ins from private individuals needing official translations for various reasons, ranging from owning properties overseas to immigration and foreign marriage and birth certificates. We always tried our best to assist, but the cost versus return on these small jobs was rarely worth it,” William recalled.

Trying to find a solution to this challenge, he accidentally came across an article about AI and its impressive potential in image recognition. It was the type of enlightening moment that preceded the birth of a great business idea.

So, William took time to experiment with different AI models. His efforts finally paid off, as he managed to develop a rudimentary system that was capable of reducing the handling of transition requests by a staggering 80%!

Teaming up with his old school friend and programming expert, Jerome, William officially launched Certling in October 2023.

“Clients absolutely love the ease of use; we have managed to introduce new functionalities, and as far as I can tell, we are the only ones on the market providing such an instant and direct service,” he conveys.

We have to acknowledge what’s obvious to the naked eye: the process’s simplicity is unparalleled.

“Clients can simply take a photo of their document, upload it, and the AI OCR extracts the content, allowing them to even remove sections of text they don’t want. It then provides an instant quote based on the word count. Once paid, the translation is sent to a translator, then a proofreader for quality control, and delivered to the client,” explains William.

Getting to Success: Obstacles and Upsurges

As the first challenge in realizing his business idea, William highlighted the initial reluctance of his friend Jerome to go on board.

“As the saying goes, ‘never mix business with family and friends.’ We took this seriously and established clear rules and understandings to prevent our friendship from being jeopardized,” tells us William.

He also had to hone his professional skills, as his expertise used to cover mostly business-to-business (B2B) sales.

“The only business-to-client (B2C) experience I had was at 18, doing the often despised job of door-to-door sales in Australia. Therefore, digital, social media and online marketing were very new to me. I totally underestimated how complicated and draining it could be,” he admits.

Wise people say the best things happen when you least expect them. We will re-exert lightly and say that the best things also come from where you least expect them.

Such was the case with William and his then-just-gaining momentum project.

“Our greatest breakthrough came unexpectedly from the Reddit community. Some of our first clients liked our service so much that they shared it on subreddit pages without our prior knowledge. Their endorsements provided a massive boost, not only in user numbers but also in confidence,” shares William.

He adds that this prompted his team to structure their marketing strategy, placing the customer experience and referrals at the heart of it.

“If people like our services, they will talk about it, but giving them an incentive to do so can really help,” he concludes.

What William Accomplished and What’s Next?

Beyond his business endeavors, William cherishes his role as a father and values the importance of family and friendships above all else. 

“My greatest personal achievement is being the father of two wonderful children, aged one and four. I consider myself very fortunate to have a wonderful family and great friends. These, in my opinion, are by far the most important things in life,” William says.

When it comes to his best professional achievements, William takes pride in selecting the right people to hire, resulting in having a diverse and cohesive team.

“I believe that in business, as in life, it’s crucial to surround yourself with great people,” he conveys.

Discussing the future of Certling, William shares that he envisions expanding Certling’s services to cater to larger businesses. The plan is to start offering this innovative solution as Software as a Service (SaaS) to law firms and government institutions.

“The ability to swiftly translate certificates and legal manuscripts, even handwritten ones, has a broad range of applications. I believe our only limit will be our imagination.”

Final Words

When asked to offer advice to new and hesitant entrepreneurs, William advocates collaboration and smart thinking. He encourages individuals to share their vision and partner with those who complement their skills.

“This diversity not only strengthens your team but also enhances your business’s potential for success. I have avoided a plethora of silly mistakes thanks to my business partners and employees. Furthermore, the sharing of ideas and the fact that people bring different perspectives can be incredibly valuable,” William reveals.

Then he adds, “Also, it’s wise to start small—don’t invest absolutely everything you have, especially if your resources are limited. I founded both of my businesses with just a few thousand pounds. A lot can be achieved with smart thinking and a solid business plan. Building gradually allows you to adjust as you learn what works best for your business and market.”

As William’s journey with Certling continues to unfold, it serves as a reminder of the transformative power of forward-thinking, teamwork, and determination in shaping a business’s future.

We wish him the best of luck!

Published: May 16, 2024

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StorsenDigital is a leading company that specializes in sourcing the best outsourcing talents in Europe. With the rise of remote work and digital transformation, skilled professionals are in high demand, and StorsenDigital is at the forefront of managing the supply and demand of these talents.
StorsenDigital is a leading company that specializes in sourcing the best outsourcing talents in Europe. With the rise of remote work and digital transformation, skilled professionals are in high demand, and StorsenDigital is at the forefront of managing the supply and demand of these talents.