The new decade brings with it lots of growth opportunities for language service providers (LSPs) and the people who drive them. While some things remain the same — such as, the desire for new business and increasing wallet share with current clients, according to a Director of Marketing and Communications — client demand has evolved.
Before, the focus was simply on delivering quality within a schedule and budget. Today, clients look for customized solutions that can integrate seamlessly with their own systems and leverage neural machine translation (NMT), according to a Global Program Director.
Such tech advancements have made roles in the language industry even more multifaceted, creating new challenges in talent sourcing and retention. As such, a Berlin-based LSP has widened its net to encompass the whole world, and its Head of People said flying in and relocating the right talent to Germany is a “no-brainer.”
Meanwhile, machine translation in the financial and legal sectors is mostly confined to lengthy documents for internal use, said a Deputy Head of Sales. Their clients need strong linguistic expertise and stylistic consistency; and, of course, a lot of the documents are legally binding for both LSP and client.
Angelika Grohnmeier – Acclaro
Acclaro named Angelika Grohnmeier Global Program Director on October 15, 2019. She reports to Rachel Ferris, VP of Operations. Grohnmeier joined the company after two decades at Lionbridge, where she held the post of Director of Program Management prior to leaving.
“Coming from a large LSP, I noticed during the interview process that working for a smaller LSP is not as much about rigid job descriptions or narrowly defined roles, but more about what you bring as a professional and individual,” Grohnmeier said, adding that she is excited to contribute to many areas of the business.
Grohnmeier has a global team of project managers and project coordinators reporting to her. She said the Operations group she reports into is currently building out its team, looking for a localization engineer and a language quality expert. The company is also recruiting project managers at all experience levels.
Grohnmeier is now focused on getting to know Acclaro’s customers, meeting them face to face. She is responsible for accounts throughout the US East Coast and pointed out that the company’s regional organization helps maintain this focus. Grohnmeier is based in the Greater Boston Area.
On her role as Global Program Director, Grohnmeier said program management has always been about building strategic partnerships with customers, but what these customers want has indeed changed. She explained: “In the past, the focus for global program directors was often on delivering quality within schedule and budget; but, now, customers are looking for customized solutions that integrate with their own systems and processes and leverage the latest in language technology, like NMT. Technology, if deployed well, can make processes faster, more efficient, and less error-prone.”
This has added a new strategic element to the program management role, she said, in that “global program managers are not only working with well-established teams of project managers, linguists, and localization engineers, but also managing larger teams of diverse experts to build and constantly improve complex language technology solutions. This brings a whole new set of challenges for communication, alignment, and team engagement.”
Asked how Acclaro retains talent, she pointed to the company’s highly collaborative environment. To further help the sense of community, in 2020, they will give employees extra days off for community service and match charitable contributions, showing that they care about employees’ lives beyond work.
Andrew Klobucar – United Language Group
United Language Group (ULG) hired Andrew Klobucar as Director of Marketing and Communications on October 14, 2019. He reports to Aaron Hakenson, EVP of Global Sales and Marketing. Based in Minneapolis, all marketing and communications roles report to Klobucar, who is currently in the process of building out his team.
Klobucar has just returned to the language industry after five years on the buy-side at engineering company FasTest. Prior to that, he worked for two years at LSP KJ International. He said, “Having been a customer of LSPs for the past five years, I have a better understanding of what matters to clients in the manufacturing space, and mid-sized businesses in general.”
Asked which metrics he believes matter most to a company’s success, he replied, “For marketing, it’s about (1) driving new business, and (2) increasing wallet share with current clients. There are a variety of metrics we can use to measure success in those areas; MQLs, set meetings, engagement through digital channels, expansion of content libraries, etc.”
Meike Zwigart – lengoo
Meike Zwigart stepped into her role as Head of People at lengoo on September 30, 2019. She reports to Christopher Kränzler, CEO. Zwigart said she was referred by a contact common to her and the German LSP, “who knows very well my views and vision for the People function and the needs of lengoo, as well as the vision of lengoo’s management team. In order to get the right talent, I think you need to be aligned on vision and values first.”
Based in the Berlin Area, she said they look to hire talent not only from Berlin but also from around the world. “Helping our new team members transition to Berlin from anywhere in the world is a no-brainer to us. We offer competitive relocation packages and support with visa, housing, and cultural integration,” Zwigart said.
She added that they are recruiting engineers, in particular, “who are not afraid of a reality check and are eager to use their talent to solve problems in real life with real data for real clients. We have two hearts beating in our chest — one for tech and the other one for language. That’s what we are looking for in every hire.” Zwigart is also looking to soon hire a front-end developer, an engineering team lead, and a senior operations manager.
Asked how her work outside the language industry, with companies such as Deutsche Telekom and Siemens as well as startups and midsize firms, informs her current role, Zwigart said that it allowed her to develop a solid view on the kind of skill sets lengoo needs. She said, “We value talent from other industries and settings, which bring unique and solution-oriented thinking to the table. Diversity is powerful and enables true innovation.”
Chloé Fassone – Peter & Clark
Chloé Fassone returned to Peter & Clark as Deputy Head of Sales on August 1, 2019. She reports to Michel Grevesse-Sovet, Managing Director. According to Fassone, she had worked twice before at the company while studying. “I was part of the Client Relationship Management team for six months and then I was offered a permanent job as Deputy Head of Sales a year after I graduated,” she said.
Prior to returning to the Luxembourg-based LSP, she worked in Boston for Natixis Investment Managers in marketing roles. As Deputy Head of Sales, her responsibilities include setting up and executing on their marketing and events strategy and following up on new sales leads on a daily basis. She said, “I have a rather versatile role, which goes all the way from marketing research to setting up new business with clients.”
Asked if NMT developments have, at all, made an impact on Peter & Clark’s clients, who come mostly from the financial industry, law firms, and companies that require more creative translations, Fassone said, “On the whole, they are not really inclined to use machine translation since they need strong linguistic expertise and stylistic consistency for their translations. Additionally, a lot of the documents we translate are legally binding for us and our clients. This type of work requires a thorough and in-depth review before any content is published.”
She said that client conversations about MT do occur “around lengthy documents that need translation for understanding purposes and internal use.” Fassone said they have set up a number of custom engines for the purpose. “We are responding to client needs by investing in AI. However, in the financial and legal translation sector, high-quality human translation is the general requirement,” according to Fassone.
As the next decade begins, Fassone sees steady growth in the sectors they operate in, with a particular focus on ensuring that content is safely stored. She added that they have invested in and developed their own web-based translation management software and have already seen an increase in demand for it as they make it available to “small LSPs and larger corporations.”