Language service providers (LSPs) that were ready to support the massive shift to online during the pandemic have continued to thrive. Whether it has to do with providing remote interpreting technology and services or process automation, LSPs from the US to the Middle East are experiencing increased demand from E-commerce, Edtech, Media & Entertainment, Medical, Financial, Social Services, Sports, and Gaming, as well as News Agencies, Direct Selling, and Aerospace.
Deploying the tech remotely is the easy part. LSPs have long become experts at it. But finding an interpreter in certain regions, as so many deal with the challenges of caring for (and educating) their children, can be tricky. As one recent hire put it, however, “We are happy to be in a great industry with high demand…”
Nicolas Martinez – Tarjama
Nicolas Martinez signed on as Head of Product for all regions at Abu Dhabi-based language services and tech provider Tarjama. He reports to CTO Tamer Al Nasser and Head of Growth Nour Hussein. Martinez took the reins from former Head of Product, Iyad Ahmad, on October 1, 2020. Ahmad now serves as CTO at Tarjama’s sister company, Ureed.
Martinez said he will continue to be based in Ireland “for the foreseeable future at least […] traveling to our Dubai head office — already did once and will be back no doubt — and Amman, where the development team is based.”
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Asked if his hiring meant an expansion of Tarjama’s MENA focus, Martinez replied, “Even though the MENA region is our core market, we are not excluding other markets. We are trying to position ourselves as a tech company, rather than a traditional LSP. Our value proposition is our MT/AI in-house trained engine.”
As the Head of Product, pitching this UVP in “a rather crowded LSP market,” Martinez said he is banking on Tarjama’s proprietary technology, particularly its translation management system (TMS) and client portal “to let MT/AI shine through.”
Prior to Tarjama, he worked at Lionbridge for eight years. With a total of 17 years in the localization industry under his belt (“my entire career basically”), Martinez said he now serves as “a jack of all trades, doing both the strategic role of Head of Product and the tactical work of product management.”
He added, “The company hierarchy is quite flat and we all roll up our sleeves, which helps us stay connected to the reality of how things are done — unlike the vertical structure of bigger companies, where you feel the head is disconnected from the feet.”
Martinez is currently building a team of product managers for the company’s different product lines. He said the top segments they are aiming for include E-commerce, Edtech, and Media & Entertainment.
According to Tarjama’s new Head of Product, “Edtech is booming during the pandemic. E-Commerce is always a solid industry, consolidated even further with increased consumer demand during the pandemic. Both equally need to target multiple markets, and so localization is key — course translations for the former, market listings for the latter.”
Katherine Adames – Effectiff
Katherine Adames stepped into her role as Director of OPI/VRI Operations at Miami, Florida-based LSP Effectiff Services on August 10, 2020. Based in the Dominican Republic, she focuses on the Language Services and BPO segments and reports to CEO Alexandr Leschinsky.
Adames told Slator, “Effectiff Services is originally from Russia, which is why we have two websites,” (i.e., .com for Russian and .net, English). The LSP has been in business for over 15 years and most of its clients come from Europe and the US.
They use a nonproprietary VRI/OPI platform, Adames said, to serve the Medical, Financial, Social Services, Sports, and Gaming sectors, among others. According to Adames, one big challenge during the pandemic is onboarding talent: “We have interpreters who are mothers. Most of these ladies also need to care for their children and make sure they comply with online classes. So they have become less available.”
As for Effectiff’s full-time staff, she said almost all work remotely. “Our operations were not tremendously affected by the pandemic. Most everyone works from home and, when Covid hit, only a small portion needed to move to a remote setup.”
Adames said the language market in the Dominican Republic had its beginnings in 2000, “when one of the major LSPs came to the country and employed thousands of people, who remain outstanding experts in the area. We also have the best trainers and great managers. Most importantly, the quality of interpretation provided by local interpreters always amazes me. I am always proud to say that I am a medical interpreter made in the Dominican Republic.”
Adames has been working as a US Embassy interpreter for the past decade. Prior to Effectiff, she spent five years as Director of Interpretation Services at Akorbi and a combined nine-plus years in supervisory roles at Pacific Interpreters / LanguageLine.
Sonia McGrath – U.S. Translation Company
Sonia McGrath assumed her post as Director of Translation Solutions at U.S. Translation Company (USTC) from August 4, 2020. She reports to CEO David Utrilla. McGrath works out of company headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah. “The majority of our employees have returned to work in our head office,” she said, adding that the company has all the proper Covid safety protocols in place.
USTC has been specializing in simultaneous conference interpretation as well as translation and localization for over 25 years. “About half our revenue comes from interpretation and the other half from translation,” McGrath told Slator. As more meetings moved online during the pandemic, they experienced increased demand for their proprietary VRI software, InterpretCloud, and have started to invest more in it.
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McGrath is in charge of the company’s translation operations, which include Translation, Desktop Publishing, and Vendor Management. She said that, right now, most of the demand for their services comes from News Agencies, Direct Selling, and Aerospace.
As for the impact of the recent US elections on the business, McGrath said, “We are happy to be in a great industry with high demand no matter the political environment.”