New York-based language service provider (LSP) Morningside Translations has appointed a language industry veteran to manage its global operations team.
Eric Munz, who previously worked for US-based LSPs Lionbridge and Language Line Services, joined the company as Chief Operating Officer (COO) in July 2017.
Munz told Slator that part of his new job is to explore technology-driven language solutions for a range of verticals. “The demand for high-quality translators far outstrips the supply – and that’s where technology-driven solutions come into play,” he said.
He acknowledged that the introduction of neural networks in machine translation (MT) has led to noteworthy advances. He said, however, that at this time, machine translations aren’t “good enough on their own.”
“Think about technical documents like patents, clinical trial documents or court-ordered discovery – there is no room for error and MT isn’t there yet,” he explained. “The challenge for LSPs as MT improves is providing added value beyond just translations.”
An avid sailor and a three-time marathoner, Munz understands the importance of the journey. Professionally, his new COO role at Morningside is another stop on his journey in the language industry — a journey that he said is ongoing and still has a long way to go.
Mark Hjerpe — RWS
Having spent 25 years of his career almost entirely in the language services industry, Mark Hjerpe, RWS’ newly appointed Vice President for Global Sales-Life Sciences, is no stranger to leading enterprise teams.
He was formerly a partner and VP of Sales at Divergent Solutions and had also worked for the New York-based language service providers (LSPs) Smartling and TransPerfect.
At RWS, Hjerpe is part of the executive team reporting to Sheena Dempsey, Managing Director of RWS Life Sciences, a new division formed out of the union of the two life sciences firms recently acquired by RWS — Corporate Translations Inc. (CTi) and Luz.
Hjerpe said he has very clear directives for his new role: build on the successful work of sales colleagues, provide thought leadership and education for clients, and manage all aspects of revenue growth.
“I believe that today’s truly great LSPs, rather than being “jack of all trades,” are those that are highly specialized and differentiated,” he shared.
His take on machine translation? “LSP’s should focus on what it can do today, rather than inflating expectations and delivering underwhelming performance and quality.”
Michael Asquith — US Translation Company
The newest member of US Translation Company’s senior management team is another industry old-timer who has worked for US-based language service providers (LSPs) since 2007.
Michael Asquith, who assumed the position of Director of Client Solutions & Global Strategy in July 2017, was formerly with EC Innovations and InterPro Translation Solutions.
Directly reporting to CEO David Utrilla, Asquith is in charge of strategic business development. Specifically, he looks forward to taking the consultant approach in advising clients on strategies for emerging markets.
“After working and helping to build an Asia-Pacific LSP here in the US for the past seven years, I thought it would be unique to gain experience from the reverse perspective at US Translation Company,” he said.
When asked about what he sees as the key challenge for LSPs in the era of machine translation, he cited how “the task of educating clients on the proper applications of machine translation even when best practices and system in place” is paramount.
“I look forward to hearing more about those results (in machine translation quality) and then figuring out an inventive way to incorporate the best practices with the best system to then configure reasonable gross margins,” he said.
Simon Halls — Conversis
When Simon Halls joined the UK-based language service provider (LSP) Conversis in July 2017, he brought with him a track record in marketing from other industries — real estate and property, hospitality and tourism, and retail.
He previously worked as Marketing Manager at Ethical Property Company Limited in Oxford, EF Educational Tours, and Ears Court & Olympia. He was also Events Marketing Manager at Keith Prowse.
Halls may still have to make his mark in the language service industry, but the veteran marketer said he sees a lot of potential.
“My role here will be to ensure that our services are communicated effectively to all audiences and that they accurately reflect our commitment and values,” he said.
Halls reports directly to Account Director Kim Shouler, who joined the company in early 2017 and is responsible for the sales team.
“I am becoming particularly aware of the vital role the industry in terms of economic development more generally,” he said. “How the industry responds to this responsibility, and how it embraces technology to ensure it remains profitable from a commercial perspective will be fascinating to watch and be a part of.”