Digitalization and creating a winning online strategy are the buzzwords of this week’s lineup of language industry hires. One calls an online strategy indispensable, another says customer behavior is largely influenced by Internet trends. Others use it to grow a reliable pipeline of freelance linguists, who can deliver work given the short turnaround time demanded by global clients. This is the week in language industry hires.
Taria Kossila – AAC Global
Back in August 2016, we reported on AAC Global’s acquisition of TekMiL. Taria Kossila, formerly Sales Director at TekMiL, now handles Sales and Marketing for AAC Global. Based in Helsinki, Finland, her official start date was January 1, 2017 and she reports to Stuart Reynish, Director of Sales and Marketing.
Kossila told Slator she uses targeted content marketing, events and networking, and CEM or customer experience management to tap prospective clients. “It’s all about communication, how we listen, understand, and influence each other. I love to work as a salesperson,” said the avowed hockeymom and modern-art lover, who has, in the past, made her home in Los Angeles, Paris, and Nice.
Kossila said she regards the integration of digital technologies into everyday life as a challenge because of its great impact on the translation business.
Pernille Malling Frederiksen – AdHoc Translations
Having plunged straight into translation work fresh out of school in 1998, Pernille Malling Frederiksen had spent the last 12 years as Head of the Translation Department at French carmaker Citroën; until she joined AdHoc Translations as Marketing and Communication Manager on March 1, 2017.
Based in the company’s head office in Copenhagen, Denmark, Frederiksen reports to CEO Jesper Nielsen.
I know how a client thinks and works and what kind of fights they can have internally — Pernille Frederiksen
Asked what was behind the move from buyer to vendor, she told Slator, “Working in a multinational company can be very bureaucratic. It motivated me to work in an environment where everyone is enthusiastic about languages and translation.”
The transition has proved to be a big advantage for her, Frederiksen said, because “I know how a client thinks and works and what kind of fights they can have internally when it comes to prioritizing the need and, hence, the budget for translation.”
Having recently returned to language services, Frederiksen noted how the competition for clients has become tough.
“It is no longer enough to say you provide translation and interpretation. You need to think technology, integration, optimization, etc.” she explained. She added that advances in technology have made an online strategy indispensable. But, most important of all, is “to gain trust.”
Pernille Kornbeck – LanguageWire
Prior to joining LanguageWire as Marketing Manager on January 18, 2017, Pernille Kornbeck worked at cybersecurity company LogPoint, where she built up the marketing department. Kornbeck said she had always been interested in technology and innovative solutions, and has continuously pursued opportunities along those lines.
Based at the Copenhagen head office of the Danish language service provider, Kornbeck reports to Søren Schønnemann, CCO of LanguageWire.
I know the processes and frustrations customers go through in their localization efforts — Pernille Kornbeck
“I had achieved a lot at LogPoint — more than I could have imagined,” she told Slator. As the cybersecurity firm goes through a major transition and is “staffing up big time,” Kornbeck said she felt it a good time to leave in favor of someone who can look at the business with fresh eyes.
“My former boss was very supportive in the decision and that made the switch easier,” she said.
She echoed what her Citroën-alum namesake said about coming fresh off work on the buy side: “I know the processes and frustrations customers go through in their localization efforts; the time and resource constraints, budget limitations, requirements from their organization, coordination efforts, etc.”
Kornbeck also agrees that industry players, especially the larger ones, have changed their go-to-market strategy: from a focus almost solely on translation to marketing language services focused on technology. She foresees “a more widespread emphasis on short text-snippets of translation” and their fast delivery in the near future.
Alexandru Bucur – Summa Linguae
Summa Linguae’s Alexandru Bucur agrees the competition in language services has become tight, seeing as one comes up against both local and international vendors. Bucur joined Summa Linguae Romania as Sales Manager on January 23, 2017 from competitor Kalimera. He is based in Bucharest and reports to Managing Partner Irina Didoiu.
According to Bucur, aside from finding new “windows” in which to place your product “in a highly competitive way that gives clients added value” another challenge is finding the best financial solution to offer high quality services for the best prices. “I’ve learned how this business works in the Romanian market and how you can approach potential clients through different perspectives and tools,” he said.
He said the best way to expand your business is to build a good reputation, which requires some thought leadership in the market based on “creating a culture and, at least, a couple of years of experience.” He too believes in generating business through online marketing strategies, “because I strongly believe that the consumer’s behavior is influenced by online trends,” Bucur said.
To manage his team, the Summa Linguae Sales Manager benchmarks using three metrics: sales margin per time period, contact per close (number of prospective contacts per closed sale), and the proper use of the CRM system so metrics are easy to calculate and the salesperson’s daily tasks run smoothly.
The team must efficiently operate in an industry where sales growth is affected by, as Bucur pointed out, the increase in international business, global trade, job development, and government regulations.
Mădălina Albu – Summa Linguae
Summa Linguae also hired Vendor Manager Mădălina Albu back in January. She too is based in Bucharest, Romania and reports to Managing Partner Irina Didoiu.
Albu’s work as Vendor Manager is multifaceted; from going online to recruit translators and build a reliable pipeline to generating monthly performance evaluations and annual cost and revenue reports alongside rate negotiation and relationship building.
She also recruits other LSPs as subcontractors. “I did it before at my previous job, and I want to do it here too,” she said, noting how it can lead to mutually beneficial relationships.
One of her biggest challenges: “the internal market pays lower than the external one,” driving good translators to work for clients who offer higher rates. Albu said she tries to persuade linguists that their company offers compensation beyond the rates. She explained, “Seth Godin (New York Times bestselling author) once said people don’t buy goods or services. They want relationships.”
According to Albu, rates will definitely go up in the near term given that “translation is a tool for globalization. I believe excellent translators will be indispensable in every industry.”
Robert Elliott – Stealth Translations
After an early career in retail management, 16 years in financial sales with various companies including Prudential and Pearl, and over 11 years as Business Development Manager with retail sales group Homebuy, Robert Elliott joined Irish language service provider Stealth Translations on February 21, 2017.
Based in Larne, Northern Ireland, Elliott reports to company directors Stephen and Grace Weir.
I have found the biggest challenge is making people aware of the importance to their business of accurate translation — Robert Elliott
Elliott said he had been thinking about a “change in direction” for a number of years, but had never done anything about it — until his post at Homebuy was made redundant in January. He said, “I am still finding my feet, but I have found the biggest challenge is making people aware of the importance to their business of accurate translation.”
Meanwhile, he develops leads by going to trade fairs, getting referrals from satisfied clients, and managing an existing client bank for repeat business.
Frank Pham – ExperTrans Global
After working as Product Engineering Manager at Canon Vietnam for close to eight years and as Process Engineering Manager at Microsoft Vietnam, Frank Pham joined ExperTrans Global as Production Director in January 2017. Based in Hanoi, Pham is part of the management team and reports to CEO Louis Dinh.
Pham said he was motivated to join the industry from the buy side because he believes it to be a stable and a reliable source of income. He said one of the biggest roadblocks he encountered as a buyer was when a vendor “suddenly disappeared when needed for a signed contract.”
Today, his challenges as a language vendor include the quality and availability of freelancers, responding to a customer’s requirement given a short lead time, and quality control, which “depends on the person’s skill and attitude.”
Pham expects language services in Vietnam to grow as more FDI investors set up factories and offer their services in the country.