Different roles have emerged for machine translation complementing human (creative) translation. While MT is needed for fast-moving content like customer reviews, there is now a growing demand for high performance content that can only be produced “by humans capable of moving away from the source text and source culture,” says Translation Laboratory’s Managing Director.
Meanwhile, Commit’s Chief Development Officer remarks on the M&A boom. Which owner of an LSP does not either dream of merging with another company or exiting by being acquired?
This is the week in language industry hires.
Nicola Carmyllie – Translation Laboratory
There is a lot of discussion surrounding growth areas like machine translation or telephone and video remote interpreting, Nicola Carmyllie points out. “However, an overlooked area seems to be the impact of rapidly changing consumer spending habits on the retail sector, where global brands increasingly seek a greater online presence,” she says.
Carmyllie, who stepped into her role as Managing Director of Translation Laboratory in January 2017, says they are currently focused on companies with e-commerce sites. “In particular, we are seeing demand from highly competitive sectors such as fashion or online travel,” she says.
Based in Leeds, West Yorkshire, Carmyllie joined the language industry from IT services, fresh off her role as Sales Operations Director at Europlus Direct. She says Translation Laboratory has only been trading since the start of the year but, as part of the Search Laboratory Group, counts 130 FTEs serving over 200 clients as an organization. “We have no need to partner with other LSPs at present,” she says.
Translation Laboratory uses SDL Trados, “the most common tool used by our linguists,” says Carmyllie, adding that they use XTRF to manage their workflow.
Carmyllie says they take a tiered approach to localization, where fast-moving content (e.g., user generated content like customer reviews) can be localized at a lower cost using machine translation. “This frees up budget for high quality translation on high traffic pages such as home or product pages,” she says.
Translation Laboratory’s Managing Director notes how different roles are emerging for automated translation versus human creative translation. She explains automated translation fulfills a need for translating meaning where a minimum of creativity is required. However, there is a growing need for high performance, highly relevant content for local markets, “and this can only be done by humans capable of moving away from the source text and source culture.”
Carmyllie says the industry needs to go beyond delivering generic local content for a given market. “A truly personalized customer experience requires high performing, omnichannel, and multi-functional language content, where content and brand messaging need to be not only platform-appropriate, relevant, and engaging on a personal level, but also need to function as a medium for providing customer insights (e.g., measuring keyword performance on a given demographic).”
Having worked in the industry for nearly 20 years, she believes these are exciting times where there is a growing requirement to “translate” brands into local markets. This means, says Carmyllie, not only localizing content, but also becoming trusted advisers on the delivery of the brand message.
Clio Schils – Commit
Also noting the growing sophistication of the industry is Clio Schils, Chief Development Officer at Athens-based Commit Global Translations. Schils says the era when translation was the exclusive domain of a translator on a typewriter or basic computer seems long past.
She notes how the industry has been changed over the past decade by “the explosion of M&A,” believing there are but very few LSP owners “who do not think or dream of an inorganic growth path by merging with another company or who do not think of a potential exit strategy by considering the path of acquisition.”
Schils, who assumed her post on May 1, 2017, is based in the Netherlands and will collaborate with Commit’s teams in the US and Europe. She reports to Spyros Konidaris, Chief Strategist and owner. She concurrently serves as an Elia board member.
An interpreter by education, Schils has lived in the US and Greece “to refine my linguistic knowledge.” She also spent eight years working at medical device company Medtronic working with highly regulated documentation.
She has, however, spent the last 10 years on the LSP side; first with Lionbridge Technologies managing operations in Germany and then business development for Life Sciences. After Lionbridge, she moved to Sajan, leading the life sciences division in her capacity as VP of global operations.
The industry veteran says the best lead generation method is to nurture a network by demonstrating a genuine interest in a client’s work and showing how you can help. “I do not very much believe in the effectiveness of cold-calling,” Schils says, adding “As for tools, LinkedIn has worked quite well for me in the past and still does.”
According to Schils, she manages her team by using both soft and hard metrics. To retain and motivate a talented team, you need to help the team move forward “by being engaged in their personal development, by giving constructive feedback, and by rewarding, which can be achieved in many different ways,” she says.
Meanwhile, on the cost component side, Schils advises defining specific internal and external customizable KPIs. For instance, the balance between billable versus non-billable hours, on-time delivery, quality of deliverables, NPS (Net promoter score or the willingness of clients to recommend the company to others. In short, customer satisfaction — Ed.), and so on.
“I am also a firm believer in not forcing team members into the 9-to-5 harness, but allowing some flexibility and, ultimately, judging your co-workers based on the overall quality of service and delivery,” Schils says.
Jaclyn Kelly – ULG
Networking is also the go-to lead generation strategy of Jaclyn Kelly; as are warm calls and targeted e-mail. “Quality prospects over quantity,” says Kelly, who assumed her role as Business Development Manager at United Language Group (ULG) from April 24, 2017.
Based in Los Angeles, Kelly reports to Gretchen Lennon, Managing Director of Legal Language Solutions at ULG.
Rob Lawrence – Paragon
RFP systems, conferences, and inside sales (Reaching prospects remotely from inside the office via phone calls, e-mail, online as opposed to going out to meet them — Ed.) are the most effective ways to find new clients, says Rob Lawrence, Business Development Manager at Paragon Language Services from February 2017.
However, it can be a challenge homing in on qualified leads. “The goal is to bring in recurring revenue. Finding leads looking for that type of agreement can be difficult,” admits Lawrence, who is based in Colorado and reports to Marina Mintz, Paragon President.
Although making time for face to face visits can be tricky and “flights, hotels, and eating out can all add up,” he says you can always plan visits efficiently to hit multiple clients.”
Lawrence’s advice is to take the time to meet as many different representatives of the company as possible. “Once you have been put into their procurement system, all you need to do is put a face to your company’s name and contacts will feel more comfortable using you,” he says.
Prior to Paragon, Lawrence worked at Singapore-based EQHO, growing the LSP’s US business. He speaks Chinese having studied at the People’s University in Beijing.
Asked whether he has felt the impact of developments around machine translation, he says, “The biggest impact has been price adjustment — [but] to compete with human translation is almost impossible.”