Quality! A chat with Patricia, our Language Specialist

Patricia! Can you introduce yourself and tell our clients a little bit about your background?

Hi, there! I’m Patrícia, the main Language Specialist at TextTrans. I live in Porto Alegre, in the southernmost state of Brazil, and I work remotely. A fun fact about my story with the English language is that, when I was a kid, I did great in all subjects at school, except for English. So, my mother put me in a language school specifically to learn English.

I fell in love with the language right then and made my life decisions based on it. I went to Canada for an exchange program; at university, I enrolled in a language and translation course; and all my work experience involves English: from English teaching to translation.

During my undergrad studies, I mainly worked as an English teacher, but I also did an internship in a company focused on the translation of academic texts and translated some books for a prestigious publishing house in Brazil focused on technical books. I graduated in translation in 2013 and have worked in different translation companies since then.

I try to keep my eyes open to clients’ needs and expectations at all times. This made me want to research how executive functions and translation experience might relate to literal translation of collocations, and that was the topic of my master’s dissertation in Psycholinguistics in 2019. I am still researching the translation of colloquial speech for my PhD studies, but now my focus is on Corpus Linguistics.

Tell us about your role in TextTrans, what are your main responsibilities?

I have several ongoing responsibilities. One of them is creating and maintaining guides that aid translators and reviewers in their work. You can learn more about these guides here. I  also review, since this enables me to keep an eye on translators’ needs and clients’ expectations. Thanks to this I can contribute to the constant improvement of procedures and internal files. I try to be available daily to help our PMs with doubts, issues, feedback or anything that they might need that is related to language and translation. Another ongoing responsibility is evaluating translation tests of our candidates.

Some of my other responsibilities vary with time, based on the company needs. This year, most of my efforts went to creating a test specifically for candidates who want to be reviewers. I also evaluated the tests and then created and delivered a course to the candidates who were approved. Their feedback was great, and we are all positive this will make the review process smoother and more consistent. We already see a tendency for proactivity and interaction from the new reviewers, which is completely in line with TextTrans’ belief of being a people-centered company.

What do you think the biggest challenges are with regard to Language Quality in 2021? (and how does TextTrans approach them?)

To me, the biggest challenge today is balancing quality with price and time constraints. This has been true for the past few years, and I believe it will continue to be a challenge for quite some time. The search for new reviewers and their training is one of the ways we have been tackling this need. Translators and reviewers need our support to know what is expected of them and to learn procedures that will help them in achieving this.

Do you think client needs are changing, in what way?

For quite a few years now I have seen a raise in the expectation for ‘natural-sounding’ language in translation. Perhaps because machine translation has evolved and produces good enough results in terms of meaning in many cases, it seems the expectations for human translation have increased, especially in terms of style. Our industry is still trying to figure out a way to treat fluency more objectively, and I believe this discovery and definition process will continue for a long time, and that we will have to adjust continuously to new expectations and standards.

How has increased adoption of MT changed things, has it made things easier or more difficult?

It changed a lot of things. As I mentioned before, it took some years for MT to provide good enough results, but some are finally able to do it. However, there is not an ideal MT mechanism for all translation projects. It seems the industry is still learning MT is not going to solve all problems and speed up all translations, because the MT must be tailored to specific areas and text types to provide good results. And this tailoring requires time, money and expertise. My impression is that this isn’t considered by many of the industry players, who expect great results in little time. So, MT had the promise of speeding things up, but this is not always a reality.

TextTrans is an agency specialized in Portuguese, but how do you maintain high quality across a range of domains, some of which are extremely specific?

We make every effort to assign specific domains to specific translators. Knowing about the subject and being familiarized with specific clients is key to ensuring consistency, ongoing quality and smooth working conditions for linguists. We do not expect all linguists to excel in all domains, so we focus on matching them appropriately.

Do you think it helps that our PMs are native speakers of Portuguese?

I think it helps in several ways. One of them is because our PMs and linguists share the Brazilian culture. The remote work involves a lot of communication by email. In this context, “little” things turn out to be extremely important: the way to greet people, express difficulties, explain things… Each culture has their own way to express this. And being able to communicate with the PMs and linguists in a harmonious way is beneficial to all involved.

What about large and rush projects, how do we guarantee quality when under pressure or localization at scale?

Large projects usually do not come isolated. It is more likely for them to appear after we have seen an increase or consistently large projects from a client. For these clients, we prepare ourselves by having a team of linguists, with main translators and reviewers and also backup linguists. Communication is key, so the PMs are our secret weapon here. They let the linguists know of our expectations regarding the account, inform them about the account references, keep track of who read what and of linguists who consistently work for the account etc.

Are you seeing more requests for Transcreation or adaptation style projects, how are these approached differently?

What I notice is that the expectations for translation have changed. Some clients expect translations to be “free” from the source, adapted to the target culture. What I mean is that I have not noticed an increase in “transcreation projects” or in “adaptation projects” per se. However, some clients expect translation projects to include some adaptation. Perhaps the separation between translation, transcreation and adaptation will become less clear with time.

Tell us about some of the quality and training initiatives you are running?

As we are over 20 years old now, TextTrans now relies on over 100 translators, but not many reviewers collaborate with us. So, this year, our focus is on increasing our database of reviewers. We worked for several weeks in the creation of a test dedicated exclusively to candidates who want to review and have experience in this task. Our Resource Manager, Fabiana, advertised the position in Proz.com. It took us a few weeks to evaluate the tests. It also took us some time to develop a training for new and current reviewers. We were very happy to finally deliver the training in May. It was a five-day training, and the reviewers participated actively. It was a great opportunity to exchange information, solve doubts and have ideas for further developments.

If you were to give advice for any translator wanting to work with TextTrans, what would it be?

Be proactive. Since we work remotely, it is hard to find out what people need. For this reason, it is a pleasure working with translators who come to us when they have doubts, who share things that might be useful to colleagues, who are clear about their availability etc.

And for our clients, how can they make things easier, in terms of providing them with the results they would like?

It is incredible how clients can expect a range of different things. So I believe the tip to them would be “never assume anything”. While it may seem to them that an expectation is obvious, this is not always the case. We want to adjust to every client’s individual demands, but they must be clear about them so we can meet their needs. And this always works best when clients are clear from the start, because this avoids negative feedback and frustration.

Assuring consistent quality with a diverse team

As some of you will know, TextTrans only works with experienced translators. We do so because quality is one of our strongest pillars, and we know our clients rely on us heavily. However, even though we select brilliant translators, we need to make sure they all work in harmony, with consistent procedures. This can be a challenge, particularly as we grow and onboard new translators to our team. That said, we are constantly in touch with our entire translation team and always on the look for new ways to drive consistency among our translators. In 2020, our in-house language team created a few internal documents providing instructions on how to do certain tasks, such as translation, review, LSO, and rebuttal.

These manuals were launched late 2020  and we are now confident that our translators are familiarized with their content. So, in 2021 we are making these documents a standard practice. That is, all the linguists we work with, must study and familiarize themselves with our guidelines and preferences, and we will monitor how closely they adhere to the information we have shared with them. We believe this will help us to maintain a high level of quality, and also improve the experience for clients, reviewers and PMs etc.

So what did we share with the team? Well here is a brief summary!

Guide to translation — Contains instructions on how to make the most use of glossaries, how to ensure consistency on different levels (e.g. capitalization, punctuation), and how to deal with tags and placeholders. It also covers segmentation issues to be alert to and some specificities in subtitle translation. Finally, it provides a list of useful shortcuts that can make their daily work faster and more comfortable.

Guide to review — Covers time management, common translation errors and how to deal with new, fuzzy and 100% matches. It also has instructions on how to provide constructive feedback so the collaboration between translator and reviewer is smooth and fruitful.

Guide to LSO — Focuses on how to properly mark PDF files and how to comply with the scope, since time allocated for LSO varies greatly.

Guide to rebuttal — Provides instructions on when to agree or disagree with corrections and best practices to apply in comments, such as using solid arguments and keeping a collaborative tone with the client’s reviewer.

We hope our clients benefit from these new guides, but we also hope they make everyone’s work smoother, since it is easier and more enjoyable to work when we know what is expected of us and when communication is open and polite.

These documents were so welcomed by the translators that in 2021 we will continue the trend and create some more guides, along with some training to make sure everything is well understood!

We would love to hear your thoughts about the best way to achieve consistent quality from a diverse group of linguists. Do you have any other suggestions or opinions? Please let us know!

 

20th Anniversary: An Interview with the TextTrans Team – Part 2

This is second part of the interview the TextTrans team prepared for its 20th anniversary. You can read the first part here.

 

Robert: Now I would like to see if anyone has questions to one another.

Lau: I do! I want to ask Samanta what it is like to work with a family member, like Claudio!

Samanta: It’s not hard for me to work with my uncle. Also, we don’t work together in the same office. And Claudio knows how to separate things too! When he needs to say something, he does it.

 

Robert: Fabiana and Tatiana, I would like to ask you the same question, since you are sisters.

Fabiana: Unlike Samanta and Claudio, sometimes we work in the office side by side!

Tatiana: I love it. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, we have worked from home, and I miss the coffee breaks with Fabiana and Samanta! Now I have a question for Patrícia: What has your experience been like at TextTrans?

Patricia: Something I feel from all of you is that you’re very kind in your emails. That surprised me because I’ve had experiences that were not so good in the past. This thoughtful communication really helps on a day to day basis. For example, when something goes wrong during a project, I get a considerate message from you and I think, “Well, I have to make it work because everybody involved is so kind.” And if we think of the statements we’ve received from other translators this month, we can see they feel the same. That makes TextTrans unique from the point of view of the translators. This has been my experience with TextTrans so far, and it makes me want to work to meet everyone’s expectations, to make everyone’s work easier.

 

Robert: And what did you expect before? What did you think you were getting into?

Patricia: When I started as a freelance translator at TextTrans, I just wanted to make some money while I was studying. I did not know the company. With time, our relationship grew into something great. I was thrilled and grateful when Claudio invited me to work as a Language Specialist on the team!

 

Robert: Thank you, Patrícia. Now I have a question for Lau. You started at the company working with me, on the business development and marketing side of things. What are the big differences between that job and the job you’re doing now, in production? Which do you think is harder?

Lau: Project Management is harder for sure, because it’s 100% my responsibility. To be a great PM you have to meet deadlines, you need to like being in contact with the clients and translators,  you have to be patient, pay lot of attention to details, be organized and so on.

So, yes, the role that I have now is harder because it has way more responsibilities, and I really like it!

 

Robert: It’s probably good that you did the sales part before going into Project Management because now you know how long it takes to get the clients to come on board!

Lau: Yes, it was definitely an important experience because I could see and understand the whole process since the beginning. When I was in sales, I noticed that it can be very challenging to find an opportunity for a partnership and that it takes time to finally close the business. So, when I moved to production and started working on a daily basis with the clients we already have, I was able to understand how important it is to keep our clients happy and satisfied with our work. Of course new opportunities are always welcome, but our main purpose here is to keep doing a good job with the ones we already have, since quality is our number 1 goal.

 

Fabiana: I have a question for you, Robert. What do you think that changed in the company since you started working with us 4 years ago?

Robert : The company has changed a little bit in terms of the culture. Now it is much more open, ready and fast-acting when it comes to new opportunities.

Now we respond very fast to new proposals! There always was an awareness of treating the client well, but now we are ready for new stuff too. The basics are still there – respect, good service, and good quality. But people are happy to see the growth and to see new clients come in. That’s a positive thing. As a company, we are happy to see new businesses and the beginning of relationships that will last into the future. Also, we’ve very rarely lost any client; so when people start working with TextTrans, they continue working with TextTrans. I can’t remember any client that we’ve lost recently.

 

Claudio: You often have wanted to push us further, right, Robert?

Robert: I like the fact that TextTrans is quite conservative in terms of taking on too much work or too many translators.

You don’t want to go overboard or to take on too much work because you don’t want to compromise quality. I think that’s very good.

And, yes, sometimes I would want to push you guys to do more, but more isn’t always better. Sometimes it’s better to go at your own pace and control how things are going, maintaining a high level of service, quality, and relationships. There’s always potential to grow and to do more, but it’s good to do it at a rate people are comfortable with.

Everybody on the team is very capable and talented. It’s a great team and people always say good things. I’ve seen other companies, big and small, that don’t have that same attention to detail or concern for good service, and I’ve seen that doesn’t work so well. So, TextTrans is doing a good job.

 

Robert: My question is for you, Claudio: what’s your hope for the future for the company?

Claudio: First, I would like to say that the team I have now is amazing. And it is so great that we are having this opportunity to talk and see each other’s face since we work in separated offices located at different places and we hadn’t had the opportunity to meet yet.

Anyway, my hope for the future is that we continue to grow, as we are doing at the moment, gradually and at our own pace. And also that we continue to maintain the respect that we have for everyone on the team!

Actually, I wanted to thank you, Rob! Since you joined us, you gave new energy to the company; everybody agrees with that, and it has been great. You brought us from having only a handful of clients to having many different clients that send us plenty of work as well as having brought so many new accounts with existing clients. That makes us more comfortable, confident and relaxed for the future! Thank you very much!

 

Robert  

It’s been a pleasure!

Well, the interview is coming to an end. Congratulations to all of us for these 20 years of TextTrans. This great team has made remarkable achievements. And thank you, Claudio, for leading everyone in the team!

 

All

Thank you.

Curiosidades sobre a TextTrans

Quer saber um pouco mais sobre a TextTrans? Aqui estão algumas curiosidades sobre nós:

  • Estamos incrivelmente felizes por completarmos 20 anos em atividade neste mês
  • Nosso nome, “TextTrans”, vem de “Text Translation” (ou “tradução de textos”)
  • Quando começamos, trabalhávamos com 15 tradutores, e hoje temos uma banco de dos de mais de 120 tradutores
  • Claudio é apaixonado por arquitetura e inspirou-se no Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Niterói, de Oscar Niemeyer, para criar nosso logo; é a nossa forma de homenagear a cultura brasileira e de compartilhá-la com o mundo
  • Tatiana e Olivia são as integrantes da equipe que estão conosco há mais tempo (desde 2003), e alguns de nossos tradutores estão conosco desde o começo
  • Agora vamos falar de negócios: nós traduzimos do inglês, francês, alemão, italiano e espanhol e, nos últimos 5 anos, traduzimos aproximadamente 28 milhões de palavras
  • A TextTrans é uma empresa tão familiar que há membros de duas famílias trabalhando nela: Claudio é irmão de Olívia, que é mãe de Samanta (portanto, Samanta é sobrinha de Claudio), e Tatiana e Fabiana são irmãs
  • Acreditamos que a diversidade fortalece nossa equipe: os “TTetes” (nosso jeito carinhoso de chamar os integrantes da equipe) estão espalhados por Barcelona, Dublin, Porto Alegre e Salvador, e nossas formações incluem Administração, Artes Plásticas, Contabilidade, Direito, Engenharia Civil, Letras e Química
  • Todas essas conquistas são resultados dos nossos principais valores: somos “Gentis”, “Confiáveis”, “Solucionadores de problemas” e ótimos “Parceiros”; acreditamos que esses valores são a chave para o sucesso

Hoje nosso agradecimento especial é para nossas incríveis PMs

Recebemos muito carinho de nossos tradutores freelancers neste mês pelo nosso aniversário de 20 anos, como vocês podem ter visto em nossas redes sociais. Mas hoje nosso agradecimento especial é para nossas incríveis PMs. Elas são nosso elo com os tradutores, e são extremamente profissionais e gentis. Veja aqui o que os nossos tradutores dizem sobre as nossas PMs.

 

 

Tatiana é uma ótima gerente e uma pessoa maravilhosa. Está sempre pronta a ajudar, conhece todos os detalhes dos projetos e torna o trabalho bem mais eficaz. Além de ter o privilégio de poder trabalhar com essa excelente profissional ao longo de tantos anos, é uma alegria enorme tê-la como amiga. Muito obrigada por tudo, Tati!”

— Giselle, Ex-tradutora interna da TextTrans e atual freelancer

 

“Conheci a Tati pessoalmente em 2003. Sem nem nos conhecermos muito, viajamos juntas para Escócia e logo vi que era uma pessoa muito amigável. Não tem situação melhor para se conhecer alguém do que em uma viagem. E a viagem foi ótima! E no trabalho não poderia ser diferente, estamos sempre em contato por causa dos projetos e ela é sempre muito atenciosa, prestativa e eficiente.”

— Tania, Ex-tradutora interna da TextTrans e atual freelancer

 

Samanta é muito atenciosa, prestativa e cuidadosa. Com sua ajuda, os projetos sempre fluem muito bem. Samanta, obrigada por sua grande ajuda e seu ótimo trabalho!”

— Giselle, Ex-tradutora interna da TextTrans e atual freelancer

 

“Tenho um contato de trabalho constante com a Samanta e só posso elogiar, porque sempre responde prontamente aos e-mails, é muito cuidadosa e atenta em relação aos contatos e aos projetos. É uma pessoa muito agradável e profissional.”

— Tania, Ex-tradutora interna da TextTrans e atual freelancer

 

Fabiana está sempre pronta a ajudar. Com sua grande simpatia, atenção e profissionalismo, o trabalho é sempre eficiente. Fabi, muito obrigada por toda a ajuda!”

— Giselle, Ex-tradutora interna da TextTrans e atual freelancer

 

“A Lau é a dinâmica em pessoa. Muito compreensiva, é a ponte que muitas vezes não existe entre o tradutor e o cliente final. Ela sabe como nos motivar para que sejamos produtivos, busca todas as maneiras de resolver os problemas, sempre com um alto astral muito positivo. Ela é um raio de sol em um dia nublado!”

— Rodrigo, Tradutor freelancer

 

Lau, obrigada por todo o apoio que você me dá do começo ao fim de cada projeto. Seu envolvimento e seu toque pessoal deixam mesmo os projetos mais complexos mais simples, e me sinto sempre amparada, profissional e pessoalmente.”

— Ines, Tradutora freelancer

 

“Desejo a todos da TextTrans um sucesso infinito e muitas realizações! E que possamos seguir juntos nesta jornada por muitos e muitos anos!”

— Tania, Ex-tradutora interna da TextTrans e atual freelancer

 

“Quero parabenizar a TextTrans e agradecer pelo relacionamento de parceria que têm comigo. Vocês são uma equipe de primeira e adoro trabalhar com as TTetes, profissionais e calorosas. Feliz aniversário pra essa super equipe!!!”

— Ines, Tradutora freelancer

 

“Eficientes. Organizadas. Simpáticas. Objetivas. Colegas de verdade. Tudo isso traduz as PMs da TT.

Gostaria de deixar aqui minha homenagem especial à Tati, com quem trabalho ‘de perto à distância’ desde 2003.”

— Denise, Tradutora freelancer

 

“Ao longo da minha carreira, trabalhei com diversos PMs, das mais diversas nacionalidades. Mas, pela primeira vez, eu me sinto “em casa”. As PMs da TextTrans são pessoas acessíveis, humanas e sempre dispostas a ajudar e a solucionar uma dúvida ou um problema. O trabalho se torna leve, mas nunca deixamos de ser profissionais. O trabalho com elas transmite segurança e confiança, algo que considero muito necessário para que tudo possa fluir bem. Sinto-me sempre entre amigos.”

— Rodrigo, Tradutor freelancer

 

 

“O que eu tenho a dizer sobre as PMs (especialmente Samanta, Tatiana e Fabiana, com quem mais trabalho) é que são muito atenciosas e estão sempre dispostas a colaborar no que for preciso. Além da admiração profissional por serem mulheres batalhadoras, tenho um carinho especial por elas, como se as conhecesse pessoalmente. E fica aqui minha gratidão mais uma vez por ter tido a oportunidade de trabalhar com vocês.”

— Thais, Tradutora freelancer

 

“ ‘Gerente de projeto é aquela pessoa que acha que nove mulheres grávidas podem dar à luz um bebê em 1 mês.’ Quem escreveu essa frase certamente não estava pensando nas gerentes de projeto da TextTrans. A compreensão delas do processo tradutório, a clareza das instruções e o tom sempre amistoso das mensagens são o pontapé inicial perfeito que nós tradutores e revisores precisamos para darmos o nosso melhor. Por trás de todo projeto de excelência, sempre há gerentes excepcionais, como Tati, Samanta e Lau!”

— Vitor, Tradutor freelancer

 

“A TextTrans tem a incrível capacidade de escolher pessoas que são simpáticas, eficientes e compreensivas com as questões que aparecem para o tradutor. Essas qualidades estão presentes em todas as pessoas com quem me relaciono na empresa, e não poderia ser diferente com as PMs. Eu NUNCA tive nenhum problema com elas, qualquer que fosse, nesses oito anos (uau, OITO anos já!), e olha que já passamos por vários problemas com ferramentas, memórias, arquivos e tudo mais que acontece na nossa profissão. Enfim, só queria dar meus sinceros agradecimentos a todas as PMs (e a você também!) e desejar muitos outros anos desse relacionamento incrível que temos.”

— Valter, Tradutor freelancer

 

Did you know? Interesting facts about TextTrans

Would you like to know more about TextTrans? See some curiosities about us:

  • We are thrilled to be celebrating 20 years this month
  • Our name, “TextTrans”, is short for “Text Translation”
  • We started with about 15 translators, and now our database has over 120 translators
  • Claudio is passionate about architecture and drew inspiration from the Niterói Contemporary Art Museum, by Oscar Niemeyer, for our logo; it’s our way of paying tribute to Brazilian culture and sharing it with the world
  • Tatiana and Olivia are the team members who have been with us the longest (since 2003), and some of our freelance translators are with us since the beginning
  • Talking business, we translate from English, French, German, Italian and Spanish source files and, in the past 5 years, we translated approximately 28 million words
  • TextTrans is such a family business that we have members of 2 different families: Claudio and Olívia are brother and sister, Samanta is Olivia’s daughter (therefore, Claudio’s niece), and Tatiana and Fabiana are sisters
  • We think diversity strengthens our team: the “TTetes” — our term of endearment for our team members — are spread through Barcelona, Dublin, Porto Alegre and Salvador, and our backgrounds include Accounting, Business Administration, Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Fine Arts, Languages, and Law
  • All these great achievements are the result of our top values: we are “Friendly”, “Dependable”, “Problem Solvers” and great “Partners”; we believe this set of values is the key to great success

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you to our wonderful project managers

We received a lot of love from our freelance translators this month for our 20-year anniversary, as you might have seen in our social networks. But today our special thanks goes to our wonderful PMs. They are our liaison with translators, and they do their job professionally and gracefully. See here what our translators say about our PMs.

 

 

Tatiana is a great manager and a wonderful person. She is always ready to help, knows all the details of the projects and makes work much more efficient. Besides having the privilege of being able to work with this excellent professional over so many years, it is a great joy to have her as my friend. Thank you so much for everything, Tati!”

— Giselle, Ex TextTrans inhouse translator and current freelancer

 

“I met Tati in person in 2003. Without even knowing each other, we traveled together to Scotland and I soon realized she was a very friendly person. There is no better opportunity to meet someone than on a trip. And the trip was great! And at work it couldn’t be different, we are always in touch because of the projects and she is always very attentive, helpful, and efficient.”

— Tania, Ex TextTrans inhouse translator and current freelancer

 

Samanta is very attentive, helpful and careful. With her assistance, projects always flow very well. Samanta, thank you for your great help and your excellent work!”

— Giselle, Ex TextTrans inhouse translator and current freelancer

 

“I have a constant working contact with Samanta and I can only praise her for being so prompt, careful, and attentive in relation to the emails and projects. She is a very easygoing and professional person.”

— Tania, Ex TextTrans inhouse translator and current freelancer

 

Fabiana is always ready to help. Thanks to her great friendliness, attention and professionalism, work is always efficient. Fabi, thank you so much for all your help!”

— Giselle, Ex TextTrans inhouse translator and current freelancer

 

Lau, thank you so much for all the support you always give me, throughout every project. Your commitment and your personal touch make even the most challenging projects much easier. I feel supported, both professionally and personally.”

— Ines, Freelance translator

 

“It is a real honour to have been part of TextTrans since its first day! I joined TextTrans 20 years ago and worked in the Dublin office for around 6 years, where each day was inspiring, motivating and challenging. Time has flown and I cherish all the memories from all of the people I have met during that time. I have learnt and grown professionally and personally. I am truly grateful to TextTrans and all my ex colleagues who had contributed immensely to my journey.

— Henriette, Pioneer TTete

 

“Congratulations to TextTrans and thank you for our amazing partnership. You are all great class and it’s a pleasure working with all TTetes, who are professional and warm. Happy anniversary to this fantastic team!!!”

— Ines, Freelance translator

 

“Efficient. Organized. Friendly. Objective. True peers. All these translate the PMs at TT.

I´d like to leave a special homage to Tati, with whom I work closely at a distance” since 2003.”

— Denise, Freelancer translator

 

“ ‘A project manager is someone who thinks that nine pregnant women give birth to a baby in 1 month’. Whoever wrote this certainly did not have TextTrans project managers in mind. Their understanding of the translation process, the clarity of their instructions and their constantly cheerful tone are the ideal kick-start we, the translators and proofreaders, need to perform our best. Behind every excellent project, there are always outstanding project managers, like Tati, Samanta, and Lau!”

— Vitor, Freelance translator

 

“TextTrans has the incredible ability to choose people who are friendly, efficient and understanding with the questions that arise for the translator. These qualities are present in all the people with whom I interact in the company, and it could not be different with the PMs. I have NEVER had any problems with them, whatever they could be, in these eight years (wow, EIGHT years already!), even though we went through several problems with tools, TMs, files and everything more that happens in our profession. Anyway, I just wanted to give my sincere thanks to all the PMs (and to you too!) and wish you guys many more years of this incredible relationship that we have.”

— Valter, Freelance translator

20th Anniversary: An Interview with the TextTrans Team

A company’s 20th anniversary is a really important thing: So much time spent together, so much effort put into making things happen. As you have probably seen on our social media platforms, we have decided to celebrate ours in a big fashion. But beyond the cute pictures on our Facebook and LinkedIn walls lives our company’s history. That is why we decided to hold an interview with the entire TextTrans team to learn more about their beginnings, the risks that were taken, the fears and the team spirit, and more.

 

 

Robert:  Okay, TextTrans. Congratulations on your 20 years in business. How is everybody feeling today? Claudio, how are you feeling on this fantastic anniversary?

ClaudioWell, I am on cloud nine, it is a great feeling. To be honest, I never really expected all of this to happen! I mean, that I would be here, in this position, 20 years later! 20 years ago, I was working in another company and I never really thought about starting a business; it all happened so fast!

 

RobertTell us where you were 20 years ago. What was happening? What was going on?

ClaudioI had decided that I was going to go back to Brazil. I went to see my boss at the time, Robin Hilliard, to tell him that, and he said: “Well, I’m actually going to sell the business, so maybe you would like to take over the translation side of the business. You can set your business and I can recommend to our clients that they can continue to work with you.” And, of course, I was delighted with it and had no doubts about starting the new business myself.

 

Robert: Were you nervous about starting the company? Did you have any worries?

Claudio: I didn’t have time to think! I was so shocked! I guess, at some point, I wondered if I would be able to do it and how long it might all last!

 

Robert: Are you still asking the same questions? How long will it all last?

Claudio: No, now I think we are pretty happy about where we are today. The girls and I always said we wanted to have a healthy but smaller business. We never wanted to get big to the point where we lost sight of providing good service and having great relationships with our clients and translators! And I think we now produce enough to keep us happy. In the beginning, I found it pretty hard to delegate things and to let people do other things, but I learnt how to do it better and I am glad that now we have a great team that I can rely on!

 

Robert: Let’s ask a few things to Tatiana, Fabiana, and Samanta. Tatiana, is Claudio a control freak sometimes?

Tatiana: Hahaha, sometimes!

 

Robert: Tatiana, when did you join the business? How did you join the company?

Tatiana: I joined the company in 2003 when I came to Dublin to learn English. My sister was working for Claudio but had to leave and I took over her tasks. At that time, I did invoices and bookkeeping. Bit by bit, Claudio taught me things. I started to help him with language coordination and eventually I became a PM.

 

Robert: And what about the work, has it changed since you started or are they pretty much the same challenges?

Tatiana: To be honest, the industry has changed completely – we do everything differently now!

 

Robert: Okay. Were you happy then when Samanta and Fabiana joined the team? Who joined after you? Who came next? Samanta, tell us about your experience. When did you join and what’s it been like for you so far?

Samanta: Well, I came to Dublin to study English, and Claudio asked me to help Tatiana with some small things. So, in the morning I went to my English classes and in the afternoon I worked for TextTrans. I started by doing word counts, some reporting and bookkeeping. Tatiana and Claudio taught me a lot of things and after a while, Claudio gave me my first account, my first client, and eventually, I also became a PM. 

 

Robert: Do you remember which client it was?

Samanta:  Yes. It was Lexmark.

Tatiana: And Lexmark was also my first account! 

 

Robert: See: there’s a tradition there! That was a lucky omen. Did you have nightmares about Lexmark in your sleep sometimes?

Samanta: Oh, no. I loved it; it was exciting to be working directly with a client.

 

Robert: Who is easier to work for? Tatiana or Claudio?

Samanta: I don’t know. Maybe Tati, because I learned directly from her and so we work in a very similar way together!  

 

Robert: These days you probably don’t need Claudio’s help as much, right? You’re probably super independent!

Samanta: Well, Claudio still supervises a lot of the work we do and he shares important and very helpful inputs, but we are pretty much independent.

 

Robert: That’s great. Thank you, Samanta. What about you, Fabiana, when did you join the business?

Fabiana: I started doing only a few hours a week, also with invoicing, bookkeeping and other small things to help Samanta and Tatiana.

 

Robert: Everybody seems to start with the invoices! And now, Fabiana, you do a lot of work with the translators as well, right? How is recruitment?

Fabiana: Yes, I’m still working a bit with invoicing but I also work in talent search. I contact translators, organize rates, tests, NDA, and so on. 

 

Robert: How important are the translators when it comes to the business? And what are the biggest challenges when it comes to the external team?

Claudio: Ah, well, they are the main producers of our service, of our product. So, they’re very important. We spend a lot of time recruiting, testing and monitoring our team. We also work on building up the relationships with them over a long period of time!

This is not easy, because they also have to adapt to our way of work. Most of them are very easy-going, and we have absolutely no problem. But some adjustments aren’t as easy for all of them, and one of the main difficulties is communication. 

 

Robert: And are there people who started off as bad communicators and then turned into good communicators because of working with you?

Tatiana: I can think of two cases of bad communicators who became great communicators! I suppose our training did work. 

 

Robert: It seems to me that the relationships between you and the translators are very strong. I know some of the translators have been working with for a long time and that there’s a lot of respect and kindness involved. I suppose this is different for translators who work for really big companies, where they are one in maybe 500 or 600. Whereas in TextTrans it’s a much smaller team, and there’s more regular contact with the project managers.

Tatiana: Yes, I agree with you. We know them very well, and I think we understand each other’s challenges and problems!

 

Robert: Yeah, it’s a human industry.

Samanta: We understand, for example, that the deadlines sometimes can be hard to meet, especially for those linguists with family demands! But, somehow, we always manage to find a solution!

 

Robert: What’s the craziest excuse you’ve ever received from a translator for not delivering a job?

Claudio: So many, but one that is very recurrent is the weather! That is often an issue! And it’s valid since whenever it rains in Brazil the power can go down, or people can have internet problems! Sometimes we wonder if these are real issues or just excuses! 😉. Anyway, we always find ways of sorting things out. Also, I believe that the best way to proceed is to tell the client the truth. Sometimes we miss an email or the translator delays the delivery… These things happen… I believe we should tell the truth to our clients.

 

Robert: Thank you, Claudio. Patricia, you are a translator, right? Do you come from a translation background?

Patricia: Yes, I studied translation at university, then I started working right after graduation in a translation company here in my city. 

 

Robert: So my question for you is: do you find that the clients are more demanding these days than they were in the past? Is there more to do? Is it harder or more complicated?

Patricia: I don’t think we can say that it is harder. The demands are simply different. In the past, clients focused very much on accuracy and mistakes we could avoid using resource books. Nowadays, they have been focusing on conventional and natural language. They do not want literal, word for word translations. This is hard because it is a completely different skill that we need to acquire as translators, and it’s not something that we can do very fast. It requires training and a lot of experience. This is probably something every translator struggles with nowadays.

 

Robert: And it’s very subjective as well, right? Because everybody has an opinion on what’s right.

Patricia: Yes. It’s something that we are still learning as an industry to agree on, to identify what exactly is “word for word” and what is something that is just a preference. It will still take some time for us to define these things clearly.

 

Robert: Thank you, Patricia. So if you guys had a superpower or a magic wand that you could use within TextTrans to make everything easier, what would you change? What would you do?

Samanta: I would like to be super fast, maybe have more hands! I would use two hands for emails, two for file analysis and two for project management!

 

Robert: That would be fantastic, I am sure. What about you, Lau, what would be your superpower?

Lau: I would like to be super fast, too. Then I could immediately accept all of the jobs we receive notifications for! Because every time we get to the portals, the jobs are already gone!

 

Robert: We would surely all like that! And Lau, you’re one of the newer people on the team, how has your experience been with TextTrans so far?

Lau: Very very nice! I have learned a lot! Claudio sometimes has to remind me to do things in a particular way, and I learn a lot from him and from all the team! I am very grateful for that and I’m really having a good time. I am used to working with people in an office, so that’s my only complaint.

 

Robert: Lau, you’re based in Barcelona, right? Are you planning to visit the office in Dublin?

Lau: I don’t know, maybe after COVID-19 is gone for sure. I would like that.

 

Robert: Thank you, Lau. Claudio, it’s a very competitive industry and space that you’re working in. How do you make sure that TextTrans stands out?

Claudio: I think it’s all about our process. The girls started in the company doing more or less the same things. Then, they learnt different parts of the business. By moving organically from one job to another, they gained a lot of experience at doing almost everything. 

Because of this, they can offer a good service for our clients, and also for our translators. For example, Samanta came in knowing very little, but she went on to learn so many different tools and how to use them. Now she can help the translators to get the most out of the different technologies that our clients require.

The interaction that they have with our translators and clients is great. They really know the business and that is one of our main assets.

Having this close contact with the translators is great because they have a lot of respect for us and I would even say friendship. For example, I see this from a lot of the emails we have received recently congratulating us for our anniversary.

They say that TextTrans is not only a company that they work for but more like a family that they collaborate with. That is exactly how we like to think about ourselves and also how we act towards them. The same applies to our clients.

 

Robert: Do you feel appreciated by the customers and the clients you work for?

Claudio: Yes, because they keep on counting on us! We are not the cheapest in the market (nor the most expensive); we know that. So if they keep doing business with us, that must mean we are doing things right. I think that a lot of clients appreciate our work and how we deal with things. Today, I received an email from a client wishing us congratulations, and she mentioned that she started working with me when I was a freelancer, more than 20 years ago, so that means I did something right since she still remembers me and likes to work with me. 

 

Robert: That’s good. As we said earlier, there’s been lots of changes in the industry. What changes do people like the most? What technological advance or change you guys like the most in your jobs these days?

Claudio: Fast Internet is one of the greatest things we have now. Before, we used to have issues to send a large file attached to an email or to download big files. Nowadays it is much easier.

Patricia: QA tools such as Xbench are a great addition to the final quality of our work. Although we try hard to maintain consistency and avoid typos and so on, sometimes these things happen, and these tools do an excellent job of double-checking it in the end.

 

Robert: Very good. Now let’s talk about the TextTrans’ logo and website. Can you let us know a little about it?

Claudio: Well, I’ve always appreciated Oscar Niemeyer’s work. I really like architecture and think his buildings are incredible. They are very graceful and beautiful. He used to say that there are no straight lines in nature, so he always had some sort of curves somewhere in his buildings. In one of my trips to Rio de Janeiro, I had the opportunity of visiting the Niteroi Contemporary Art Museum. I fell in love with it, with how it was built using the lines of the nature surrounding it. And that’s where the logo came from.

I also love the colour red, and that is the colour of the ramp to go up to the building; it reminds us of a red carpet. I don’t want to get political, but I have never been a big nationalist, and since the colours of the Brazilian flag (green and yellow) were hijacked by the current president and their supporters, I didn’t want them on my website (the website was developed around the same time as the Brazilian election). It is my way of saying “no, I don’t support him.” It is a statement.

I also like photography and I think we picked some great photos to show a modern and colourful side of our business.

Part 2 of our interview will be coming soon!

#TextTrans #TextTrans20Years #Anniversary