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The ALC Unconference

I have to admit I was a little sceptical about taking 3 days out of the office and travelling 5000 miles to something called an unconference.

As a new CEO/business owner in the language industry I am always looking for opportunities to develop my own knowledge and grow my company so threw caution to the wind and took the chance.

After a day’s journey from London I arrived on Wednesday at the first Association of Language Companies’ Unconference at the PGA National Resort Florida.

First impressions were good!  Read more

The ATC Conference 2015

I’ll be speaking this year at the Association of Translation Companies conference. It will be held at Manchester United‘s ground (Old Trafford) on the 24th and 25th September. I’m very excited about it and it should be a great gig.

The slides aren’t finished yet (no where near actually, since every talk I do is unique) but I do have an outline of what the talk will be about. I want to share that here in advance to give you an idea of whether you’ll want to attend (hopefully you do), and if you do want to attend, then to help you prepare any questions/comments well ahead of time.

The Business Side

The title of the talk is ‘The Business Side’. It came about after a conversation with the organisers of the TTT Conference last year in Slovenia. The dream was to develop a 1-hour framework which showed people who were exceptionally good at translation what running a business was like. It’s often a problem any talented person faces, i.e. as their business grows they need to work on their business and not in their business, and translators are no different. Read more

The whole world speaks Engrish

At a conference in Germany last week I was talking to a Japanese guy who worked for a manufacturer of medical equipment… This is how the conversation went.

Me: Do you translate your material for use in markets outside of Japan?

Him: No… hahaha… there is… er… no… er… need

Me: May I ask why?

Him: because… er… the whole world speak Engrish! [and then he burst into hysterical laughter]

While we make light of this (and to be honest the guy’s laugh did make me laugh as well to the point that we both stood there and wondered why we were laughing together) there are real reasons behind why documents should be translated.

Think about it… if you are a Japanese manufacture selling your products in Germany and all of your support material is in English, how are you going to generate leads? You are immediately restricting your potential business contacts to people who speak English and do business in Germany.

And there are legal obligations to translate your material into the mother tongue of the country that you are distributing. Without the proper translation to accompany your products you may not attain your CE Mark, making it impossible (and maybe even illegal) to sell in other countries.

Which languages?

Deciding to support alternative languages is the first step, after that you have to pick which ones to support. Given that there are around 6,500 languages spoken on planet earth this can be a daunting task. So we’ll look at which ones will make you the most return for your investment (this will change from market to market – but it is a great starting point).

According to The World Bank the largest economies in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) are as follows (highest first); United States, Japan, Germany, China, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Canada, Spain and Brazil.

They constitute over 70% of the world’s economy (which is $33 trillion combined) consuming the majority of world’s products and services.

So… if you want to communicate with the people who live in these countries you need to do so in the following languages; US English, Japanese, Germany, Mandarin, Cantonese, UK English, French, Italian, Canadian French, Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese.

Translate your material into 11 languages and you can cover $33 trillion of the world’s trade. If you don’t translate your material people who can’t read your material won’t buy your products.

translator associations

Translators’ Associations and Organisations

The benefits of joining a professional trade association have been well documented, not least by me. I am a director of the Association of Language Companies and the positives the organisation has given me far out weighs the cost.

Here is a list of translator associations and organisations listed by region.

International

Read more

Agnieszka-Animucka-World-Retail-Congress

Translating The World Retail Congress

One of the biggest retail events of the year takes place in Paris on the 29th September – 01 October 2014, it is the World Retail Congress. This year the theme is “Retailing in a disrupted world”. As retail faces new challenges with new technology “disrupting” the old ways of shopping and consumers behave differently, business models and strategies need to reflect this. This is especially true in my world of internationalisation and translation.

As some of you know K international works with some large retailers (like Tesco and M&S), helping them to put their products on shelves all over the world by providing a language translation service specifically tailored to the retail sector. If you are an emerging retailer and look to expand into new markets, we have the experience and knowledge to assist you in your journey. If you are already established in new markets we can work with you to improve the translation and artwork processes to smoothly run your linguistic operations. We supply a quality retail translation service starting with product specification and description and finishing on translation of your technology solutions. At all times we work along side our clients and in line with their brand message. Read more

Get Lost in Translation

This blog post has been adapted from a presentation I gave this week to the Key Account Management Club at Cranfield School of Management. I spoke about the importance of professional translation in relation to communication and what can happen when it all goes wrong.

It was for an ‘after dinner’ speech, so I wanted to make it as informal / funny as possible while still communicating the key message. This isn’t a transcript of what I said but it’s close enough and is in the same style as the original talk.

Hello and Good Evening

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Richard Brooks. I graduated from Cranfield 10 years ago (MBA class of 2005) and have been working on/at K International, a UK translation provider, ever since. Initially in a general management position, then after leading a management buyout 2 years ago, I am now the Chief Exec of the organisation.

Whenever I meet new people (very fortunate that I have that opportunity regularly), I always seemed to be asked the same questions. So being as we’re all friends (or will be soon), let me cover these questions quickly and get them out of the way. Read more

Agile Localization at Tekom India

Micro blog post to announce that I’ll be talking about Agile Localization Practices and Leadership at this year’s Tekom India in Bangalore next month.

It’ll be my first time in Bangalore but judging by the video they sure know how to party.

Hope to see you there!

Rich

TED Conference Talks Now Available in Multiple Languages

TED (Technology-Entertainment-Design), the annual conference that brings together influential people from the areas of technology, entertainment and design, is now offering translated videos of speeches and performances from its conferences. According to the Huffington Post, “the TED Open Translation Project is one of the most comprehensive attempts by a major media platform to subtitle and index online video content. It’s also a groundbreaking effort in the public, professional use of volunteer translation.”

One of the most distinctive features about this project is that it allows volunteers who visit the site to translate talks into their native languages, with no restrictions as to which languages can be used. To get the project started, a small number of talks were translated by professionals into 20 different languages, but from then on, volunteers took over. Now, the project has over 300 videos translated into 42 different languages and more are being added everyday.

The languages of the translations range from languages as dominant as Mandarin Chinese to languages like Kirghiz, which only has about 4 million speakers. The translations are available in the form of subtitles, shown on the bottom of the video player, and as transcripts. The transcripts are interactive-you can use them to select the part of the video that you’d like to play back.

Other than the sense of satisfaction that comes from doing a good thing, what’s in it for the volunteers? The volunteers who translate these videos get credited for their work, and set up profiles on the TED site. So, if you volunteer to translate, you get the ability to promote yourself on an established website.

All in all, this is a cool project. The videos make the knowledge exchanged at the TED conferences available to everyone, and the translations mean that more people across the world will benefit.

Elia ND Riga

Come see me present at EliaND Riga

I will be presenting at EliaND in Riga (Latvia) later on this month.

The topic I’ve chosen to talk about is ‘Running a Growing Company’. It builds on the topic I spoke about at memoQfest last year and consolidates a lot of my learnings from the Business Growth Program (at Cranfield Uni), Growth Accelerator, the last 18 months being a CEO and as far back as my own MBA.

Just putting the finishing touches to my slides together now. Here’s a quick look. Yes I am still using Greiner’s Curve (because its awesome and explains exactly the issues we face in growing LSPs). I do have some new models you’ve not seen.

Greiners Curve

My slot is 10.30 > 11.40 on the 24th April. Hope to see you there.

 

LocWorld28, Berlin Calling

I was thrilled to represent K International at LocWorld28 this year. LocWorld is a major conference for the localization industry, which takes place annually in three locations in North America, Europe and Asia. This was the 28th conference and a welcome return to Berlin, which previously hosted the conference in 2009. Once again LocWorld provided superb business opportunities, exhibitors, networking events and a full program of talks from industry professionals from global companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, SAP and Adobe. Read more