Wednesday, August 31, 2005

McDonald's - A Global Company

Jia Osiel, Globalization and Strategy Manager (right) from McDonald's Hamburger University, and Jessica Rathke (left). in Oak Brook. McDonald's is present in 119 countries and gets 66% of it's revenues from outside the United States. In the U.S. all training programs for the store staff are delivered in English and Spanish. There are 7 Hamburger Universities around the world.

Monday, August 15, 2005

The two Cecis of Córdoba

The 4th Translation and Interpretation Conference just ended in Córdoba in Argentina. The event was organized by Cecilia Maldonado (left) and Cecilia Irós (right), owners of IMTT, a translation and interpretation services company in that city.

The superbly organized event covered several issues of interest for freelance translator, ranging from productivity tools to language issues.

On Sunday night, Proz organized a Pow-Wow, which was apparently one of the biggest ever. There were almost 100 translators at the San Honorato Restaurant. Great food, great people, great conversations. Each person had a chance to introduce himself or herself (mostly women... as usual).

The good surprise of this event was finding other very professional organizations in this city, which, by the way, has the oldest university of the Americas. Companies like SpanishBackOffice, owned by New Zealander Charles Campbell, Spanish Express of Carlos Rivarola, and Patagonia Translations owned by my friend Ignacio Luque (who was kind enough to refer me to the organizers as a speaker) are also offering professional services to translation companies and final clients worldwide.

My greatest take away from this event was the idea that came up in discussions about competition in the market. I believe that translation companies in Argentina should get together and pool resources to start selling Argentina as the best place for Spanish translations. What Argentineans don't see is that Panamenians, Mexicans, and Peruvians, for example, are getting the same price for their translations, even though as a general rule Argentineans are better educated and more prepared. I suggest that Argentineans get together and set up booths at Localization World, ATA Conference, the ATC Conference in London, and others. Their goals should be to promote Rosario, Córdoba, and Buenos Aires as the places to go for professional Spanish translations. Let's see who will take the lead.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Emergency call takes 2 minutes to be answered

The Racine Report - Lost in translation: MP3 of 911 call gives a link to the taping of a 911 call in California.

A couple of things come out of this story:

  • Although a great service, over-the-phone interpretation (OPI) is not perfect. In fact, Language Line, the company mentioned in the story, claims that it takes them in average 9.7 seconds to put a Spanish interpreter on the line, but in this case that claim was not materialized.
  • It amazing how burocratic this 911 calls are.
  • The comments from readers is shocking (mostly along the lines of immigrants, go home).

More on the interpretation business later this year.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Letter to BusinessWeek addresses common dilemma

Don't Get Lost in Translation is the title of this week's Smart Answers section in BusinessWeek. Despite the fact that Lost in Translation has become a cliché that even us at Common Sense Advisory have used in the title of one of our reports, the advice given by Chris Durban is excellent.

The question was: "Our clients found that outsourcing Spanish translation to Latin America is cheaper, what should we do?"

The answer was: You are selling the wrong product to the wrong people.

I keep saying in my Sales Management Workshops that translators and small translation company owners learn their business lessons at the grocery store (and I mean this as a negative comment). They tend to think that price is the only factor driving translation and localization buying practices. If they reduce their price, they are going to get more work. Of course there are different market segments and people are willing to pay different prices for the same service, and the main lesson here is that if you want to get better prices, you really need to learn how to sell. Sell to the client needs and you will command much better prices.

Chris Durban's advice was very good.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Positive vibes in the localization industry

Today we heard the news from Lionbridge that they had a record quarter in terms of revenue, profits and cash generation. Rory Cowan seemed very excited with the prospects for the future of the company after the integration of Bowne (BGS).

He estimates that the company will achieve between $400 and $430 million in revenues in 2006, with profits of up to $40 million.

There were lots of interesting tidbits in the call (for amore detailed analysis, check Common Sense Advisory's Global Watchtower entry on the topic), but what I was glad to hear was the upbeat tone. Good things, growth, new clients, sales success... It looked like Lionbridge's executives were ecstatic, a sharp contrast from previous calls where they were almost apologizing for missing a quarter or for the concentration of technology clients in their portfolio.

On top of that, apparently Welocalize disclosed their numbers. I still have to find the source, but for me their $10.2 million in revenue in the first six months of the year do not compute...

Well, all these good news seem to be reflected in the results of the Global Confidence reports that Common Sense Advisory will be publishing in the next couple of days. One of the key findings of the quarterly survey is that 52% of the buyers expect their spending with translation to increase in the next three months.