Sunday, September 18, 2005

SimulTrans: Avoiding the $36 Comma and Other Ways to Reduce Translation and Localization Costs (Auburndale, MA)

Simultrans was one of the pioneers in client education. Back in the 90s, it ran a series workshops for IT companies that graduated many of the localization managers in the industry today. It is with pleasure that I see them back into this activity. For those of us who have been in the business for a while, it is easy to infer what the 36-dollar comma means. By multiplying small changes by a number of languages and a variety of publishing media (documentation, help, web, etc.) it is easy to see how inserting a comma late in the process can escalate the price of translations.

If you are in the Boston area, my recommendation is "go!" The event is free and the content is good. By doing this, Simultrans follows rule number one of sales: give something before you ask for something!

If you heard about the event here, and you go, please let me know how it was.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Trouble at Transware

We have learned that Tom Kelly, the CEO of Irish company Transware, and John McCormack, its CFO, both coming from BlueStar Solutions, Inc. (a provider of applications management outsourcing services) have left the company. Devin Lynch is the new CEO.

Before this, it was notorious that Transware had not been paying its vendors, leaving invoices unpaid for up to 180 days. The new team came on board, but their vendors were still having trouble collecting.

Our sources tell us that Transware is not making money and struggling with how to compete.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

SourceWire | Press Releases - How to Choose A Translation Services Supplier

Although I am always skeptical of translation companies telling people how to buy translation services, this short article by Liz Athey from Roevin Translation Services gives some insight on differences between the U.K. and the U.S. translation markets. Namely, the charging of services by 1,000 words.

As I am always looking for hard independent data to justify doing translations, I liked the mention that "results of the British Chambers of Commerce 2004 Survey – The Impact of Foreign Languages on British Business — found that exporters who adapted and localised their products/services and sales literature for their export markets, and who placed value on having staff with foreign language skills, enjoyed average export sales growth of 7% — or £290,000 – over the previous year. "

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Customer Centric Selling Workshop in Paris a big hit

Jim Lewis, the former CEO of Berlitz that hired me to work there in 1999, is giving the first Customer Centric Selling workshop customized for the translation industry in Paris, at the request of Common Sense Advisory. This first event has 18 participants from all over Europe and the response has been excellent. We are planning to have other two events in the U.S. (East Coast/West Coast). The beauty of Customer Centric Selling is that it is a development on Solution Selling and it is a great way to sell services. Berlitz, Bowne, SDL and Lionbridge use this sales approach.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Buy translation and toilet paper in the same place

For those of you who have seen Common Sense Advisory's presentations, the concept of the translation-to-toilet-paper ratio is not new. We have said it all along that some companies spend more money on toilet paper than they spend on translations (but nobody talks about cutting the consumption of toilet paper).

Mustang Cleaning Supplies from the U.K. is offering both. According to their press-release, they are going to offer machine translation for their janitorial clients who might hire a Portuguese employee who cannot read local manuals and regulations.

They are using Systran's machine translation and offer a disclaimer: "The translation services are provided by SD2001. The SYSTRAN Software used by SD2001 strives to achieve the highest possible accuracy, however no automated translation is perfect nor is it intended to replace human translators. Any discrepancies or differences created in translations are not binding and have no legal effect for compliance or enforcement purposes. If any questions arise in regard to the accuracy of information contained in any translated portion of text provided, please refer to the orginal version. Language structures in English are not easily translated into another language. Source text that includes jargon common to an industry, may not be translated accurately. Mustang Marketing & Services Ltd or SD2001 are not responsible for translation errors."

The fact is that this is the ultimate example of commoditization of language services. But don't be afraid. Although they will certainly attract some clients, these are not the client that you might want to have.

Lionbridge Completes Acquisition of Bowne Global Solutions

Lionbridge Completes Acquisition of Bowne Global Solutions

A lot has been written about the acquisition of Bowne Global Solutions by Lionbridge, but the official agreement has happened only now. In the next months we will see some reorganization in the offices of the company. The first thing that happened was the relocation of Kevin Bolen, from BGS New York to Boston and his new title: Chief Marketing Officer.

More news as they come.