Several months ago I received an email from Wayne Williamson, Canadian and European Account Manager, at National Enzyme Company (fascinating company that’s worth the time to review). Wayne has been a client of IAL Services for several years and always brings us interesting projects.
This particular project was relatively small in nature; translation of marketing materials (brochures, banners) for a trade show in Russia. Some of our colleagues at other organizations poke fun at us for still taking on small projects such as this but our theory, from the beginning, was to latch on to any company that trusted us enough and grow with them. I think our strategy has worked since business has doubled every year since 2005. I’m not so confident my counterparts can say that, or may even be around, after a brutal 2009.
Ironically, small projects such as this still make my palms sweat. I’m sure it has the same effect on Wayne and his marketing team as well. Translation of marketing materials, particularly ones that are brand-centric or technical in nature, can make or break a trade show or even a company (not to mention the translation vendor!). In the language business we might refer to this as “localization” or “In-Country” marketing but, regardless, “local” businessmen and women can sniff out a fraud if your materials aren’t dead on accurate. Aside from losing credibility in the marketplace, companies also risk wasting thousands of dollars on resources and materials that don’t get the message across.
Vince has spent the majority of the last five years vetting the best linguists in the business. It’s time consuming and expensive on the front end but ends up paying dividends as the business grows.
Most companies prefer not to take on the “small” projects or, if they do, circumvent the full proof and editing process. Even “small” documents, and particularly those that are going to be read by thousands or millions of people, require an initial translator to conduct the draft, a proof reader to produce a mark up and then an account manager to “negotiate” the final draft. Finally, after the product is delivered back to the client, we strongly encourage them to let us review, free of charge, the final “print copy” before publishing. Many times text gets omitted during the creative process and can destroy the message completely. You can do the math and figure out why many language companies aren’t interested in pursuing this type of low margin business.
We finished the project, submitted it to Wayne and subsequently reviewed the final print draft. As with most companies, you generally don’t get feedback IF the project is good. You get plenty if it’s bad.
I received an email from Wayne again last week regarding some additional legal translation work. I responded and, out of curiosity, felt compelled to ask him about the trade show and the work we had done. He responded:
Actually thank you for reminding me, the trade show went very well, in fact much better than anticipated which is always good. We had a number of comments from visitors, other exhibitors, and our in booth translator about our literature. They were all very impressed by the standard of translation, the words used and the grammar in the documents. All commented that our documents had been translated to a high standard. It was great to hear, as in the past with previous companies some of the international material I have used has been picked apart by locals. If you ever require a testimony please do not hesitate to contact me, this show was a shining star as why I contact you first.
Very best regards
I printed it out, pinned it on my office wall and wrote “Reminder for 2010: Little Words Count!”