On 19-20 April 2018, TOFT International participated in the 13th T-UPDATE Conference in Madrid. The event was hosted by the European Union of Associations of Translation Companies (EUATC). This conference is aimed at senior LSP decision-makers seeking to expand the reach of their operations from national bases into foreign markets.

The theme of the programme, “Going Global”, was presented and discussed in various aspects by over 20 speakers from Europe and other countries: Ireland, Belgium, Denmark, India, Spain, United Kingdom, USA, Netherlands, Hungary, Russia, etc.

Miklós Bán, General Manager of the Hungarian translation and localisation company Espell and Chairman of the Board of the European Translation Company Network EULOGIA, offered powerful insights on the strategic development of the industry. In the case study of EULOGIA, he discussed the strategy of an alliance of international LSPs, as well as the importance of such a cooperation pattern to the entire translation industry. Basically, this strategy is in line with the current global trends, and it provides opportunities for businesses from different countries to share their experiences and receive mutual benefits while staying independent from a legal perspective. Such a pattern is based on the principles of a club, which provides a criteria-based membership to companies from different countries. Cooperation with the other members of such a network will result in a better performance in terms of versatility, different lines of work and occupancy. For instance, a company from a certain country that specialises in local language translations can provide other companies within the network with the respective services based on a priority principle. This pattern allows the LSPs to present themselves and to feel more flexible on a global scale, while attracting more clients and expanding their operations.

The strategic development based on so-called inbound marketing is an equally effective approach.  Konstantin Dranch, a speaker from Russia, expanded on benefits of this strategy for translation companies. Konstantin is an independent market observer for the translation industry. He runs translationrating.com, which is an analytics and ranking website for Russian and Ukrainian language service providers. The inbound marketing basics come down to attracting potential customers with relevant content, and encouraging them to make contact with your company. A number of marketing tools and channels are used in the inbound methodology: e-mails, social networking, search engines, blogs, vlogs, webinars, etc. In order to succeed, it is essential to include an IT Department, qualified and loyal marketing experts and to allocate them a suitable share of the budget. Unlike content marketing, inbound marketing is concerned with the way that content influences the business performance rather than just spreading the content. Konstantin Dranch shared several effective inbound marketing examples that could be applied within the translation industry, such as personal client invitations to events, webinars with highly-positioned and qualified translation experts, interactive content, tests, discussions on complex topics and articles giving insights on the practical aspects of know-how.

However, no business development is possible without a strong leader. Andrew Hickson, Marketing Manager of Ludejo, a translation company from the Netherlands, gave a presentation on this topic in a distinctive and attractive format. An Irish national living in the Netherlands, Andrew graduated from the Radboud University of Nijmegen, with a Master’s of Science degree in Cross-Cultural Management, and promptly decided to put his degree to absolutely no use, by opening a cocktail bar. With his varied professional background, which has included time spent working in the theatre, cinema and advertising in the Netherlands and Ireland, Andrew has finally found his home in the localisation industry.  The main ideas behind his presentation reminded us once more that one of the key factors for a successful business is a “leader to follow”, who is capable of bringing and keeping a team of loyal experts together. As was once posted on the Ludejo Facebook wall – it’s not the speed that matters most, but the driving force that helps to gather it.

The Conference also covered the topic of technological innovations in the translation industry. A representative of SDL Trados reviewed the features of GroupShare and Studio, and introduced the SDL Online Translation Editor program for online translations and editing. A hands-on session with MateCat was also offered at the conference, which is a free open source CAT tool and a representative of one of the most popular corporate task management systems. Plunet revealed the ways that this intelligent automation system can help improve the daily operations of the companies. Evidently, machine translations are taking on an increasingly strong position in the translation technology area. This year, the T-UPDATE participants were much more optimistic about this development compared to the previous year. Today, machine translations are being used by almost twice as many translation and localisation companies.

Obviously, LSPs play a particularly important role as the world is going global. The majority of clients clearly understand that there are absolutely no possibilities to a expand business without high quality translations, which allow them to reach their global target markets. Meanwhile, the task facing the translation industry is to adapt to these increasing customer needs and implement the respective strategies. “Nunc est tempus” was the main sub-topic of the T-UPDATE Conference Indeed, although the translation business is experiencing a time of prosperity, it is also a period of enormous development opportunities and companies will have to demonstrate creativity, as well as new, forward ways of thinking in order to benefit from this period.

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