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Crain's New York Business - January 30, 2004

TransPerfect Translations: Elizabeth (Liz) Elting
Elizabeth Elting
President and CEO, TransPerfect

Globalization spells opportunity for TransPerfect Translations Inc. Demand for the company’s foreign-language services--such as document translation and simultaneous interpretation--have boosted revenues past $27 million, a 40% increase since 2002. Meanwhile, TransPerfect is expanding its offerings. In February, it will launch a staffing services division, to help clients find bilingual personnel.

Crainsny.com: Tell meabout your company:

Liz Elting: We got started in 1992. Now we’re one of the five largest language service companies in the world. Between TransPerfect and translations.com [a spinoff that focuses on foreign-language Web sites], we have 250 full-time employees and 4,000 subcontractors, most of them translators. We have 31 offices worldwide, on three continents, so we can offer round-the-clock service.

Our translators are professionals. They usually have advanced degrees in their languages, and many also have specialized skills. They know the terminology of the field they’re working in. For example, many of our legal translators are former attorneys. For our first project, for a company that wanted to open a mine in Russia, we hired translators who had actually worked in mines in the Soviet Union.

Crainsny.com: What languages are most in demand?

Liz Elting: At the moment, Spanish, German, French, Japanese, Chinese and Korean.

Crainsny.com: How have you managed to grow in recessionary times?

Liz Elting: We specialize in legal, pharmaceutical, medical device, and financial projects. These areas are somewhat recession-proof. We have a number of preferred provider agreements, and a high percentage of our work is from repeat business or referrals. But there’s a lot of turnover in companies, so we still make a lot of phone calls and set up presentations.

In addition, we require a service orientation in our employees. We hire energetic, aggressive people who aim to please, and give them extensive training. Twice a year, we hold company-wide training sessions, which include exercises in sales techniques, role-playing and problem solving.

We’re always asking, “What do we need to do to keep clients happy?” We find out what they need and introduce it, which is why we’re opening the staffing services division. We always provided on-site translators and interpreters, but then clients wanted us to help them find bilingual administrators.

If we have the right people and do the right things, we’ll continue to grow regardless of the economy. The more we put into our employees and training, the more we get out of it.

Crainsny.com: You recently received ISO certification. What does that mean for your company?

Liz Elting: Certification by the International Standards Organization [a network of the national standards institutes of 147 countries] is very important to clients in regulated industries, so it’s important to us. We were audited for performance in the areas of quality, timeliness and customer satisfaction. Now we have a full-time ISO team on staff to assure compliance.

Crainsny.com: What foreign languages do you speak?

Liz Elting: I speak Spanish and French, but not at translator-quality level.

About TransPerfect
With revenue of over $250 million, TransPerfect is the largest privately held language services provider in the world. From offices in 66 cities on 5 continents, TransPerfect offers a full range of services in over 100 languages to multinationals worldwide. With a global network of over 4,000 linguists and subject-area specialists, TransPerfect is the largest translation company to be fully ISO 9001:2008 and EN 15038:2006 certified. TransPerfect is headquartered in New York and has regional headquarters in London and Hong Kong. For more information, please visit our website at www.transperfect.com.

 

 
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