N.Y. Translation Firm Expanding into Valley


N.Y. Translation Firm Expanding into Valley

The Business Journal of Phoenix - February 15, 2008

One of the world's largest language translation companies has opened a Phoenix office to serve local and regional firms doing business in the global marketplace.

New York-based TransPerfect Translations International Inc. markets its language solutions – people and software – to international clients from 50 offices around the world. Services are available in more than 100 languages at costs ranging from $300 to more than $50,000.

TransPerfect executives chose Phoenix for the company's latest expansion based on the city's high percentage of Spanish-speaking residents, coupled with one of the fastest-growing populations in the country.

"We are particularly aware of the high percentage of Spanish speakers in the region, a market segment that is becoming increasingly important to companies in the U.S.," said Ross Abramson, director of business development at TransPerfect's office on Camelback Road near 24th Street.

Strength in the global economy and trade have spurred office openings in 15 countries on four continents since the company formed in 1992. Prior to the Phoenix launch, the company opened an office in Berlin. It also has operations in Japan, China, Brazil, Ireland, Singapore, Sweden and Australia, to name a few.

Co-founder Phil Shawe said the company was attracted to the Valley's real estate, financial services, tourism, contract, research and technology sectors. He said the region's growing customer base drove the decision to locate here.

A handful of employees, mostly sales staff, have been hired for the new office.

TransPerfect clients in the Phoenix market include Rain Bird Corp.; Banner Health; Chamberlain; Snell & Wilmer LLP; Lewis and Roca LLP; P.F. Chang's China Bistro; Hypercom Corp.; Zila Inc.; Wells Fargo & Co.; Bank of America; and Karsten Manufacturing Corp.

As more Valley businesses work overseas, translation services are in high demand. Tempe-based Sundt Construction Inc. learned the hard way. For construction of Dial's corporate headquarters at Loop 101 and Scottsdale Road, Sundt leased two brand-new Chinese tower cranes through one of its regular suppliers.

"We didn't have the manuals that corresponded with the crane," Garry Terry, concrete operations manager for Sundt, told the Phoenix Business Journal.

The instructions they received were written in Chinese, so Sundt flew in a Lewis Cos. employee from China to rectify the snafu.

In late December, Chicago-based Grant Thornton LLP and its Phoenix offices received China's new tax reform documents in Chinese, weeks before the Eastern nation debuted the changes.

Carmen Carney, a language expert at Thunderbird School of Global Management, said translation resources are needed.

"It is very important for every company to have documents in whatever language is needed to do business, and they're well-written, well-expressed and culturally correct," said Carney, who directs the school's Garvin Center for Cultures and Languages of International Management.

Citing numerous industry reports, Shawe estimates the fragmented language sector at $6 billion to $20 billion a year.

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Who: TransPerfect Translations International Inc.
HQ: New York.
Phoenix office: 2375 E. Camelback Road, 602-298-6983.
Founders: Phil Shawe, Liz Elting.
2007 revenue: $156 million.
Offices: 50 in 15 countries.
Employees: 790.
Web: www.transperfect.com.

—by Chris Casacchia, Phoenix Business Journal

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