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Lost in translation

08 Aug 11

Grant Straker admits the problems currently facing his business are the good kind of problems. 

The CEO of Straker Translations, an 18-person Auckland-based business that facilitates online translations for clients around the world, is currently working on setting up a call centre to deal with an extraordinary increase in demand.

"At the moment we’re experiencing 40% month-on-month growth,” Straker says. 

"Since around February it’s really started to go up.”

It wasn’t always this way, with the company experiencing its fair share of teething problems since first spotting the gap in the market.

"It’s taken about two years since first thinking we should be doing the translations to getting our business model right,” Straker says.

"We had a couple of disasters at the start.”

The company re-thinks the way in which online translation is done, offering the service on a per-hour basis rather than per-word.

Translators work via an online platform, allowing the company to score the translators based on speed and quality. Understandably, some translators like the system more than others.

"It took a while to get it right,” Straker says.

"We had to build up a pool of translators who understood how the system works.”

Last week the company’s translations were certified to the industry standard EN15038, making them, Straker believes, the only firm in Australasia with that credit.

"A few of the others will say they follow the guidelines, but they don’t take the trouble to get officially credited, because it’s a long process, and it’s very difficult.”

The company is now establishing long-term relationships with several large partners, and the future is looking good.

"There’s always little things. When we first started getting into bigger contracts, over $1000, we’d try and accept them via credit card and they wouldn’t go through. Turned out because there was a comma in the number it would come back.

"The same thing happened at $10,000.”

Definitely a good kind of problem.

Image source here.