Costa Vasili on his Translation Service Business
How did your company first get started and what path did you take to get to this point in your career?
Sydney Translations was founded in 2011 in response to a growing outcry in Australia for professional translation services between English and a large number of languages. We particularly found that new migrants to Australia were not being provided with adequate communication in their language so we have worked hard to develop strong partnerships with key local, state and federal government organizations to address these concerns. Initially starting out by myself, our team has expanded to the point where we now work with over 300 translation professionals – this growth has been achieved by simply listening to our customer and working with them as a strategic partner, rather than just another service provider.
How did you build your system?
We are a huge advocate of using technology in our organization to drive efficiency and process improvements. Almost all of our data is stored in the cloud and we use a number of interconnected web-apps to manage operations. We have built a completely custom advanced translation management system that manages all of projects and ‘speaks’ to our other applications.
What important ethics should be considered within translation projects and why?
There are a number of important ethical considerations that need to be completed when undertaking translation projects. Firstly, translator’s who are providing NAATI certified translations (for official documents that are submitted to legal authorities) need to be vigilant for clients who are attempting to frauduently manipulate original source documents. This has been a growing problem in the industry as many foreigners see Australia as a great place to migrate to and will try to do anything to make that possible.
How do you think the translation industry has changed in the past few years, and have you got any opinion on how it will evolve over the next few years?
Technology is absolutely changing the translation industry – hands down! Service providers who are “old-school” will be left behind whilst new players who are looking to provide a faster, more accurate and more cost-effective service, will win. There will always be a need for professional human translation, even as machine translation (such as Google Translate) improves. Professional translators may find their role in the translation process evolve to one of an editor. This process is called machine translation + post-editing and is becoming increasingly relevant as machine translation improves.
Fundamentally, the purpose and intent of translation will stay the same. There will always be a need for certified and accredited translations for government-related work, official documents and legal documents. There will always be a preference for human translators in areas where the subject-matter is highly specialized or technical. Many idioms and expressions in marketing collateral such as “it’s raining cats and dogs” can’t be translated literally and require cultural understanding to translate the meaning into the target language. For this reason, human translators will always be needed, but their role will continue to change. They will become faster at what they do, supported by technology. This will drive down cost as their efficiency gains are passed on to the end-client.
If you could leave our readers with one last piece of business advice, what would it be?
Take a leap of faith and learn as you go. Be prepared to make mistakes along the way but always make a commitment to yourself that no matter how many times you get knocked down, you will always get back up!