Did you know that 20% of businesses fail in their first year? You know it’s tough when it’s a struggle just to make it through year one. But even the biggest companies in the world had to start small. For the successful ones, slow growth is the rule and quick success is not easy. Like most successful enterprises, Tomedes Translation Company had to start out small but we have come a long way to be the growth partner of the small-to-medium-to-large businesses of today.
For businesses to succeed, there has to be a great business model that’s backed up by solid leadership skills. I would like to take you through our journey on how we created our business and built it into a truly international company.
From Tel Aviv to the World: A Global Translation Company
Tomedes is a translation company that I founded in Tel Aviv in 2007 and we have always focused on helping our clients achieve global growth. We are a relatively young professional translation company in a crowded industry but we are doing our best to build a strong reputation and we would like to believe that we are making progress. In the years since we established the company, we have seen its expansion.
Tomedes has over 95,000 past and current business customers including some Fortune 500 companies. We have also been selected as an official Google and Android partner and we provide translation services in 120 languages. Those numbers just show the unprecedented growth that we have seen.
What’s behind that success?
The Start of the Tomedes Story
At the start, we only had one office in Israel. It was a simple location but even then we felt that we were on to something good.
It didn’t take long before we got our first clients and then soon, we were working with multinational companies. Soon, we felt that our first location was too small and we needed to expand. We knew the risks that came with that but we were ready to take on the challenge.
We moved on to have remote offices in the US, UK, Philippines. Our remote work setup is definitely a major factor in the growth of the company because it has allowed us to pick the best talents that we need. We were not limited by geography when it came to getting the right people. The money that we have saved from having most of our people working remotely has also helped us to expand quickly.
Another secret behind our success is we have positioned Tomedes as a growth partner to our clients. Many of the companies that we have worked with are aiming to expand into new markets and we have helped them get over the hurdles of language and localization. We have shown this with our 24/7 service. We have proven that we are there when they need us and that formula has worked for us.
We are dedicated to languages and we aim to provide solutions to language problems that people encounter. For example, English text can take up 30% more space when translated to French, Italian, or other European languages. This is what’s known as text expansion and it occurs because a concept or an idea will take up more space when translated into another language because it requires more words. That’s inevitable in translation but there are ways to minimize its effects.
Take the term, “app development” in English for example. When that term is translated into French, it becomes, “développement d’applications.” The English version just takes 15 characters but when it gets translated into French it takes 28 characters to express the same idea. Almost double. When our translators are working on the text, they are always mindful of issues like that coming up. They come up with the terms and expressions that match the original not just in its thought but its placement on the space as well.
Another area where many clients encounter problems getting translations is the matter of localization. Localization is when the language is made appropriate to a target market. For example, content that was made in Korea will have to be localized too when it is translated into German. That’s because there are some expressions and cultural practices that are not appropriate or may be hard to understand by foreigners.
Sometimes, it’s not enough that the language is translated into the target language for it to connect with its audience. It has to be localized to give it a local flavor. This is especially crucial for texts that are used for marketing or for entertainment.
Translating the subtitles of a video or its script for use in dubbing requires knowledge of the cultural context of the source language but more importantly, the target language. This is why knowledge of the language is sometimes not enough for some forms of translations.
We recognized the problems in the translation industry but we saw them as opportunities. We saw the common denominator among the problems and it was the translators. The translations were not being done by the right people.
We saw that problem as an opportunity. At the time that we started Tomedes, the internet was just becoming more accessible to the general public. We saw the opportunity of building a network of highly skilled translators all over the world with the right technical knowledge in their respective fields and the ability to localize content.
What we did was not unique. We just recognized the problems and we offered solutions. That’s the main thing that fueled our growth.
Remarkable Growth for a Translation Company
The strategy that I envisioned for our professional translation company bore fruit. Tomedes has become a multinational company in a short time span. The company has worked with thousands of clients while maintaining a 97% satisfaction rate.
That is a very remarkable feat that we are very proud of. Imagine working with thousands of clients all over the world and still maintaining a satisfaction rate that is close to perfect. That’s something that many companies can only dream of achieving.
Tomedes is also recognized within the industry and by our peers. As one of the leading translation companies, Tomedes is a corporate member of the American Translators Association and is also an ISO-certified company.
Lessons from the Tomedes Experience
Based on our experience in building a global professional translation company, I can offer a few insights that other entrepreneurs can follow. Some of these ideas can be used for enhancing leadership skills which is very much needed when you’re heading an international company.
Use Remote Work
We saw the advantages offered by the internet and the possibilities it offered for a workforce. Remote work gives more freedom to our workforce and helps to promote a better work-life balance. We adapted to it even before the pandemic.
Explore the possibility of using remote work to leverage the benefits you can gain from your workforce. It’s not going to work for all types of businesses, but you need to check.
When you do use remote work for your company, leverage all the existing technologies that are available to bring your team together and make sure no one gets left behind.
The World Is Full Talent
This is directly tied to the first lesson. The world is full of talent and you don’t have to limit yourself to the labor pool in your area. Through the internet, we were able to find the best people around the world. This applies not just to our own workforce but to the translators that we work with as well. So, try to expand your search for the best people who can work for you.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway from my Tomedes is the importance of taking risks. Although I knew that I was offering an innovative solution to a problem, there was no guarantee that it would work. I took a huge risk in trying it out and it was a good thing that it really worked but there was always the possibility that it would fail.
Don’t be paralyzed into inaction by the fear of failure, because that is a sure formula for failure. This does not mean taking unnecessary and crazy risks. If your research shows you that a project is not going to succeed then don’t push through with it.
Leverage Existing Technologies and Trends Like Coworking Spaces
What we did with the internet was nothing new. We just took the existing technology and used it to resolve problems. We used it to build a remote workforce. But we learned how to innovate as well.
We have innovated using the process of machine translation post-editing, and other innovative technology systems. We used these systems to build a vast network of experienced translators all over the world. We have also created an internal process that makes it easy for our clients to upload their documents. We have streamlined the whole thing so they don’t have to spend time waiting.
We’re not afraid to follow trends like the use of coworking spaces for our team members who are working remotely. These coworking spaces can take the place of actual offices which can cost considerably.
That is the Tomedes success story. Hopefully, it can inspire others to develop their leadership skills so they can achieve their own success.
Photo credits: coworkinglondon.com