When the pandemic hit, Selin Cacao had to make a hard decision. As the CEO of Focus Interpreting, a language agency with 80% of business coming from on-site interpreting, Selin had to change his business model to suit the situation. While similar companies were hastily trying to switch to online interpreting, Selin decided to switch his focus (ahem) to the other 20% of his business: translation.
“I thought we needed to just start concentrating on translation contracts,” says Selin. “Even though we were no experts at it, I knew we had to become experts as soon as possible.”
Not as easy as it seemed
Selin and his team quickly realized that there was much more to translation than what they thought.
“I used to think that it was just grabbing a document and translating it,” he says, ”but now I understand there’s also formatting issues, when you have to bring in graphic experts or desktop publishers, and even things as ADA remediation, which is a whole other level.”
This increased complexity led to another problem. Selin was struggling to keep his agency’s payment system organized.
“When you have translators and editors and project managers and desktop publishers, it can get really tricky to keep up,” he says. “We tried something internal, but it wasn’t working out too well. So we started looking for a platform where we can do our translation and have the ability to pay the translators all at once.”
“When you have translators and editors and project managers and desktop publishers, it can get really tricky to keep up.”
Smartcat to the rescue
Luckily, Smartcat ticked all the boxes and answered all Selin’s needs. With flexible support for multi-stage workflows and an integrated payment automation system, Smartcat has helped Focus Interpreting to improve their project workflow efficiency and pay translators and other contributors directly from Smartcat.
Most importantly, Smartcat helped the company make their project management transparent, which is crucial for on-time delivery and quality work while freeing up their resources for other tasks at the same time.
“Previously, if we didn’t get a hold of the translator, it was panic — you know, it’s due tomorrow? What’s going to happen?” says Selin. “Now, we know, okay, it’s 75% complete, so let’s just send them out a quick message.”
“Previously, if we didn’t get a hold of the translator, it was panic — you know, it’s due tomorrow? What’s going to happen?”
With the quality, flexibility and scalability offered by Smartcat, Selin is confident that Focus Interpreting will continue to expand, allowing them to deliver on a consistent level of quality and scale, all while saving valuable time for improving their workflow.
Going forward, he’d “like to see the business grow more and become like TransPerfect,” while he admits that they “have a long way to go and there’s a lot to learn.”
Will they get back to interpreting once things open up?
“I think we’re probably going to fluctuate between 50 to 60% of translation versus interpreting,” Selin says. “I see us dedicating ourselves more as it’s going to help us become a better-rounded company.”