Michele Cerioni of Adaptive’s Berlin office chatted with Celine Imbaud, General Manager and founder of ITC Global Translations, an LSP with offices in France, Canada and the US.
As the language industry continues to grow, it can be easy to be dazzled by the PR headlights of the market’s heavyweights. News is dominated by the movements and evolutions of publicly-traded and PE-funded LSP giants. And yet it’s common knowledge that the vast bulk of the industry’s (variously-calculated) $40bn+ expanse is the domain of the mid-sized LSP.
Wherever the industry is headed, there’s clearly room for service providers of all shapes and sizes in the current climate. But one factor which is really sorting the wheat from chaff in a meaningful way, at all stages of the growth spectrum, is technology. LSPs who remain dependent on manual processes and fail to invest in tech-aided workflows find it harder and harder to compete on price, speed or quality. The big challenge for many smaller agencies, however, is how to hire for the expertise necessary to lead and implement a major technology overhaul.
After steering ITC through a successful new Project Management platform implementation, Celine talked to Michele about the process.
Michele: In your opinion, what are the prerequisites for choosing the right person to implement a new project management platform?
Celine: We needed someone who was going to help implement the platform, but also—in order for the teams (sales and PMs etc.) to really engage with the new tool—we needed to make sure they had daily support from someone who could help them understand how effective the tool really is.
It was of primary importance for us that our team members not get hung up on bugs or technical issues which would prevent them from getting engaged with the new system.
What standards did you adhere to when selecting people for such a position?
Celine: First, we evaluated their technical skills. We had very specific questions to ask about the tools, but we also asked what kind of experience they had with specific file type imports and exports.
If they had experience with the specific tool we were installing already, that was a bonus. The system we chose is integrated with CAT tools, so they needed to know not only about the CAT tools we work with and have a basic knowledge there, but also have a wider understanding of the entire production process because we have to implement new workflows for each client.
So in order to excel in the position, they need to be able to fully understand what the process is from the moment the order is confirmed to the final delivery to the client.
Our other major criterion was personality. The challenge was finding someone with good IT skills but also someone who was open and relaxed, ready to work on a long-term project but also able to be a valuable daily resource for the team. We needed someone who wouldn’t get annoyed with being interrupted on a regular basis! [laughs]
How do you make sure the hire is the right one… what’s the perfect process to make the choice?
Celine: The perfect process… I don’t know if we have it yet!
But I think the first thing would be to have a first interview where you judge whether that person would be a good fit at your organization.
Once again, we’re talking about personality and before anything else, we needed someone who would be a good fit. We‘re flexible and we’re going through changes. We need flexibility.
The next step would be to make sure the IT skills are there. Ask very specific questions, and from the way the candidate answers, you can tell their real skills and whether they are speaking from experience or extrapolating from basic understanding only. At ITC, we have the candidate meet the key people they’re going to be working with as well.
Once you have the right person on board what steps do you take that will make sure everyone works well together?
Celine: We put in place an integration process depending on the position. Let’s say, for an engineer:for about two weeks we will need to schedule some meetings with key people. They’re going to be meeting with sales, production and other engineers… even translators if need be. This is so they have an understanding of the global aspect of who does what within ITC.
Then we set up objectives, saying “Okay, within one month we want these projects to be done or we want you to meet these specific deadlines, and check in with the person and see where they are.”
We set clear goals from the beginning, even in long-term projects.
Michele Cerioni recruits for Language Services sales professionals at all levels, from junior inside associates up to VPs, as well as sales engineers. Feel free to reach out to him on LinkedIn for a networking conversation.
Tel: +49 30 20 89 66 60
Email: michele.cerioni (@) adaptiveglobalization.com
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