Stage Four – regular Translation Agency
After several years acting as a mini-SLV based at home, my alter ego started noticing the inconveniences of choosing this way of working.
The aspects I previously considered as major advantages had lost some of their shine. I realized that:
- living in isolation from the world caused me certain psychological problems,
- living and working in the limited space of my home, resulted in difficulty separating my private life from my working life,
- communicating with customers and co-workers only by phone or email is neither conducive to building good professional relationships nor an atmosphere of mutual trust,
- administrative work consumed a growing proportion of my time and I had to accept working much more than 8 hours a day.
For these reasons, it was necessary to think about changing the current mode of activity.
The first step was to hire a full-time assistant. Of course, the limited space meant adding another desk to the flat was not an option – so it was necessary to move my agency to an office building.
My talented assistant quickly learned the specifics of working in the translation industry. She started with the simplest administrative and office tasks but soon began to help me coordinate the work of subcontractors and build good working relationships with my customers.
I had also a brilliant helper, in the shape of my son. Coming to the end of his studies in marketing and management, he already had extensive experience in the field of translation, having grown up in the center of my translation office.
It so happened that my son, in addition to his specialized studies, was fluent in three important foreign languages – English, French and Italian. Adding to this my decent knowledge of English, German, Russian and Czech, and passive knowledge of several other Slavic languages – we could successfully supervise translations in many language combinations.
I will always remember the serious conversation my son initiated at the end of his studies. He stated that the translation agency I had set up (together with my wife) ensured a good standard of living for one family. But if I let him get involved in the development of the agency, he could help double the turnover and profits – and it would be a great professional start for him.
This was a big step forward in the generic growth of the company. We gradually increased our staff. The former assistant became the first project manager. Relatively quickly the entire Project Management Department appeared – a total of 3 PMs.
Together with my son, we began to appear at industry conferences abroad. This was a good investment: we built good relationships with many customers and we met many interesting people.
For us, these events were very informative, and we really appreciated the open atmosphere of these meetings. It turns out that we all have had similar experiences and are struggling with similar challenges. Thanks to our honest exchange of views, we can make fewer mistakes as we develop our office.
The company started to grow much more quickly. Gradually we created new departments in our company structure:
- Sales (with marketing),
- Operations (Project Managers and Quality Assurance team),
- The head of each department became a member of the company’s senior management team (called S-O-F-T).
Nevertheless, our company’s journey has been anything but smooth and soft. However, reflecting on my 25 years in this industry, I can confirm that creating a translation agency has brought me a lot of satisfaction.