Avantpage: Translating 13 Years of Experience Into Continued Success
For many, understanding a new language represents access to a new way of life. In business, it represents new opportunities and new ways of seeing the world. It means forcing yourself to look at things differently. Not merely to “empathize” with people from other lands, but to try to understand their cultural context. Where they’re REALLY coming from. It’s no surprise that language is used as a metaphor for every aspect of human relations.
Today, in celebrating our 13th year of excellence in helping people better understand each other, Avantpage Translations would like to take a look at where we’ve been; more importantly, to provide you with a glimpse of future needs and trends in the world of translation.
Dr. Luis Miguel, founder and CEO of Avantpage, is passionate about translation. He says, “I have been fascinated by language since I was a boy growing up in Mexico. English and the United States in particular always held a special mystique. Today I am fascinated by the business of translation. It brings together elements that I love: communication between cultures, computer technology, and the concept of entrepreneurship—creating wealth and spreading it around. Translation is used in so many areas of the economy and government, all around the world. It brings me closer to interesting people, activities and cultures.”
In 1996, when he founded Avantpage, Miguel faced a much different business environment. In the US, only a few large companies and government entities considered translation as an “essential” service. The industry was mainly dominated by small language service providers (LSPs) who had limited technical expertise and could not handle non-Latin languages such as Chinese and Arabic. “The industry was very fragmented and had no standards that clients could use to select vendors,” Dr. Miguel says.
But the Internet was starting to catch on for businesses, and seeing the existing “technology gap” among LSPs and the need for website localization (l10n), Miguel used the opportunity to found Avantpage. To his surprise, many businesses were not interested in a multilingual web presence at the time. Dr. Miguel says, “Very few companies had websites, those who did saw it as an expensive brochure, and localization was seldom done once clients understood the costs. In the first 6 months we produced over 100 web translation quotes, and none became an actual job.”
This was a challenge for a company designed primarily to work with the web, so our business model had to adapt. Within the last three years, l10n has become an important priority for many companies and we have seen those initial goals come to fruition.
Today, of course, American businesses face many serious challenges due to the global economy. No longer competing within their own borders, they must face competition from every corner of the world. Often these competitors have advantages such as lower labor costs, longer working hours, and “opposite” time zones that allow them to work while Americans sleep. Once-local companies can now be global thanks to the low cost of the Internet and cheap telecommunications.
Avantpage is uniquely positioned to help any business that wants to compete on a global level. Dr. Miguel says, “I combine my background in computer science and many years of experience as a businessman with that of top-notch linguists to provide translation service that is relevant, high quality, convenient, and at competitive cost. Avantpage is thriving in this new global marketplace. By integrating closely with our clients, we share the know-how that allows us both to succeed.
There are exciting developments on the horizon for translators and translation consumers. According to Dr. Miguel, here are three of the most intriguing:
1. Crowdsourcing: Using the talent of an interested audience to produce better translations, to translate into languages that do not have a budget, and to translate content that would not normally be done otherwise.
2. Improved automatic (machine) translation: Machine translation has been slowly evolving due to the complexities involved. The linguistic research community has been busy, and the technology is maturing to the point where it can be incorporated into the workflows of technologically savvy LSPs. Like crowdsourced translation, it is also a way to translate texts that would not be done otherwise.
3. Emerging markets: The continued emergence of developing countries as major economic players is opening up new markets to translators and LSPs. India, China, and Brazil all have vibrant economies and languages that require specialized translation services.
At Avantpage, we’re excited about what the future holds for our business and for yours as well. To our current clients, we’d like to say a big “thank you” for making the last 13 years very lucky ones for us indeed—and if you haven’t worked with Avantpage yet, it’s time to see what you’ve been missing!
Avantpage has more than 10 years of proven excellence in linguistic services and a complete translation solution for businesses. We offer language services such as translation, interpretation, localization, and multilingual desktop publishing designed to perform efficiently, consistently, and accurately. We believe that business is personal and our consultative style ensures that it is. Because we value what you do, we promise excellence and deliver it.