It’s Dawning on Businesses That Remote Work Has Its Perks

The concept of working from home is not a new one, but for many until March of 2020 it was something that seemed out of reach. That was, until stay at home orders were put into place and millions of workers were left with no choice but to work from home. At Terra Translations, our entire team has worked remotely since day one, so we were able to maintain business as usual while staying home to slow the spread of COVID-19. But for many businesses, a major shift had to occur in order to accommodate remote working. 

The Forced Shift to Remote Work

As mentioned, the rapid spread of COVID-19 left many employers with no choice but to send their workers home. While not all employees can work remotely, many in more corporate settings can do so with the right support. Remote work has always had a stigma attached to it. Many business leaders fear it will lead employees to being unproductive, uncommunicative, and untrustworthy. With no choice but to allow employees to work from home, many managers and executives are realizing that stigma is often untrue and that there are actually many benefits of allowing employees to do their work from home when possible. 

The Benefits

Studies have long shown that working from home can enable employees to be more productive. A 2019 study by Airtasker found that remote employees worked an average of 16.8 more days than office employees every year and wasted less time during the workday. The positive effects of working from home are not just felt during office hours. The survey also found that remote employees on average save an annual average of $4,523 on fuel required to commute, not to mention many hours spent in traffic. 

Employees aren’t the only ones who will save money by working from home, business owners are looking at massive savings too by not providing a workspace for employees. Of course, savings caused by workplaces moving from the office to the home will cause a negative impact for other businesses. While many businesses will save money on office rent, utilities, and supplies, the suppliers they no longer require to keep theirs up and running will suffer. Landlords, office supply stores, and restaurants and shops in business heavy areas and financial districts could face ample loss in revenue when their customers trade their pricey office space for a spot on the couch. 

The Aftermath

It seems natural that the companies who found success in, and reaped the benefits, of remote work would consider continuing to do so once stay at home orders are lifted. Large international companies such as Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, and Twitter were early to send employees home after the onset of COVID-19 and are continuing to keep employees home longer than other companies. Many of these tech giants are reporting they will offer more work from home opportunities for employees on an ongoing basis, even once the spread of COVID-19 stops. Tech companies are notorious for building luxurious, creative, and unique workspaces to attract top talent, but it appears the office employees may be most drawn to is at home.

Happy 8-Year Anniversary, Inés!

On June 12th, 2020, Inés Malpassi celebrated her 8-year anniversary with Terra Translations. If you ask her, though, she’s likely to tell you that isn’t the whole story. She’ll proudly point out that her involvement with Terra and her friendship with founder Beatriz Cirera go back even further. “I love Terra. I feel a part of it,” she says, having just finished her workday as a Senior Project Manager and now preparing to celebrate her twin sons’ 24th birthday. A hard-working mother of three, Inés explains why she values working for a company built by a mother-daughter team, and in which everyone involved is treated like family.

Inés Malpassi and Beatriz Cirera at our annual gathering in Puerto Madero, Bs. As. (2016)

Human connection

“Human connection is fundamental,” she says, and it’s vital to Terra’s corporate culture. After all these years, Inés is still working with several of the same people as the day she began. That includes both in-house employees and freelance linguists. In a world of near-constant change, why do people choose to stay in any one place? According to her, it’s about a never-ending cycle of loyalty and support. She feels comfortable, heard, and respected as a member of the team, and makes sure that everyone she interacts with feels the same way. The sentiment is contagious, and everyone at Terra feels fortunate to work alongside her. It’s no wonder that her loving demeanor and positive attitude would contribute to a beautiful, long-lasting camaraderie. Maintaining relationships and generating team spirit when everyone works 100% remotely is easier than one might expect. This is thanks to the core culture remaining steadfast through the years: treat one another like family. 

Growth and change

If the culture hasn’t changed over the course of a decade or more, then what has? Inés assures that a lot has changed, and all for the better! If Terra was a seed when she joined, it is now a thriving tree with new branches and the same roots. As technology has advanced, Inés has seen the adoption of new online applications and programs. These new and improved tools have helped to keep up with a growing client base and to communicate effectively with coworkers and freelancers. The industry itself has evolved and expanded, and she has thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to provide language services to new fields, such as medicine and video games. The key to rolling with the punches and adapting to change, she explains, is the ability to learn together as a team and support each other through challenges and successes. Inés is cherished for her giving spirit, always willing to lend a hand or a kind word to those who might need it.

Onward and upward

These days, of course, we’re all feeling the challenge of living through a global pandemic. We’re doing our best to find some normalcy in our personal and professional lives. Inés feels it is important to always look onward and have a vision for the future. It’s not all about ambition, but rather the confidence that she is on the right path and will continue moving forward. A week of celebrating anniversaries and birthdays with her loved ones, whether in-person or from afar, seems a perfect example of appreciating and acknowledging what she has accomplished, while always placing priority on human connection. As far as her future with Terra, she feels nothing but optimism: “If Terra succeeds, we all succeed.” Having a beautiful soul like Inés on our team certainly feels like success to us.

Our team after successfully building a fortress, an activity that was part of a team-building workshop (2019).

A 2020 Boom in App Downloads Leads to Localization Opportunities

Culture is never stagnant. It is constantly evolving, sometimes slowly and sometimes at a rapid pace. In troubled times, cultural shifts can happen in the blink of the eye. Like when women joined the workforce during World War II or how families flocked to movie theaters for a happy distraction during the Great Depression. From music, to fashion, to technology, culture is always evolving. 

Currently, we’re seeing major changes in the tech industry as an effort to adapt to the new reality of living in a world struggling to fight Covid-19. In order to stay connected, safe, and entertained, people are turning to apps like never before. Let’s take a closer look at what types of apps are rising in popularity right now and why app creators may want to utilize localization to take advantage of this unique cultural moment. 

The Rush to Download 

While there wasn’t a uniform date that cities, states, and countries began their social distancing efforts, March of 2020 was the month many regions across the world began enacting stay at home orders. Which is likely why there was a massive collective downloading of communication and entertainment apps, as well as an increase in media viewing and social media engagement during March. Tech usage is up in general, with web browsing having risen by 70%, television viewing by 63%, and social media usage by 61% over normal rates.

What Apps Are Being Downloaded the Most?

In March, the video conferencing app Zoom received 40 million downloads worldwide, which is 1,200% higher than their download amount from the previous six months. Similarly, a communication app WhatsApp saw a 40% usage increase globally. Video conferencing apps serve a dual purpose that tend to both career and personal needs, so it comes as no surprise that these types of apps saw such a surge in downloads and usage. During just one week in March, video conferencing apps had a record 62 million downloads.

Apps that provide entertainment such as video games have seen a rise in downloads as well. Houseparty is an app that helps you connect to others via video and has become a popular platform for playing games. In March, downloads of the app were the highest the company had seen this year. Those looking to play more traditional video games have been turning to digital downloads to get their fix. Call of Duty: Warzone, a video game from the popular Call of Duty series had more than 50 million downloads in its first month. 

Why App Creators Should Be Utilizing Localization

App creators should be capitalizing on this unique moment to find new customers, ones they can hopefully retain in the long run. By localizing their apps and games, they can not only widen their potential customer base, but can enhance the user experience for foreign language customers as well. The localization process not only translates language from the source language into the target language, but takes into account how to best serve the cultures of their different users. While many businesses are suffering right now, certain businesses such as apps that serve social distancing needs, have an opportunity to thrive. Localization can help app businesses expand and ideally, provide more jobs in the process during this uncertain time.

How to Recruit Talent Worldwide: An Interview with Natalia Quintás

These last months, remote work has been a resourceful way of maintaining productive operations of non-essential jobs across the globe. But for companies that are beginning to operate online and for those that have a background of remote working, it’s important to embrace the specificities of this model. For instance, there are strategies for organizing a daily schedule or for establishing effective channels of communication.

More importantly, behind every great virtual team, there are great professionals suitable for the task and, hence, talent recruitment comes to the scene. Remote staff selection implies a different process of recruitment planning, execution and applicants’ evaluation.

To have the insight from an expert, we interviewed Natalia Quintás, Terra Translations’ Director of Human Resources. She has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, and 18 years’ experience in the field of human resources. Also, she has been managing the virtual recruitment of Terra’s talents, both freelancers and in-house teams, for six years.

Terra Translations: What are the benefits for recruitment from a work-from-home model?

Natalia Quintás: Operating remotely implies a wide range of possibilities for Human Resources departments. The first important advantage is that the search will be boundless: we can really focus on talent, experience and education, because applicants’ location won’t be a limit for us. Thus, we can really work with the best, and with those professionals who match most with the company vision.

Terra: How does remote recruitment differ from on-premises recruitment?

Natalia: The most salient difference is that in online recruitment we can’t meet face to face. But it can be easily rectified. An experienced hunter identifies the suitable talent executing specific actions, that include active listening, providing online personality tests and planning a smart and effective competencies’ based interview.

Terra: Which are the best practices to manage global recruitment efficiently?

Natalia: First of all, recruiters have to define a strategy based on their requirements. If in need of talent with a very specific profile, it’s better if HR managers search for it (or “hunt”) in professional social media platforms. However, for general positions, as translators or editors in our industry, a job posting will be more useful.

Second, recruiters of course need to know English, so they can communicate with applicants around the world. In that regard, it’s important to build a strong and wide network of contacts in social media, specifically on LinkedIn. That way, we make sure that the job posts are reaching more people. With a good contact network, we are increasing the likelihood that the right person reads the offer.

Terra: Is there a specific way of carrying out the recruitment process? How do you do it?

Natalia: Because virtual recruiters don’t meet with candidates, we try to compensate for that fact. First, it’s crucial to use a webcam on both sides. Second, it’s very useful to conduct an interview based on competencies. Before the search and the interview, we define which skills the candidate needs to master for a certain position. With indirect questions and remarks, an experienced recruiter will be able to check these competencies during the interview.

Furthermore, online personality tests can be handy. They are not a selection test, but they help to assess the management profile of applicants or employees. Sometimes, the recruitment process also includes a technical test to measure the required knowledge for a certain position.

Lastly, as recruiters we must communicate clearly and sincerely from the beginning. This implies notifying the responsibilities and required or desired skills. Finally, we must always show gratitude for the time of the interview. We are one of the faces of the company we represent, and we have to convey correctly the values of our organization’s culture.

Translation vs Localization: The Important Differences

Before you dive into any type of translation or localization project, it will benefit you greatly to understand the difference between these two terms. While both are closely related at first glance, translation and localization have some key differences between them that are worth knowing. In order to compete in an increasingly global economy, it is important that brands utilize translation and localization services properly and to their advantage. 

What is Translation?

The term translation, also known as tl8n (or #xl8), refers to the process of changing text from one language to another in order to achieve an equivalent meaning. Doing so allows the overall meaning of the text to remain identical, while being expressed in a different language from the original text. 

Translation is not a word-for-word conversion, but the goal is to maintain the original meaning through both vocabulary choices and idiomatic choices. A translator will convert your content into the target language while respecting syntax and grammar rules. As translators strive to maintain the complete original meaning of a text, translation is a process often used for important documentation where it is vital that the original meaning remains the same. Localization on the other hand, blends linguistic equivalence with cultural accommodations. 

Translation is often used to rewrite:

  • Training manuals
  • Scientific journals

What is Localization?

Localization, which is also referred to as #l10n, focuses on making text both linguistically and culturally accurate to whichever region it will be distributed in. The process of localization acknowledges that a direct translation is not enough to connect with an audience. 

Localization is also utilized when you don’t need to translate text into another language, but need to cater to cultural differences. American and British English are a perfect example of this scenario. While an American or British English speaker will be able to understand either type of text, there are major cultural differences between the regions these two languages are spoken in. For example, Americans use the term “bathroom” or “restroom” whereas Brits use the term “loo” when referring to the exact same thing. 

To sum things up, localization ensures culturally connotative terms are used, as localization is not solely focused on a direct translation. A few main areas of concern in the localization process are:

  • Spelling
  • Expressions
  • Idioms
  • Vocabulary
  • Cultural references
  • Imperial vs. metric measurements
  • Currency units
  • Date formats

The Main Differences of Translation vs Localization

The main difference between translation and localization is that localization takes the process a step further by accounting for cultural differences. Localization can help aid in meeting cultural expectations, which can be especially important for making entertainment content, products, or an ad campaign succeed in a new market.

Very direct translation services are more often used for very serious texts where it is of the utmost importance to retain an original meaning, such as with a medical text. Both processes play an important role in increasing the reach of language, but knowing how to use each process to their advantage is key.