Terra Receives Focus on the Future Award for Its Employee-Centric Culture

Terra Translations was established as a family business over 25 years ago and is currently operated by second generation CEO, Marina Ilari.  Over the course of the company’s history, leadership has always been aligned to make employees the number one priority.  Like many new businesses, the first few hires were friends and family. “This created a very special atmosphere within our team that we have been able to maintain as the years passed and the number of employees grew.  Our company culture is based on ‘family first’ values that are extended to every member of our team,” said Ms. Ilari. 

Terra Translations is the proud recipient of the Focus on the Future Award in the True Colors category for maintaining an employee-centric focus by managing the health and well-being of their workforce. 

Terra works diligently to ensure that everyone feels that their voice is being heard and valued. It is a culture of quality.  This focus on quality is not only applied to the work the company does in the field of linguistics, but as well as the quality of relationships with employees, clients, and community.  Supporting employees’ whole being serves as the basis of a strategic, financial, and successful human capital strategy. This has resulted in employee loyalty and an extremely high retention rate.  Especially during these unprecedented times of uncertainty, Terra encourages companies more than ever to embrace their most precious assets: their people. 

However, this commitment to a strong culture and people-first attitude has not always been easy. Maintaining a strong family culture within the company presented many challenges as the company grew, especially considering employees work remotely. The Terra team is spread across four different countries and even prior to the current global pandemic, every employee worked from a home office; the team only meets in person sporadically for audits, trainings, and an annual event. This unique work environment creates flexibility for employees to work from anywhere in the world, and for Terra, the company can hire the best possible talent without being limited to a geographical radius.

As many companies were forced to adopt a work from home environment beginning in March 2020, members of the Terra team are often asked how the company has been able to maintain a family-friendly culture while expanding the team and working virtually.  “It takes a lot of hard work and determination from company leadership. Our values of quality, care, loyalty, and a deep commitment to family and community are present in every decision we make. Leadership in our company are thought of as ambassadors of our values and make a constant effort to listen and value each employee, promote this culture for new hires, and constantly share the history and vision of the family business,” said Ms. Ilari.  Decisions to safeguard the culture of Terra are not easy and, in some cases, can potentially impact profitability. However, time has shown that when a company can support and value employees and community with a broader focus than just profits, the company continues to grow stronger and more profitable.

What is Quality in the Translation Industry?

Quality. One little word that can mean so much. We strive for quality in every area of our lives. From award winning entertainment to organic food ingredients, who doesn’t prefer things to be top notch? We’re first taught how to produce quality work in school. Receiving a good grade on a paper or exam is a pretty clear indicator of a job well done. After school though, things can get a bit murky. 

Once we enter the workforce, the expectations of what quality work means can vary greatly. In the translation industry, quality work is the key to not only keeping clients happy but to producing effectively translated texts. 

Quality in the Final Translation

Accuracy is of course an important component of creating a quality translation, but accuracy alone does not guarantee quality. The translator must ensure that the final text properly reflects the meaning of the source text, has the same intended effect, and accomplishes all project parameters. 

During the translation process, there are three types of errors worth keeping an extra sharp eye on. Errors of meaning which encompass using incorrect terms or forgetting to add or remove a word. Spelling and grammar errors can add unnecessary confusion. And last but not least, errors of compliance that may relate to a brand’s specific style guide or language fluency.

Another important aspect of a quality translation is whether or not the text meets cultural standards as well as linguistic ones. A literal translation can literally get lost in translation if the translator does not account for cultural differences such as pop culture references, humor, politics, and values. 

Quality in the Process

While quality is subjective, there are certain procedures and processes designed to help linguists produce quality translations. For example, per ISO 17100, it’s required that at least two linguists work on the translation. One translates and the second reviews the translation. For certain projects, it can be beneficial to work with three linguists so that there is a final proofreader ensuring quality. These procedures help keep translation teams on the path to quality. Terra Translations is certified in ISO 17100 which provides the framework for our team to certify quality management procedures.

Similarly, following respected professional standards, like ISO 9001:2015, is helpful for ensuring translation quality. ISO (International Organization for Standardization) develops standards for a variety of projects and translation companies can follow their set standards in order to enact a quality control method. The ISO standards are typically updated every five years, which helps certified firms continue to produce high quality work.

The Virtual Conference – Some Thoughts and Takeaways on LocWorld 42

Unprecedented.  Virtual.  Pivot.  Since March 2020, our daily conversations have been saturated with a combination of vocabulary reserved for a unique scenario most people never fathomed they would experience – a modern day global pandemic.  The world has worked to persevere with an attitude of flexibility, productivity, and efficiency, but overwhelmingly people are missing the opportunity for in-person, human interaction. It is sad to say it, but the novelty of Zoom happy hours have definitely lost their luster and the more serious situation being considered is how industries will work to cultivate new ideas, spark innovation, and connect with colleagues as the virus continues to loom.  One idea – the virtual conference. 

Like many professionals in the translation and localization industry, the team at Terra Translations was primed and excited to take on LocWorldWide 42, which was scheduled for the end of July in Berlin, Germany. Since its inception, the LocWorld organization has created a “marketplace of the localization industry”, initiating an opportunity for networking and knowledge exchange. So, it was only fitting that LocWorld leadership did not shy away from forging ahead to deliver the benefits of LocWorldWide, but on a virtual platform for their first online conference.  Like many maiden voyages, some things were smooth sailing and there were a few bouts of rough waters.  At the end of the day, thought provoking ideas were debated, organizers and participants had great attitudes, and there were a lot of laughs!

What can you expect from a virtual conference? Here are some things to keep in mind.

The pluses

If you are a regular at industry events, a virtual conference can create an opportunity to see some new faces.  A major perk of LocWorldWide 42 was that it created access for many people who had not been able to budget or justify the costly expenditure of a global conference in the past.  In addition to no global travel or shuffling from exhibition halls to banquet rooms, participants still had the benefit learning from keynote speakers and panel discussions while enjoying plenty of (their own) coffee and meeting peers from around the world.   

The virtual platform also allowed for the flexibility to change when things were not working so well.  For example, the LocWorld staff did a wonderful job of listening to participants who asked for more opportunities to directly network; two happy hour sessions were added at the end of each day allowing for plenty of connection and conversation.  The ability to pivot in real-time based on audience preferences was slick.

Some minuses

As to be expected, there were a few hiccups that would not have occurred had the conference been in-person, specifically involving technology and time zones.  The conference was executed on a couple of different platforms to accommodate presentations, virtual exhibitors, and networking.  Unfortunately, a few of the initial sessions did not load properly, so participants were unable to view them at the scheduled times and were left either with nothing to watch or an option to jump into another session.  The technical issues were resolved quickly, and event organizers were very transparent on their efforts to ensure it did not happen again.  Truly, it is important to keep an attitude of flexibility as everyone leans so heavily on internet connections and user platforms to function properly.  

The other major downside to this style of event is the time zone predicament.  Because the event was planned to take place in Berlin, the organizers kept with that time zone (Central European Standard Time) as a nod to the original event.  Instead of suffering through jet lag and being dazed and confused, but in the daylight, participants in other parts of the world were logging on in the middle of the night.  This might not sound like a major inconvenience, but when the alarm clock sounds at 2:00 am, employees may question how anxious they are to participate. Even with a learning curve, organizations like LocWorld are doing a great job of filling the void to help their respective industry advance and recover some semblance of normalcy.  Technology will improve, experiences will be enhanced, and the virtual conference just may become a permanent component within the professional arsenal for information sharing and networking.  Certainly, in person conferences, and all the ceremonious grandeur involved, will return and when they do, the world will be ready.

But for now, consider logging on for the next virtual industry conference; it is a good reminder that the world is a little smaller than we think.

Scaling Up: Leveraging Global Translation for a Stronger Milwaukee

Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Cream City. Birthplace of Miller Brewing, Harley-Davidson Motor Company and the Fonz. Host city for the 2020 Democratic National Convention. And home to Terra Translations, LLC. The City of Milwaukee has a rich and unique history that has cultivated an environment primed for intentional disruption and dynamic growth. While the city is supported by some incredible behemoth entities like Manpower Group and Northwestern Mutual, the small business contingency is weaving its own unique thread into the fabric of The Brew City’s future successes; this includes Terra Translations. While Terra is committed to providing the best translation services in Milwaukee, the company is also focused on promoting cultural diversity, encouraging inclusion, and increasing access to information for the multilingual community. 

Terra’s strategy for supporting Milwaukee businesses, visitors, and residents is heavily reliant on being present, making new connections, and supporting the efforts of other burgeoning entities. One way the company is executing this strategy is by partnering with Scale Up Milwaukee. Scale Up is an initiative of the Greater Milwaukee Committee and they describe themselves as “an action project focused on developing the entrepreneurial capacity in Milwaukee by bringing together the policies, structures, programs and climate that foster entrepreneurship.”

Terra was welcomed as member of Scale Up in September 2019. Since joining, member meetings and one-on-one mentoring have helped to inspire, cultivate, and accelerate Terra’s continued integration and rapid growth within their local Milwaukee community. Scale Up also offers moderated conversations with prominent Milwaukee figures through their Meet the Masters events. Past “Masters” include Peter Feigin, President of the Milwaukee Bucks, Scott Lurie, President of F Street Group, and Beth Ridley, Owner of The Brimful Life. Through an intimate setting and the fluid style of moderator Elmer Moore, Executive Director of Scale Up, the audience is treated to a rare glimpse into the journey of these leaders to learn and grow.

Beth Ridley and Elmer Moore at the Meet the Masters event

Regardless of the event, every Scale Up interaction is purposefully planned to generate discussion and reflection that is thought-provoking, even uncomfortable at times, forcing members to think in new ways and challenging “the way we’ve always done it” to be absent from conversation. Members are encouraged to share their goals, professional fears, and ideas that didn’t work out as planned in an effort to realign, refocus, and recharge the tenacity and confidence that can sometimes wax and wane during the adventure of being an entrepreneur. And because the bottom line is always top of mind, Scale Up membership includes one-on-one mentoring with their expert team that spans a broad spectrum of operational and professional development topics, from bolstering community partnerships and marketing, to product development and company metrics. 

Terra Translations is a proud member of Scale Up; the partnership has been vital to strengthening Terra’s roots as a Milwaukee based translation services provider with a global reach. The company has found that Scale Up’s well-rounded approach to supporting the entrepreneurial spirit allows small business owners the chance to network with organizations that they might not have otherwise had the opportunity to meet. Not to mention, they receive training, support, and resources that allow these businesses to prosper and grow with intention. Terra is looking forward to applying for Scale Up’s 2020 Growth Accelerator program and continuing to be a part of Milwaukee’s success story. You can learn more about the incredible work Scale Up Milwaukee is doing at www.scaleupmilwaukee.org.

Sharing is Caring: Using Webinars to Enrich Employees, Companies, and Industries

Keith Ferrazzi, an author and entrepreneur, once said, “Power today comes from sharing information, not withholding it.” We exist in a world that has become accustomed to instantaneous results – statistically significant data, applicable strategies and solutions, and most of all, relevant and accurate information. So much of what people do daily is connected to vehicles for information sharing. From push notifications on phones and watches to dinner recipes narrated by Alexa, rather than seeking out information, the expectation is that it be placed in everyone’s lap. What is one of the best ways to quickly share and receive information straight from an expert source with very little cost to all involved stakeholders? The webinar. With over 25 years of specialized experience in translation and localization in several fields including healthcare, video games, and education, Terra Translations has been purposefully seeking out opportunities to participate in web-based information sharing, specifically via webinars. 

On February 27th, thanks to the Globalization and Localization Association (GALA), Colleen Beres, Director of Business Strategy, and Marina Ilari, CEO, of Terra Translations were able to execute a live webinar entitled “Nurturing a Remote Workforce: The Peaks, the Pits and Some Tips for Leveraging Global Talent”.

The goal of this live webinar was two-fold. First, to educate participants on how the world of employment and labor, as well as employee expectations, have evolved in the modern world. And second, how companies, regardless of industry, can leverage the power of a remote workforce to recruit top talent, reduce costs, and create a nimble and supportive corporate culture. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and it inspired the Terra Team to question who else could possibly benefit from this type of information. What are other companies doing to share their expertise with the world?

Before launching a webinar or any kind of web-based forum, there are some critical components to consider when developing content that will be engaging and impactful. First, know your audience. The translation industry is inherently diverse and global – that’s what makes it such a wonderful and unique environment for information sharing. Therefore, each participant will come to the table with different opinions, dilemmas, and governing regulations. It is vital that content be presented in a way that is adaptable and universal; it should allow viewers to comprehend an idea and customize it to their specific situation. Second, be sure to present content that is broadly relevant and relatable. The timing of Terra’s discussion was, unfortunately, very appropriate considering the current COVID-19 pandemic; leveraging a remote workforce is no longer a luxury, but a necessity as the world attempts to contain the spread of this virus. When strategizing the exact content to be shared, it is best to evaluate subjects that are top of mind and align with company and personal expertise – then take it two steps further and drill down to create value for the audience. 

As the world continues to get smaller through increased digital connection, professionals need to rely on one another to be challenged, stay curious, and inspire growth. This connection should be leveraged in ways that create learning opportunities instead of noise for the sake of being visible. What can you share with the world that will improve your industry and your peers? You can learn more about GALA and it’s incredible resource library by visiting https://www.gala-global.org/resources/videos-downloads

Beatriz Cirera

A Look at How Terra Translations Began with Founder Beatriz Cirera

Terra Translations has been in existence for the past 20 years. Or so it would appear. According to the founder of Terra, Beatriz Cirera, Terra started long before it had an official name. “I had been working as a freelance translator and as a leader of teams of translators, and later as a small agency on my own. Approximately 20 years ago, I thought it was time to give my business more formal structure with a name and an identity,” Beatriz said. Almost two decades later Terra has become a force to be reckoned with in the global translation industry. We wanted to take a look back at Terra’s roots and who better to tell our story than our founder Beatriz Cirera?

On The Mother Daughter Bond

One of the motivators of turning her freelance work into a full blown business was Beatriz had the opportunity to collaborate with her daughter. “I was very happy when Marina told me she decided to prepare for a translation career in school. I felt I could help her and introduce her to the business,” Beatriz said. She believes that choosing Marina as her partner was the natural and logical thing to do. “With her by my side I felt supported and understood. Having a mother and daughter relationship gave us an understanding I know I wouldn’t have with anybody else,” she said. It sounds like a pretty sweet partnership, but the icing on the cake is even sweeter, “Working together has been fun and brought us even closer,” Beatriz noted.

On Our Unique Culture

Starting a business as a family helped create a unique culture at Terra. “I view Terra Translations as a big family, with all that being a family implies. We sincerely care for our employees and linguists,” Beatriz said. She believes treating her employees with the compassion and respect you would give a family member has encouraged the entire team to commit to excellence and to offer great service to our valued clients. She continued, “We believe in ourselves and always act with the ‘family’ in mind. We feel supported and that love is our engine. Love for our team, linguists, clients, community, and for what we do. We believe in the fact that you receive what you give. As my dear father taught me, ‘life is a boomerang’.”

A commitment to supporting women is another key component of what makes Terra’s culture so special. Beatriz feels that it has never been easy for women to succeed in their chosen careers, “Many times family, motherhood, and inequality make women give up their dreams. I speak through experience, having brought up four children while building this company.” Terra is committed to providing valuable employment experiences for women, but also aims to support women outside of Terra through a variety of community outreach efforts, such as participating in Women in Localization. “We wish to share our experiences and help women in any way that we can,” Beatriz emphasized.  

On What the Future Holds

Over the years, Beatriz’s role has evolved significantly. She began as CEO and continued in that role for several years. Three years ago she passed the torch to Marina, “I felt the time had come to move aside, rest more, and have my brilliant daughter take command of the ship,” she said. Currently she acts as an executive consultant, providing support to Marina and the team in any way she can. “The transition was so natural and seemed so logical. It went smoothly and easily,” she said. 

Terra has accomplished a lot over the past fifteen years and the entire team is excited to continue this tradition of hard work and dedication. Beatriz is proud to watch Terra grow and is confident Marina will achieve all of her goals for the company. She is proud of her daughter’s accomplishments and how the company itself has grown and evolved, “I would be proud if Terra accomplished its main goal: grow as a company and grow as a family. I look forward to continue working successfully with our clients and our team.”


An Insider’s Guide to the Role of an Editor

Accuracy is a vital pillar for our business. At Terra, we achieve the highest accuracy on projects through a critical review process and workflow that includes the role of the Editor. The Editor is imperative in achieving quality deliverables. After the translator has finished their assignment, editing is the next step in the process. Editors are first to revise the translation and the second team member to work with the source text. They compare the target language content against the original to ensure meaning and context are not lost. In addition to this key responsibility, editors must also review and answer queries from translators and Quality Assurance Managers (QAM), evaluate and score quality, and provide constructive feedback to the translator.

A Typical Day in the Role of an Editor

A day likely begins with the Editor checking on new assignments or urgent queries that need to be answered. This typically dictates the pace for the rest of the workday. After deadlines and priorities are sorted, the Editor will dive into an edition. When an edition is completed, the Editor will pass along the project to the next team member in the workflow, the QAM. At Terra, no two days are the same in the role of an Editor. Projects vary in length, difficulty and subject matter because each project requires a different set of linguistic and communication skills.

Why is the Editor Important?

The Editor’s role is valuable because he or she improves the overall quality of the translation with a focus on vocabulary, grammar, semantics, style and punctuation. They review the entire translation comparing it to the source to ensure the original content is rendered accurately in the target language. The Editor also makes certain the target text reads naturally and fluently as if it were not a translation. When large projects are split among multiple translators, the Editor is responsible for keeping consistency across the project that includes terminology and style. Additionally, the Editor certifies that the work complies with the client’s requirements and guidelines.

“The value added to the translation process by the Editor is accuracy, consistency, coherence, compliance and quality,” explained Alejandro Kochol, Editor for Terra. “The translation is polished and the quality of the deliverable is enhanced by the Editor.”

An Editor’s Core Skills

The top skills of an experienced Editor include dynamic linguistic prowess, source and target language knowledge, cultural and subject knowledge, attention to detail, flexibility, adaptability, ability to research and multitask, advanced knowledge of computer and CAT tool software, and excellent communication. 

Discernment is another crucial skill for the Editor. A large component of an Editor’s role is the ability to leave out personal preferences. The Editor should avoid imposing their own style and over-correct the translation. This can pose a challenge because it’s tempting to make changes due to personal choices. If the style used by the translator is appropriate in every aspect, the Editor should recognize this and respect it. 

Common Misconceptions of the Editor

A common misconception is that editing and proofreading are the same tasks. This is not the case. Editing involves improving a translation by comparing the source and target text. Proofreading involves revising the translation alone. The source text is used only as a reference if it is absolutely necessary.

A Love for Language

Most editors have a true passion for linguistics. They also appreciate that every day brings a new set of challenges and they find joy in creating solutions. There is a great power in words and a proficient Editor is meticulous in the use of every word in order to improve the quality of the translation. 

“I love working with texts and languages,” said Alejandro. “I enjoy meticulously examining every part of the translation to adjust errors and ensure nothing is missing. Being an Editor allows me to use my talents to improve the entire translation process.”

Translator Marina Ilari

Translator and CEO: Marina Ilari

A new year and a new decade offer the perfect time to reflect. So are anniversaries. Our team at Terra Translations is continuously inspired by our fearless leader Marina Ilari, so we wanted to look back at her journey from translator to CEO of Terra on the eve of her 3rd anniversary as CEO. As a female CEO in an industry lead by men, Marina has faced her fair share of challenges to build this company. Her passion for giving back to the translation community and supporting women empowerment organizations has never wavered. Last but not least, she has provided employment to over 500 full-time employees and contractors. In short, she’s pretty amazing. 

Her Journey

Marina’s journey towards being the CEO of Terra began in school. She holds a degree in Literary Translation and is certified by the American Translators Association. In her 15 years spent working in the translation industry, she’s become an expert in translation technology and managing translation projects. She received acknowledgement for her business savvy and hard work in 2017. She was awarded the Women Owned Business Enterprise Rising Star Award. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation presents this award to a young business with great promise.

Success was not found without overcoming trials and tribulations. Despite these challenges, Marina has stayed true to her vision for Terra. “The greatest challenge I have faced since starting this company is growing it without sacrificing its culture,” Marina said. Terra began as a mother and daughter endeavor, and the first few hires were within their circle of friends and family, “This created a very special atmosphere within our team that we were able to maintain throughout the years… Our company culture is based on ‘family first’ values that are extended to every member of our team. We work diligently to make sure everyone feels that their voice is being heard and valued.” 

According to Marina, Terra’s culture encompasses the quality of the work we do, as well as the quality of our relationships with our employees, our clients, and our community. She believes that supporting our employees’ whole being serves as the basis of a strategic, financial, and successful human capital strategy. This strategy has happily paid off and has resulted in employee loyalty. We’re proud to report that we have a year over year retention rate of 98%.

A Passion for Giving Back

Marina is committed to giving back to the translation industry, the communities that Terra works within, and women empowerment organizations. Alongside her work as CEO, she participates in a variety of professional organizations such as the American Translators Association, Association of Language Companies, Globalization and Localization Association, and Women in Localization. 

“As an organization, we deeply care about supporting communities with diverse populations and people of Limited English Proficiency (LEP); it is our goal to create an opportunity for all people to have access to information in order to live fulfilled lives,” Marina noted. This goal inspired the evolution and establishment of the Terra Cares program, in which Terra provides pro-bono translation services to select healthcare and legal focused non-profit organizations within our communities.

Where She Hopes to Head Next

When asked where she hopes Terra will be in five years, Marina stated, “I would like Terra Translations to be the number one translation service company in Latin America. What drives this wish to become number one in Latin America is because there is very little diversity in top management in the industry as a whole. From the top twenty largest language service companies, there is only one female CEO.” 

Considering that the majority of translators, interpreters, and linguists that perform the linguistic tasks within the industry are close to 70% women, Marina believes more women in the industry should be in leadership positions. “It has always surprised me that this women-driven industry would not see more diversity at the top. It’s important to bring more diversity to leadership roles in the industry, and I would like to be the person that brings that diversity to the Latin American region,” she said.

The Role of Transcreation in Marketing Campaigns

Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, we can’t find the words to say exactly what we mean. When we finally do find the perfect words, they may not be easy to translate. Idioms, cultural differences, puns. Not all language choices can translate word for word while maintaining their original meaning. This struggle is particularly true with creative language. Marketing campaigns are one area in particular in which this struggle often applies. The wit, creativity, and snappiness of marketing copy may be difficult to translate properly. The solution? Transcreation. 

Why is transcreation necessary?

The term transcreation combines two words. It is a meshing of translation and creation. Most commonly,  those who work in marketing and advertising use this term. Transcreation can help duplicate marketing messages in a way that hides the fact that translation occurred. Ideally, this process will provide the audience with the same emotional response they would have obtained from the source message.

Culture plays a large role in making an advertisement successful. Ensuring that all marketing materials feel as if they were specifically designed for the culture they’re targeted at is important. Advertisers must make their audience feel a certain way. Unlocking what is important to them culturally, will make that process much easier. 

How is transcreation used in marketing?

Globalization has led to many companies spreading their marketing campaigns to other countries, which can require running campaigns in multiple languages. Because language is so intertwined with culture, it’s important that marketers hire professional transcreators to assist with the transcreation process. A transcreator is usually a professional translator who is skilled in creative writing.

What may seem like a direct translation could actually lose the essence of what made the source copy so effective from a marketing perspective. Slogans that contain metaphors, similes, rhyming, word play, or alliteration, are examples of why transcreation is so important. Those creative writing techniques won’t necessarily translate literally into other languages. 

What are the challenges of translation in marketing?

When moving into a foreign market, there are three options for advertisers. Translate an existing campaign, run new campaigns locally, or run an international campaign in English. If a marketing team chooses to go the translation route, they must incorporate transcreation into their process. Transcreation can be difficult and entail more work than a direct translation, but it’s worth the extra time commitment. When an ad agency or marketing team neglects to hire a professional translator for this process, they may end up with underwhelming results in foreign countries. Potentially their entire campaign can fail or cause scandal. 

Pepsi is an unfortunate example of the dangers of skipping transcreation in marketing. Between 1963 and 1967, Pepsi attempted to market their products in China. The slogan they used in English speaking countries was “Come alive with Pepsi”. However, when they tried to translate that English text into Chinese, the outcome was disastrous. The Chinese translation ended up as “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the dead.” Not exactly a crowd pleaser. For a product to successfully enter a new market, all aspects of its marketing campaign need to adapt to the target culture.

Our End of Year Reflections as a Team

At the end of every year, we like to pause amongst the holiday madness and reflect upon what our amazing team at Terra Translations has accomplished. We’re so proud of how hard our team works every day and their ongoing commitment to learning and improving. We’re so grateful for everyone who joined us on our journey this year, from new teammates, to our beloved clients, to all of the friends made through our philanthropic activities. 

What We Achieved

April showers generally bring May flowers, but for our team April also brought an ISO 17:100 certification. Having this certification was important to us because it clearly defines the best practices for providing translation services. When we adhere to this set of practices, we improve our ability to design a smoothly run translation process and deliver the highest quality of translation services to our clients. The fun didn’t stop in 2019, we’re currently getting ready to earn our recertification in 2020.

In July the excitement continued. We took 4th place in the Capability Statement competition at the WPI Volk Field Small Business Summit. Companies from around the state of Wisconsin competed by submitting their general company statements for evaluation and we took home the 4th place prize.  

Internally, there were some gratifying moments as well. Each year we carry out a customer satisfaction survey. This year we also shared a work climate survey with all Terra employees and translation partners in an effort to get feedback from those who contribute to Terra’s success. We are happy to report that Terra team members reported a satisfaction level of 4.8 out of 5. Our freelance vendors also reported high levels of satisfaction (2.7 out of 3). Participants of the survey were spread across 13 countries and their kind words in the survey touched our hearts. One respondent said, “It’s really a pleasure for me to work with such an amazing and humane group of people. I always feel that my hard work is appreciated by the team at Terra. Thank you and keep it up!” Another reported that, “Terra is undoubtedly the best company to work with. More than a company, it feels like family. Thanks to the whole team for your support and trust!”

Our Growth

At Terra, we are committed to providing jobs for qualified translators, editors, and project managers (amongst other roles). We’re happy to report that our team grew by 27.3% in 2019. Fifteen amazing new team members joined us. Most took on Project Manager roles, but we also welcomed some talented linguists who work in a QA/Editor role. Hiring at such a rate was absolutely necessary to keep up with our growing volume of work. In the past 12 months alone, we translated 23% more words than we did in the previous period. Hopefully these numbers continue to grow in 2020. 

How We Gave Back

We’ve always encouraged our team to take on leadership roles and charitable efforts inside and outside of our organization. This year, they went above and beyond to not only foster their own personal and professional growth, but to give back to the translation community as well. In 2019, we extended the reach of Terra Cares. Through this program, we provide pro-bono translation services to select healthcare and legal focused non-profit organizations within our communities. This year we also volunteered with MSF (Doctors Without Borders). Since we began working with MSF in January of 2019, we’ve completed over 100,000 words of translation work for them. 

We wanted to further our charitable efforts and began a collaboration with Chicas en Tecnología. Their mission is in line with our goals to support women. They seek to close the gender gap in technology through programs and initiatives that motivate and train the next generation of female leaders in technology.

Inspired by our desire to continuously support women, our CEO Marina joined the Women In Localization Los Angeles Chapter and occupied the Administrator role of the Translation Company Division in ATA. Through her volunteer work, she contributed to the organization’s mission of helping foster a global community for women in the localization industry.

We also joined the AASL, Association of Language Companies (ALC), and Scale Up associations in 2019. All of which support professional and personal causes that we care about. Two Terra team members joined Translated in Argentina’s board. We have been members of the organization for quite some time now and are thrilled they’ve chosen to join us in supporting their cause.

Our Business Development Manager Florencia Fole doubled down on charitable efforts and joined the Association of Video Game Developers of Argentina (ADVA) as a Board Member. ADVA is a non-profit organization that helps promote the growth of digital and interactive entertainment produced in Argentina. 

She also helped found Women in Games Argentina. Women in Games is a UK movement whose main objective is the empowerment of women in the video game industry. 

Our Human Resources Manager Natalia Quintás stepped out of the office and onto the stage to present at both CLINT and WIL local events. She shared her knowledge about how to manage high performance teams and how those new to our industry can enter the translation industry market.

Prioritizing Team Bonding

We couldn’t appreciate our kind, talented, hardworking team any more than we already do. Which is why we wanted to wrap up the year with a team meet-up in Buenos Aires that included team building activities and a big dinner that brought together a large number of our freelance translators and editors. Our team met up at the Howard Johnson Resort in Pilar, Buenos Aires to partake in a workshop designed to strengthen group dynamics. Teamwork is the cornerstone of Terra’s culture, so spending a day bonding as a team felt like the perfect way to wrap up an outstanding year.