Terra Participates in Scale Up Milwaukee’s “5 Questions With”

What is Scale Up Milwaukee?

With a mission to transform culture and spread inclusive economic prosperity, Scale Up Milwaukee is an accelerator program launched by the Greater Milwaukee Committee. The organization’s goal is to connect ambitious entrepreneurs with resources, tools, and a network that accelerates substantial growth. Diversity and inclusion is now a fundamental value for many organizations. Scale Up promotes this ethos by providing greater access to information as well as an opportunity for businesses from various backgrounds to get the assets they need to succeed.

Proud Scale Up Member

As a thriving translation company in Wisconsin, Terra Translations is a member of Scale Up. Since joining the community in 2019, Terra participated in numerous events and one-on-one mentoring sessions. These bespoke experiences are designed to inspire and cultivate economic advancement within Milwaukee.  Members are challenged to go outside their comfort zones and discover new ways to approach their business goals; by sharing their fears and confronting difficulties, Scale Up members support one another. They also offer valuable best practices that have the potential to transform their businesses entirely. Even amid a global pandemic, the organization continues to host virtual events and provide beneficial content to their community. As many businesses have faced set-backs due to COVID, Scale Up members are sharing how they’ve learned to adapt and pivot through these unprecedented times.

Driving Diversity and Inclusion

Scale Up prides itself on creating inclusivity throughout the city of Milwaukee and beyond. One of the most obvious ways to achieve a more equitable and accessible business is through proper localization. There are over 55 million Spanish speakers in the U.S. alone illustrating the potential reach translation services can provide businesses. Additionally, studies have shown that 50-60 percent of consumers will not even consider purchasing from a company whose website is not available in their native or preferred language. Businesses may be missing out on potential customers simply by not educating themselves regarding these consumer behaviors and preferences.

“The major reason a company should consider translating at least their website, if not all of their written content, is pretty simple,” explained Colleen Beres, Director of Business Strategy at Terra. “It all comes down to the reach of your audience.”

If localized accurately, translated websites and collateral materials will often provide an unexpected return on investment as well as breeding brand loyalty. But translation services in Milwaukee should go further than just offering multi languages via marketing channels. Localization is part of the customer experience. It’s important to create an inclusive space where what matters to your customer, matters to you.

“We all want to develop new relationships. The easiest way to do that is to speak the same language,” Colleen added. “Communication is an innate component of being human.”

While services like Google Translate feels like an accessible resource to employ for translation needs, proper localization of your materials should be left to professionals in order to properly resonate with the intended audience.

5 Questions with Terra Translations

Colleen recently participated in a Scale Up video series. The series is titled “5 Questions With,” in which Colleen offers insight to the Language Service Provider industry and explains why businesses might hire a translation service in Milwaukee versus utilizing software like Google Translate.

In the video, Colleen answers the following questions, shares an impressive case study from Amtrak, and offers a complimentary one-hour consultation to Scale Up members:

1. Why should I use translation in my business? 

2. If I use translation, should I have a bilingual staff?

3. Why should I use a service provider over an engine like Google Translate?

4. What kind of ROI can I expect from using translation?

5. I’m interested in translation, but where do I start?

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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.


Terra Translations Recognized Among Latin America’s Top LSPs

Independent market research firm CSA Research has recognized Terra Translations as a leader in the global translation, interpreting, and localization industry.

People worldwide naturally prefer consuming information in their own language. Meeting this expectation − and sometimes the legal requirements to do so – fuels an indispensable multi-billion dollar global industry that provides translation, interpreting, and localization.  Based on validated and verified data from a representative sample of 462 LSPs, independent market research firm CSA Research has named Terra Translations as a leading provider of the global delivery of language services, ranking it fourth in the top LSPs in Latin America.

Terra Translations is a boutique language services company with global reach, specializing in English and Spanish translation. Based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and also located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Terra is growing rapidly and boasts both ISO 9001 and ISO 17100 certifications.

Dr. Donald A. DePalma, CSA Research’s Chief Research Officer, comments that “most people don’t recognize the value of interpreting or translation until they can’t understand something—and the absence of spoken or written content in their languages happens far too often. Language service providers and technology developers deliver essential translation and interpreting services.”

About Terra Translations

Terra Translations has been at the forefront of the modern work environment since our inception; based mainly in Argentina and the United States, our team is fully virtual. Terra’s global team allows us to better serve our clients by quickly responding to requests regardless of time zones, as well as localize for the world by leveraging talent from around the world.

Since Terra was first established over 20 years ago as a family-owned business, company leadership has worked diligently to embrace all employees as family. This very specific culture is nurtured by promoting a collaborative and supportive work environment, by empowering strong leadership at all levels of the organization, and by celebrating company successes.

About CSA Research

The rankings are based on confirmed revenue from 2019—CSA Research found that the market that year for language services and supporting technologies reached US$49.60 billion. CSA Research, formerly Common Sense Advisory, is an independent market research company helping companies profitably grow their global businesses and gain access to new markets and new customers. www.csa-research.com | @CSA_Research | [email protected]


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.

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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.

Women in Localization

Terra’s CEO Joins Management Team for Women in Localization Los Angeles Chapter

As a female-owned company, we feel a responsibility to support women’s careers and initiatives. Which is why we could not be more proud of Terra’s CEO Marina Ilari for her participation in Women in Localization (W.L.). W.L. is a leading professional organization for women in the localization industry. Marina was recently appointed as a part of the management team of W.L.’s new Los Angeles chapter. This new role will allow her to continue to support women in the localization industry as well as the industry as a whole. Marina is committed to the wellbeing of our industry, particularly when it comes to helping women succeed. 

About Women in Localization

Silvia Avary-Silveira, Eva Klaudinyova, and Anna N. Schlegel founded W.L. in 2008. This professional organization aims to foster a global community for women in the localization industry. Their mission is to provide an open and collaborative forum for women to share their experiences and expertise. Their goal is to help women move forward in their careers. W.L began in the San Francisco Bay Area in California and has since expanded globally. They now boast over 5,000 members internationally and encourage members to connect around the world. 

Who Is Marina Ilari?

Marina Ilari, CEO at Terra Translations

Not only has Terra’s CEO Marina always supported women’s initiatives, but she has generally contributed to the success of the translation and localization industry. For two years she has participated in The American Translators Association’s (ATA) as a Translation Company Division Administrator. ATA was founded in 1959 and is currently the largest professional association of translators and interpreters in the United States. They’ve grown to more than 10,000 members in 90 countries since their inception. Marina reflected on her new role, “I was honored to be invited to take part in the management team for the Los Angeles chapter of Women in Localization. I was particularly excited to work with the amazing four women that are part of the management team with me. We are planning some very exciting events in Los Angeles!”

Why Terra Translations Supports Women in Localization

In order to best serve our clients and community, we believe diversity is key. We can attribute the success of our team to the wide variety of talent that we are so fortunate to work with. Currently, 80% of our staff is made up of extremely hard working women. Supporting women is always top of mind at Terra. We were founded by women and we’ve received certification as a women-owned business by both the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Women Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). We believe that our clients are best served by a diverse team and plan to continue our efforts to support women and minorities.

“At Terra, we value and support fellow women-led businesses,” Marina Ilari, CEO of Terra Translations. “I’ve been lucky to work with some incredible women who have been great mentors and teachers. I feel that when women get together to support each other there is nothing we can’t achieve. I look forward to promoting inclusion among all translation and localization professionals, and continuing to advance the industry as a whole.”


Terra Translations Wins Wisconsin Marketplace Rising Star Award

Our Terra Translations family is still gleaming after receiving top honors at the 2017 Marketplace Governor’s Awards competition. The annual event recognizes outstanding Wisconsin businesses owned by minorities, women and service-disabled veterans.

The awards were presented by Gov. Scott Walker and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. last December. Of 400 nominations, we were one of nine winners statewide.

The Rising Star Award is intended to recognize an emerging business that displays strong growth potential by virtue of its past performance, innovative products or services, business team or other distinct competitive advantages. In addition to being a woman and Hispanic-owned business, Terra was presented with the Rising Star recognition for innovation in services, team strength, and future growth plans.

“I hope the award allows us to connect with more people,” explained Marina Ilari, Terra CEO. “We want to help communities with language needs and truly create positive change.”

This accolade reflects our passion for building an inclusive workplace. Ninety percent of the Terra team are native Spanish speakers and/or women. Our diversity promotes industry innovation and has been the driving factor of success. In the last two years, Terra has grown 44 percent. In 2016, Terra completed 14,086 projects and translated 15,460,318 words.

“We approach each project with a proactive attitude and the conviction that it will be done with the highest quality standards, regardless of volume or complexity,” Ilari said.

We’ve dedicated ourselves to every project with a client-focused approach and we’re honored to be recognized for our performance as well as company culture.


Terra Translations Attends the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council Conference

This past June, Marina Ilari, CEO of Terra Translations and Colleen Beres, Regional Business Development Manager, attended the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) at the Cobo Center in Detroit, MI. The conference was geared toward furthering WBENC’s vision of expanding women’s business opportunities in the marketplace. Attendees included senior executives and procurement representatives from Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and select partner organizations. With three vigorous days of programming, participants attended lectures and presentations from industry thought leaders as well as engaged in panel discussions. The event’s robust business fair allowed attendees to discover opportunities with over 300 exhibitors, exchange ideas, and connect with each other.

A notable session the Terra team attended was titled “Overcoming Challenges of International Business” presented by the WBENC Global Committee. In this interactive session, Women’s Business Enterprises (WBEs) and WBENC Corporate Members discussed the challenges of doing business in an international landscape.

“We shared best practices in overcoming top issues facing global business,” Ilari explained. “A main topic of discussion was language, cultural barriers, and how localization can help companies communicate effectively to international audiences.”

For global businesses or businesses that wish to expand into foreign markets, language can pose an extreme barrier. According to a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit, nearly half of 572 senior executives interviewed admitted that “messages lost in translation” have hindered major international business deals for their companies. Catering to an international clientele is becoming an integral part of business operations and overcoming language barriers is now the need of the hour.

“Over the years, this is an area that businesses are paying closer attention to,” Ilari said. “As a translation service company, we play an imperative role in helping businesses navigate globalization.”

Terra is a certified member of the WBENC, which is the largest certifier of women-owned businesses in the country. The certification process is designed to confirm the business is at least 51% owned, operated, and controlled by a woman or women. More than 11.6 million firms are owned by women, employing nearly 9 million people, and generating $1.7 trillion in sales according to The 2017 State of Women-owned Business Report commissioned by American Express.

“By being a certified women-owned business, we’ve significantly increased our visibility,” said Beres. “It has allowed us to introduce our services and value proposition to new industries as well as survey fellow women-led companies about their current translation needs.”

There is a multitude of advantages for businesses to partner with a certified women-owned business. In addition to tax incentives, research by the Hackett Group showed that working with a WBENC-certified business increased a business’ profitability by as much as 130%.

Government organizations and large corporations are often required to award contracts specifically to women-owned businesses. According to the Elevate Network, in 2014 the U.S. government awarded 267,168 contracts to women-owned businesses for approximately $2 billion. By working with women-owned businesses, these organizations demonstrated a commitment to fostering diversity within their organization and the continued development of inclusion programs.


Terra Cares Program

Just as diversity and inclusion are important to us, so is Terra’s commitment to the community. That’s why last year we launched the Terra Cares program. Terra Cares provides pro-bono translation services to select non-profit organizations in underserved areas. We also partner with local companies such as legal firms that support Hispanic populations. We donate time and talent toward translating brochures, newsletters, and websites all in an effort of enhancing access for Spanish speakers who seek help from these partner organizations. With many of these groups serving up to an 85 percent Hispanic clientele, the translated educational material has been vital for proper communication.

Organizations we support through this program include Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers, Aurora Walkers Point Community Clinic, and CORE El Centro.

Located in the heart of Milwaukee, WI, Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers offer family resources, behavior health services, and many more community health programs. Their mission of Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers lies in addressing the roots of poverty beyond the exam room in order to improve the health of patients any way they can.

“As the Director of Communications at a non-profit, I wear many hats and have many competing responsibilities, before even taking into account that all our communications and materials must be bilingual,” explained Alison True, Director of Communications at Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers. “Having Terra Translations’ help has been invaluable, freeing up much of my time previously spent on translations. But the truly critical part is the complete trust I have in every translation they produce. They are extremely professional and intelligent, picking up on nuances to continually learn, adjust and put out on-point translations without ever missing or delaying a deadline.”

Rooted in compassion and convenience, Aurora Walkers Point Community Clinic is a fully benevolent health clinic serving inner-city families who do not have insurance and cannot afford health care. Walker’s Point Community Clinic is the first state association-coordinated volunteer clinic in the country with specialty care that includes obstetrics and gynecology, family medicine, internal medicine, orthopedics, general surgery, diagnostic testing, imaging, and lab work.

“We have so appreciated the help that the folks at Terra Translations have provided,” said Steve Ohly, Aurora Clinic Manager. “We are a clinic that does not generate income as we see only low-income uninsured, with the exception of some Refugees with BadgerCare.  Much of our care is provided by volunteers from the community. Terra Translations has allowed us to improve the quality of our written materials tremendously and helped us to steer our limited resources toward access to medication and direct care of the underserved.”

Lastly, CORE El Centro is a non-profit organization offering affordable natural healing and wellness services in both Spanish and English. Stationed in Walker’s Point on Milwaukee’s south side, CORE El Centro serves adults and children of all income levels with a goal to inspire individuals, families, and communities to achieve optimal health.

“Terra Translations has been amazing since day one,” explained Samantha Sanchez, Fund Development and Communications Manager at CORE El Centro. “CORE El Centro has long dreamt of having our website in both Spanish and English. Our mission includes “creating access” for our clients, many of whom speak Spanish as a first language. Thanks to Terra Cares, that dream has started to become a reality! About a third of our website (our most visited pages) has been translated and can be accessed in Spanish or English by our clients.”

The Terra team was deeply inspired by these organizations and believe in supporting their missions of improving the lives of the community.

“Our heart goes into every translated piece of content that we produce through our Terra Cares program,” explained Marina Ilari, Terra CEO. “We understand that many non-profits have budget restrictions and struggle to offer bilingual communication material. We want to help change this.”

At Terra, we are driven to build the bridge over language barriers that can divide us or prevent individuals from receiving the help they need. If your non-profit organization is interested in extending its reach with the Terra Cares program, please send an email to [email protected].