In a market flooded with machine-translated content, creative content crafted by humans with an emotional connection to their subject matter will always stand out. This is the value that human-powered, tech-enabled language service providers (LSPs) currently bring to clients in the Fashion & Apparel, Music, and Lifestyle industries.
One such LSP has been specializing in branded content for such highly nuanced, demanding sectors for years. German Translation Unit or GTU has nurtured its in-house team and grown its talent pool through the years — first, as a single-language vendor for German and, more recently, as a multi-language vendor for all European languages; plus others soon to follow.
With hubs in Madrid (HQ) and Berlin, GTU has an established network of translators specializing in Fashion & Apparel, Music, and Lifestyle and is continuously recruiting new talent. “Our goal is to become the worldwide go-to agency for these subject matters,” said Veit Guenther, GTU Founder and CEO.
He added, “We invest in training our in-house staff by enrolling them in relevant e-learning courses. On top of that, we actively seek translators who have an emotional connection to these industries. We believe this greatly impacts translator commitment and, consequently, translation quality.”
“Copy that fails to influence customer thinking or behavior is useless”
Since its inception in 2012, GTU has worked with its LSP partners to produce bespoke content for world-class brands in music, musical instruments, fitness, fashion, and designer furniture to name a few.
“We have mostly handled presales content, where customers are concerned with converting leads into customers. The customer journey must always drive conversion. Customers want marketing copy that results in marketing ROI,” Guenther said. “Copy that fails to influence customer thinking or behavior is useless. We understand that.”
On the selection of Madrid as home base for an LSP that initially specialized in German, Guenther attributes the decision to his deep academic and professional roots in the city.
After studying at a Spanish university on an Erasmus scholarship, Guenther made his home in Madrid. He worked in operations and account management for LSPs in Spain and Germany for a few years — until he was inspired to set up GTU in 2012.
Guenther recalled, “I was able to find qualified German translators in Madrid. We also had some people joining us from Germany and Austria, who found Madrid a very attractive location indeed!”
“As a midsize company, we can help other midsize companies increase their market share in Europe — faster, better, and more efficiently…”
In 2015, GTU opened its subsidiary in Berlin “to add some coherence and credibility to our offering: technical translations into German,” Guenther explained.
Today, the LSP encompasses more markets, some of which are often underrepresented in the portfolios of its competitors; most notably, creative multilingual content for Fashion & Apparel, Music, and Lifestyle businesses.
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“As a midsize company, we can help other midsize companies increase their market share in Europe — faster, better, and more efficiently than our competitors, while making the correct strategic decisions for their sectors,” Guenther said.
As for languages, the GTU founder expects French, Italian, German, and Spanish (FIGS) to generate the most demand, aside from English: “These languages cover roughly 90% of GDP in Europe. Most of them are the official language of more than one country. In addition, English is practically lingua franca in some countries for certain customer segments and industries.”
While GTU was founded on an expert-touch ethos, it also has the capacity to deliver continuous localization. “Approximately 25% of our turnover comes from continuous localization tasks, where we receive small jobs every day — often lots of them,” Guenther said.
To deal with sudden task onslaughts, GTU staff have become adept at using a wide range of translation productivity (aka CAT) tools and workflow (translation management system or TMS) platforms.
According to Guenther, “We can adapt to a client’s established workflow, or build a workflow for them; for instance, using memoQ, which is the CAT tool we use most. We also use XTRF, so clients can launch projects through the TMS and retrieve reports; and translators can download job files and retrieve their purchase orders.”
Need help translating your marketing content? Contact GTU for a free consultation today.
On the role machine translation (MT) plays in LSPs that pride themselves in their creative talent, the CEO said it is mostly a tool for subject-matter experts. That said, applying MT (without the benefit of human review) to user-generated content and online reviews, for example, is probably better than not translating it at all, Guenther said, adding that “companies may need to manage expectations by making customers aware that they are reading machine-translated content.”
GTU has integrated machine translation post-editing (MTPE / PEMT) into its workflow, but does not implement MT across the board. It all boils down to risk. “Not all types of content should be handled by MT; in the same way that not all operating room procedures can be entrusted to robotic surgery,” Guenther pointed out.
“I believe customers should invest in human translation or, at least, human-in-the-loop translation for their marketing messaging. This is content they carefully crafted — and probably paid a lot of money for — to create the customer journey and ultimately convert leads into customers,” the CEO said. “I think customers are well advised to dedicate an equivalent amount of time and budget to recreating the customer journey in a foreign language.”
Do you need to recreate your customer journey in another language? Contact GTU today.