What’s in a Partner? (Partner Spotlight – Rheinschrift)
At Venga, we strive to be mindful of our partners’ collaboration experience. We aim to create opportunities to touch-base as often as we can. I recently had the pleasure to connect with one of our key German partners – Rheinschrift Language Services. I spoke with Business Development Manager, Kerstin Jelkmann, and Project Manager Dhana Klein. We reflected on our shared work, and experiences over the past two years.
How long have you been working with Venga? How have you found the collaboration thus far?
“We have been working with Venga since May 2017 and are very pleased with our collaboration.” Kerstin highlighted the continuous communication between our companies. “We have a lot of calls with your teams, for each new client-account being set up, amongst other reasons.”
She noted that often these are video calls, which put a face to the name(s). This makes communication feel more personal and provides a sense of a close-knit team. Regardless of how geographically spread we are.
“We also feel like teamwork is very important to Venga and that’s something we appreciate.”
Communication is transparent and there is always room to discuss “how we can improve on both sides”. Dhana added that her team feels supported by Venga, particularly in instances where things don’t go as planned. When problems occur, “you’re not pressuring us and we don’t feel that you’re not our side anymore. It’s really a supportive relationship.”
How has the collaboration evolved?
Dhana recalls that things started very smoothly, but slowly. “We had time to get to know your workflows, how projects are set up, and how memoQ works”. The initial calls “gave us a good impression of how you work and what will be expected from us in this relationship. Then, after a short amount of time, we saw the business evolving, and what we put into the relationship paid off.”
Kerstin echoed this and noted that at the start of our collaboration it seemed that everyone at Venga was “still testing the quality, what we were doing well, and what fields Rheinschrift excelled in. But at this point, Venga has a good understanding of our capabilities. They know what new clients would be a good fit.”
What have been the highlights?
Kerstin and Dhana agreed that the biggest highlight was working on a project for a Silicon Valley technology company which was holding their annual developer conference. The client needed the keynote speaker presentations subtitled into 16 languages. In particular, the 30-minute headliner presentation needed to be translated, edited, and delivered in under 48 hours. More on this project, here.
Despite the project “being quite difficult to plan and to manage; the feeling of importance was a big motivator for us,” said Dhana. Kerstin added that “it was interesting for the linguists because they could see that their texts would be used right away after transferring the content of the presentations into our language.”
Can you briefly describe how you manage your Supply Chain? Do you predominantly work with in-house linguists or freelancers?
Kerstin gave insight into Rheinschrift’s strategy of bringing as much of their operations as possible in house, through employing subject-matter experts and linguists. Their 28-person strong, in-house linguistic team cover a variety of functions.
They assess projects that come in and decide on the best approach to take. They act as Language Leads, consolidate client feedback and requirements and develop and evaluate tests for external linguists. Host training sessions to develop staff is also a priority. Whenever Rheinschrift’s large freelance team is involved they conduct Quality Assurance (QA).
Many of their freelance linguists “have been internal team members before, so, we know them. For new linguists, there is a really solid testing system in place” states Kerstin. “Rheinschrift’s vendor management only chooses them for projects once they have been tested and approved for certain fields or for certain clients.”
How long has Rheinschrift been in the localization industry?
“We have been in the industry since 1995 and the company has been managed by our owner Ursula Steigerwald ever since.”
How have you seen the industry change, since you’ve been in business?
“CAT tools are now a major part of any translation project. They have established themselves over the years up to the point where a translation in a simple Word document seems clumsy and outdated. Also, the use of machine translation has had a big impact on translation work and is undergoing yet another wave of change with neural MT output. The challenge in our industry is that systems and methods change quickly. The production processes need to be constantly adjusted to new situations or settings.”
Kerstin also spoke about how it’s important to embrace technical changes in the industry. “If the development goes in a certain direction, it will not stop because Rheinschrift says ‘we can’t do it’. Others would do it. Because this is our mindset we receive development quite well in our company.”
What do you perceive as the main challenges for the future of localization?
“Technology is of course still something that is a big challenge as it’s always changing,” Kerstin added. “Settling on what’s on the market at the time doesn’t cut it. Language Service Providers (LSPs) need to keep track of developments as well.”
Rheinschrift observes that on the project management side, projects are more fragmented with smaller volumes and more varied content to localize. Turnaround times (TATs) are also getting shorter. This presents a need to automate recurring projects to “reduce the level of administrative work”.
Clients now request services that were previously handled by marketing or advertising agencies. Services such as SEO (search engine optimization) and copywriting. The challenge with this lies in transferring all the client’s expectations to the writers and ensuring all parties are aligned in their understanding of the requests at hand.
Rheinschrift is also keeping a close eye on the rise of home-working in localization, and beyond, in a more and more digitally connected world. “Some of our linguists work from their home offices, that works quite well already. But we want to go further down into that direction.” Kerstin concluded.
As a happy home-worker myself, I couldn’t agree more. Big thank you to Kerstin and Dhana for sharing their insights and thoughts.
After 5 years of Bachelor and Master studies in order to become a professional translator, I realized that I am much better in organizing, managing and supervising projects. In the course of some internships, I decided to become a full-time project manager. Even though the industry can be demanding and challenging, I love working in the dynamic translation business and the challenges are motivating for me.
I started my career with a professional education in wholesale and foreign trade and then worked as Marketing Assistant in IT and Tourism. I decided to add an academical path to my education and studied English and Media for a Master degree. I returned to the professional world as an Account Manager and entered the translation industry at Rheinschrift in 2009. Starting off as a Project Manager I soon became PM Team Lead and after some years changed to Business Development. With Rheinschrift I can combine my language and business skills in a perfect way. I love working in the translation industry and supporting our team and company to grow and adapt to the dynamic changes and challenges.