Monday, April 30, 2007
Words of wisdom for small businesses with big ambitions
Hey I'm a writer now - shameless plug about BusinessWise
I have had the pleasure of contributing to a collective book with a chapter on my main field of expertise: international multilingual communication.
Published by Britain’s Ecademy Press, BusinessWise is intended to help entrepreneurs or anybody who is thinking of starting her own business by bringing together the advice of 20 authors specialised in every field of expertise related to the business world.
Throughout the book, the authors share the experience and advice they usually reserve for their specialised seminars, from marketing to web design as well as taxation, sales, human resources and the internationalisation of activities.
The result is a comprehensive view that provides entrepreneurs with all the essential resources to drastically shorten learning curves and guarantee success.
More about BusinessWise here
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Development - Translation: How to save Time & Money on Translation Jobs
Translation: How to save Time & Money on Translation Jobs
Here are a few tips we like to share with our clients at my translation company.
By applying them you will make sure your translation assignments progress smoothly – while allowing you to spare time, money and stress.
- Only translate what needs to be – Before anything else, check if the foreign-language version you need doesn’t already exist.
- Write in a clear, concise style - Don’t oversimplify but don’t over-elaborate. Use plain English, avoid multiple metaphors, complicated colloquialisms, unnecessary jargon etc. If needed rewrite your text.
- Only send final versions – Tracking last-minute changes is not only a time-consuming (and costly) chore, it is also a source of errors.
- Always send the source documents when requesting a quote - It will allow the translation company to make an accurate estimate based on the amount of words. Vaguely mentioning "about 10 pages" on the phone puts you at risk to end up with a quote plummeting at twice the price you were told initially.
- Always request a detailed quote beforehand - And read it thoroughly. Look for hidden costs - normally there shouldn't be any! -, check the deadlines, make sure you will receive the right deliverables.
- Send lots of relevant documentation - Your corporate brochure, company-specific terminology, previously translated documents, glossaries, links to your website and industry-related resources – all will help.
- Be specific about what you want – Who is the target? What about the context? What is the final support? A trade fair, a corporate brochure, a website? Etc. The more details, the more chances there are that the end result will match your expectations.
- Be ready to answer questions – Even if the project team who is in charge of your document is comfortable with your specific industry, some questions will arise: should the function names be translated or not, what about specific in-house terminology etc. This is especially true for large corporations.
- Be ready to check & validate the translation - Good translation companies include a set of corrections in their prices.
- Be realistic about deadlines - Translators are skilled experts who love words and want to make sure you get value for your money. Making a good translation takes time, so don’t rush them without necessity! (And let’s not forget the additional 30% for rush jobs). The thumb rule for non-urgent assignments is about 2,500 words per day + 1 additional day for quality control.
- Think twice before you use Online Machine Translation tools – At least for texts that are intended for publication. At present these things mostly produce surrealist gibberish. And if you do – by all means have the result properly edited before you publish it if you don’t want to get yourself in the middle of a PR minefield.
- … And remember that the most expensive translation is the one with a mistake!
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
As I mentioned in a previous blog, Ecademy is my favourite networking platform, because of the vast amount of functionalities and most of all because of its underlying values of trust and mutual help.
I experienced it as extremely helpful during the last two years and I know for sure it would benefit many SME owners, entrepreneurs and self-employed here in
Unfortunately while Ecademy has a good foothold in the Dutch-speaking part of my tiny country, the response has been a disappointingly low among my French-speaking compatriots.
The evening is planned for Sept. 14th and will actually be a launch, since Ecademy has never been very active in
The event will include a speech on 'how to apply Sun Tzu's Art of War to modern corporate politics', and an explanation of the main benefits of the platform.
I really hope this evening will make clear that online business networking means extraordinary benefits for entrepreneurs, and will trigger the interest online networking deserves.
Wait and see!
Friday, July 14, 2006
Networking: Six key ideas for effective networking
Besides the specific qualities of sites such as Ecademy, OpenBC and LinkedIn, these platforms have a series of principles in common that are useful for making the most of them.
Here are six key ideas to get the most out of your business networking activities, online or in the real world:
1 – Your network is not your market, but a way to access it
Even if some of your direct contacts may need your services, your network provides you with the opportunity to increase the profitability of your business approach thanks to leveraging.So do not pitch your network, but pump the contacts who know potential clients.
2 – Winning by sharing
Giving before receiving is often the best way to become known and appreciated by those who could point you to opportunities. Update your contacts regularly without trying to sell at all costs. When they will meet someone who needs your services, it is your name rather than that of another that will come to mind.
3 – Communicate clearly
Your contacts are not necessarily familiar with your business or your job. It is up to you to communicate clearly by reaching out to them. Make sure that they understand what you do or what you are looking for, as only then will they be in a position to help you if the opportunity arises.
4 – Take your time to pamper your network
First, your contacts are not your key-audience, nor partners or potential clients.They are first and foremost human beings with whom you are looking to create a relaxed and pleasant interaction.Take the time to find out more about them, find out if you have anything that can be useful to them, and contact them or answer them in a personalised way.
5 - Participate
Most platforms have forum and blog functionalities.Participate! By interacting in forums or publishing online content, you are sure to be noticed and increase the chances of useful contacts.
6 - The network will give back to you
Online networking platforms are a multilateral source of opportunities. Also, when you help out a contact, do not expect reciprocity on their part. It is the network that will give back to you and often enough you will get back a hundred times what you put in!
To find out more: Ecademy, OpenBC, LinkedIn, Soflow, Viaduc, 6nergies, StartupNation
This blog was initially published on the Corporate Blog of my Translation Company
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Sales: Don't Sell - Just Tell
It was just a networking meeting and no selling was not on the agenda on either side.
We met during more than two hours and I spent most of that time listening to her and asking questions in order to try and understand thoroughly what her project was about.
The more I listened the more I understood, the more I could put myself in her potential clients's shoes, the more I became interested in her product.
In the course of the meeting she explained me that the main issue she currently faces is that she can't find a good sales person.
Yet if I had been a potential buyer, during these two hours she would have convinced me to buy, and at the end of the meeting I told her that I would be most happy to spread the word about her product to targeted people who will love it for sure.
Ultimately this informal networking meeting turned out to be a great sales meeting for her.
So - the lesson I learned today is that if you believe in what you do and are really passionate about it, you don't need any sales pitches and costly roadshows to sell your stuff.
You just have to meet people who are willing to listen to you and tell them what you do.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Marketing - Translation & SEO: The 50 Magic Words for Translation
I did a search on "Translation" in order to increase the rankings of Virtual Words, my translation company, in search engines and here is what I found:
translation, translations, translation service, language translation, translation companies, german translation, translation services, arabic translation, medical translation, spanish translation, freelance translation, translation company, internet translation, czech translation, translation dictionary, translation system, korean translation, turkish translation, word translation, greek translation, translation sites, on line translation, power translator, translation swedish, urdu translation, english polish translation, simultaneous translation, french to english translation, translation english german, translate, google translate, online translator, translation french english, english translation, systran translation, danish translation, game translation, quran translation, translation rates, english spanish translation, english translator, google translator, translator, french translator, power translator pro, translating, babylon translator, altavista translator, translator pro, magic translator.
So colleagues - all we have to do now is include these magic words in the keywords on our respective websites and wait...
See you all on Google's FP soon (-;
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Networking - Why Ecademy is my favourite platform
You will find me on half a dozen platforms - OpenBC, LinkedIn, Soflow and the French Viaduc and 6Nergies. On each platform I have between 20 and 150 contacts with whom I share useful information, referrals and occasional business opportunities.
So why do I prefer Ecademy ?
Because it combines a very complete range of tools with a unique set of values that are best described in its philosophy - " Winning by Sharing " - and its motto - " A Friend in Every City " - and mind you, because the management walks the talk.
The result is a huge sense of community you can hardly find anywhere else, and an unparalleled ROI.
There are many great features on Ecademy but here's my Top 3:
1 - Most members are truly committed to help without expecting anything in return.
Two days after joining I was surprised to discover a dozen messages saying "Hello, welcome, please let's connect, how can I help ?". These were no disguised sales pitches but spontaneous offerings from existing members, and several of them have become real friends since then.
2 - You can connect directly with any member on line or face to face.
There is no such thing as a referral or introduction system. If you want to get in touch with someone all you have to do is send a message. Most remarkable is that this process is self-regulated so you don't get spammed. On the other hand all members can join one of the many local meetings that are scheduled on the online calendar.
3 - Your content on Ecademy - blogs, comments on forums and commercial ads - accesses top visibility on Google within hours.
Just to prove my point, I Googled myself today. On 9,620,000 results for Pierre Leonard, my profile and my latest blog on Ecademy respectiely rank first and second. It has been like this for months notwithstanding the Google Dance.
Connecting with a potential partner on the other side of the world, finding a new resource, giving or getting appropriate advice, telling what I'm doing and seeing what others are doing, or quite simply meeting exceptional people - all these features are made easy and they litterally help me each day get closer to my business and personal goals.
Ecademy is an amazingly rich communication platform, a fantastic way to cut through the learning curve, an awesome bank of knowledge for personal and business development, an incredible PR tool and a wonderful toy...
But most of all, it is a place of many rich human interactions and true values, where being yourself and allowing yourself to give, share and receive with a light heart make deep sense.
And this is why Ecademy is my favourite platform.
If you want to know more about Ecademy, simply follow this link or go directly to my profile.
Feel welcome to ask for more info and to connect!
Friday, April 28, 2006
Marketing - A little experiment about expectations as a client or as a provider: results
Here are the two polls with results:
What is the main thing you expect from a provider?
Tight deadlines: 6%
I want it all!: 56%
Your most profitable clients are those who:
- Want quality: 33%
- Want service: 27%
- Want tight deadlines: 3%
- Want price: 0%
- Want it all: 36%
So - Beyond the fact that we seem more prone to answer when asked about your clients, what conclusions do we draw?
- First: a confirmation that price doesn't sell. This is pretty obvious if you are a provider, but it doesn't appear to be the main concern of the client either.
- Second: the feature the client wants most is service, ahead of quality. But Quality is a strong asset if you are the provider.
- Third: deadlines are the "soft spot" in the client-provider relationship, so it is clearly where the negociation margin lies when it comes to the triangle Quality/Price/Deadline.
- Fourth: demanding clients are profitable. This is probably because they know quality and service have a price (all the respondants dumped the clients who wanted everything for free before voting - clever guys!).
Now I realise I should have included a sixth possible choice in the 2nd poll:
"Your most profitable clients are those who spread the word about how great you are".
By the way - Are your clients doing so?
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Marketing - A little experiment in progress about expectations as a client or as a provider
The question was: "What is the main thing you expect from a provider ?"
I checked the answers this morning and got following results:
- Quality 17%
- Service 22%
- Tight deadlines 6%
- Price 0%
- I want it all! 56%
As a result I posted a new poll:
Your most profitable clients are those who:
- Want quality
- Want Service
- Want tight deadlines
- Want price
- Want it all!
Can't wait for the results.
The polls will run from two weeks so feel free to vote!
If you want to know more about Ecademy, click here
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Development - Localisation : how to ruin your brand abroad for sure with an ill-chosen name
One of the best known examples - which by the way ultimately appears to be false - is about the Chevrolet Nova. No one understood why the car didn’t sell on Spanish-speaking markets until someone finally realised that “No Va” means “doesn’t go” in Spanish.
The story may be true or not, but the point remains: names that have no connotation whatsoever in French for instance can have an odd meaning in another language.
Another example? Each day as I take the kids to school in Brussels I walk past a house door with a copper plate that reads:
"Dentists... Mean... Pain"? Aaaouch. I am certain they are great practitioners… but I wouldn’t bet they have that many English-speaking patients…
So – if you are about to expand your activity in a country where a foreign language is spoken, remember to make sure your corporate name won’t play a nasty trick on you!
Those interested can find other stories about mistranslations here - and if you come across other similar gems, please forward them to me! I’d be delighted to publish them with a link to you.
About the author: Pierre Leonard is the co-founder and owner of Virtual Words, a company that provides translations in 40 languages thanks to a global network of 1500 language experts.