You have been working in the field of translation for more than 20 years. Where did you get your love for languages?
When I was little, I did a lot of travelling with my family. I visited a number of countries and I experienced a range of different cultures. I was fascinated by the different rhythms and ways of life and the desire to work with languages gradually took root inside me.
How did the idea of SB Traduzioni develop?
After studying at a specialist high school for linguists and a number of stays abroad, I completed my higher education at university in Germany. Upon my return to Italy I started working in foreign sales, but I soon realized that my place was in the world of languages. With great determination, I pursued my dream and started SB Traduzioni on 1 April 1997.
Did SB Traduzioni really start out back in 1997? How has the translation world changed since then?
Yes, it all began in 1997. There have been some big changes over the years, partly from a linguistic point of view but most significantly in terms of quality, technology and security. Back then we did everything with fax machines and dial-up modems. We’ll never forget the sound of those modems… In just a few years, technology has taken a huge leap forward. It used to be possible to take a more “low-tech” approach to this profession but now security and technology play a crucial role. You can’t “just translate”: you need a mix of reliability and confidentiality combined with consummate flexibility, quality and specialist expertise.
Therefore, every year we invest in technology, security, quality and ongoing professional training in order to keep up with all of the latest developments and offer our clients unparalleled service.
What does all of this mean in terms of technology and security?
In our case, it means using cutting-edge technology such as SAP management software, virtual servers, multiple daily backups, a UTM hardware perimeter firewall, email delivery with professional SMTP servers, redundant broadband connections with automatic failover, an in-house virtual appliance for encrypted delivery and receipt of large files, and professional third-party liability insurance. All of this comes together to form an all-round security service in stable, well-organized premises in the middle of the long-established Schio industrial estate near Vicenza.
How about quality?
I have always firmly and strongly believed in providing a high-quality service. My convictions are shared by our whole team and all of our clients. In order to offer quality constantly and consistently over time, it is essential to have standardized procedures in place. Therefore, back in 2002 we implemented a certified quality management system in accordance with the UNI EN ISO 9000:2005 standard, which has now been revised by UNI EN ISO 9001:2015. Rather than a final objective, this was just a starting point as far as we were concerned. There is also a standard specifically for the translation industry which is now known as UNI EN ISO 17100:2017. We started the certification process for this standard in 2015 as part of our ongoing efforts to provide an even more professional and specialized service.
So do you feel that Certification = Added value for clients?
Clients come first. It is crucial for us to give our all, showing great diligence and proficiency as we provide high-quality services in order to gain loyal clients. Many of our clients have been with us for more than 20 years and that is exactly how we want things to be: we want to move forward side by side with our clients and assure them that they can always count on us.
What is it like working in accordance with the new standard for the translation industry?
We work in an unregulated industry, so we have chosen to guarantee higher quality for our clients by going through the certification procedure for this new standard, which sets requirements for aspects such as the choice of resources. All of our translators are professionals and native speakers of the target language. It is essential to be both a “native speaker” and a “professional”. After all, we are all “native speakers” of some language or another, but that does not mean that everyone has the skills to be a translator. There is a great deal of confusion in the market, so we make it clear that we only work with “professional translators”. That means people who only translate into ONE language: their own mother tongue. Furthermore, our professional translators specialize in ONE area of expertise. While they may have all sorts of language certificates and qualifications, they do not translate to and from a number of different languages or work in numerous fields. In addition to years of study, specialist training and continuing professional development, professional translators require significant linguistic sensitivity and knowledge of the cultures in which they operate.
Consequently, the translation centre has to be very strict when selecting linguists.
So does it all come down to picking the right translator?
Definitely not. That’s just the first step in the management of the process. When a job comes in, the project manager will carefully analyse it and then choose the right person for the type of translation in question. Our translators go through a strict selection process and they are all classified by their fields of specialization. For example, translators who specialize in technical documentation cannot and would not offer their services for financial translations.
The best qualified translator is selected for each project. Once the translation is complete, it is passed on to a second linguist for revision before undergoing a final proofreading process. The translation will then be ready for delivery to the client. Our project managers are responsible for supervising the entire process, coordinating all of the people involved, stepping in to cater to all needs and keeping the client up to date at all times.
How does your interpreting service work?
We offer a number of types of interpreting, including liaison interpreting, whispered interpreting, consecutive interpreting and simultaneous interpreting. Our tried and tested team can offer not only “simple” liaison interpreting services on company premises but also services for highly complex events and conventions. In addition, we can provide technical equipment such as booths, headsets and bidule systems.
How do you ensure that all of the members of your team keep information confidential?
Whenever we start working with someone new, we draw up a professional services agreement that not only covers all of the standard points but also includes a confidentiality clause. It states that all information of all kinds to which they have access is confidential and they must take all necessary measures to keep it confidential. The agreement also covers computer security: working equipment must only be utilized by the individual in question and access must be subject to electronic authentication. In addition, they must not in any circumstances publish, disclose or share on the internet texts, documents or information (in whole or in part) to which they gain access when carrying out individual jobs, nor must they allow the materials in question to be indexed by search engines. For example, not everyone knows this but Google has the right to use materials once they have been uploaded to its systems. It would be a rather unpleasant surprise to stumble over materials that you have uploaded when you are looking for something else online.
Why should people use the services of a translation centre like yours?
Not only because we can offer a wide range of languages and turnkey services, but also for plenty of other reasons: our project management system allows us to cater to frequent, complex requests, we can guarantee year-round service, we can handle huge amounts of work while working to tight deadlines and complying with the relevant standards, we respect the Code of Practice for the Quality of Language Services and we have cutting-edge language and information management technology.
That all sounds great, but aren’t services like that very expensive?
Not at all! Thanks to our extremely close-knit team and fine-tuned processes, we work quickly and efficiently, thus optimizing costs and allowing us to provide a service with an outstanding quality-price ratio. In addition, we have the capability to work to tight deadlines and deal with even the most out-of-the-ordinary requests.
Why don’t you provide foreign language courses?
You have to do what you do best! There has always been demand for language lessons and that is still the case today. In the early days, when clients asked for language lessons we used to provide them, but we soon realized that you can’t keep up high standards if you spread yourself too thin. Due to the complex, multifaceted nature of the services that we provide, it is simply impossible to provide language courses of a professional standard at the same time. Organizing language lessons requires a completely different management approach and qualifications. For example, it is necessary to select, train and provide continuing professional development for the teachers, choose appropriate teaching materials, specially tailor every single course to meet the client’s needs, monitor the achievement of objectives, run exams and more besides. It isn’t just something that you can do off the cuff!
You also work with two foundations to deal with social issues.
Yes, after the sad death of our dear client Luigi Dalla Vecchia, in accordance with his wishes I helped to establish two foundations: one in Italy that carries out research into eating disorders and one in Germany that deals with depression. I feel that it is only right to make a contribution to society by dealing with issues of this kind.
It’s plain to see that you are very passionate about your work. How would you describe your past? How about your future?
I have to say that I have been very lucky because I am doing the job of my dreams. My initial enthusiasm, passion and inquisitiveness have never diminished: quite the opposite in fact. I have been just as lucky to have my family alongside me at all times, to have built up an outstanding relationship with my whole team over the years and to have some truly special clients who renew their faith in us every day by choosing our services, while also giving us regular input and endless satisfaction.
We are full of optimism, drive and determination as we continue along the road to excellence together.