A Guide To Vendor Management – Ahmed Elmiligy From WORDS Language Solutions

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How important is it to choose the right vendors for your business? What factors come into play when building your vendor management strategy? Find out in this interview with Ahmed Elmiligy from WORDS Language Solutions.


Andrej Zito 

Ahmed, welcome to the podcast.

Ahmed Elmiligy 

Thank you, Andrej. I’m very happy to be with you.

Andrej Zito 

Where are you joining us from?

Ahmed Elmiligy 

I am… right now, I’m in Cairo.

Andrej Zito 

Is that your hometown?

Ahmed Elmiligy 

Yes. Cairo is my hometown. Yes.

Andrej Zito 

What is it that you do in Egypt?

Ahmed Elmiligy 

A lot of stuff. One of them is actually localization. So…

Andrej Zito 

You do other things outside of localization?

Ahmed Elmiligy 

I’m running a small translation and localization agency.

Andrej Zito 

Okay.

Ahmed Elmiligy 

Also, one of the board members of the Egyptian Association for Globalization and Language Solutions that we call EAGLS. I’m doing some consultancy and training for individuals and companies in Egypt and in the Middle East.

Andrej Zito 

Maybe for starters, can you let us know how you got into localization? What was your first touch with localization?

Ahmed Elmiligy 

Uh, well, it was a very, very, very long time ago that I was young. I was like, fond of translation and writing. And, maybe that was even before the college years. We were, me and a couple of my friends, we were interested in translation. And, so it was kind of a hobby, you know, to bring some novels and maybe lyrics from songs and stuff like this. We like, we like reading all the time. Actually, during the college, I was kind of a freelancer translating with the, some of my friends. And, I think I used to receive some kind of a nice feedback about translations, style and writing style. So after the college, I joined the army for some time, and I joined some different jobs in IT and sales and marketing. One of my friends actually sent my CV to a localization agency.

Andrej Zito 

Did you know about it? Or was it a surprise?

Ahmed Elmiligy 

Perhaps he, that friend thought, “Hey, you were doing some translation, you and you like writing and stuff, maybe this will be nice.” And I received the phone call. This is when I got involved in localization and on, in the formal manner.

Andrej Zito 

So, you got a job just like that with, what, did you have any education?

Ahmed Elmiligy 

Yeah, I studied actually languages. Okay. I was a student of languages. I studied the Greek and Latin. Yeah. Okay. So during my college years, I, I was very much into languages. Basically, we were studying Italian. But I have to remember though, I really liked it. And English, of course, we use an English as a medium language to, for translation and writing some paper and stuff like that. And of course, Arabic because Arabic is my native language. But you could be a native Arabic, but you do not really master the language. But I really like to explore more into the classic Arabic and poetry and writing in novellas and stuff like this. Maybe this helped a lot in shaping how I write and how I translate.

Andrej Zito 

Right.

Ahmed Elmiligy 

But I cannot say that I had any experience with localization before I joined a professional agency.

Andrej Zito 

Right. That’s what, that’s what I wanted to ask, like, what was the, what was the difference between… Because from what you’re saying, like it was like your hobby, you know, translating novels and poetry. That sounds very, you know, like noble, and then you hit the reality of the job, which maybe you don’t get to translate anything so interesting as novels and poetry. So how do you remember your first days with the localization agency?

Ahmed Elmiligy 

It was very nice because I was like, I received a couple of offers. One of them is to be like a junior coordinator, a small project manager, and the other one is to join the vendor management. And as far as I remember, I remember it was like the very first unit, the very first department in any localization agency in Egypt or in the Middle East. There was nothing like this before, because I think before this, the project managers used to deal on their own. Find the translators in a, like a random, random manner. And this was the very first department who started to do the vendor management on a, in a professional manner. And before this, I did not have any idea. But when I was receiving this offer, I really liked it. I felt a lot like, I really need to be in this department, not the other one, because I remember my interviewer told me, “In this vendor management, you will get to recruit, and you will get to screen CVs and you will get to find translators and suppliers in, from different countries and in different languages. And in this project coordination thing, you will have to deliver the files and receive the files and send the files to the team and run some kind of operation.” I did not really much, you know, I was younger, I did not really much imagine but I really liked this idea of recruiting. And, you know? So I said, all right, let’s, let’s see, and I remember my very first week, but it was, because it was the hardest. They give me an assignment, like on second day, when some of my friends or former colleagues, they taught me how to like the system, read the emails, send the proposals, and have posts on different portals like proz.com. And there was back in the day, there was something called I think gotranslators or something.com back in the day. And they taught me some basics, and they go on, on your own. You have request. There was a request, I remember in my very first week to recruit I think, something like 20 translators from 20 countries or 20 languages. And I was alright, let’s do it. In China today, okay, let’s be in Germany, let’s go to Afghanistan, let’s, let’s find people in in Syria. And it was very interesting for me, and it was I didn’t like you know, to go home, because I really felt excited that I am going to communicate to all these people and hire them and get them to work with us. It was very excited. And it still.

Andrej Zito 

Did you figure out on your own how to find the right people?

Ahmed Elmiligy 

Of course not. Because we had, I had some very good mentorship in this time. I had to admit that they like, helped me all the way to yes, you can do this, in order to do this, you have to do that. You know, because it was like a new department. We did not have that much of a documentation or perhaps training we were actually trained by trying and exploring.

Andrej Zito 

So who do you remember being your mentor? Was it someone from the project management? Because you mentioned that the project managers used to do this on their own. Or was it someone like operations manager?

Ahmed Elmiligy 

I remember actually my direct supervisor was a former project manager. I think it was very helpful. And a couple of my colleagues in the same department, one of them was a translator. So, I learned a lot from his mindset being a translator. He was a, when in the localization industry for maybe a few years, and he had his input and he had his understanding of things. So, he gave me a lot of help. And I remember the, I remember we had also some mentorship from the top management in the, in the company. They were very much involved because they created this department and they wanted this idea to succeed. So, there was not much of a… I cannot say that it was only one mentor, but I had many, many men. And, I was open for life and I had, yes okay, anyone, anybody can be my mentor.

Andrej Zito 

Right. So to this day, you still, when we had our intro call, you still mentioned that vendor management is like your specialization, I would say. Like, you can do many things, you have experience for many things, but you prefer vendor management, right?

Ahmed Elmiligy 

Yeah, yeah, I still prefer vendor management than a, it’s kind of a passion. I speak about it all the time. I, I still try to find ways to develop the skills and maybe teach someone else. Although I understand that, although I have been involved in other functions, and I, I cannot say less about them. For example, like, I really also enjoy project management. But I understand that the, this part about humans did, but this part about human resources is very important. Because this industry, in my opinion, is all about the people. Not just only about the technology or the technical part, but it’s all about the people.

Andrej Zito 

So, how has your, I don’t knowm approach to vendor management changed over the years? Well, there’s some…

Ahmed Elmiligy 

This is very, this is also a very nice question. During my very, very first days in the vendor management department. I asked my direct supervisor and his friend and I asked him a question. “What do you think is going to happen tomorrow? About the career?” I was like, curious, and there is a very big difference between being curious and being confused. Because in these days, a lot of young people are confused. But I was asking, yeah, perhaps you agree with it. That’s why you… too much…

Andrej Zito 

I never thought about it.

Ahmed Elmiligy 

Yeah. So much social media to be confused about. But I was asking, because everything was new to me. And I asked him this question, “what do you think about the next step?” In some cases, the interviewer or maybe your boss will give you some, you know, like, bullshit words. And they will say, “The future is bright, and we are growing and all, we have this. We have this all in our culture a lot. We’re like, partners, you are…” and stuff like that. No, he did not. Actually his answer was, to me, was his like he’s my type of answer. He said, “I don’t know.” Right. “You have to make your way. And I trust you will do.” And I said, okay, this answer, and I like this answer. If he would answer me, maybe if he would have answered me something else is like, “Oh the company’s growing and we are going to heaven” and stuff like this, I wouldn’t, I would not believe.

Andrej Zito 

Right.

Ahmed Elmiligy 

But, I’d like to add something. Sorry to interrupt you. In this department, we tried a lot of methodologies. And one of the nicest thing they did, they kept us very, very close with the project managers. We were actually on CC. Whenever we do this hiring and placement and recruiting, we were involved with the project managers like his shadow. And this is what I really liked about about the job. And also I really enjoyed learning from the project managers. And later on, in my career, I discovered that this is not the same thing in every vendor management departments. Sometimes they are separate. Thing is, you have a recruitment target to do and, like, we need this number of resources, this number of translators, and thank you so much, we don’t need you anymore. This is what we did not do. And I think this helped a lot in learning what it is to be involved in, you know, finding a job to someone and helping him to do the job right the right way.

Andrej Zito 

At what point did you start thinking about some sort of strategy?

Ahmed Elmiligy 

Because I’m kind of, myself, I am, I really like to take initiative. Perhaps give some ideas and stuff like this. And then I usually, I used to go into conversation with my superiors introducing some ideas. We can do that, we can do this. They were, they were actually open for ideas about the vendor managing people. Because as I said, it was a new department and they needed some kind of, you know, a flexible team to be able to give some ideas and exchange ideas. One of, one of the things, I remember introducing full time recruitment, and why can’t we do it? And I remember also that the agency I used to work in, they were actually expanding in the, trying to open for new services and in different countries. This actually helped a lot because I used to sit with them in meetings, although I was like a young VM. And I used to give some ideas, along with the reporting system, and how many translators do we have in this language and, and stuff like that. I think this helped a lot in creating some kind of strategy. Understanding the needs of our clients in this time. And in my case, my clients actually were the PMs, or perhaps the business development or the marketing and sales team. So, I learned a lot from being very close with them.

Andrej Zito 

So, it was like an evolution to get into something which we would call a strategy?

Ahmed Elmiligy 

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And actually, it opened my my mind to a lot of things about how a localization agency can be established. How can we kick, kick off new services? And things like that. It was something big. Not just because I was young and ambitious, but it was something big, even for our culture, or maybe in our country.

Andrej Zito 

So, if you were to, I don’t know, join a company right now. And you would be the vendor manager. So, I assume that you would start with a strat, strategy right now, instead of just being told who to recruit to. So, what is actually, what would you consider part of the vendor strategy? Like, does it have any key points that you need to cover and insert?

Ahmed Elmiligy 

Ah, yeah, when it comes to a vendor management strategy, from my understanding and experience, it has to be aligned with the direction company’s vision, right. And the company’s actual financial targets, the company’s technical objectives, the language that they would like, actually to cover the regions that they would like to operate in. This is what the key characteristics from my understanding about vendor management strategy. Why I say this, because back in the day, one of the strategies that we used to do is that every part, everyone in the, in the team were actually in charge of a certain region. I was quite lucky, because they asked me, “What do you think? What do you think you like?” I have a thing for Southeast Asia. I love the Orient. I love, I love India, and China and Thailand and Vietnam. Although I’ve never been to these countries, but it’s like a, let me try it. A lot of, you know, like, the project managers are requesting some like, Chinese and Vietnamese language, language. And let me try in this, and someone else in the department was in charge of African languages. At the very beginning, we would like it, the department is providing all the languages that we can lay a hand on. And I joined sometime later in recruiting translators in East European languages. So, I understand how to build a strategy for each region. How the prices are going, how the rates are going, how the translators are, there’s some kind of, I can say some kind of magic for each region that has their own… What do you say? I’m not able to explain how it is versus…

Andrej Zito 

Nuances or flavors? Or?

Ahmed Elmiligy 

Yeah, it’s like every region has its own, you know, mood.

Andrej Zito 

Vibe.

Ahmed Elmiligy 

Yeah, it’s like a vibe thing. I hope I was able to answer this question very quickly, because he told me don’t need to use a presentation. So…

Andrej Zito 

So, this is where I’m interested in. So, how does the strategy, strategy for let’s say, Eastern Europe differ from strategy for Southeast Asia?

Ahmed Elmiligy 

The first thing, it depends on the accounts. It has a lot to do with the the sales part, or the marketing parts. The accounts, localization accounts that we were supposed to manage. This thing affects a lot when you are selecting translators. And I remember the very first days, maybe for me, that I was recruiting for localization projects. I remember reading because I, as I told you, we were very much involved with the project managers. We kind of, they kind of let us read the instructions and be with, with the production team. This helped me very much to understand if some, if Google asked for this. So, this is kind of a strategy in my, in, in vendor management. If Google is asking for this kind of job description, or kind of specification in a person, who will join the team? So, this is their understanding and how they would like to do things. I think this answered the question. And in some time, in some countries, for example, in Southeast Asia back in the day, it was very easy to find a variety of translators. For example, in China, because the numbers are huge. You can try the same thing in a different country and it’s not going to be very easy. And perhaps, I remember when we spoke first time about Malaysia, because this is where I, I lived for some time, and I actually worked in, in one of the LSPs in Malaysia. I remember back in the day, there was not much of a localization agency in Malaysia, perhaps like 15 years ago or something. Localization back in the day was mainly produced by teams of freelancers. They did not have this kind of organized localization agency. And I think this was… the development in, in the market was like natural. Starts with people who are learning things or on their own. And then, they develop to be in an organized shape in a, in an agency shape of some kind. And this also was very, very, very interesting, because when we were about to establish this startup back in the day, and we can say startup like 15 years ago, we were talking about the vendor management strategy. But, it was not really the strategy about vendor management, it was like the recruitment strategy. The whole thing about recruiting holding the whole team, including project managers, including translators, coordinators, maybe DTP. As I remember, we discussed during one of the meetings and we said, “In Malaysia, I don’t think they have a localization agency, but maybe they have some kind of local translation shops, small offices. They do some kind of local demand for typical translation, like legal documents and stuff like that. The localization is mainly done by maybe freelancers. And this is a very good opportunity. And this is a, it’s like a blue ocean thing.” So when we traveled to Southeast Asia, it was the same as we expected. And if you would ask me, how do you learn? How did you learn this? We did not have that much at, you know, like marketing research agency to help us with reports and stuff. We learned this from actually, from vendor management. We understood, we understood this from being in, in communication with Malaysian translators. By this time, there was not much of a company that we can see that this is a localization company. There were maybe as I said, government offices or government government companies, but there was not that much of a localization agency. And in 2019, have been maybe to the light, latest or the one before, the latest LocWorld Conference. It was the very first one LocWorld to be organized in Malaysia. And this proves to me a lot of progress that the market, we can, we go to Malaysia. That’s why you understand how important that Malaysia is like a growing economy and there is a chance that companies will come and the translators will come and people will join the… And, it was, it was very nice.

Andrej Zito 

One of the things that you mentioned earlier when it comes to strategy, that it’s related to the financial objectives on the LSP. So this, to me is the tricky part. Because, of course, the company always wants to find the cheapest freelancers, but at the same time, they want the highest quality. How do you balance these two, I would say sometimes maybe even contradictive objectives of finding someone who’s cheaper or within the margins, and at the same time be able to do good quality work?

Ahmed Elmiligy 

Well, yeah it is a challenge. And it still is a challenge, actually, to balance between the quality and the price. And I remember times where prices actually were higher than now, because of many things like introducing machine translation, and maybe introducing… more translators are being produced actually from the factory of life. But yeah, financial targets, I seem to think the effect because every, every year, a company will sit down and discuss how they would like to like increase revenues and reduce the cost. So, there are actually means to reduce the cost affecting the translators. Like, introducing technology, like software, quality control software, using translation management system, these are the things that maybe will reduce the cost, can reduce the cost. And I, in my opinion, we have to think about this stuff before thinking about negotiating the prices with translators.But unfortunately, I lived through the time where the financial crisis in 2008, it was a time that even translators themselves, they were actually offering a lot of discounts so they get a lot of work. They get more work, they were actually affected. So I still believe that financial targets or maybe objectives for any company affect, they, their vendor management strategy. This is one thing, the other thing that perhaps you would agree with me and you’ve been a project manager, you’ve seen it all. That, some companies of course they prefer alright, we are not going to outsource to LSPs or regional language vendors, we are going to go directly to the freelancers and try as much as we can to reduce the cost and remove the middleman and stuff like this. So yeah, financial, financial objectives. They do affect the vendor management structure strategy, big time. And they still do.

Andrej Zito 

Have you ever been in a situation where the requirements for a price for a certain account was very low that you just couldn’t find anyone with a, let’s say good quality?

Ahmed Elmiligy 

Yeah, we had a lot of fights with them. Project managers.

Andrej Zito 

So how do you get out of that situation?

Ahmed Elmiligy 

We negotiate in the ups and downs, we negotiate everywhere. And this is one of the options. The other option is to try to find new, new blood. And sometimes, you have to take this decision as like, you know, I cannot work with generals all the time. I’m going to, I’m going to need privates and young. Yeah. Young soldiers. Yeah. I was actually reading something about the guy who expanded the McDonald’s, Ray Kroc, perhaps you heard about him. And, one of the things, the strategy that he introduced or maybe not him, it was the process, McDonald’s, I believe, that we do not need to bring a professional experience cook. But, our system is going to be very easy, very efficient that we don’t need a cook. We don’t. We just need some young men they are going to do stuff like this. I cannot say that it’s the same in translation, but we had to do it. And I was lucky to be in a team who invested a lot of time and training, trying to develop a young generation of translators or maybe service providers. Just what, was one of the things that keep them very strong. Because it’s all right, we can we can manage, we will do extra work. We will train young, inexperienced or maybe inexperienced translators or DTP specialists, and we are going to create a new soldiers. One day they are going to be the generals. Right. All right. Makes sense? When we speak about strategies, like, I like war examples.

Andrej Zito 

So maybe going to the war examples, would you raise the salaries of the soldiers once they reach the general level? Like how, and to put it in our words like… my salary first. But what I’m trying to what, what I’m trying to say is that, I get the idea that we are here to also give opportunities to the young blood, like you mentioned, to see if they have potential. And the good thing for the companies is that hopefully, the young people are not charging that much as the, let’s say, the veterans translation industry. But then, if I’m doing a good job, would I ever have a chance to increase my rates? As a freelancer? There are criteria for saying that, okay, you’ve been with us for quite some time. We love your work. And we are actually going to increase your rates. Has that ever happened?

Ahmed Elmiligy 

Yeah, it happened. It happened a lot. Especially that, at the start of the, at the start of the year, of a new year, you can find this kind of request to yeah, inflation. Guys, we need to, I would like to discuss my rate. And I’ve been working with you for some time, and especially those who are, we’re actually work in ongoing projects. They had this, and I can understand it very clearly, because I’ve been on their side. I’ve been a freelance. And I know what it is. Everybody wants to have more, right. And once again, it’s all about the negotiation, because sometimes we used to sit down in price review meetings, the pricing review meetings, and there, there are the sales people who would like to please the customers as much as they can. And, they say we have pressure. There is a, machine translation is coming. The future is not promising, we have targets to achieve and we sit down and we say, we don’t want to lose the translators. Alright, honestly, my own personal belief that I would invest, and I would like to keep my translator satisfied and happy as much as I can. I have to be logical, I am a businessman. Also, I need to have some profit. But I prefer that the translators are satisfied, because the translator will help me in this project. And in this project, and another project and the translator is my, is my real soldier in a very, very big fight with different. I don’t need that, I don’t need to say enemies, but with different directions, different, will help me with this client. If this client is not satisfied, we will try to find him another. And I think one of the successful parts of a vendor management strategy is to be able to have backups and to have backup plans. So, you will not get stuck at any moment. So speaking of this, makes a lot of sense. Because I’ve seen it when translators are sending maybe not at the start of the year but he’s, he’s having, a situation. Something is changing. He moved from an a country to another and this is, this was very, very, very, a very important thing. I remember recruiting translators, for example, Japanese translators who live outside of Japan. And this is, this is very common that when they live outside of Japan, their living standards are maybe different from how it was in Japan. If you have any friends in Japan, they would agree with this. So…

Andrej Zito 

My girlfriend is Japanese.

Ahmed Elmiligy 

Oh, really? Oh, awesome. This is awesome. I hope I’m not bluffing or maybe imagining. But I remember that translators maybe who moved from Japan to live in Malaysia, where I met a lot of them, or they lived in Thailand. They were much more flexible about giving lower rates. Yeah. Because it’s all about the economy. Right, seem to believe.

Andrej Zito 

Yeah, it’s a pretty common sense.

Ahmed Elmiligy 

Japanese, I actually thought for some time that you were originally from Southeast Asia because you have this loop. Right? Yes, are you?

Andrej Zito 

I am not. But I just recently found out that I’m mixed. So I’m originally from Slovakia. But recently, I found out a DNA test that part of me is Asian Chinese.

Ahmed Elmiligy 

Awesome, this is awesome.

Andrej Zito 

Oh yeah. So, going back to the backups that you mentioned, you also touched on that before, that we, you sometimes want to have agencies like in Malaysia, but there were no agencies. So, you have to resort to freelancers. In the day. I think this could technically be considered part of a strategy. So when do you prefer freelancers? And when do you prefer agencies? Like what? What is the difference?

Ahmed Elmiligy 

Well, this is a very, a very nice question. Because it’s happening a lot these days, that some of LSPs, the LSPs, maybe the like, medium-sized LSPs are small LSPs, they started to prefer to communicate directly with freelancers or to work directly with freelancer, instead of outsourcing to an agency. And I understand why, technology made it very easy. If you have some kind of translation management system, so all the translators are logged on it. And they have the profiles, and they’ve sent the request to them, like a mass mail. And you get to understand the performance, like when they finish the jobs and they close the SmartCAT stuff and things like this. And also, they wanted to remove this middleman, I seem to think, but my own understanding, that a freelancer is individual. His capacity for production, his ability to solve problems, is was no offense to them, still limited. That’s why an agency, it’s a company. So, they will cooperate with each other. I had this discussion with a lot of like Egyptian translators, etc. The companies are, you know, like the suck on our blood and they took, the, the controller of the market and we would like to work with the clients directly and this year. So I asked the question, and I said, “So when you send some files to your translator to another translators, one of your friends, aren’t you acting like a company?” And honestly, I’ve seen this in the past. I can see that in growing localization markets. I’ve seen this in Turkey, in Turkish language. We had incredible freelancers. People with very, very good quality. The rates were, because they were young. Back in the day, like 15 years ago, they are not the same person five years later. He’s more experienced, he’s stronger. I can see he’s a colonel, not really a general but his stuff. Well, yeah, I’ve seen this kind of development in, in, in a service provider, but still a company, they must have something different to add. And in my own point of view, when I actually lead projects, and I lead marketing campaigns and vendor management strategy, I don’t really mind to work with either of them. I don’t really mind to but my expectations from a language service provider from an agency are actually higher. My expectations from them to solve their own problems. And, I prefer to give a helping hand to the individual because I understand. I’ve been there myself, have been like a lone wolf working in alone, like a freelancer. I don’t have anybody to help me if the… I’ve seen this very clear in a lot of the African languages. In some point in time, it was very hard. It was very hard. These people, these people struggled a lot. You know, I remember some time when they had electricity is cut from them, like after five, in some countries, they had electricity, internet is cut after five. They had some kind of like military coup, or wherever they have these people, they actually suffered a lot to provide good localization services. They deserve a lot of appreciation for their efforts. Now, things maybe changed. I prefer to be flexible. I prefer to offer some kind of a good proposal for a freelancer that fits his capacity. And in the same time, I don’t really mind to work with another agency. Right. Would there be any scenarios where you would prefer one or the other? Yeah, yeah, I have to be honest, sometimes the price, the rates, they control the decision sometimes, but not all the time. Yeah, I would, I would prefer to be with an agency because they have their problem. The technical property can take, take care of volumes, big, bigger volumes. They can solve problems. And in some cases, I would prefer to be with freelancers because I would like to communicate with them. And in the past few years, we started to have this kind of projects that when the clients want to have direct communication with translators, especially big tech companies, they started to create their own systems and their own… Perhaps, you’ve seen something like this. And they say, we don’t need to send the files to project managers, the translators will have to look on this. So they communicate directly with the freelances. They have this type of projects, that if you think about it, if you are a translator, I would love to read the instructions directly. I would love to receive instructions directly. I would love to be guided directly without someone is perhaps copying and pasting someone else’s document. Right. I seem to agree with this kind of time management thing. And if you are going to do some time management, we will have to make some sacrifice.

Andrej Zito 

You mean sacrifice on the cost part? Or…

Ahmed Elmiligy 

You will have to sacrifice yeah, on the cost. And you will have to sacrifice maybe losing one of the layers in the, in the chain. Yeah, right.

Andrej Zito 

Right. Right. Okay. When is the actually, a point for a company, let’s say, the tech company to start looking for someone outside of the company to help with the localization? Like when is the point where you would need to get the help of a vendor manager to start looking for vendors to help you with outsourcing? Or in which case, is it also still good to try to look for someone in-house in case? In which case, I think it would be handled by recruitment, right?

Ahmed Elmiligy 

Yeah. If I understand your question clearly, what forces the big tech company to hire someone to work in-house for localization?

Andrej Zito 

Maybe we don’t have to talk about the big tech company. Maybe you can also talk about like an LSP. Right, because LSPs also have to outsource but some of them also have some languages correct in-house by their employees. Yeah.

Ahmed Elmiligy 

I actually when I witnessed this kind of strategy, and I was, at a point of time, a part of a recruitment team who recruited full time staff. I recruited actually full time staff in most of the Asian countries, in Egypt here, especially the translators. And I seem to think that production and demand controls this decision, or maybe at least this is how we thought about it. Because if I have a certain account, that is actually stable or a certain contract, that is stable, and we have the production, everything is planned, every translators going to translate like 2000 words a day for the period of two years, three years, five years, that depends, I would go for the full time model for, to recruit the translators in-house. And I’ve seen how things are progressing. I’ve seen accounts that were, started very small. So, we had to outsource full, to freelancers outside of the companies. And when things are growing, we decide to maybe expand a little or maybe change the strategy for a part-time recruitment. We started by offering the same translators, the same transcript. We have an opportunity that you can be one of our part timers, or maybe full time, and I’ve seen many, in many cases, back in the day, they used to agree, right? It’s a very good opportunity. I can be a full time translator, and you have my salary at the end of the month. And I will have some kind of like, insurance, and I got to be an employee. I’ve seen how the financial crisis in 2008 affected this model. Because some of the accounts actually were, they were gone. And if you are a language service provider, you maybe think, once and twice, how would I keep the people on my payroll? While I don’t, I don’t have any work for them. Very hard decision. And I think this is exactly what happened with the COVID-19. Many companies started to lay off the translators, because we lost our accounts, we maybe, we are not able to afford paying the salary, the full time salary anymore.

Andrej Zito 

So let’s talk about the interesting question for me, how do we actually find good vendors? And what are you looking for? Let’s say, okay, the price is of course, a main criteria that maybe serves like the top filter for you, like if people fall within that certain price, but then if they fall, and you have still 10 people, and you only need to, I don’t know, find one or two, how do you, what are you looking for?  I was, I was reading in an MC book, The Theory of Translation Company by Renato. And I really like how they broke down the selection process. They actually broke it down into numbers. And you had this kind of weight for every category, every selection category, the price is one of them. And it depends in your company, on the company’s strategy to give the price a higher weight. But it’s, in my opinion, is not everything, right? Because it will depend on how I’m, where I’m going to place the translator. Am I going to place him in an account where I have zero profit? I will not, I will not able to be able to cover other costs, or I’m going to place him in something that is going to be flexible? But I seem to think that there are actually other criterias that we should think about. Not only the price, the experience, the years of experience, and I’m a, you can find that I use a lot of military examples because I, I’m not a military guy. But I admire this idea of ranking and years of experience. And even in military, you can find the Chief of Staff, he has the same ranks but the same ranks with another officer but he’s is not in the same leadership position is the same thing. I believe that experience is not everything. Because there are experienced translators, but they actually fail in technical parts. They don’t know CAT tools. They are not willing to use a project management system. They resist the change. I think you would agree with… perhaps you met some of them. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Just Just today in the morning. I’m not going to go into details about… but yes, I know. I know exactly what you’re talking about. Yes.

Ahmed Elmiligy 

And I have to be this kind of, these type of translators or professionals who resist technology. They could be very good in what they do or something. They do your vendor manager. The very good vendor manager will not say no, and he will be able to bless them where they best fit.

Andrej Zito 

Okay, so that is the years of experience. Is there anything else that…

Ahmed Elmiligy 

Technical, as I say technical capacity, how many tools they master? How they actually solve the problems? The capacity is very important. How many words or pages they can produce? This is one of the thing because I’ve been a production guy. So I, I understand how it affects me. If I’m going to hire a team of 10 translators or 15 translators, all of them, they agreed that they will translate 2000 words. So, I’m in heaven. Alright, let’s do it. But you can find someone, he has a day job. He has some other availability and capacity is very important.

Andrej Zito 

Okay, what about the infamous translation test? Do you think it should be part of every recruitment? Or?

Ahmed Elmiligy 

It is a necessity, I believe, but it’s not everything. No, because I have seen translators, they will do very good in the translation test. They deliver very good quality, but in reality, as if you are hired someone else, and sometimes it’s happened. You, you the person who did the test, perhaps, maybe cheating or whatever, maybe had this mood. And I think, I think quality control is something else that we can maybe speak about, like separately, because it’s going to be very complex and diverse. But, one of the things that, yeah, a translation test at the very beginning in the recruitment process is very important. And, I prefer a translation just that is actually project based, because it proves a lot that this person is very, is going to be very good. And, I remember the test that we received back in the day from Google, for example. It was not particularly a translation test. They tested some other, like, about knowledge, like this translator, how he understand the book culture? There was this kind of test abot book culture, test about English language, testing the English language. I remember I think in some cases, some, some clients, they tested their knowledge of maybe CAT tools. What is this about? Do you know what is the TM? How would you manage some tags and file? I think this kind of tests are very important. And if we are going to act like humans, I would like to perhaps add some psychology tests. If need be, to add some psychology test, okay, I would prefer this because we are going to be humans. And I hate this idea that we are machines. And you know, like I’m dealing with an email. Because I’ve seen this. And this maybe this, this will lead us to this idea of you know, expanding this translation management system that deals with you as just an email. You’re just another email and another number. And I’m going to send a mass email with some companies, big companies are doing this. And you know, it’s not my turn. I know it is a strategy and it’s successful, and it works. But no, we are not likers on this, on like Facebook. We just like, the translators are not like, likers you know. These are humans, I still need this human thing, this human connection.

Andrej Zito 

So how do you think if I’m LSP, or a project manager? How can I keep the human touch with the translators, while still trying to be efficient with my job?

Ahmed Elmiligy 

If my job or my system actually forces me to be like, you know, to do, use this kind of transportation management system that deals with people as digital things and like, just emails, it’s the fact we cannot actually deny it, because it is there. And it is efficient, and it is very good. But I think an LSP can do a lot of effort when it comes to be human. And I, you know, maybe we can have some kind of like a quarter, quarter meeting with our translators. And honestly, when I was working in vendor management, I really liked this idea to meet with the translator, the freelancers. And I took every chance to like perhaps send them a mass mail at the end of the month, like thank you very much for helping me in my projects and stuff. I hope that anyone, and to meet you one day, and I always like to keep this human part with the translators. And believe me, I still have connections with translators and freelancers I worked with, like 15 years ago. Whenever I travel, wherever I go, these are the people I’m going to call. I go to Indonesia, and I call my translator. Hey, I would like to meet you and show you around, whenever they come to our country. I think this is something that I’m doing individually. I would recommend that any company would create some kind of rewarding system, or perhaps appreciation system that they communicate with the vendors, every once in a while, or maybe every quarter, they make… I like some, some of the American LSPs, will make some kind of loyalty programs. They send, you will find it very nice, they send emails to the vendors. And they said, we’re not going to pay you after 60 days, we are going to pay after 30 days, because you were helping us a lot in our projects. And this is like part of our loyalty program. It doesn’t hurt that you can send the gift to the translators every year, if you are able to do this. There are a lot of ideas that to help you get connected with your translator, your freelancers or your vendors. I’m not sure if I can think of something else. But the best thing is going out for a cup of coffee. You can, yeah, that’s why I really, I really like the initiative. LocLunch Initiative. Perhaps you heard about it. And I joined the LocLunch here in Cairo. And we met with people, we met with also representatives from different countries. And it was very nice, this is a very nice to sit down and speak like humans and go out. And this, this is what really helps people to appreciate each other.

Andrej Zito 

I like that idea. And I was wondering if you ever had a chance to implement such a program at any LSP or maybe like part of it?

Ahmed Elmiligy 

In, in a previous LSP, I created this kind of appreciation program, where we volunteer, we actually started to communicate with the vendor and send them some kind of appreciation certificate at the end of the year, or maybe perhaps at the end of a project. And I’ve been a freelancer and I know how it is to be like alone, working alone, or maybe working remotely with someone and he would send you this gift. I knew from my friends or actually working with Google and some very big tech companies, they do this all the time, they send you some products in a box. And it was very, very, very nice. And whatever I can, because maybe I cannot like increase the rate or, or, or something like that. But I would prefer something that is not a gift of some kind. That is not going to cost you very much.

Andrej Zito 

Right. Right.

Ahmed Elmiligy 

Inviting also, because we were actually arranging a lot of training courses and development events and stuff like that, inviting your vendors to join you in something like this is very, very nice. I’ve been, a couple of years ago, before the coronavirus, I, I attended world I attended this kind of a talk of one of the biggest LSPs in the world. And they were actually presenting with their client, some kind of, some tech company. And they were like friends on the stage and they were talking about the challenges and I really thought this is very, this is very, this some, this is very good. If I bring my client or my client brings me to a presentation and we speak together about our success, our challenges, what I try to implement here and inviting my vendors inviting my friends, anyone who lives in Egypt, for example, for a an event or something. I think this is, I, I’m a person who likes PR. I like to go out, um, I like to see people. So, these ideas come to my mind all the time. And I know some of my colleagues, some of my friends, some of my previous supervisors, they kind of feel like this is a waste of time for them. I think they, I think they waste their time thinking that this is a waste of…

Andrej Zito 

Going back to the translation test, you said that it all starts with the translation test. And then you need to sort of monitor the quality of the vendors as they continue working with you. So how does vendor management go about it? Do you think it’s more responsibility of the project managers? And if there are some issues, they should escalate to the vendor manager? Or is it also you think part of the VM’s job to monitor the performance?

Ahmed Elmiligy 

Well, I think the vendor managers, one of the main functions of a vendor manager, management team is to monitor the performance. Because, because I can consider that they are the real supervisors of all the vendors. Or perhaps, this was the vision that I was raised up on 15 years ago. I was, I had this idea. And I really like that the management, they give me this kind of privilege that you have to monitor the performance. So, we have to think of ways to monitor the performance. And, I think technology comes here as well, because, because if we are dealing with some kind of ecosystem, where project managers will have to give their feedback, I remember we used to prepare some kind of survey that we send every month to the project managers, how do you think about the vendors in this language? Do you have any complaints? Of course, in many cases, the raise the complaints anyway. And I used to work with We Localize. And I really, really like how they did the vendor management back in the day, because they had this kind of connection between the project management management team and the vendor management. And they did this kind of a review. I think it was like every three months, they did this kind of review. And they examined everything, scorecards, when it comes to translation quality, or the product, or the quality reviewed, ever, everything discussed with the vendor. How, what’s going on, why we had the score, and they discuss also issues like performance and communication and materials to instructions. All these should be monitored by the vendor management, not only when they have, when they receive a complaint. And it’s about the communication between the vendor management team and the project management. Because in some cases, I’ve seen the project management is like they work, they work, they work very hard, and they have even no time to complain, or no time to report. I’ve seen this myself, I cannot say it’s very professional, but a professional project management team should be able to report. Some of our project managers in back in the day, they did not have this idea how to report to them. No, bring me someone else. I need someone. Okay, that’s all. But I think this will didn’t survive. So, monitoring is very important. And as I mentioned, a few minutes ago, when you see, how would you see people progressing, like when they were actually only soldiers, and they became generals, because you were actually what? Watching or watching them, seeing how they progress. I can tell you that back in the day, we did not have any… LinkedIn, for example, there was no LinkedIn. But you could see that the guy is progressing on bruise, that he’s quite active, that he’s taking this kind of feedbacks and he’s progressing in, in the market and he is progressing in his relation with me. I hope I was able to answer this because I’m a strong believer in development.

Andrej Zito 

So do you think that the company should play an active role in developing the freelancers?

Ahmed Elmiligy 

Yeah.

Andrej Zito 

Organizing some training?

Ahmed Elmiligy 

You know, now, nowadays, and you would maybe, agree with me that even the companies are trying to attract the best talents to work with them. Right. So it’s, it can be some kind of a market thing strategy that the company should embrace is to be able to attract the right talents, the freelancers too. And how would you attract me as a freelancer? You will give me a chance to develop. First of all, you will give me a lot of jobs, you will give me a lot of work. Okay, I would love that. But at the same time, you will give me a chance to develop. Okay. Hmm.

Andrej Zito 

What about the people that are not meeting the criteria over the time? Do you have to get rid of them? Or do you just slowly stop giving them work and pretend?

Ahmed Elmiligy 

I think, I think in many cases, it’s happened like that, like naturally. If there is a vendor who’s actually performing very well, who’s finding that naturally that everybody wants to work with? Right? Yeah. And there are vendors, they were maybe doing it on purpose, or maybe they did not mean it. But they were actually pushing their clients to know. Yeah, this person’s quality. This vendors quality is very good. He’s very good translator. But truly, I cannot bear to see his name in my inbox. And I’ve seen this. Really, I’ve seen this. Vendors, specifically freelancers, or maybe someone in an agency. When I remember back in the day, he said, some clients, they used to send emails, we don’t want to work with this person. Find us another. It happens actually, naturally, that the vendor who’s providing service is not only about how good he is in translation, but and it’s not only about his rate as well, his price. I don’t believe in this, but I believe in how he communicates how he solves the problem, how he’s proactive. I find young, maybe fresh grad with translators or vendors who are very impressive in making you as a client remember them. And I’ve seen this and I can name a few names if needed, that I trust these people with my life. So, I seem to think that it’s a natural thing that…you can mention also the the score cards and the the stars and everything, the evolution you will get on a system. It’s all about how you perform. And on, on another side, I think that you know, you’ve been a project manager. Maybe you were able to manage a vendor, much better than another colleague, much better than another project manager. And I’ve seen this myself. When I was a project manager, some of the vendors, alright. We’re going to work with Armand, but we don’t work in the same LSP. He doesn’t want, want to work with X or Zed because how he’s being treated and you know, I’ve seen a lot of humiliation even in this kind of remote job. Yes, some clients, the push you to the limit, some project managers, they push you to the limit, that you will hate them and you will hate the job. And you will not give them the performance they, I hate to say this, this is kind of a personal thing. It’s not really professional. But we are humans after all.

Andrej Zito 

So, so what are the few special ones who won your heart as a client? What did they do extra?

Ahmed Elmiligy 

The showed up all the time. They showed up all the time. That’s why I really don’t feel bad that I receive an email or a message from a vendor. I remember one of the, one of my supervisor in the past he said, “You have to understand that me… the vendor maybe is, he doesn’t have a job. That’s why, that’s why he is chatting with you on a message and sending you a message and saying, Hey, you’re having a nice day, a very nice picture, or how are you today and stuff like this.” And I seem to think “No, I like this kind of… he reminds me all the time that he’s available, that he’s here. When it comes to work, he is quick to react. He is quick to respond. He is in, he takes initiative.” And I was working with a couple of years ago with a young translator from Tunisia. And she was like that, like this. It’s she tries to solve the problem, even, she doesn’t have this very long experience, but she’s trying to solve the problem. And she’s trying to give you an idea. And in my perspective, as being a client, this is what I want. I want this person, this vendor that acts like a real person like, part of the family. That’s why I like to do this with my client all, most of the time. I like to check on them, send messages. How is everything? I like this when when we first communicated with each other, because the very first time we communicated with each other, I like your strategy, because you sent  a small message. “Hi, how are you doing? It’s me. I’m interested to understand why you got connected to me.” Yeah, this is, this is very good. This is very good. It keeps you remembering.

Andrej Zito 

Alright. So before we go to the final, let’s say, more general set of questions. Is there anything that you think we should cover about vendor management, like something that you really want to highlight?

Ahmed Elmiligy 

I think we, the previous questions were very good. And I think it’s more like an advice to vendors is to try to explore more about the world. Understand the industry, understand that localization is different. And this is what I strive to try to teach people because we will not study this in the, in college. And I would advise to invest as much as you can, in technical side, to understand more tools, more know-how, and to look at the bigger picture. Not only that you are a just a vendor in a corner, but you have to look at yourself in a different manner and try to be flexible. This is what I want to speak to the companies and to the LSPs in that, “Oh, we are not going to work with agencies, we are not going well. We will only work with freelancers”, and stuff like this, I prefer that we would be more flexible about how we do the job.

Andrej Zito 

Right. What are you curious about right now? Not related to localization. Or if you’re super curious about localization?

Ahmed Elmiligy 

Yeah, I am not a tech person. But I started to be interested in data, in linguistic data, lexicography and electronic dictionaries in corpus, AI, the revolution of AI and machine translation. I wish I was a tech person, maybe I could understand things more. But I’m, because I feel that we live in this age, you know, similar, to, you know, I’m fascinated about the time travel idea. So, I seem to think that we live in this age in the localization industry, like in the same time when cars were invented. So, people started to lose interest in riding horses, and started to be interested in cars. So, there was this kind of resistance between the past and the future. And my idea, maybe it’s kind of weird, maybe it’s kind of philosophy a bit. It’s a bit of philosophy, that in these days, horses are very expensive. It is not for everybody, but this still exists. So, I have this kind of point of view about the technology and yes, we’re down one way or another. Although I hate this idea about dealing just another email in a system, but this is life, we have to go on with it. I’m quite curious about data, creating data, especially that maybe this kind of market is developed in Egypt or maybe in, in the Middle East, creating big Arabic corpus, or data for AI or machine translation is something that is being developed. And I’m quite interested, maybe, I don’t know, maybe in the future, we will have something innovative. We speak about it all the time and we sit down. How can we maybe create some kind of machine translation engine for Arabic language, for Arabic dialects? Something like this, I have this kind of dream about… or maybe like an interest in, in this when it comes to the industry. I have other interests, of course, but…

Andrej Zito 

Would it be an open source project, like available to everyone in the community? Or would it be commercial thing?

Ahmed Elmiligy 

We must make money one way or another. We must, we must, we should. Because, because investing time in creating something like this, I think maybe it could start at the beginning, like something like open source or maybe free for some people. But I think it’s going to develop to be a paid service.

Andrej Zito 

What is something that people seem to misunderstand about you?

Ahmed Elmiligy 

A lot of things.

Andrej Zito 

Okay.

Ahmed Elmiligy 

A lot of things.

Andrej Zito 

Tell me one example.

Ahmed Elmiligy 

I’ve been having a lot of fights and a lot of conflicts in the past few years, maybe because I grow I grew old, I’m not sure. But I’ve been having a lot of conflicts.

Andrej Zito 

What kind of conflicts with, with whom, like, colleagues?

Ahmed Elmiligy 

I think mostly business conflicts.

Andrej Zito 

Really?

Ahmed Elmiligy 

I read The Art of War, and I read The Prince by Machiavelli. And I read 48 Laws of Power, and maybe this kind of books, they fascinate me. And I speak all the time about generals and fights and stuff like that, I like about. Maybe maybe this is a you know, I majored in history also, with, with language, I had my studies in history that was maybe I’m fascinated with this kind of, so it affects you, in one way or another. And maybe because I also like heavy metal music, maybe. I think. I like Assassin’s Creed. But yeah, some people they would maybe misunderstand my perception about business because I like to do things the right way. So, I had some kind of misunderstanding about how I do things in the past few years. But I still value my experience in vendor management, because it was not really affected by all the books. I still value because I think, I think my experience in vendor management is the means, is the only reason that I was able to succeed in other things. Right. If you remember I said some of my vendors in the past they actually became my clients in the future. And some of them they became friends, very good. Some of them actually became family. And, and this is my understanding of things. And I still believe that even though in some situations, I was quite ruthless, and I showed no mercy and I spilled some, not blood, I spilled some juice, but, but I don’t need it. I’m not sure where you’re going to cut this blood but I really admire that your, your show or any and your programs are quite free. And because, because many, many, many, I really liked almost, a lot of the discussions that you introduced in the channel and I really wish that it has more views and more reach. Maybe because localization is still something that is for a niche network, maybe, but I hope so that, but the way I see, for example, I watched Nimdzi episodes, and I follow them on… I really like how they speak freely about many things. And they, I think they are popular one way or another because the guys working on the company are very, very open for life and very, very, very nice.

Andrej Zito 

So going back to the question, where does the misunderstanding come from? So, we understood that you have a lot of influences from books and music and games, and you had business conflicts, but I still don’t understand what exactly it is. So is the, is the misunderstanding that maybe you appear to be ruthless while inside you’re like a little baby and very sensitive or…

Ahmed Elmiligy 

Not really a baby. There’s something, something, some, I think, I think this is something that maybe because I like to tell stories, sometimes people misunderstand. And, I seem to think this, this has a lot to do with anyone who’s started to work in marketing and PR. So people always misunderstand how he expresses things and stuff like that, right? But I had a lot of situations where people thought that I am quite ruthless and I don’t think in an emotional. I prefer to try to as much as I can to separate between human feelings and professionalism. Yeah. But I, maybe I mentioned too that my MTPE or not the MTPE, the Myers-Briggs test. This was, I see you’re typically because we are in my, my, my analysis is more about the ENTJ thing. So that’s why sometimes yeah, I feel it myself. I think I should have been easier in this situation. I think I have a hard time with feelings. Yeah. Somehow I have a hard time with feelings or people who are actually all the time are feelers.

Andrej Zito 

Right, right. Right. Yeah.

Ahmed Elmiligy 

The F, was this. I have, I have this guy. But I really love them.

Andrej Zito 

So you prefer people who use logic, right?

Ahmed Elmiligy 

Yeah, yeah. I’ll prefer people who use logic. Yeah.

Andrej Zito 

The same.

Ahmed Elmiligy 

Like, one way or another, we know we have to balance some time. Yeah. Management, trying to balance.

Andrej Zito 

What do you think is wrong with our industry?

Ahmed Elmiligy 

This is a very difficult question. Because I cannot see myself as the, this kind of philosopher to say what is wrong. Because I, I think I’m still learning a lot of things, right. But if you ask me personally, I do not really like this idea of being just another email on a system. And this kind of idea that the system will count everything that I do, or maybe it proved some kind of shift in my brain. I’m not, I don’t like this idea. And although I understand its effect, and it is something very nice. One of the companies I used to work with, used to be my client back in the day. And I realize they also changed their whole vendor management strategy, and they say they have everything on some kind of a portal, where you go look, if you find something that fits you, okay, apply. So, globally, what is the old fashioned way of recruitment guys? I am going to be like a… but, but I seem to think that this kind of method enforces a lot of competition, maybe forces a lot of the competition to be stronger than before. And I think it’s a fact and we cannot, but I don’t think I have this kind, I, it’s not me who can judge the industry, what is wrong. It’s quite big. There are millions of things that I don’t know. As I told you, I’m not a tech guy, but I understand that the industries controlled, maybe directed by technology and tech guys, and are taken over. In fact, I, I don’t think I, I can say I like it, or I don’t like it. But, let’s see.

Andrej Zito 

Do you have any absurd or stupid things that you do?

Ahmed Elmiligy 

Stupid things? A lot of stupid things. I do a lot of stupid things. And yeah.

Andrej Zito 

So which one do you think would be considered by let’s say majority of the people as the, as a stupid thing? For you, it’s very normal.

Ahmed Elmiligy 

On a professional manner, or maybe in life, whatever. I sometimes, I blamed myself that I spent like 100 hours playing Assassin’s Creed, sometimes. Yeah. Sometimes I blame myself not spending a lot of time with my son. I think this is something that I can say that this is stupid. I should have been, uh, should have gave him more time. We should talk more. Yeah.

Andrej Zito 

Can’t you just play the game with him? Or is he not only…

Ahmed Elmiligy 

He loves it. He loves it. I don’t have a multi-player option. Good idea. Maybe I can try. Yeah. And he’s, uh, you know, he’s kind of, I think he’s also like a general in himself. He’s like a Napoleon. Napoleon Bonaparte. He wants to play alone. Like, he wants to control. He’s like a control freak. So, sometimes it’s not easy.

Andrej Zito 

Right.

Ahmed Elmiligy 

Yeah. Sometimes it’s not easy, but it’s okay.

Andrej Zito 

Right. Well, thank you very much for the interview, for your time.

Ahmed Elmiligy 

I’m very, very happy. And I, I find myself speaking freely. And I hope you also enjoyed it. I think you will, should give me this opportunity as well that maybe we can interview you very soon. Because you’re not, you don’t get to ask all the questions. You should be asked as well. So I, I’m not sure if you have this time, but I wanted to ask you about your opinion about vendor management. You maybe, of course, you had experience, and you did with hundreds and hundreds of vendors, vendors, discussions I had in mind. And if you would like to then have to give, give it in this closing moments. It’s okay, I think there are a lot of friends who will appreciate this.

Andrej Zito 

I don’t think I have well, far away from your experience, because I was mostly dealing with vendors from the, from the production side. And I get your opinion that maybe it’s turning into I don’t know, you’re just being an resource ID. I’m also, I’m also very much a tech guy, I would say and I will always, ever since I started working, I was looking for ways to work more efficiently. So, to me actually building the systems that make the work of PMs more efficient, or maybe even eliminate a lot of the work that they have to do you know, like sending the emails, I’m all up for that. That was actually what I was doing in my last work, like we were doing production systems, sort of like a TMS that could also handle other things than translation. And we were creating this product. So, I guess a lot of translators probably didn’t like me, because they were just, you know, first come first served basis system. So, if you’re the first round to claim the job, then it’s you. But, there are also ways how you can customize the system. So, it still sort of values that people who let’s say, have been working on a certain account for quite some time. It’s not like like you just, you know, like mass sent email to everyone for any type of job, you know. So, you can still have your preferred vendors, and maybe they have priority when it comes to cleaning the jobs or there’s certain way. And also when you were talking about the loyalty thing, that’s also something that we were discussing with the vendor manager. And also, when we were introducing the system, we had like a meeting and we presented the system to them. So, it wasn’t just like purely through videos, but we also wanted to get their feedback. So, I think there were sort of like bits and pieces of what you were suggesting. And, I agree because also I can turn that not only from let’s say LSP to vendor, but LSP to the client, because that’s what I realized recently is that some of the LSPs, they’re creating their systems where the clients, they just go to the system and they submit the files. But to me, this is this is a big problem, because I mean, you should still, still do it if it makes the work flow more efficient. But, you shouldn’t forget about building relationship with your client. Yeah. Because then, someone else can come with a better system with lower prices. And if you don’t have that relationship, you’re just the commodity at that. Yeah.

Ahmed Elmiligy 

Yeah. Yeah. I agree with this.

Andrej Zito 

Anyway, what I wanted to say is, again, thank you. But one more question. So final words, from you Ahmed, if you could speak to the minds of everyone in the industry, what, what would you tell them?

Ahmed Elmiligy 

I wish that conferences and traveling wiil;, will be established again, when again. So, people can get to meet each other, face to face. I understand that online is okay. And it’s going to be like a trend. But I wish that people can get to meet each other. And I also wish that international organizations and people like Multilingual Magazine, Localization Institute and MD, they would come to our countries to the Middle East. So, they meet with each other to teach us and learn from us and meet with people from… I was very happy that some of the language industry tech companies started to come to Egypt, for example. STRF, this did that. SmartCat, I wish that we can have this kind of communication more often. So we exchange experience, we, like an opportunity like we have right now. If you remember, maybe I told you that I don’t think you had any communication with someone from Egypt. Because our friends in our community, they have been doing a lot of work, a lot of effort for like 30 years, and the localization, they have been localizing a lot of Arabic content, and they have been producing and a lot of products. And they maybe deserve to be heard. For the better and I think for the future. This is something that I wish that will happen very soon that we get to communicate more than before.

Andrej Zito 

Thank you. Well, well, Ahmed, you are my first hopefully not the last Egyptian guest.

Ahmed Elmiligy 

Thank you so much. I think, I think there will be an opportunity when you can speak with other friends or perhaps doing marketing, project management and localization engineering. And I have to say that localization engineers in the region, in Egypt or the Middle East are actually very few. Maybe we can name them actually do… I think they are about like 10 or 15 persons in the whole region. And then, this function is very important. I wish we can generate more soldiers when it comes to localization engineering. Yeah, really.

Andrej Zito 

Okay, I have an idea how to, name this episode, it’s like growing your army or something like that.

Ahmed Elmiligy 

Invite them to a lot of courses and education.

Andrej Zito 

Right, right. All right. Thank you very much.

Ahmed Elmiligy 

Andrej Zito 

Thank you.

Alright, bye.

Ahmed Elmiligy 

Bye bye.

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