Localization Academy

How I Started Ampere Translations w/ Paola Manca

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Ever wondered what it takes to launch a successful translation company? Learn the behind-the-scenes story of Ampere Translations in this interview with its founder – Paola Manca.

Welcome to a new episode of our series “How I Started”, where we will focus on founders of different localization businesses.

In this episode, Paola unravels her journey:

  • Growing up in Sardinia and how curiosity led her beyond island borders
  • Learning English and nurturing a drive to study
  • The transition from being a translator to an entrepreneur
  • The risks and challenges faced when starting a company
  • Why the name ‘Ampere Translations’ was chosen
  • The importance of having a marketing person from the early stages
  • Balancing long-term and short-term business goals

Andrej Zito 

So for starters, maybe tell me where are you from?

Paola Manca 

I’m from Italy. I’m from Sardinia, actually. Sardinia. I guess you know, but some people mix it up with course. So it’s an island, belonging to Italy in the Mediterranean. It’s the second island for extension, after Sicily. So I’m from the north of Sardinia town called sassy.

Andrej Zito 

Z, like a small town.

Paola Manca 

It’s like 200,000 inhabitants. So I think it’s, well, mid sized, I guess,

Andrej Zito 

probably slightly bigger than the one where I grew up. My city in Slovakia was like, 80,000 people or something like that.

Paola Manca 

It’s the second largest city in Sardinia. So, I mean, it’s, it’s big.

Andrej Zito 

How do you remember your childhood? I know, this is kind of like a broad question. But maybe let’s start with I don’t know, the early age, I don’t know, primary school or something like that. Yeah. Well,

Paola Manca 

I was a very, very good student. I always did my homework. I like to read in a lot. I always like the dream daughter, I guess. For parents, I like to read. I didn’t like playing with those. So I was very serious, little girl. And my brother was all the opposite. So we had like this kind of Yes, balance distinction between the two. He was the like, the creative guy and I was there. So yeah, and, and that’s also maybe the reason why I started learning English when I was eight. And so something more because it because I really liked to learn new things. And, and I really liked to think ahead, like in terms of you are from an island, so you are kind of stuck in an island. And I was always curious to see what we had, apart from the island to go and see places see the rest of the world and my mother is not from Slovenia. So I also have this kind of tendency to look beyond the island borders, because my mom is from a town between Milan and Turin. So I have this, like, I don’t know, far looking perspective in geographical terms and English was was, was kind of natural.

Andrej Zito 

Right. So now I’m actually wondering, what is your brother doing right now?

Paola Manca 

Yes, he’s a clinical trial. He’s a clinical research associate, I think the correct diction is a CRA. So he’s working in, in science, he’s using English every day in his life, but his work, but it was not his favourite subject, as, as a child, and he’s living in Serbia,

Andrej Zito 

when you were talking about that curiosity, you know, like to go beyond the island. And to learn English, that very much reminds me of what Kyle was saying in his interview, that he also had that deep force behind him, you know, to, to learn new language or to go explore the world. And I’m always wondering why people have that as young kids. So do you think like the curiosity in you was, like natural? Or do you think it’s something that can be taught?

Paola Manca 

Well, I think it’s, it’s a mix. It’s natural in the sense that it comes natural to you as a kid, if you see that in your family. So in a sense, it’s also taught, it’s shown, I am sure I learned that from from my mother who was living abroad, let’s say to in a different place where she was where she was born. And my father also he, he had studied at university in Turin. So he, he had taken the jump out of the island, and he was really keen on languages and he was, he spoke English. He spoke German, and he likes to travel a lot. So that was kind of well, inherited from what I what I saw my family.

Andrej Zito 

Yeah, that makes sense. So did your parents or at least your father, I’m not sure if your mom knew English? Did they speak with you in English?

Paola Manca 

And I’m not really my mom spoke French. She had studied French at school. And my father has studied, I think he had studied German at school. And then he learned English. As an adult, I think he travelled a lot. So he really was motivated by, by by, well, the same motivation as me to discover new things, discover the world meeting new people. So but no, they didn’t, they didn’t speak English with me. When I went to class to English class. It was like after school, not not in school. And I remember that my father had some kind of drawings that he drew himself like a mushroom, and he wrote under that mushroom, and a book, and he wrote a book, and we have that in the kitchen. And we were having dinner, he would ask me, How do you say, leave it off? And that’s that book. And there’s, I don’t know, maybe it’s, it’s something that doesn’t sound great at the moment with all the things that kids are taught, but in my time, it’s really loving my memory that I have my childhood, maybe because I like studying. I don’t know, I would ask my brother, if he has any memory of

Andrej Zito 

that. Yeah, it’s a previous version of Duolingo. Right? Yeah,

Paola Manca 

I don’t do that with my kids.

Andrej Zito 

Your drive to study change when you became a teenager? Or was it still the same?

Paola Manca 

No, it was it was still the same, partly because I had like, how do you say that I was the good girl and I didn’t want to fail. My parents and everyone’s expectations that I would continue to be a good student. But also what as a teenager, I started to really look forward to the moment where I could travel and and see all the countries that and that were there I started to to write to have been friends. And I had been friends in Nordic countries for example, I have always loved Nordic countries, so I had a best friend in Denmark. Kareena and it was like so so exotic, for me to write to these people receive a letter with a sound and so that that was the best motivation to study in general not only languages because really, I just studied English, so but it was really motivation to well to grow in general. So that’s what I what I started to, to cultivate when I was a teenager the the wish to travel to visit new places and meet new people.

Andrej Zito 

How did you manage to find pen friends? Back in the days before? I assume it was before the internet right?

Paola Manca 

Yes, the fan friends were before the internet and during you want me to just say how old I am.

Andrej Zito 

No, no, no, I’m just wondering like how you did it? Yeah. You did. Let’s

Paola Manca 

just say to be to give context to this because it’s not the same right? Being born in in 1976. Or in 1990 It’s totally different. So I I saw the internet when when it became like normal, but it was not when I started looking for the first 10 friends so I remember we had some kind of of sheets of paper where you can put express your your preferences, I want to write to a girl to a boy located in Finland, Sweden, Denmark, I like this. These are my hobbies and you paid something I don’t remember it was cheap, I guess. And then you received an envelope with names and address slips. And you just wrote some of them were like, I don’t know if they were fake or whatever, but some of them did answer and and we had like, with with this Kareena from, from Denmark, I used to, to write to her very regularly and we had like, maybe one two or three years. Friendship by by not email by

Andrej Zito 

letter. Okay. Did you ever meet in person? No. No,

Paola Manca 

because my father was, was really into travelling himself but he didn’t let me travel at all. So he was very very protective, I would say. So I didn’t I didn’t meet her. And then in that was like in the 90s, I don’t remember exactly how I got access to the US magazine, 17 and other magazines. And so I think there was a space to put a post like that I would like to write to people from the US. And so I started to receive a huge amount of letters from anywhere in the US, and Mexico as well. And from any kind of people, students, adults, people in jail, people who were like, religious fanatics, it was really crazy. And, and it was really fun. I would say, they sent pictures they sent, I don’t know, anything like, videos, books, T shirts, presents, it was it was really crazy. I received it like, I don’t know, 10 letters per day. It was like, totally crazy. But but really interesting. I mean, I still keep them. Most of those letters, I still keep them in my mother’s house. There’s a box with that, and with pictures, and it was totally different from what I was used to even the aesthetic aesthetics of people in the US. It was, it was very, very different from what we had in in Italy back in the 90s. And, well, it was more like what I saw in 17. Magazine. So it was it was really good for me. And yeah, well, my English was, was great at the moment, much better than it is now.

Andrej Zito 

I think when I was growing up, I always felt you know, like watching the stuff on the TV that you know, like everything this was from America was like more progressive, more modern, like when you were dealing with these people? Did you also feel like they are more progressive than let’s say us in the Europe? Or did you just felt they were different?

Paola Manca 

Well, more progressive in sense that you can drive when you’re 16. And we could drive when we were 18. So that was a difference. But no, I didn’t have that feeling. I mean, everything was more like advanced, you could find, I don’t know, many more things in the US. But I don’t know if now as an adult, I understand the word progressive in a different way, maybe more social and political. But that came in the age at that time. I I just thought, wow, look at how many cereals you can buy, or you can buy this strange drink. So So that was basically my, my conception, my concept of progressive. So maybe yes.

Andrej Zito 

Is there anything that you may be learned from your pen friends that you remember even now?

Paola Manca 

That really I was very younger when I was writing to Karina in Denmark, so I don’t even remember what we could talk about school or I don’t know, volleyball. And the people in the US they were so many. And I don’t really remember having 110 friends that I used to write regularly. So it was like a cascade of letters over me. And I enjoyed reading and I wrote back to some of them. But no, I don’t really remember a personal relationship with someone so that I could learn something,

Andrej Zito 

right? You mentioned the Kareena a few times. I wanted to ask you before, like do you know what happened with the with the pen friendship? Like why did you stop writing to each other?

Paola Manca 

No, I don’t remember, probably, we turned 14 or 13 or even 12. And things happen. So you just don’t have the time to write to your friends anymore.

Andrej Zito 

So besides English, what other things that you’d like to study?

Paola Manca 

I like to study. Physics is it’s a subject that always interested me, you know the relationship between forces in the world. So that’s the balance of things why things happen, so that that was quite interesting. For me. And Latin Of course, I studied Latin, that’s another language, but it was not not studied in the way with study language. But that was really interesting. I liked to study Latin, I studied it for five years. And what else I didn’t like chemistry didn’t understand much of that. Math mathematics, that was also something was not my favourite subject. But still, it was it was good to see that things make sense when you solved either equations. Everything was under control.

Andrej Zito 

How did you pick the major? Or like, where did you go to study for the university? Was it language related?

Paola Manca 

Yes, it was language related. I studied translation and interpreting. So I’m a linguist. And I studied in Trieste in northern Italy, next to the border with Slovenia. So and I studied well, you have to choose two main languages, you have to pass a test to to be admitted. So I passed the test in English, because that was the only language that I am Italian. And then I chose the second language. And that was that because all the, you know, like, standard languages like Spanish or French or German, the people who were taking those courses they already knew had had some some knowledge of those languages. Maybe because they had studied languages, when they were at high school, I didn’t study languages, I studied sciences. So that was like, the, the, one of the few languages that started from zero. So the people started from scratch. Nobody knew that. So I thought it was a good idea for me to start with that. And, and I was right. I never regretted studying that was very good choice.

Andrej Zito 

Did you actually get to use it? Like for business like to make money Dutch, like Translating and Interpreting from into Dutch? Or? Yes, actually, just like, Okay, it’s good. You do? Okay. Well, I

Paola Manca 

do I did. Now, I don’t have to translate or interpret anything anymore. But, but as a linguist, yes, I used to translate from, from Dutch into Italian. And interpreting, not really, I am an interpreter as a trained interpreter. But it’s not easy to work with Dutch on the private market, you should go to the institutions to really the European Union, and I didn’t follow that path. So not not interpreting with Dutch. But translation. Yes. I made some money out of that.

Andrej Zito 

Okay, we can talk about it quite soon. I’m still wondering if there was anything else for you to consider to study? Or was languages, just like the only one thing that you were considering?

Paola Manca 

No, I was considering studying medicine. Actually, I was quite sure that I wasn’t going to be a doctor. But the fact was that in Italy, you have admission tests for some faculties. So medicine is one of those translation and interpreting this novel. And the test was the same day except, same day, same same time at both faculties. So I had to choose. And I, I did test for translation and interpreting, and I said, Okay, if I don’t pass this test, then I will study pharmaceuticals, and then maybe switch to medicine next year, but I passed the tests. So that was it.

Andrej Zito 

It’s really funny to think about how these small decisions could alter like the rest of your life, right? Absolutely. Maybe you you didn’t pass the examiner, you would? I don’t know, be a doctor. I know.

Paola Manca 

Absolutely. Or even if if the test had been on another date, and I could take both. And if I pass both. Now, I think that I would have studied medicine. But you never know. When I was 18, maybe I would say, by everyone I’m going to study away from home because medicine was at my hometown. I could study that and translation interpreting was not there. So I had to move out of my home. So

Andrej Zito 

how do you remember the university studies? Like was it completely different? Did you feel like it’s getting more practical to just studying languages before Univer Was it? Like, did you feel like you were actually getting prepared to be a professional translator and interpreter?

Paola Manca 

Absolutely, it was a very it is still a very, very practical University translation interpreting at least where I started was very hands on you had to translate, you had to translate, you have to go into a booth and and interpret. So you had to do consecutive interpreting, ad hoc interpreting, you had to do a lot of practical stuff. And then of course, you had to study languages, grammar and, and all the typical way of studying the language. And then if you chose the specialisation in translation, you also had to study literature. If you studied interpreting you, you could choose other other things like international organisations, or economics, for example. So you had like, a wide choice of different subjects to study. But definitely, it was very practical. It was not very practical in the sense of translation as we know it today. Because we didn’t have cad tools. For example, there was a copy of traverse that was installed in one of the libraries, computers, but no one knew anything about that. No one used that. We didn’t want to touch anything. So it was like dictionaries all the time. Of course, there was well, I was studying in from 1995 to 2001. And it was really the birth of the Internet age, because I remember starting to use internet in an intensive way in 2000 When I was studying in stock and stuff I’m sorry. But before that, we didn’t do any use of of technologies not even for like research dictionary with the I don’t know, looking up a word in Alta Vista, or anything like that. See here my collection of dictionaries I have a lot I never used one. But they are their

Andrej Zito 

memories. What was your first job? Did you did you start looking for a job while you were still studying? Or did you first graduate and then jump into the market?

Paola Manca 

So you mean job in general? Not translation or interpreting job? Oh, actually,

Andrej Zito 

yeah, you can split it if it’s if it’s two then yeah, what was your first job? Regardless of translation? Yeah,

Paola Manca 

so my first job at all it was cut in closing tags at an h&m shop in arms. So yes, we were I was studying there for three months in Antwerp with their friends from from the faculty because we were studying Dutch so we went there for a short period of time and we got like this a three day contract at h&m because they needed people students to cut out the clothes and tags to send them the clothes for a charity purposes. So that was my first job. And then also in Antwerp also something about trade fair. We had like also a small interpreting assignment, but that was probably my first interpreting assignments at a trade fair in, in Antwerp. So we made some pocket money and we bought a bus ticket to go from Antwerp to Copenhagen with my friends. So we we started travelling in a very comfortable way, like 1212 hours on a bus, but that was fantastic.

Andrej Zito 

Were you nervous when you were doing the first interpreting?

Paola Manca 

I don’t remember. I do remember that. I put on my best outfit, my most professional outfit. But well, it was it was not simultaneous. It was at a trade show. So it was with an Italian company and the owner of the company was very kind man. He called me a father so he was really relaxed. Everything was very relaxed. So yeah, but I guess I wouldn’t be wouldn’t be nervous.

Andrej Zito 

That got me thinking, I’m not sure if this is a good assumption, do you feel like like for being an interpreter, you have to be a little bit more extroverted because you’re more with people rather than being a translator who can just sit at home, I can just translate behind the computer, or it doesn’t have anything to do with it. Ah,

Paola Manca 

well, too. I’m an introvert. So it’s, it’s, I want to understand your question, because I’m an introvert, but I am a good interpreter. So technically speaking, you can, you can perfectly be an interpreter, being an introvert, this doesn’t matter. But for going out on the market and getting gigs, probably you have to be more of an extrovert to, to have a career as an interpreter. It’s, it’s, it’s not like sitting behind your computer and sending CVS to translation agencies. It’s different. So yes, I think not really for the technical part of the job. But for getting jobs. It might be also depends because my experience was in, in a different country. When I when I finished my studies, I moved to Spain, and I didn’t speak Spanish. So I wasn’t able to work on the interpreting market in Spain, because I didn’t speak Spanish at the moment. So it was it was much easier for me to, to have a PC and and send CVS to translation companies and get translation jobs.

Andrej Zito 

Why did you decide to move to Spain besides the curiosity that you mentioned before? Why, why Spain?

Paola Manca 

Yeah, well, Spain comes through Sweden, actually, because when I was studying, I went to Stockholm. I did my Erasmus programme in Stockholm, and I met a Spaniard. So I moved to Spain. After two years of long distance relationship, then I moved to Spain, to Madrid. So it’s, this is why I got to Madrid and I didn’t speak a word of Spanish. Because we met in Stockholm, we spoke English. So it was a Spanish was not was not planned, absolutely was not a language that I considered. Interesting. I, I always loved challenges. So I started learning difficult languages that then Swedish, all these, I don’t know, rare, weird languages. But Spanish was not in my, in my plans.

Andrej Zito 

Is he now your husband? No.

Paola Manca  

No, no, no. It was, it was a challenge. Because when I got to Spain, basically, we split up. So I think I think it’s really shows that I like challenges. Because I didn’t move back to Italy. I stayed in Madrid. But I had a job. I had a job and I had an opportunity of living in a capital city and learning your language. So why not?

Andrej Zito 

Is it easier for you as an Italian to learn Spanish? Are two languages somewhat similar?

Paola Manca 

Yes, I think so. I definitely think so it’s easy to get to a good level of good in the sense that you can live in Spain without problems, you can go to the restaurant to go to, I don’t know, to bar, or have a conversation with your work colleagues. But still, to have a very good level. So to be really proficient in Spanish, it’s not so easy, because there are a lot of false friends. There are a lot of prepositions, that it’s the first thing that you mix up when you start speaking those languages. So it’s it’s difficult to, to get to a very proficient level. For example, I don’t consider myself bilingual because I’m not bilingual. I’ve been living here for 21 years now. But still, it’s it’s I’m not a native speaker. And there was Spanish but not native.

Andrej Zito 

Explain to me, why did you stay there for so long in Spain, what kept you there?

Paola Manca 

Basically, I, I arrived here, I did have a job, a job in the localization industry as a project manager. That was my my first job other than freelancing Ah, jobs like translation. So I worked as a project manager. So yeah, well, I, I went ahead with the with my life with the job. Then I met friends in Madrid, I liked the place, I really liked Madrid It was very nice city with friendly people. And I felt not at home. But I felt well. And also, probably the fact that I would not go back to my hometown because I had been living seven years out of Sardinia. And in three estima university town, everyone had finished their studies, so and we all studied languages, and we were scattered all over Europe, or all over the world. And one friend was in China, the other one was in Germany, others were in different places of Italy, because maybe they went back to their hometown. So I really didn’t have like a focal point to get to give me a different direction. I suppose I thought about trying the exams to get into the European Union as an interpreter. But yeah, I met a girl from well from Spain that was working in Brussels, and she, she really gave a bad rap to Brussels. It’s always raining either, like it is terrible. I, I spent all the money to go back to Spain every weekend. So I said, Okay, let’s stay here for a bit more, and then a bit more becomes 21 years. And so you’ll never, you’ll never go back. I don’t think I will go back to Delhi actually. Because now I have two kids. And, and we’re here.

Andrej Zito 

You know, like going back to the curiosity that you had when you were younger, you know, like the intention to go travel around the world, I assume that now, maybe just for work, you still get to travel a lot, right and explore new countries. But I still feel like it’s different than living in the country. So you never had that intention, again, to actually go and live in the country instead of maybe just visiting for work or for holidays.

Paola Manca 

You mean now as as a grown up or when I was a kid? Yeah.

Andrej Zito 

As you were growing up, because you were in Spain for you said 2020 plus years, right? So during during this whole period, even before you had kids, you never felt like you want to go and change the country and live somewhere else for a while. No, really,

Paola Manca 

I think, I mean, I thought of going back to to Italy. But still, I didn’t. I looked for for some opportunities for some job opportunities, but I didn’t find anything that will be worth it. Then, of course, I thought of going to the Nordics to live in Sweden. But still, it’s a very big change from from Spain to Sweden and the light factor was was very important for me in in never thinking seriously of going and live in up north because I like living in with light with daylight. So it’s a can be kind of a problem. I like it for I mean, I lived for six months in Sweden, and I really like it to when it’s dark at 3pm. But I don’t think it’s something I could live with.

Andrej Zito 

Do you feel that people may be loose their curiosity as they get older and they have their job and kids and mortgage and everything? I don’t

Paola Manca 

I’m not sure if people lose curiosity, but maybe they can analyse it in different ways. So now I I really can’t think of moving abroad and live somewhere else because of the kids because of my husband’s work so it’s difficult it’s it’s a family decision and it implies a lot of things so okay, you can take it but but it it’s something important, but still you have the curiosity to explore new things maybe in terms of island now gastronomy for example, you I like a lot to go to restaurants and try new things even I’m in Spanish things There’s things that I, that I have hadn’t eaten before, or go and try different kinds of drinks or see experimental theatre or discover new things. It’s not only related to language or to a specific country, but in general, to discover things, or to try things that you haven’t tried before. Now I’m wearing this because this is something really weird that I bought. And it’s something that I like, but I don’t wear it, like every day, but it’s still something original. And my kids look at me and say, Where are you going with that? But I really liked him. I think it’s really representative of me, like, I don’t know, trying out new things and see how they are. I never wear this colour I always wear but still, this is one of my favourite pieces. And and this is why I’m wearing it.

Andrej Zito 

You should have told them that that I’m going to YouTube with this. I think we actually share even some of the clips on Tiktok you can tell them that I will be with this

Paola Manca 

Yes, yes. I was saying this when they get married

Andrej Zito 

maybe let’s start talking about Pierre translations. I’m not even sure if I’m saying it’s right. Is it appear? Is it unpair?

Paola Manca 

Okay, but anyone can pronounce it as the as their like, it’s originally it’s the name of the French scientist,

Andrej Zito 

what led you to the idea of starting your own company?

Paola Manca 

Basically, I was bored. Because I had been a freelance translator for like, 15 years. And then I had kids, I have two kids. The one is now 12. And the girl is my son is 12. And my daughter is 10. So I had a period where I just worked translated anything and was at home with the kids. So I was totally bored. And I wanted a new challenge in my life. So my life wasn’t really challenging anymore in a professional sense. And, and you know, I wanted some, something new. So I said, Okay, I think I am where I want to be as a freelancer. But let’s, let’s step this up a bit and see what happens if if I try to to get to start the company?

Andrej Zito 

Did you consider any risk like pros and cons? Or was it just like, Okay, let’s do this. And let’s try out and figure it out on the way?

Paola Manca 

No, I didn’t consider any risk. As Renato says, it’s an industry with a very low access barrier. So what you need is a computer and a little more. So, you know, I didn’t I didn’t see any risk in in trying this adventure. Then when you when you get started, and then you get into the business, then there are a lot of risks that you haven’t thought of. But at the moment, it was like, Okay, let’s scale this up. Let’s take more work than I can do myself. Let’s, let’s have someone work with me. Let’s offer more languages. So that was really like, I don’t know. crazy idea. But I think all the linguists, stuff like that.

Andrej Zito 

Why did you pick that name? What does it mean for you?

Paola Manca 

I’m very it’s it’s a unit of measure of, I think it’s electricity. And it’s related to light. So a light the Nordics, Nordic Light. That’s, that’s a concept. That’s the official explanation. Now, the real explanation is that it’s my cat’s name. I told you that I like so yes, I had a cat when I was in last year of high school and I was studying physics at that time, and we named him better. So I named the company after him. He was quite important in our family, but I had to think about the No official explanation for this. When people asked me why.

Andrej Zito 

Well, thank you for giving us the real answer. You mentioned Nordic, and I saw this on your LinkedIn profile that it looks to me like originally the company was called peer Nordic. And then maybe you changed it to appear translations.

Paola Manca 

Yes, that’s correct. Yes. When, when the company was started to unfair Nordic, because we, we wanted Well, I’m speaking like way, but it was just me at the beginning. So we were focusing on Nordic languages on all Nordic markets. So that was why it was, oh, it had a brand name, then the company’s name is is different, but the legal name, but the brand name was upper Nordic. And then, after a couple of years, I think when I realised that, that that strategy, that idea didn’t fully work, as I as I had envisioned it. We moved towards, like, unfair translations, and it was just more generic, and we changed the strategy a bit.

Andrej Zito 

Why did it not work? The Nordic?

Paola Manca 

Yeah, well, I think that it didn’t work. Because of partly because of the nature of the Nordic markets, and the Nordic culture, and the Nordic personality. These markets are very conservatives, they, these people are very open minded and progressive. But still, the buying translation services and buying anything really is a matter of trust. So they trust people from the Nordics. So they had an issue with trusting a company that was owned by an Italian person and located in Spain. That’s a terrible mix. I am. imposes a lot of questions. So I think that was one of the main reasons because we didn’t have any anyone from the Nordics in the company. Then just at the beginning. Later on. As I’m very translations, we do have people from the Nordics, but at the moment, we didn’t have a salesperson, for example, that was Swedish. So that was a really no have a structure in the Nordics. So it was very difficult from from a cultural point of view, I think,

Andrej Zito 

I’m trying to think how to best ask this because I think you could give us like all the steps that you did, but I’m really wondering, okay, so you’re a linguist, and then you decide to create a company. So okay, you have a name? But how do you actually start to actual business? Like, did you start looking for clients? Did you put your profile somewhere? Did you create a website? Like, what are the first steps that someone like you or like, click, click, click Link was has to do if they want to start an agency?

Paola Manca 

Yeah, well, first of all, I think that the website is essential, because you need to have a presence somewhere. First of all, you need to cooperate the business. So you have to have a business first not being a freelancer with with a brand. So my first step was to incorporate the business as such, then you have to have a website, you need to exist online. And then you have to start looking for, for clients, either leveraging the clients that you already have offering new languages, or taking up more volumes, or look for brand new clients. Start with Well, I started with focusing on geographical area and on specific verticals. And so I went to trade shows, for example, in in the Nordics. I read the specialised press in the verticals that I was interested in. So I tried to I followed all these companies on Instagram. I was focusing on design and fashion. So this is why Instagram and not a lot other channels. And that gave me very good results. I must, I must say, but it was too early for the company to be able to work with those clients. So it was like it’s a bit of a regret. Like I had those contacts like five years after that moment. Things would have been different with those companies. But still, it’s, it’s, it’s a regret, but it’s a lesson learned on how to do things yourself. Of course, it’s different when you operate a one woman band when you are 357 10. So, the first steps are basically this, incorporate the business. So be serious about the fact that you want to have a business, get a website, get LinkedIn presence, at least, and find clients,

Andrej Zito 

who was what was the problem with the initial clients that you found through Instagram, was it that they were too big for you to handle was that the problem?

Paola Manca 

Were too big in the sense of not really from a technical point of view of not being able to handle volumes or not having capacity or not having the technology to, to fulfil their needs, but they were, I was very inexperienced as a company manager. So it was difficult for me to handle them in in the right way to close the deal in the right way to, to lead the conversation in the right way. So it was too early in that sense. And also I was I was basically on my own. So it was, I couldn’t really I mean, I couldn’t really ask for advice to a partner or business partner, for example. And now there’s a lot of communication in the industry. So you can find a mentor you can participate in I don’t know in a conference in a webinar, but 10 years ago now, yeah, well, was less than 10. Eight years ago, it wasn’t not so easy stills. Yes, you could go to conferences, but it was, I think that the pandemic helped us to open up more channels for communication and to make better use of the existing channels that we have, that we had. So it was difficult for me to find someone to talk to maybe discuss issues. So this this was the basic problem was that I was not an experienced manager. I’m not as well. But more than back in the days.

Andrej Zito 

Would you do things differently this time if you’re starting out?

Paola Manca 

Well, yes, yes. And no, I would probably not choose the Nordic countries as a main target. But still, I’m aware that other Nordic languages are a good niche. So it’s a bit of a dilemma, not not the Nordic markets. But yes to the Nordic languages, it opened up a lot of doors, maybe, then we didn’t work with Nordic languages for those clients. We work with English or Spanish, Italian. But still, it’s a very good presentation to get your foot in the door.

Andrej Zito 

What do you remember being the most challenging thing for you in the first year,

Paola Manca 

I think it was finding the right quality at the right price for clients that had very selective requisites for the project. So it was Germany to Icelandic and automotive sector, it was not easy at all to find and it was a lot of volume. So we really tried very hard to find vendors in this language pair that’s quite uncommon, quite expensive to balance all the things and quality responsiveness of linguists not missing any deadlines being able to make a margin on on the projects. So that was managing capital that was not one of the most widespread in the industry also, so convincing The Linguist to adopt this tool that was really challenging, it was challenging, it was I liked challenges. So it was I was happy to take up the challenge but still there is a moment where you have to say okay, this is really not possible to to provide this service at these conditions. So either you negotiate with a client to different conditions or we cannot really provide this because we don’t want to to put our mutation at risk. So, sometimes you have to take decisions and say now to project or say now to continue working on account, if you see that it’s, it’s not possible to, to deliver,

Andrej Zito 

I think you mentioned earlier, did you are an introvert Was it too outside of your, let’s say comfort zone to go and find the clients? Or did you get used to it over time,

Paola Manca 

I somehow got used to it. Because I am, it’s different to be at a party and strike up conversations with people about I know, my kids or the shirt that you’re wearing, or whatever. And making contacts at a trade show and presenting your, your services, when you know that you are committed to giving good quality and to give him good service. So I, I really had that kind of of confidence to to get used to it quite quickly, then it’s also very repetitive. When you are at a trade show, you might be kind of shy with one or two, but you go and and you see how it works. So that was my experience, I might my main sales activity back when we started was visiting trade shows. So it was it was also fun. I went to quite a few big trade shows in Munich in the sports sector. And it was nice, interesting. And I was also very surprised that people remembered me from one year to another, and we hadn’t worked together. But remember that translation was that was visiting them one year ago, two years ago. So that was

Andrej Zito 

good. Did you ever feel like maybe especially during the first year or the first few years that you want to give up? Like it was too much to handle? Many times?

Paola Manca 

When you think about why am I doing this, I can go back to my own translation business, I can be a freelancer, again, I can just downsize this old and and get back come in the exit strategy is somehow clear. If we want to think of this as an exit strategy, but I never took the the decision to go back. And also because even if I don’t have a business part and I have people in, in the company, and I have people in my circle of friends that are also in the business in the in the translation industry, that’s no don’t, don’t give. Now it’s in moments that you have to put everything together again and go on. So that was it’s, it’s good to have support. The I think people speak about the solitude of the CEO. So it’s, sometimes we are very lonely, where we don’t have people to talk to if you if you are the owner of a business and you don’t have a business partner, and okay, you have to select people in the company. You can’t really treat all all the topics with with all the people in the company because you still have to, to protect some, some information. And of course, confidence is important. But yes, it’s important for me to continue to have support from within the company and outside the company to overcome those those moments. And I think it’s like the way the intrapreneurs cycle. That’s one day you are up and you say fantastic. We are going to rule the world and the next day you say I’m going to close these and open a bar at the beach and that will be fun and quiet and it’s okay.

Andrej Zito 

Do you remember the situation or time where you were, let’s say closest to actually quitting the whole endeavour? Like what was the what was the moment where you were really, really close to shutting it down? Like what what led to that?

Paola Manca 

Yeah, well, I was never close to shut it down. I must say. It was maybe some kind of gramps that I asked Press by I was not convinced of, of what I was saying. But still, when when you start dealing with rate pressure, and you see that you really cannot provide the service with the rate that the client wants to think, what am I going to do? How can I do this? How can I find linguists that provide good quality, good service that are not digital nomads in Thailand? And would reply to my emails once in a week? How can I find these resources to provide this quality at this rate? So sometimes, when we have this kind of very high rate pressure, I was like, it’s not possible. We should do something about this. But I don’t know what to do, though. You try to brainstorm with, with your colleagues and with other people. And still, you see that all the things that comes up, you have already tried. So sometimes you really get like, how can we do this, but then you start thinking maybe out of the box or in collateral way, and you get new ideas, new opportunities, and not there was a way.

Andrej Zito 

So you actually found the solution to the lower rates, I thought that what you’re going to say is that there are simply some clients that you cannot work with, because their expectations are so crazy that you just say Good,

Paola Manca 

yes, well, yes, it is. It’s both things. There are clients, as I was saying, before, where you cannot really provide service, the above expectations are too high, and with what they offer, so you cannot comply with that. And and you have to say goodbye, you have to say no, you have to say sometimes you start working with the clients, because you think that that would develop them into something better, bigger that never comes. So you have to set a deadline and say, Okay, this is not worth it. I’m leaving this client with this missing this, this account. On the other side Technologies is a great help to to solve these kinds of officious not always, everyone uses technologies. So it’s, it’s, it’s a bit tricky, but from, from, you know, all the perspective of a translator translating everything and been working without technology, to the new technologies that are available and new ways of preparing fires of preparing projects of managing projects. So that that’s, that gives us a bit more space to to get the numbers make sense?

Andrej Zito 

How far in what say from starting and peer translations? Were you until a point where you were comfortable hiring the first person, like full time, when did that happen? And what was the position? It was?

Paola Manca 

It was quite soon? Well, first, first, the first person in the company was the marketing manager, that’s now is Operations Manager. So but he, yeah, he was collaborating with me on that on a freelance basis. So it was not the first hire. Then we we had an intern, and that was following the recommendation of a colleague from another translation company here in Spain. And he said, Why don’t you, uh, he was encouraging me to go ahead with a project to go ahead with with this idea. And he was very supportive. And he said, Why don’t you have an intern so you can start managing or progress or three months and then you can see if you want to hire her or not all, but you get you get to move on a bit. And so yeah, that was the second person in the company, an intern and then we hired her she was Italian. So we started to handle more volumes into Italian and and she was the first hire and I think it was about one year and a half after founding the company.

Andrej Zito 

It is interesting that you mentioned the Marketing Manager. It also reminded me of Diego because he was also I think, entering that that was one of the first positions that he filled. Why do you think that having a marketing person so early is important?

Paola Manca 

It’s a misconception actually, because I think that maybe I should have hired a sales manager. Or I mean, I should, I should have hired the same person. But in a in a sales manager perspective, I don’t know about the Aygo, I didn’t know if the person is still in the company. The marketing manager is still in the company and is, is hired now. And he is working as Operations Manager. So he’s the person who I can I can talk to and have a compensated and honest conversation on issues in the company and strategy and this kind of thing.

Andrej Zito 

Yeah, but initially, did you feel like marketing is the the access to growing the company and now you would think that it should be a salesperson to go out and get new clients?

Paola Manca 

Yes, at the beginning, I thought that we should have like an online presence and start developing online marketing strategy and have marketing activities to find to find clients. Now, I think, but that was without a real sales perspective. So okay, the marketing is here, but who goes out and sells. So that was me, but I’m not a salesperson, I can be but I was doing a lot of things in the company. So I was not really working as a salesperson in a consistent way with the structure and so on. Now, I think that building up the sales structure would have been better, and says, would have driven the marketing effort. So I think that it’s it’s just a change of perspective and different timing. First, sales and marketing goes after sales to support the sales activities. So I think that would have been probably a better option.

Andrej Zito 

If you’re not the salesperson, what is the thing that you like doing the most as an entrepreneur,

Paola Manca 

taking up challenges, looking for new challenges? And, solving, solving, like answering questions, that’s what I like, I like to see, to be there for the team. When something is stuck. I like to be the person who hopefully can bring a new perspective, a solution and answer to a question. Or I also like to be the person that asks the question to trigger some kind of development or a solution or idea in the team. So this is what what I like the most,

Andrej Zito 

do you think that managing or growing the team is your main responsibility right now? Or how do you distribute your time to running and growing the company like which part is the strongest one,

Paola Manca 

ya know, managing the team and managing the growth of the team is really not my direct responsibility in operational sense, this is solely for the head of operations. And we have a head of production also that they are really more into team management. My main responsibility is growing the company is thinking ahead is identifying opportunities is again, I think I have said challenge a lot of times in this interview, but taking up the challenge is that future processes, so not being scared and and give the team the confidence that they need to say yes to a different project, a project that sounds like crazy, and we we don’t really know much about that. But my responsibility is to study about the things that we don’t know. And then convey that knowledge to the team and ask people to develop even more knowledge, technical knowledge about specific things that we might not know. So empower the people in the team to define resources to take up new challenges and be ready to to work with what expects us in what awaits for us in the future. So when we speak about artificial intelligence, of course, it’s something very, very current in the news every day. So I think that we have to, to embrace it and understand how to embrace it, understand how to work with that, and not being scared and not not ignore it, we need to be, like, open to experimenting with, with new developments. That’s, that’s clear that happened with machine translation at the very beginning of ampair. It was something that was not as widespread as now. But I wanted to see what was I wanted to see how to work with it, I wanted to see what we could do. And, and I was also, I mean, sure that it was there to stay. So we would better understand how to work with it. And not just say no, and close the door.

Andrej Zito 

How do you change the mindset of or perspective of, let’s say, your employees who may be afraid of let’s say, AI? Like, how does the conversation go? Or what what are you trying to tell them or show them so that they are like you, so they are not afraid of challenges, they’re more like embracing the change, rather than being afraid of it?

Paola Manca 

Well, I try to empower them with with knowledge first. So I tried to give them opportunities to learn. And I tried to show them that it’s, it’s good to, to know things, even if you then say no to something, but you have to know why you’re saying no, you have to know what it’s all about. And then you will have the means of, you know, making your decision and say yes, this makes sense, or no, we don’t want to do this. So I basically I tried to, to give people self confidence and and to encourage them to, to face new new things. And yes, developments?

Andrej Zito 

And also another question previously, we’re talking about identifying opportunities, that that is one of your main responsibilities. So I’m wondering, how do you identify opportunities? You mentioned about AI? So to me, that is like quite clear. It’s like, everywhere, like if you go on LinkedIn, or media, it’s everywhere, you cannot escape it. But besides, let’s say media, or what other people are saying, How can you identify opportunities that are maybe not so let’s say main mainstream? Or what is your approach to identifying opportunities,

Paola Manca 

my approach is being very aware of things that happen around you in the world, not, of course, in your local community, in your local country, but in general, being aware of what’s going on and being aware of what what is happening, maybe I don’t know, in Singapore at the moment, it might be something that is going to become relevant for Spain in two years. So you already have well heads up, or you already know that there’s something going on. So you can follow that in the background. But maybe when an opportunity comes in, you have a competitive advantage, because you have already read about either technology, this specific technology or whatever it might be. So in general, so I think reading and being informed and, and looking for information, I would say is key now about information, you have a lot of information. So you also have to have a common sense to distinguish information that’s that you’re receiving and have a critical spirit to understand where this information is coming from. Why how to use it. Well, you have to Well, I think common sense is the basic for for everything in life. So it’s it’s also very important. Yeah,

Andrej Zito 

I would agree with that. Yeah. But I think I was saying this somewhere. I don’t know to whom I was saying this that. I remember the saying that common sense is the least common of senses.

Paola Manca 

Unfortunately, have to agree. Many times.

Andrej Zito 

What are your let’s say favourites Horses for this information, because you gave us an example that may be something is happening in Singapore? Like how would you find out about what’s happening in Singapore? Where do you get your information from?

Paola Manca 

I get my information from people that I trust first. So, of course, information is is not objective in in 100% Because I trust people I trust some media, I trust some some sources of information as everybody I think it’s really difficult to find unbiased information and for like nutrients, for example, you find it in specialised press. So, in either no magazines or websites that are specialised in certain industries, or well Singapore, if you want to know trends for a fashion company, so design or either now TV seriously, you can go to any social media, and then you will have to filter that and and see if someone recommends a serious it might be good for them, but but not for me. So you have to, to YES to filter that. But I think the important thing for me is to receive the inputs and then I will go and check the inputs, and I will make my own evaluation of of that information of that material sense and say yes, it was good. No, it was not.

Andrej Zito 

How would you define your current strategy.

Paola Manca 

So we are in in a moment of change we are, we are facing risk, because we want to change our account, our current set of client, well not really change that set of clients, but start a transition from LSB clients that are the ones that are most interested in Nordic languages to company clients, direct clients that are not so interested in, in Nordic languages, because they are not the most spoken languages in the world. So they are not prioritised by companies when when they set aside a budget for translation, of course, first language they translate to in Spain, for example, it’s it’s English, it’s not Danish not region. So it’s, yes, it’s a moment where we have to shift from a unique selling point that we have still have as a company to find in new streams, and to find new, new new new services or a new offering a new new selling proposition for different kinds of clients. So this is the the challenge that we have, at the moment, we have set up business development department. So we are facing also some kind of company expansion in terms of departments. And it’s it’s very exciting, but it’s quite stressful to see if the effort is going in the right direction. And if we should change something when do you know, it’s it’s a lot of things, it’s a very difficult to transition. I think that’s, you know, we, we, we really didn’t have any sales activity when in the past years, because when you say that you sell Nordic laboratories, everyone is happy to hear that and they want to find the perfect provider of Nordic languages, that is cheap, good quality and fantastic service. That’s a struggle for us. But still, we had a lot a lot of opportunities, because because of, of the offering that we that we have. So it’s, it’s very difficult it’s, it’s, well, again, a struggle, we have to be very on top of things to see to check, monitor very closely. If the strategy is working, we have to make adjustments, we have to think long term, but also short term, you have to balance a lot of things to make things sustainable in the long run. So it’s, it’s not easy,

Andrej Zito 

is there a place in your plan, where maybe you give yourself a certain amount of time to make the strategy work, and if it doesn’t work, then you just stop or it’s just something that you decided and you just need to make it work?

Paola Manca 

I don’t have the date for stopping the efforts. But still, we won’t stop the effort on the old business line before we have something that is working on the new business line. So we is going to be gradual, we are not like dismissing all the LSB clients to go find direct clients, of course not, we are still loyal to our LSB clients, we want to serve them with with the best service that is possible. And still, we want to grow in a different direction. So but we’re not planning to dismiss any any other business sites.

Andrej Zito 

It should have been made me more clear about as I was talking about, like dismissing the new strategy, you know, like going for to direct clients where you would see that maybe, okay, it’s not working, let’s stop doing that. Like, is there a place in your head where this is possible that you would actually stop the new exploration, or you just have to figure it out somehow. And you’re gonna keep trying until it works.

Paola Manca 

It might be that it gets posed, as it happened in the past, with ampere, Nordic, we post the strategic duper shoe direct clients in the Nordics. So we, we started to develop relationships with LSPs. But the idea was there. And we, we started again, as soon as we had the, the economic possibility of hiring more people for the business development department. So now it’s, it’s also a matter of how things are going if it comes to time where the financial effort is not sustainable anymore, we will have to stop. But the that’s the, the objective for so we will just wait until we can, we can resume the effort.

Andrej Zito 

Okay, maybe let’s go from strategy to something more people oriented. So let’s talk about the culture. I’m always interested in this, like, Where does the culture of companies come from? And I assume it has a lot to do with the founders. So how did you think about the culture? Or when since you started the company? Did you think like, you need to make your culture I don’t know official,

Paola Manca 

well, the culture of the company comes of course, from my own business culture that is very much influenced by the Scandinavian culture. So, I have been working with Scandinavian companies for many years, and I have appreciated the way the way of working in, in in a lot of different aspects like in in the respect that they have for the balance between professional and personal life. That was very, very, very important for many of the companies I worked with. When I when I was a freelancer. For example, as an Italian freelancer, you are kind of scared or saying, Hey, I’m going to be a mother and I’ll be away for four months. But in the Nordics, they say yes, that’s fantastic. Are you going to be away one year because that’s the normal thing with them. So it’s, it’s something that I really like and that I tried to implement in, in my own company this balance between In my personal life and professional life, we have started a pilot project with for the working week. So we we are still at the beginning of that. But we were very happy. And we really think it’s worth trying, at least because it’s very important for people to, to have to be happy at work and to be happy with their family and to have enough time for, for both things. Also, from the Scandinavian culture, company culture, I used to have a very, very horizontal structure in the company. So there was not much hierarchy. And that was okay, when the company was made of four people and no departments, everyone was helping each other and everyone was was on the same level. But when companies grow, it’s it’s necessary to have some kind of, well, task distribution and some kind of reporting structure, I think, both things to be clear, so that everyone knows what is expected from them. And who should they talk to when they have an issue? And, you know, I think it’s, it’s quite necessary. I think, I think it’s, I think the Scandinavian culture makes this work. But probably I don’t have the direct experience of seeing that working in a Scandinavian company, I own only works with them. So I had an external experience. So probably they know how to make it work. But for our culture, at least, most of the people that are working in in Africa are from Spain, and I’m from Italy. So probably, it’s, it’s something that they need to have some kind of hierarchy, because it’s, it’s something that we we see every day in our society and in the business. environment here. So yeah, and efficiency is also something very important for me. And it also comes from from this. I don’t know, if it’s only in the Nordics, or maybe in the UK, it’s also the same probabilities that I don’t think that people should do extra hours to, to show me that they are hardworking people, I think you should just do your, your work. And if you finish early, you can go go home earlier, no problem. If you need to, say two more hours, it’s because there there has been an issue either with I mean, in the supply chain, or in your work. So it’s, it’s it’s an indicator that something is not working or has not worked, it might be a project gets delayed, for some reason, something goes wrong. Okay. You have to say, and that’s, of course, needed and and much appreciated. But it’s not that you have to show that to you have to work every day stay late.

Andrej Zito 

Efficiency is a tricky thing, I would say. So first of all, I totally agree with you. I always like people who are efficient question that I have for you is how do you evaluate how someone is efficient? Without let’s say micromanaging them? How do you differentiate? I don’t know, let’s say you have a team of, I don’t know, five people, five project managers? How do you know who is more efficient? Based on what you think then

Paola Manca 

based on their performance? I mean, you see if someone is late replying to a client, for example, maybe they were stuck up with something else, they didn’t manage it correctly. Or if you see that someone is doing extra hours, or is always late with internal deliveries, for example, if you ask for a report, and it’s not, it’s not there, I think you can you can see that from from performance with the in general terms, not micro managing people. That’s true for me, I’m not checking on people all the time. I just see the the surface I see the I see when there’s an issue. So if they have no issues, probably for me, someone is is efficient, or if I don’t get news from production that something goes wrong. So I think efficiency it’s it’s a concept of if everything runs Mostly, I think there is efficiency. So it’s mostly means without delays with, without issues without. Without How do you go about misunderstandings with the clients, for example, or internal misunderstandings. So that’s, that’s been efficient and also cut in time on being efficient in meetings, for example, will be inefficient when you write emails. So I see I see efficiency in that. I always

Andrej Zito 

thought to me, at least it was, it had to do something with time, like how much time people need to accomplish something. And if let’s say, assuming that you have, let’s say, two project managers, and they’re working on the same exact project, but one gets it done in I don’t know, 50% of the time, then the others, then that person I would call more efficient, right?

Paola Manca 

Yes, it’s, it’s one way of defining efficiency. Another way that probably the most relevant for me is doing something in the simplest way. I mean, eliminating bottlenecks, eliminating complicating procedures, streamlining the process, maybe at the beginning, it could take more time, but it’s more efficient, because you are reducing the steps. Maybe at the beginning, there is something that you need to plan and takes more time. But in the end, the process is simpler, it’s easier. It’s like more error proof, because the least steps you have, the less possibility you have of making a mistake. So I think efficiency is also something referred to that to be in a certain way. It’s also time, of course, but to the saving time and effort saving effort is well, it’s both ways.

Andrej Zito 

What are you curious about right now could be related to our industry, or maybe AI? Or just personally, whatever comes to your mind?

Paola Manca 

I don’t know, at the moment. Well, personally, I’m curious. Because I, I’ve never been to two World Cup of anything. And in September, I will go to Paris to the Rugby World Cup to see the first match. So I’m quite curious of getting to know the workout environment and see how it feels to be there in such an important scenario. That’s, that’s personally curious. from a professional point of view, of course, I’m very curious to see how this AI hype goes in the future, how we can work with it, how we can identify the potential problems and issues that it will pose because it will, of course, and how we can how and if we can find a solution for that they need to leave, for example, they have forbidden the usage of GPT lately because of price privacy issues. So maybe it will become it will be the situation that will spread also in other countries, or maybe not. So I really don’t know. And I’m curious to see how things go. So I think we are all very happy and thinking about how can we make the most out of it. But still, I think we need to to to be careful and not put all our eggs in one basket. So we’re not going to, to over react to this before knowing really what’s the legal framework for using it in a correct way. And also Yes, seeing the applications that we can have for for an LSP for an LSP of the size of a bear, because of course there are many, many, many, many applications of this technology for larger LSPs. But for small and medium size LSPs it’s different. It’s different if you don’t develop your own technology, for example. It’s it’s different to see how you can you can Use it with, with clear advantages. So we’re, we’re, we’re waiting to see how it goes. And and of course experimenting and playing around with it. But, but still very, very cautious.

Andrej Zito 

What if something people seem to misunderstand about you?

Paola Manca 

I don’t know, maybe many, many people think that I’m Spanish, because I live here and I speak Spanish. So this is my first misunderstanding. And yeah, well, I don’t know. Apart from that. They, I think many people think that I’m a serious person. And I admit I am a serious person. I’m not doing jokes all the time. But I think it’s not. My nature, I

Andrej Zito 

think you made me made it. You made me laugh quite a few times.

Paola Manca 

Yeah, well, my kids also say you don’t play. You have to learn how to play with with those with me. But yeah, this is how I am.

Andrej Zito 

Do you think it comes with the profession? Or it’s just like, you’ve been like this the whole life?

Paola Manca 

No, I think I have been like this my whole life, probably I have you been educated in this way. My, my family, I mean, my father was, was quite strict. So I think it’s, it’s also a trait that we when we were talking about my childhood, that’s our children’s. So probably, that’s also something that has to do with that. Now I see my my daughter, she’s 10. And she’s, she’s like, she wants to be free. She says, You want to make me a perfect circle. And I wants to be like this. And I say you’re totally right. So please be like that. But I understand, I recognise that, I admit that sometimes she might feel that I want her to be in a perfect circle. But, you know, you learn your lessons when you are young. And then you have a tendency, but you try to follow that. And be different.

Andrej Zito 

My notorious question, what do you think is wrong with our industry? Wrong?

Paola Manca 

I think it’s, it’s, it’s might be polarised in the sense that there are the good guys and the bad guys. So companies are bad. Translators are good companies. errors. So that’s, that’s something that there’s this kind of, of internal division between two of the key players in in the industry. I mean, if if there are no linguists, there are no no companies to provide services. So this is kind of wrong. But still don’t see a way to solve this. Because it’s true. We also are on the vendor side many times and the price pressure is there. So it’s, it’s very easy to fall into that into it into that division. I mean, so I think it’s it’s difficult to find the solution to this. Of course, there are I mean, there are there are times where everything is is like forgotten, like, the conferences where you mix those two sides, everything works fantastic. And every everyone is, is happy to meet each other. But, but then when you go back to real life, it’s it’s hard. And yeah, so it’s an I, I have been in both places. And it’s, it’s a bit sad that there’s this this division.

Andrej Zito 

Yeah. What do you think caused this division?

Paola Manca 

Well, of course, there are different. Everyone needs to make a living out of translation. And there’s, there’s this this division is caused by by by not being able off or seeing the, the, the perspective or the other part. So a translator only sees their own perspective their own situation. These companies ask Made to translate for an indecent in the bad sense amount of money and a company in saying that we cannot really do anything else. So we will lose, lose the client and you get to the point when you want to lose the client because it’s not ethical to, to, to offer work at under a certain under a certain level of retribution. But yeah, it’s it’s quite difficult. I think it’s also a question of ethics, because there are companies that probably have different idea of what is ethical, what not. So probably it’s, well, it’s everyone has a part of the blank and take part of the blame, because we’re all responsible have have this kind of lack of either no awareness of each other’s problems. And I think it’s also something that happens in real life, you just think about your own problems without thinking that probably, well, someone video say aloud to me today, ah, their route. Okay. But, I mean, you feel bad, because you think they should have sent a letter, but maybe they have split up with a boyfriend. So it’s a, it’s something that happens, and I think it’s human nature. So yeah, if I could say something is wrong with industries is this.

Andrej Zito 

Alright, Paul, thank you very much for your time. And for this interview. Thank you for coming and showing up. I have the one last thing for you. And that is, what would be your final words, if you could speak to the minds of everyone in the industry. That was one of

Paola Manca 

the questions. And I didn’t reflect enough on that. Um, I think we as an industry have the responsibility of, of sharing knowledge, of empowering people through what we do that is communicating in in different languages and let people understand each other in in the best possible way. So I think that’s, that’s one of our responsibilities. I was very impressed by technology that was shown at gala this year, that was enabling enabling people with health issues to to use other people’s voice to speak in a more natural way and that was like a volunteer project. So I think that that is something that we should be very aware of that we have also this kind of social responsibility and we should try to to make people slicer as good as we can, for example, offering an employee’s lifework balance, that is something that that we should strive for, I think,

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