How I Started Kobalt with Ricard Sierra #2

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How far do you want to take your business? Kobalt has already achieved success, and now they seek to be among the top five companies in their market. Learn the story behind this Spain-based LSP in this interview with its founder — Ricard Sierra.

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

In this episode, Ricard tells us his story:

  • Experiences growing up
  • How Kobalt was started
  • Why is it better to stay freelance as a translator
  • The importance of owning technology as an LSP
  • The power of LinkedIn
  • Advice for new localization entrepreneurs

Andrej Zito

Ricard, welcome to the podcast.

Ricard Sierra

Thank you. Thanks for having me Andrej

Andrej Zito

So this beautiful guy with a white hair. Where is he from? Is he from New Zealand? Are you going to become the next Gandalf?

Ricard Sierra

Uh… Maybe? Or the next Obi Wan Kenobi. You never know.

Andrej Zito

Are you from Brooklyn? I see.

Ricard Sierra

I wish I wish I played for them. But no, I’m not. I’m actually from from Barcelona in Spain. Born and raised. I’m still living here. So

Andrej Zito

Why did you never move anyway? Are you fully satisfied with your life in Barcelona? Is that the place where you want to die?

Ricard Sierra

Oh, for sure. Yeah, no doubt about it. No. I mean… is nice I, when I was younger, I was like, no, 23-25, something like that. I wanted to move, you know, see the world and things like that as people do. But I never had the chance really started working as a translator just then. And I had, you know, a good stream of income coming in. I thought, maybe we shouldn’t risk this. I have to tell you this was pre internet, right?

Andrej Zito

Oh,

Ricard Sierra

yeah.

Andrej Zito

For the younger people?

Ricard Sierra

For the younger people. We had… We used to call these like phone machines that were called fax, fax machines. And we got the the domain the work from there. I mean, I just got pages and pages of faxes every day. Right. Right. So that was my chance to move. And I didn’t take it. I mean, I started working as a translator, and I just settled here, then. I think it’s a pretty okay place to live.

Andrej Zito

We can definitely talk about your beginnings in the industry later on. But but do you feel like is it something that you still want to eventually I don’t know, maybe when the kids move out of the house, that eventually you want to go out and explore the world or is travelling for business and conferences enough for you?

Ricard Sierra

I mean, I travel for pleasure as well. And then not only for conferences and stuff I’ve been around. But with my daughters, I have two young, two young daughters, and we play this game, even if we couldn’t live here where we move a man. And it’s not easy. It’s not easy. And we thought we arrived to the conclusion that ought to be somewhere around the Mediterranean, maybe Italy, for instance, poor to Well, I know, it’s not in the Mediterranean per se, but south

Andrej Zito

of Europe. Is it because the culture would be similar to what you’re used to? Yes, I

Ricard Sierra

think so. The culture is similar. It’s food similar. The social life is very similar to what where we are used to even schedules and things like that. When when when do we have lunch? When do we have dinner? Things like that? are pretty similar. The the lifestyle is pretty relaxed. I mean, yeah, sure people do work. But people do know how to have fun as well. Right. So I think it’s a pretty good balance.

Andrej Zito

So did your kids experience something more exotic? Like, I don’t know, have you? Did you take them to Asia?

Ricard Sierra

No. Asia? I mean, they’ve been to the US. They’ve been to all around Europe, for sure. And Asia, maybe the next destination?

Andrej Zito

And they still, you think they would prefer to stay somewhere closer culturally?

Ricard Sierra

I mean, kids at that age were younger, yet we’re talking about young teens. I mean, they have this idea of what the US is, which is what it comes from, you know, from places like Netflix and, and things like that. And it’s not the real America, in a way. So I took them Okay, okay, let’s go to America, you’ll find out and take

Andrej Zito

them to Brooklyn to some

Ricard Sierra

to Brooklyn, I took them to LA I took them to different places around the US and what they discovered that America had hits on issues as well. And not not everything is as nice and rosy as it seems on TV, which is a good learning experience, I think.

Andrej Zito

Absolutely. Absolutely. So let’s let’s go back to your childhood my favourite questions. So yeah, like, Okay, before the internet, let’s connect it with to what we were just discussing, like, how was your opinion of the world like outside of Spain? My opinion, if you if you if you remember, yeah, like, how did you view or how did you imagine the world outside of Spain or maybe Europe, where you also let’s say, I don’t know, naive, based on what we were seeing on TV or

Ricard Sierra

the first time I travelled abroad was in 1987. I was 1617 by then. And I went to London, and I was shocked. So many people, so many different races, so many different colours, the culture, everything was different and I loved it. Don’t get me wrong. I really loved it. You have to you have to take into good things. The reason that I lived in a city just near Barcelona with 200,000 people, not a small city, and there was one black guy, that’s all the exposure, we had to foreign culture, it was a child that was adopted. It was one out of 200,000 people, right. So when I arrived in London, I mean, I had some ideas of what it was like, of course, we had, we had TVs back then, you know, and you got to see things on the telly. But yeah, it was it was it was like a shock. And I think I discovered that I wanted to build a bridge between my reality and that reality back then, when I was 1617. That’s how I really became a translator because I wanted to bring part of that culture here or help bring parts of our culture over there as well.

Andrej Zito

I thought that you were going to say that you want it to take more black people into Barcelona.

Ricard Sierra

No, no, everybody’s welcomed.

Andrej Zito

Yeah, um, the funny thing with this reminds me of is and that’s, that’s actually super fun is that when you went to London, you mentioned you were 1617. I was two years old. At that point, five. Yes, you’re all. But what I wanted to say is that I also felt probably the same way that you felt in Barcelona, maybe there was also I don’t know, let’s say, one or two black people in my very small town in Detroit and Slovakia. And I think we went for a vacation once to Spain. And we went to Barcelona, and what I what I enjoyed there, I was probably sitting somewhere in some in some Plaza, or some square, and I was looking at the people. And it looked to me very metropolitan, like a lot of busy people, they look successful, and a lot of variety of, of races, like exactly like you mentioned. So to me, that was the point. Maybe, maybe, maybe it was that point, where I said to myself that I need to move more to the west, from Slovakia, because Slovakia at that point still felt to me like a very old fashioned country No, like narrow minded people. There was a lot of racism, I would say, isolate to Barcelona, for me was actually the window into how let’s say diverse a city can be and like where all the people can live nicely and happily together. So I guess you know, like, you actually brought it what you saw in London, and then I saw it.

Ricard Sierra

Or maybe we just were like 15 years ahead. You never know. Because Barcelona with the Olympics in 1992 Men exploded and then became, like a destination for the whole world. I mean, I think it’s one of the or maybe the most visited city in the world together with Paris and maybe some other one, right. And so yeah, I mean, now you have to see Barcelona. It’s like multicultural. There’s lots of nationalities living here working here. There’s a lot of multinational companies as well established here as well. So yeah, things are opening up and really enjoy it.

Andrej Zito

How do you remember your childhood? Let’s say before the teenage years, were you a quiet kid? Were you crazy?

Ricard Sierra

No, no, no, no, not nothing at all. I was acquired nice child. Good marks at school decent. I wasn’t I wasn’t the most brilliant student. By no means. But yeah, I could. I got along pretty well at school and I loved sports. used to play anything with a bowl. It could be football, basketball, tennis, whatever. If it had the ball. I was playing that and I happy yeah, quite happy childhood um, I happen to live in the same place where I grew up. And I used to tell my daughters every time I used to go biking everywhere from here the streets you could bike before all these was a forest before you know all the old. That’s stories but

Andrej Zito

Right. Are they already telling like “dad, stop?”

Ricard Sierra

“Please don’t again.”

Ricard Sierra

I used to play football here when you see these buildings. There was a football pitch there.

Andrej Zito

Yeah. So but you’re not living in the same house? Right?

Ricard Sierra

Not not the same house? No, no, it’s the same neighbourhood. I mean, my parents live like four kilometres from the from here.

Andrej Zito

So do you have a Do you have close relationship with your parents? Yes, I can ask. Yeah, sure. Yeah,

Ricard Sierra

I do when I visit them once a week maybe every two weeks. Have dinner all together like a bit. Big Latin family, I guess. Spanish family Yeah,

Andrej Zito

right. Was it was it always like that? Or do you feel like your relationship got better as you I don’t know became more adult and smarter.

Ricard Sierra

Ah, I mean, They’re always difficult to use, right? When you’re a teenager, you think you know, things you don’t know squat, basically. But it was a phase that what it lasted for a short period of time. And the older I get, the more I appreciate what they did for, for me and for my brothers, my brother and my sister, right? So, I mean, because they came from the south of Spain, they immigrated to the north of Spain in Barcelona, they had a tough life. They, they were children from the from the war, basically the civil war in Spain as well. So, tough times, and then well, they pull this down selves ahead and gave us a education. And I really owe them a lot.

Andrej Zito

Is it something that you’re trying to teach your own kids so that maybe you don’t have to wait? I don’t know until you’re 70? So that they realise like how, like, how much you gave them? Or do you feel like this gratitude can be taught like earlier?

Ricard Sierra

Do you think this is something you can teach? Yeah, I don’t know. I just show them love, appreciation support, and my oldest one is just on 16. So she’s going to be that face soon. And then but I don’t know, I just show them support, love. And I try to understand them and tell them that I understand what you’re going through whenever I can understand them. Sometimes I don’t understand what they’re talking about. But But yeah, I think I tried to follow the role of the same path that my parents took. So yeah,

Andrej Zito

do you think they already have the concept of of work and earning money? Or are they still in the phase where

Ricard Sierra

I try to teach them or instil them the concept of study? When you have to study you have to you know, that your work, I have to, I have to do my work and you yours is, you know, studying getting your degrees? You know, if University is an option, go into the universities that if that’s what you want to do, and yeah, the concept of nothing in this life is free, we might have a little bit more money, a little bit less money, but we have to work for it. And you’ll have to work for it as well. So yeah, that’s what I’m trying to teach them.

Andrej Zito

Do you already see some indication? Maybe for all this one, like which path she might be going?

Ricard Sierra

They’re both really nice girls, that two girls, so they’re really, really nice, sweet girls. I mean, no issues, no troubles. No, you know, they’re very easy to deal with.

Andrej Zito

I didn’t mean like the pot, like, are they going to start doing drugs? Or actually go to the university? I mean, like, like when it comes to interest or like potential career, like, if there are any signs, like if you’re already starting to talk about it?

Ricard Sierra

Oh, yeah. I mean, the oldest one is the one that has more doubts, and is not really sure what what about what she wants to do, although it seems that something like no marketing, community communication, something in that area is that what really interests her that what she wants to do, and the youngest one, which is she’s 12. She wants to be a designer. I mean, that’s it. And she, she told me that when she was four, and she’s 12 now and nothing has changed. I want to design clothes. I want to be an interior designer. That’s what I want to

Andrej Zito

do. How was it with you? Like how did you pick your university? Like, were you considering something else or electrical? Let’s start with what what is it that you did study,

Ricard Sierra

I studied something called English Philology, which is English Language and Literature at the university that they were Ilona so didn’t move away to study I studied at my home city. And to tell you the truth, English was the only thing that I was really good at at school. So that was the easiest thing I could have chosen and try to do. I mean, I was considering something like social work back then. Things like that. Or maybe journalism, but I ended up studying English and English Language and

Andrej Zito

Literature. Yeah, so hindsight. 2020. Do you think it was a good decision?

Ricard Sierra

I think it was a good move. I used to work at a Spanish Public Television Palooza in Hispaniola, and people working there say, hey, I want to I want my daughter to become a translator. What does she need to study? So they were asking me for advice. And they were journalists, right? So it’s because there’s no future in journalism. And they work at at our BBC, right. So they said there’s no way that I don’t want them to study journalism. So

Andrej Zito

So is what you studied, like the English literature, the path to becoming a translator, or do you have like a specific degree for that?

Ricard Sierra

There isn’t a specific degree transition studies here in Boston on as well. I didn’t pick that because I wasn’t really when you’re 18. You don’t really know what you want to become. But the thing is that yeah, you’re I mean, come on. I don’t. I still don’t know really what I want to do with my life. But then when I was studying that, we started Yeah, sure Shakespeare and literature on the classic and Fitzgerald and The Great Gatsby and things like that language and semiotics and all that crazy stuff. But we had one one subject, which was translation, I thought, Oh, I like this. I like that convert the ideas from one language to the, to my own language and stuff. So I decided, while I was studying the last two years of university, I was teaching as well at an English school. And that gave me an opportunity to try that profession. That job is English teacher, and I didn’t want to go down that route. You know, I mean, I couldn’t explain the prep to be 100 times every day to different people. You I am You are he is and things like that. I mean, I don’t have the patience for that. So I had a friend who was a really young designer, he was starting out to say, Hey, can you can you make like a business card for me that says, request Sierra translator. And that’s it, I share your so. So I printed like a bunch of cards. It was expensive back then printing cards, it was not like now, which is cheaper, you know, back then it was like, like a proper investment. And I sent my cards whether with a cover letter to different media, I mean, newspapers, radio stations, TV stations, and whatever I could think of by mail, obviously, you know, think with a stamp with my grandmother. And so I sent them I kept on teaching English, and I forgot about that. But one year later, I got a phone call. Hey, I got this letter from you. You sent like, way back. Your translator runs it. Am I?

Ricard Sierra

I guess I am because I’ve my business card. My business cards, so I guess I am. Right.

Ricard Sierra

So yeah, how much was later? What can I do for you? I am Lisa, I’m calling you from the Spanish Public Television. Can you come? Because we have some work to do? And I said, Yeah. I don’t know. Why did I say yes? The the the most obvious choice would have been no,

Andrej Zito

it’s a television Public Television. Isn’t it? Like a big thing? Public Television is

Ricard Sierra

like BBC in England, right? Yeah. That’s a big thing. Yeah. Yeah. So that was that was my first line.

Andrej Zito

That’s what that’s what I would imagine that your natural response would be? Yes, of course. Everything’s better than

Ricard Sierra

yes, of course, if you knew what you were doing, I mean, no, I’ve never translated anything. Well, you

Andrej Zito

did something. You did something during the the status, no, at least some

Ricard Sierra

Yeah. Like some poems and some, you know, essays and things like that, but not an actual translation of I don’t know what maybe Michael Jordan is somewhat some something someone like that, you know, had no idea what I was doing. But so I went, they gave me this videotape set by a TV wrote down a translation of what they were saying 100 D, the papers like to them and said, they will never call me again. They called me the next day. And the next day, and the next day, and the next week. So and I worked for them for I don’t know, 1214 years, 12 years, or a year since from I think it was 9099 2090 97 Sorry, 1997 until the the London Olympics, that was my last six. I was 2012 London Olympics.

Andrej Zito

So was this was was this client, let’s say the basis for Kobalt, or did you start the company after that?

Ricard Sierra

I started the company a little bit before. By 2008, there was this big crisis, you know, and besides working for Thomson, Hispaniola, Spanish public television, started working for dubbing studios. So I thought, what, what’s related to what I’m doing here? TV, so I thought, maybe dubbing and subtitling something like that, because I had no idea it but I mean, since it worked before, I thought maybe I could, you know, put a foot on the door, the dubbing scene in Barcelona. Barcelona was the capital of the dubbing industry in Spain. So So I wrote it was the old tactic. I wrote the same letter. Hey, listen to my translator. Here’s my card. I have this one client. Maybe I made up two or three more. You know, just to submit the record. Yeah, sure. Of course. Come

Andrej Zito

on there. If that’s what you have in common with Diego, I was just I was just quickly going through our interview, and he also have

Ricard Sierra

anything in common with you or not.

Ricard Sierra

Don’t tell me that.

Andrej Zito

No, but like the thing that I wanted to say is that he also mentioned, like, especially when you start, fake it till we make it,

Ricard Sierra

yeah, and act like you know what you’re doing, even if you don’t just probably, you know more than they do. So,

Andrej Zito

but okay, maybe maybe an off topic, maybe we’re not off topic, but how would you feel like if people who applied to Kobalt would make up something on their resume? Would you? Would you have sympathy for that? Because you did it the same way?

Ricard Sierra

I have. I really appreciate honesty and sincerity, I might give an opportunity to someone who has no experience. I mean, I’m completely honest here. But I understand when people I mean, it’s the same way we’re doing now on LinkedIn, or people are doing now on LinkedIn that they, you know, exaggerate everything like 1,000%. I mean, that’s not telling the truth. I had one client, I said that before. So, you know, that’s the same thing that lots of people are doing. But anyway, I like to give people an opportunity and then see if they’re good at it or not. I mean, I always say that I hire on attitude or not on skills, right? Even for people that work with me, directly in the company, I mean, because people that want to work and want to learn, they do work and do learn. Right, because they are motivated to put up the hours, the passion, the effort to do whatever. And sure you can teach them to do whatever I mean, I don’t know, work with a TMS in one week, or in one month, it doesn’t matter. But men, if they want to do and they are they are hard workers and they are responsible. And you know, that’s something you can teach. Right? So I always try to hire on on attitude. So back to your question, I would give a number we always do transition tests with new people and you know, start with small projects. Hey, here’s to 300 word thing, see how it goes, see how it works? See how, what the quality is, but not not only the linguistic quality of the the translation. But something which is very, very important that people usually don’t talk about the quality of the service that they’re given us, man to reply promptly, to you deliver on time, things like that, is he how easygoing? Are you? How easy is the company communication with you? Are you open? I mean, I mean, if I send you an email today, I expect a reply. Back today’s late night here, right, but within a reasonable amount of time, I mean, you cannot reply to me three days later, or two days later.

Andrej Zito

So what would you consider reasonable time is like 24 hours or what is reasonable for you? Depends

Ricard Sierra

if it says urgent, please get back to me as soon as possible. And it’s as soon as possible. I mean, I don’t have a set amount of time. But I mean, sometimes you write to people, that doesn’t happen to you, you write to people and they reply, like a week later,

Andrej Zito

of course, yes, yes.

Ricard Sierra

Okay, if it’s, I don’t know, if it’s, you tried to get a hold of me. I don’t work for you. You don’t work for me. So I reply whenever I can. But if we’re trying to establish a working relationship, I mean, why do you think that people from Tulum soon, Hispaniola, called me the next day? Why, because that was the best translator out there. econo. I mean, for sure, I wasn’t for sure. But they call me can you call me like 12 in the afternoon? Can you go? Can you be here by three? And I said, Yeah, I’ll be there. So to my car, drove to this studios, and I was there by three, and did my job reasonably well. Right. So no hassle for them. The service was good. So I said, this guy works. I call them he comes here. So let’s try again. And let’s try again. And and if you don’t miss a deadline, or if there’s an issues, your communicate them, communicating them promptly. And, you know, that’s something that people appreciate. Because, I mean, you are just a link on this long chain. Right? So you have to do your thing. So other people can take over and do their thing. If you don’t do your thing, the whole thing stops, and that costs money. So I thought that I did well as a translator because my service was good. No, because my trans linguistic or my translations were top notch. I

Andrej Zito

completely agree with you. Thank you. And this is something that I would say is maybe even the number one thing that they look for in people Ball. So you mentioned like attitude, but to me, like what you mentioned is basically just keeping your word. And like when you give me your word like it actually means something, for sure. Yeah, exactly. Like you said, like, like shit can happen, right? But just let me know, like, like, you cannot do something. And he, maybe you also agree with me that it’s very rare. I feel like people need to be taught this approach, like the accountability like or like responsibility. I don’t think it’s like, very, very given because like, I have so many people that I interacted with. And they said, Yeah, I will do this, by this. And then I never hear from them. It’s like, it’s driving me nuts. And isn’t it and it’s not only about work, the thing that I when I usually like, explain this to some people, it’s not only about work, it’s not like, when it’s about work, or when it’s about getting paid for something, then you actually make the effort to keep your word. But otherwise, you don’t give a fuck, like it’s your word, period. It doesn’t matter, like when it’s to your friends or to your family, or anyone. I think it’s like a really powerful thing. Because then if you give like, I don’t know, like a public declaration that I will do something by this time, it doesn’t have to be related to money or work or anything. It’s just you do it because it’s your word,

Ricard Sierra

for sure. I mean, sometimes I’m doing things that I said, Ah, I shouldn’t have said no. I should have said no, instead of, yes. Why did I agree to this? But anyway, I said, I will do it. And I’m going to do it. And then I will not repeat it ever again. Maybe, right. But I gave my word. I mean, I said I was going to do whatever it was it may be work related or not work related. And I said, I told my brother I was going to help him helping move right from to his new apartment. Oh, why? Why did I say yes. But anyway? I did. Right. So. So I’ll stick to my word. And that’s something that’s not very common. Not surprising. Yeah. And that’s something I appreciate. I always tell my people in my company, sorry, I’m interrupting you. But be always transparent. Tell the if there is something coming up, shit happens in any project. communicate that to the client as soon as possible. So he can make a judgement adjustments as well. Right? And he, she or they, he she or they Sorry, I’m a spaniel. So we don’t differentiate that. But what should I use a bae? So they make? Because I’ve been corrected more than once for this. I will say, you know, it’s like a entity, but it’s not a man. I know what you get when you say yeah, okay, he’s your day. So communicate it as early as possible, be transparent, be sincere as to what has happened, and how are we going to try to solve it? And that goes a long way.

Andrej Zito

Absolutely. So I like our little detour. But let’s get back to Kobalt. Because yeah, you mentioned that you started I think 2008 Like one year before your, I don’t know the work with the colour TVs us panel or something. Very good. Very good. So So why you mentioned that you started to approach the dubbing studios? Yes. And how is it related to starting the company?

Ricard Sierra

Okay. I was pretty successful. The dubbing thinking, for whatever reason, I was good at it. I was like 35 At that time, and had translated like 300 films, 300 motion picture films, I mean, not the ones on the telly, the ones that go to the, you know, to the theatres. There’s a difference, right? We used to call them 35 millimetre films. So by the time I was 35, I had done like, 300. That was a lot of that I hadn’t done lots of films, for instance, Night at the Museum one night at the museum to Night at the Museum three and I was only 35. I mean, come on. I cannot do this anymore. I cannot do Night at the Museum 10. But when I’m 60 Right, so that was one thing. Then the other thing that happened is that our public television said, Hey, we want to be like the BBC. There will be no advertising on television. Right? So it’s completely ad free. And I thought that’s the most stupid idea. Because, for one simple reason, there is a tax in Britain that’s you pay as a TV owner to the BBC directly. There are no taxes in Spain to pay for the public television. It has since gone through the budget of the state budget. So as a result, budgets were getting tighter and tighter. tighten and tighten started at 2008 2009, tighter and tighter, there was no money for anything, basically no money to pay people to go to the World Cup, I was watching the workout just now, right? So there was no money to go there, there is no money for translations. There’s no money to pay, you know, dubbing actors or voiceover people to do the job. So, so money was running out. I thought that I could not translate films for another 30 or 35 more years. So I thought I need to do something. And I was so busy for such a long period of time that was saying no to new clients. Right? Because I was doing the dubbing thing on the television thing. Do we think so? I’ll say no to everything. Anything else? So I said, I said to myself, hey, why don’t I start, you know, taking those jobs, those new clients that come to you because you know. And since I know people in the industry, I know people here in Barcelona, lots of translators, maybe you can, you know, pass jobs around and coordinate a little bit and, you know, help them with some more work, maybe in return, they’ll help me when they have things in my speciality or combination, or whatever. And that’s how I really started and by 2010, I set up these Kobalt thing I thought of a name. I like the blue colour, let’s think of a shade that looks catchy. Or, you know, what shades of blue Come on, and then it’s called Blue. Okay, that’s simple and stupid. And that’s how it was. It was born. I mean, 50 Shades of Blue 50 Shades of Blue. Yep. So I started to say yes to those clients that were coming to me, because they knew I was working for selection Espanol. And they knew I was doing this film thing and wherever and you know, I had the name back then, as a freelancer. So I started getting those those jobs. But I said, I also want something that implies that Ricard is not going to do the job himself, personally, is not really clear. You’re hiring, but you’re hiring an entity or whatever. And whoever Ricard decides, is going to do the job, but not me myself? Because I was, I was saying no to a lot of things. Because, hey, can I pass it that too? No, I don’t know. Andre, for instance, no, no, no, we want you to do it. My bracket? No, I’m not sorry, I’m fully booked. Or other worry, then then it’s a no. You know, and I want, right, I wanted to know, something that served like an umbrella and allowed me to, you know, pass jokes around and help other people or have, you know, people helping me out. And that’s what How cold was was born. Really,

Andrej Zito

from what I understand. It seems like a natural progression or like an evolution, it wasn’t like you like you wanted to be an entrepreneur, right?

Ricard Sierra

No, or or or I was even before cold, right? A freelance translator is an intern is an enterpreneur. In a way you are, yes, yes. Yeah. I mean, you are the one that, you know, do the translations. But you also do go out and look for work, you do the sales, you do the accountant thing. I mean, you know, the invoicing and whatever you are, like a little tiny company, in a way, right? So in a way, yes, I was an entrepreneur before. But I mean, you’re writing what yours, you’re saying it was like a natural transition. And I’m not going to lie. The first two years of Kobalt was regard zero doing all the things I was a company of one. It was a freelance translator disguised as a company. I think our first hire was a part time. And it was maybe in 2012. So two years later, so for two years, I was on my own.

Andrej Zito

But I thought that the reason why you started the company was that because you couldn’t handle all the workload. So why is it that you were still doing it for two years? Everything on your own?

Ricard Sierra

Yes. Because Sorry, I was doing project management on my own. Right. That’s what I want to say. I wasn’t doing the translations myself. Some women some translation, I was doing them yourself, for sure. But no, no, I had, you know, jobs into different languages that was passing around to, to friends to friends in the industry, basically, but as a project manager, and sales, and I was on my own.

Andrej Zito

Do you think like this is? I don’t know. Well, it was natural for you. But do you think like this step of forming a company is something that is or should be natural to other freelancers. Like do you think that everyone could transform from being a freelancer to someone who let’s say owns or runs a translation ad? See, small or big, or

Ricard Sierra

it depends on what you really want to do, if you want to translate to not become a company, because I don’t I don’t get the chance to translate anymore. I mean, I’m not translating. So if you really enjoy the translation thing and the actual work of translation, I mean, I think you should remain as a freelance translator. I mean, I could freelance translator can make, I don’t know, $100,000 or euros a year, for sure. Right? No need to become a company for that I wanted to build something I wanted, I love creating things and building things when we’re when we’re, there’s nothing, I build something out of it. Right. And the process of, you know, trying something new seeing it grow, I mean, doing demolishing and rebuilding, regenerating a thing, you know, until you, I enjoy that process, I really do. Creating a brand. I love that. And I also like working with big brands, or big companies, and there’s no way a freelance translator is going to work. I don’t know, Nike is not my client, right? But there’s no this rare, it’s really, really hard for our freelance translator to reach out to a company such as Nike, whereas a company somehow has a bigger chance. Right? Just, you know, companies prefer to work with other companies.

Andrej Zito

Were you scared when you made that move to form Kobalt?

Ricard Sierra

Yes, really scared. 2008 2009 were the best years in general for the economy. I had my youngest daughter was born in 2006. The my second one was burned in 2010. So there was a lot of things going on. I mean, I know, my biggest, most wonderful client was basically with zero budget for translations. And, you know, guys was, will run out of they were running out of money. So they basically couldn’t afford me. So it was it was a leap of faith. And it was hard. It was hard. It was scary. And the first years were really, really scary. Because you basically didn’t meet ends, you know, you know, money’s an issue. When when you start a company, especially when you have no funds. I mean, no, there’s no venture capital behind you, right? I mean, this is no, you know, this is not Silicon Valley, you know, where you can, you know, do a series, a series B and get and burn as much money as you want. No, you’re growing with your own profits. And that’s hard. That’s really hard. I mean, and, and, and my company was weak, really weak for the first three, four years for sure. Where I mean, one or two bad months could have put an end, put an end to it, for sure.

Andrej Zito

If you can help me understand, like, why it was such a struggle? Is it because because like you basically had to, you know, like, take out some money, you know, to to support the family? Or was it like the business on its own required something? Because if you if you’re doing the project management yourself, you don’t have any overhead, you’re not paying anyone, and you’re just outsourcing the translation, and you’re outsourcing translation only when you get the projects. Yes, that’s true.

Ricard Sierra

But you need some you firstly, you need to pay yourself a salary. Right? That’s a nice thing to do. Especially if it’s a family of four, as we were, and when I was freelance translator, I mean, the margin for me was 100% of everything I did, basically, right, now that you are managing a company, you know, you the biggest margin that goes to the to the translator, in our case, right? So you’re running, you’re making a small profit out of every transaction that you do, but man to be able to do so much work that would compensate for what I was making when I was a freelance translator. I mean, if I was doing, I don’t know, 100,000 euros, maybe the best years, I was doing 100,000 euros. I mean, that would mean I don’t know, to half a million in translations, or 600,000 euros or dollars. It’s the same basically. So I didn’t get to that amount of turnover, you know, in a year or two, it took me two or three years for me for so it was

Andrej Zito

complicated. So So yeah, maybe let’s talk about it. Like how were you finding new clients back then? If it was like, you only representing Kobalt, did you actively pursue it? Or was it just like,

Ricard Sierra

yeah, it was it was really easy. Easy. Yeah. Link LinkedIn was different back then. You sent a message and people reply to it. No way. Hard to believe, right. But imagine LinkedIn in 2010 2012 I don’t know. Maybe it was around that time. You just needed to type who Do you want to reach out to? I mean, our marketing director of whichever company and sent him a message, I mean, not every message. And not everybody could reply. But you maybe could get a 25% response rate, which was excellent. And I basically did what I was doing when I was a freelance translator, you remember with the letter and a, the same tactic only it was a LinkedIn message. That’s it, I work for these clients, maybe I think I can help you if you have any, you know, translation work, that you need to be done. Do you need it to be done? I mean, I can help you with that. That 75% of the people didn’t reply. For sure. When? And then 25% of the 25% of people that did reply, maybe 50% said no, no, I’m not interested. But they, there was the other 50% that was saying, hey, yeah, not now. But contact contact me in two months, or three months or next year? Or somebody Oh, I was just looking for someone to do the job. Can you do a small translation test for us something things like that. And, and I’ve built everything on LinkedIn. All the clients I have, we have now. They came from

Andrej Zito

LinkedIn. That’s interesting. So no conferences, nothing like that work for you.

Ricard Sierra

I go to conferences, but I don’t work with overseas mic. Our clients are not other LSP. So if we’re talking about translation conferences, I mean, I love going there. I mean, I enjoy it. I love talking to people. I learn a lot from from from the actual presentations and from talking to people. But that’s not a sales activity for me. I’m not there to make new clients. So no, that’s not how it works for us now at least.

Andrej Zito

Is that a decision that you need? At the start? Yeah. And why? Why is it if you can?

Ricard Sierra

Kiss, I said, as I said before, I love I like working with brands, I like being able to, to have a decision on what’s going on at the US as far as a translation project goes, right? When you work with another LSP. You knew, you know, the client, it might be, but you have no, you know, no influence on that. No, you this, you bring no value to the table and working with our clients, you it’s a learning experience, because you learn about their challenges, what they’re trying to achieve, what the results are of your project. There was like a weld once a dongle well, and you get a chance to do to, to add value with your knowledge, you know, and you you give your knowledge or how will you would, you know, run a project, for instance, what technology would you use, how you tackle something or some issue that they might have, and that makes you you know, something more than just a provider. And that’s something that you can do with a direct client. And I don’t think it’s something you can do when you work with a bigger LSP.

Andrej Zito

Right, right. Right, I absolutely see that. But is it is this something that you would recommend to I don’t know, like somebody starting an LSP right now is this, I don’t know the strategy or approach that you would recommend to them or her it really depends on what they want to be doing.

Ricard Sierra

It really depends on what they want to be doing. I mean, if you are intimidated, when you talk to clients, they call you from a big television thingy. And you feel like saying no, maybe that’s not the thing for you. Right? Because sometimes you get in, in, I wouldn’t say trouble. But you facing you’re facing challenges that you don’t know how are you going to get out of right? And then you start but once you start working on things, you always find a way out, that’s for sure. But if you’re scared, and you prefer I’m gonna I just want to, you know, handle translations and do the translations and do an easy job and a transactional thing. Maybe, you know, getting work from other LSPs is the way to go. And there’s a there are good business models there. And there are good companies that are built on that service on working for other LSPs is totally valid. I mean, don’t get me wrong. But But I do believe that these are different types of companies. It’s not the same one, a company that sells to other businesses, other businesses outside our industry, that skills are different. And I think and the way you prepare the company for that is different. I would

Andrej Zito

imagine that finding, like direct clients instead of LSPs, is more difficult. Would you agree with that? Yeah.

Ricard Sierra

It’s difficult. First of all, because you need to focus you need. There’s so many industries, so many potential clients that you have to say, no, no, listen, I’m going to concentrate on this market on these verticals. And I’m going to, and once I’m the owner of the market, the owner of the vertical, then I’ll think about expanding to new fixed, otherwise, you’re picking different things, different projects, different industries, but you’re not, you’re not focusing, and you’re not making the most out of your of your effort. That’s what I believe. And sometimes I look at companies that have so many specialities they do all sorts of, of, you know, of projects, all sorts of industries. And, I mean, it’s either a huge LSP that, then then yes, I totally believe that. Or if it’s a small company, small, same as our size, and it means that you’re just do whatever you can do to make a profit or to get a client, but you’re not a really specialist in an industry or, or a vertical in this case.

Andrej Zito

So what is your focus? What is the focus of Kobalt? How was it when you started? Like, were you actually focusing on some Yeah, specific industry? Yes,

Ricard Sierra

believe it or not, I was. But let’s go back to the, to the last set to the last century. The end of the last century, when I was starting as a translator. I used to work for some companies, they were mainly based in the UK, they were doing this crazy thing they called transcreation. And I thought, Oh, wow, what is that, but I loved it. I really loved it. I worked for companies. I mean, you won’t remember them. But there were there were back then there were companies like Nokia and Motorola. I know that Ericsson that young Ericsson, and things like that, and I was doing marketing collaterals for them. In Spanish, in a way it was related to films and dubbing because you have to adapt the dialogue so much to make them work in your, in my case in Spanish, right? It’s not a literal translation, you have to work on the jokes on the references. And I mean, you have to, you have to take a script and make it sound natural for us. For my dad, I always think of my my father, when I’m when I was translating films like that with my father understand this? Yes, that then it’s okay. No, he has no idea what we’re talking about. I mean, a cultural reference on I don’t know, Jimmy Kimmel, does my father know who Jimmy Kimmel is? He has no idea. So that needs to be changed. So transcreation in a way, it was the same, make things work, make headlines work in your culture, they’re culturally relevant and appropriate, and things like that. So that was, I don’t know, late 90s, beginning of the 2000s. And I was working for this, these companies that were basically companies in the UK, and I thought I want to do something similar to what they’re doing. And call is going to do marketing translations and creative stuff. We we won’t do washing machine instructions. Nobody reads those anyway. Right. But well, okay, you do? You know, I didn’t see the point. No, but I thought it was always the creative stuff that got my attention. So marketing, and you know, that sort of content. It was more natural to me. That’s it.

Andrej Zito

Right? Well, I think it’s kind of like a theme that I got from what you were saying so far is that or at least I have the feeling that you don’t like stereotype like doing the routine things over and over. So that’s why I think it also like fits like doing something creative means that you actually have to use your brain more. You might

Ricard Sierra

be right. Yeah. I hate repetitive stuff. I hate doing the same thing over and over again. I mean, sometimes I said a joke to my friends or whatever. Sometimes I just, I’m jealous of the people that go to this factory and they tighten a bolt all day long. And that’s all they do and don’t they don’t need to think about anything else. But really, I couldn’t I could not do it. I wouldn’t I would get bored and I need I need a challenge.

Andrej Zito

So how’s your focus? changed or expanded over the years? Or are you still focusing mostly on marketing? Creative translations?

Ricard Sierra

No, I would say it has exchanged. It has extended and is and it has changed. Not that we don’t pursue those marketing translation. So we still do. And I believe we’re still good at those. But when you start working for a big company, let’s say, a company with a turnover of 20 billion 30 billion, I mean, sure, they have marketing stuff to be translated, but they have human resources stuff. They have legal stuff, they have, you know, all sorts of content and they need translation. So we cover those needs as well. Right? What would be what would be a fool not to do it? And then out of chance, you might end up in different industries, I mean, we do medical thing for hospitals in here in Spain. Well, part of our revenue comes from that. So it’s not something that we actually pursued. But it happened, we had it, we had the chance to do the opportunity to do it. And we’ve been doing it for a long, long time, many, many years now. So I guess we’re good at it now. So,

Andrej Zito

right. Okay, here, I’m going to challenge you a little bit, because I think previously, you were saying that you understand if I don’t know, like a very big LSP, they do many different industries, and you understand it, but if let’s say a smaller LSP, your size, would have many different, I don’t know, clients or many different industries, verticals, then you consider that as them not being focused. But from what I understand now, is that if a client approaches you, you would actually accept the different if it doesn’t fit your I don’t know, it’s a core focus. Is that right? Or or? No?

Ricard Sierra

Hmm, it depends. I mean, if an oil and gas company comes to us looking for translations, we will turn and turn them down. I mean, that’s not our focus. I mean, we’re not big on technical stuff. We’re not that’s not our core, but we know nothing about it, basically. Right? We might in the future, I don’t know, maybe we develop those capabilities in the future as we grow, you never know. But right now, it’s something so distant and different to what we do that we just say, say no, for instance. But pattern stuff and law things and not our thing. What I wanted to, I want to say now is as you grow, it’s hard to keep focused on only one vertical, only one niche, I mean, for sure, you need to, you know, expand and occupy and look for other verticals that are in a way related, or next to the ones you are working now.

Andrej Zito

So besides the washing machine manuals you already mentioned, yeah, it is noted here. Another thing that I noted here is what you actually have on your profile, it says We offer different solutions to the main challenge in the global business communication. So what makes you different?

Ricard Sierra

Hmm, that’s a good question. It’s hard to stand out when there are 25,000 different companies, right? I mean, I’m not going to say that we are unique in doing whatever, which is, is not going to be true. I believe that we provide an excellent service and good quality, but understand the word quality as a whole, with the service, right? I think we’re good at that. And that’s what our clients are telling us. We also develop our own tools, our own, which develop an API, for instance, to integrate with systems of another client that sending us work, and so they can request the translations directly from their CMS. And we receive everything in our CMS. Sorry, TMS, I should say now, which is, right. And then from that, we’ve developed automations for those projects that we get at the beginning was like an $80,000. Project $80,000 a year. But now it’s more than a million that we get from that API alone. For instance, right. So any all started when this lady or this company And he said, I’m so sick and tired of copy pasting everything that you guys sent me back. His I know I asked for a translation in a different languages and you send me a different file, then I have to copy and paste back to my CMS and then give it some style that your balls italic and things like that because it’s plain text while I’m copy pasting here. It takes me two hours every day, basically. Right? And I said, Oh, I’m sure we can do something to you know, to integrate with your systems. How hard can it be? Right.

Andrej Zito

Three years later…

Ricard Sierra

three years later?

Andrej Zito

Half a million burn…

Ricard Sierra

Yes, yes. Yes. Finally, no more copy pasting. But yeah, but it’s true. It’s completely true. Yeah. I mean, it took us a while. It was an easy project. That’s why developers said no, that’s going to that’s going to take three weeks maximum and 2000 years, I’d say okay, let’s do it. It never, it never is. And I know that. But we’ve developed that, that integration, we help that lady with a copy pasting thing. I saw her two years later, when that one thing was already working and finally working. And I’m the happiest woman in the world. You’ve made me the happiest woman your workplace explained. I said to her. What do you mean? I said, I’m no longer copy pasting You idiot. Men for sure. And they’re not she was she wasn’t sending a project into a different languages. It was like nearly 20 now. So I mean, the amount of work she was not doing was bigger now. And the quality of our service went through the roof, right? At least for her. And that allowed us to create some automations. We run all those projects on autopilot through our system. So that creates a lot of efficiencies. Our project managers are no longer, no longer downloading files, put in a folder and then send them back to the translator and receiving the files, put it in different folders and things like that and doing other things that I believe that make their work more enjoyable. And, for sure, add more value to everything that we do. So, yeah, that’s something that we are. We’re nonconformist. I would say I am a nonconformist. I always look for an answer for a challenge. I mean, whenever there’s like a win, or something that you achieved, I said, Hey, that’s great. I celebrate. But then it’s okay. What’s next? What’s next? What’s next? Right? I when I was a translator, a film translator, I was doing this TV series, which was called the West Wing. Right. And there was this catchphrase by Martin Sheen. So he was always Okay, what’s next? And that’s that stuck near is stuck with me. And I’m always I’m always Yeah, when it’s a win. That’s so nice. Hey, we’re so good. We’re great. But what’s next? Let’s look for the next challenge. Right? And that’s what helps us grow and improve and complicate our lives.

Andrej Zito

I think I have the same thing. And that’s why I’m curious if you react the same way to negative things, like is it that you quickly move on? Or do you kind of like, I don’t know, think about it for too long,

Ricard Sierra

negative things hurt a lot. A lot. I mean, you can get 1000 compliments. But the negative one. I mean, you’re gonna get 1000 Good compliments, you know, but the negative thing, the negative review, the negative remark is what? That hurts. That’s the one that hurts, and it’s the one that you’re, you know, thinking about all the time, but you learn to move along and get them behind, and that’s part of life as well. We’re not going to be successful in everything that we do every single time, right? That’s impossible. Nobody does that. So we’re not going to be different. I mean, I really believe that things will get wrong, things will go wrong. Sorry. For sure. Always. It’s how you react to those things going wrong, how you try to make a change or try to make it up for the client. Put a solution in place. and how you how you react? What makes the difference how the way that you react when something goes wrong. I mean, there’s some people that you know, they get, they receive an email with a negative feedback and they reply like four days later because they’re scared. They don’t know what to say. I believe that the best thing you can do is reply promptly, because on the phone, talk to the client, Hey, okay, let me investigate it. I’m taking this very seriously. Let me investigate what’s going on. And then you come up with a client one day, two days later, hey, I know what happened. I happened. This happened. You haven’t this reasons. And we’ve put these solutions in place. So that won’t happen ever again. So and that things that builds, you know, loyalty with your clients, for your clients as well, just men, they all know that things are going to happen. But they trust you when you are honest about what happens. And you really care about them and care about providing a solution for them.

Andrej Zito

What is the thing that stuck with you or hurt you? The most recently that that you remember,

Ricard Sierra

the thing that always hurts me, is when a client comes back to you and says, Hey, this thing you I mean, this deposition is wrong you did with I’m sure you did this with Google. Translate. Which sad case for sure. But always I know it’s not true. And, but it always hurts. I don’t know why. And then you start investigate and say, Okay, can you tell me what’s wrong with it? Like, bring me up to some examples. And, and then you, you start scratching the surface? And you discover that, okay, okay, those are professional changes, or stylistic changes. Yeah, there might be one translation error here and there when things happen. We are humans after all right? But the first reaction is always have. It irritates me, it’s, you know, how dare you say that? We did everything on with Google Translate. And it’s always with the same languages, nobody will criticise your Korean. Right? Or your Chinese translations. It’s always the English or the gentleman and things like that. But yeah, that frustrates me a little bit. And, and then other than that, I don’t really have like no regrets, or no, really, but

Andrej Zito

as I assume, at least from what you were saying is that this happens a lot. Like it’s not like the first time it happened. So

Ricard Sierra

I mean, when you I don’t know how many million words we do in a year, but I don’t know, close to 30 or 40 million words a year. That’s why we turn it over every year. I mean, you’re going to get that comment at least once a month. That’s for sure. The thing is that when you investigate, and you start scratching the surface, that there are things that are not that you discover things. Sometimes it’s because the local office in Poland said that the translation was a disaster. Oh, really? Okay, let’s start with a local office in Poland, it turns out the local office in Poland has their wants to put their touch and everything that they do, and they decide that okay, well, headquarters says it’s great, but I have my own view of the world. And I want to put it here in this, you know, press release and things like that and say, okay, the reasons behind some of those complaints or not, then have nothing to do with translation. Sometimes, for instance, I don’t know, you are the provider because I don’t know. Corporate says that you are the provider. But it turns out the whatever department marketing department preferred, prefers to work with another provider for their own reasons, right? So they constantly come up with those lame excuses and silly mistakes that nobody sees the only the only they see, just to justify that they don’t want to work with you, and they prefer to work with another vendor. But I mean, as you I guess, as you grow as you grow as a company, and as you grow as a person, as a professional, you learn to to get those over those things like really, really quick.

Andrej Zito

Yeah, but But it sounded to me like you still didn’t learn about the part when they come to you and complained about the translation.

Ricard Sierra

It always hurts. I mean, they always trying to Yeah, it does, because because you put a lot of care and a lot of In everything that you do, and I wish I was doing everything with Google Translate and charge while I charged them, but no, we do pay our translators. I want to believe that we pay them fairly for their job and things like that and then receive such an unjustified criticism. It hurts. They have to be it’s purely not true. And they know it’s not true, but it is what it is.

Andrej Zito

Has something has before. There there has it hasn’t happened before that some of these negative instances actually turned into losing a client.

Ricard Sierra

It hardly ever happens. No, no. Because he, as I said, You you you investigate what’s going on, you offer your vision, your solutions, if it’s, I mean, we make mistakes, don’t get me wrong, we do make mistakes. Sometimes we deliver late, something, that things, those things happen, right. But I believe that you’re if you’re honest, if you’re transparent, and you’re sincere about what happens, and how are you going to prevent that from happening again, in the future, our client, I think, would stick with you because I think he will, okay, this guy or these people learn that lesson. That’s one less issue we’re going to have with them in the future.

Andrej Zito

Did you did you end up in a situation where you would actually have to let a client go for Some reasons are never,

Ricard Sierra

sometimes we just don’t take jobs from clients or we from when things are complicated, it’s hard to deal with them. And then they come with strange requests or I don’t know, their base basically. Hard to deal with, right? for lots of reasons. And we decided it’s just not worth it. I mean, when there is this client, I don’t know, it’s like 0.1% of your revenue. But it’s present at 50% of your conversations with your employees. That’s a client that you need to let go. I really believe that.

Andrej Zito

So when you say, let them go? Is it that you like explicitly tell them like, No, thank you. Like, we don’t want to longer be your partner? Or do you do the thing that you said that you just started rejecting Jared their jobs? So kind of like, hey, get a hint that we don’t want no longer work? We,

Ricard Sierra

we don’t have a set policy for that. I mean, no, we really don’t. Um, and we usually said, we have no capability or something like that. So we are fully booked, I’m sorry, we cannot help you with this project. Now. That’s it basically, will reject direct confrontation, hey, we hate you. And we don’t want to work with us anymore. So please, go and take your business somewhere else, please. No, we don’t do that. But we said, No, we’re fully booked. And we cannot help you.

Andrej Zito

But do you think like, if you started doing that, it would be bad thing? Because to me like it’s more about it’s also kind of like, brings transparency right in the relationship like they know that they will no longer no longer have any chance of you doing any job? Hmm.

Ricard Sierra

It’s not that we do that every day. Maybe we’ve done this like, I don’t know, two or three times in 10 years. So

Andrej Zito

small sample size. Yeah. So when you mentioned like, some of the clients can be hard to deal with? Can you maybe elaborate more on that? Like, what does it mean, like hard to deal with? They have crazy requirements, they want lower rates? Always, I don’t know, find something that’s wrong.

Ricard Sierra

I mean, usually, the client that wants or demands lower rates is the one the first it’s going to complain about anything, right? Is the one that’s going to require like 10 rounds of changes, because we’ve updated this file when we are changing ways, and we’re changing that, hey, I’m sending you this your Friday, end of business, can I have this Monday, first thing in the morning? Crazy stuff like that? I mean, and don’t get me wrong. I mean, if it’s a big client for us, we might go the extra mile and work on a weekend and do whatever, we can’t please them. But if you’re someone that is bringing, like, I don’t know, 300 euros a year, I mean, you have to know your place as well. Right? And, and then when you finally complete that 300 euro project, then you have to invoice them and get paid. You know, invoices get lost, and whoever signs the invoice is never there. And I don’t know, can you send it again? Oh, no, please. You know what, that invoice you sent three months ago ago, you need to change the company name, this guy is going to go to a different, you know, society and things can you start? So, I don’t know what the what the profit of those 300 euro project was to us, really. But in the end, we’re losing, we’re losing like a lot of money there. And you know, those, you will get absolutely nowhere with those clients. So

Andrej Zito

but would you ever keep a client or maybe even pursue a client or like an account that you would know, it’s not going to be profitable, but maybe it’s the one like the company with the swoosh? So like, just for the sake of telling other people that you’re working for this client, or no,

Ricard Sierra

no. They have to bring a profit to the company. I think profits are healthy. It’s the blood in our, in our, in our, in our, in our bodies in the body of a company. So I will never ever go into a relationship where there’s no profit for us just to prove that we’re working with someone. I don’t think that’s healthy, because how then how do you turn that into a profitable account and to our profitable relationship we win for everybody. It’s an uphill battle for you from that point on. I believe.

Andrej Zito

I don’t want to contradict you both Um, please do I respect I respect your European Union. But but maybe the whole Ric II kind of look at it like from an account perspective, because like we said, the account will not be profitable. That’s like the main challenge they gave you. But maybe like the fact that you’re working with the client could open new doors and lead to new accounts, which would be profitable.

Ricard Sierra

That’s a way of saying things in it might be there. But no, I’m, I’m all for doing a test project. Hey, we might even do an export for free and see how it goes. And so you can try this out and see if you like it, the quality of service, but the But from then on, there has to be a profit. I mean, we cannot maintain an account with zero profit. I mean, I don’t we have financial guy, which is Ignasi I don’t think he will ever allow me to get away with that. He’s looking at margins, like, watch, as if he’s watching Game of Thrones, you know, with lots of detail. And he knows everything that’s going on in the company. So

Andrej Zito

no, so So going back to what you were saying a couple of minutes before, when you develop the API? Yeah. My question was, do you think like, this is sort of a necessity for LSPs, at some point, that they also have to be kind of like technology partner? Or do you think we can still survive just by you know, like, the standard project management, translation quality and like that kind of service?

Ricard Sierra

While I believe that some companies for some accounts, would you don’t need extra technology for sure, you can get along with a cut tool, as simple as that. And that’s it for some other companies, you are going to need more complicated technological setup, because sometimes the sheer volume of requests that you get from them are not manageable from without some sort of, you know, technology to help you with that. I don’t know, we might get like 400 requests, or they from one single client. Right. So I mean,

Andrej Zito

maybe I should have been more specific with the question, because because I understood that you actually developed this the solution yourself. And I’m pretty sure there are some you know, like, there are some commercial solutions, right to like connecting with clients, CMS, because that’s what all the team has platforms are trying to do. I would say so, like developing your solution versus using commercial like, that’s, that’s the question, I guess.

Ricard Sierra

Okay. Don’t believe everything they say. There’s this. Because I’m, I won’t mention names. Were mentioned, providers, technology providers, I won’t do that. But they promise no, this is like plug and play. I mean, the integration with XYZ works perfectly. I mean, this is going to be a breeze. And it’s never a breeze. There’s always some juggling, you have to do some adjustments, no, but this our tea, or TMS only works with that specific version of that cut tool. And if you update that cut tool to a more modern version, everything will crash. Things like that, right? The integration is never there. I mean, I guess that’s why there are companies like I know, be lazy, for instance, that you know, helps and develop real integrations. We’ve we’ve, we’ve everything. Because out of the box, nothing works. And that’s something that I’ve learned. And then yes, with this client, they build their own CMS. So there’s nothing standard there. So I mean, we started developing it in 2016 2017. Maybe around that time, and we’re still, you know, going and improving things and fixing bugs. And now, you don’t you one day works the next day crushes you. And you never know why. And we haven’t changed anything. That’s why I’m told the client No, no, we haven’t changed anything. No, no, someone has done something. I mean, that’s for sure. But even you need a constant care and constant, you know, someone has to be looking at that. Integration of that technology. I mean, automation, for instance, are great and integrations are great. But then you’ll discover that you need to hire people just to look at those integrations and a dose, you know, you hire people just to make sure that It automation products. So I forgot your question. I think I

Andrej Zito

think I was asking like, like, Should you develop something on your own or use commercial? But I guess you answer like, why commercial is maybe risky. And that’s such an easy solution.

Ricard Sierra

Don’t be crazy. And don’t go, I’ll build, I’ll build my own tool, I will my own TMS and things like that. Don’t Don’t, don’t I, because I’ve done that. It doesn’t work. It doesn’t work. I mean, the amount of of development that you have to do for a time I try to develop my own TMS, how hard can it be right? And that’s one of my biggest failures. It didn’t work. It didn’t work, it worked. But the costs was tremendous. I mean, way more than when you can pay to any commercial TMS company now. And then the development cycle is endless, and you never, you know, it’s a, it’s a never ending story, use, start one place, go around, and then you start again. And I mean, to me, it’s not a good investment, ie, out of the army and get commercial things out of the box, do some juggling with it, and fight with it a little bit until it serves your needs to be prepared for that, be aware that that’s going to happen. And and that’s it, but it’s I mean, it’s the more reasonable Road, man to go with commercial commercial solutions.

Andrej Zito

Okay, let’s start talking about the important thing, which is company culture. I’m pretty sure that when you started the when you started the company, I don’t think that there was even a word for that. Culture, right? No. No. So so when you when you started hiring people, did you think about something like a culture at that point?

Ricard Sierra

I have to say, yes. But it wasn’t called culture. Right? I want I knew that a lot of things I didn’t know about what cold was going to be. But there were a few things that I was sure that I wanted my company to be, like, for instance, one of them was a place where everybody would want to go to work. I mean, it’s, yes, we have to spend like seven or eight hours a day there working. Let’s make it fun. At least that let’s let’s make it fun. I made a promise to myself that we treat people the way I like to be treated. When I was a freelance translator, right. I work it for clients that I loved, I work for clients that I hated. Right? So problems myself, I was I wasn’t going to make the same mistakes those people or those clients were making. So that’s, you know, not in a way is company culture. Right, right. And then things evolve from there. As I said before, as well, I hired people on on attitude, and not on skills. And I think it has been a good strategy. I’m happy, I’m really happy to say that our first hire back in 2012 is still working with us. So that’s a good indication, something that that’s 10 years. The second hire, still working with us. Third hire still work enough. That’s Guess what? Fourth hire, still working with us? Yeah, so I guess that that’s a good indication of the culture of our company. I also I tell that I hate that title, CEO. I don’t like it. I mean, I don’t feel like a CEO. Something like Oh, no. Pepsi Cola, or Coca Cola has a CEO. Kobalt has the guy who started it all. Hey, hello, that’s me. I came up with the name. That’s my, that’s my credit. Whether you like it or not. It’s my my contribution to the company. But But I always say that my job is to push people to push them out of their comfort zone to to give them challenges and give them the confidence to say, hey, I don’t know how I’m going to do this. I mean, don’t ask me. I have no idea either. I mean, go investigate. Come up with your conclusions. Tell me what you find out. And let’s see how it works. And if it’s not, if it’s not working Welcome back to square one and start again.

Ricard Sierra

Right? Because, as I said, my first hire, which was Miriam, she was a student of mine, I was I was teaching at the University at the time, master’s degree.

Ricard Sierra

So she was student of mine, when I say, Hey, listen, I need help running these projects. Can you help me come here? That four hours a day, maybe. And so we can do stuff. She had no idea about project management. No idea. But the thing is that I didn’t have any idea of project management, because I had never worked. I’ve never worked for any other company that wasn’t my own. So we had no idea. But somehow we managed with revert, we’re still here, we’re going at Kobalt. And she became a full time project manager, big achievement back then. Then we hire more people. And she oversaw the that people. Right? And then we, she, we turned her into head of production, and now she’s in charge of operations. I mean, everything that has to do with technology, and how do systems work with each other and integrate with each other? And you know, when there’s something that crushes on something that doesn’t work? She’s in charge of that. But we’ve been we’ve learned by doing, and I’m a big believer of that as well. I mean, that’s something that, you know, I hire people, because I believe they they, yes, they want to work, yes, they seem they have the right attitudes, and just let them go with their go and learn by themselves. Basically, I mean, I offer all my help, and I help them as much as I can. But I don’t know everything. And I tell them that as well. I mean, I have a few answers. But lots of things I have no idea about or that what I believe it’s true, might not be the right best, the best thing you know. So, and we’re very open about that as well. I also have wanted to have, and I think I have a company where everybody could speak up, anybody when my door is open, or is always open, and anybody from even the the the intern can come up to me and say, Hey, listen, Ricardo, I have this issue here, I don’t like the way things are going, or I believe what you’re doing here is completely wrong, this could be improved this way. You never know when the next best idea is going to come from. So and I always tell them, we have these meetings, all company meetings once a week. It could be sometimes it could be like 10 minutes, hey, there’s really nothing to talk about. Everything’s you know, business as usual. So that’s it, we see each other and we say hi. Crack a few jokes. In Spanish. I better aim spoke English. But in India, or sometimes? Yes, there are topics to be discussed things that in our company that could be improved. And we discuss them openly. And I want. And I insist that everybody speaks up for those meetings, right? So every day there is one person in charge of running the meeting. And it’s a different person every time so because sometimes people that just sit there and don’t say anything, right, and I hate it.

Andrej Zito

What is the one thing that the team tells you that you can still improve on?

Ricard Sierra

Hmm. That’s a good question. I were I believe, they want to develop, I mean, whatever, whatever has to do with development, personal professional development, careers, how to develop their career, how to improve, how to do training, get training. Those are the things that they value the most. What else basically, that and then I just give them the power to, to talk to clients, and everybody can pick up the phone and talk to a client and discuss a project or whatever. I know that companies some companies don’t do that. I mean, they have they keep separate, like bigger keep project managers in silos where they have zero contact with clients. Our company is built differently. In First Out of necessity, because when there is one or two people, how separate Can you keep things? Right? But it worked. It works. For us, it worked. So people wanted to start working with us. They see they have to call these clients, this very big company, they get scared. But I say, Hey, don’t worry, these are normal people just like you are. Be yourself and you’ll be fine. And I have no idea why I’m saying this. But But yeah, what I believe that what they appreciate the most is when they you give them the chance to learn, and you invest in their education and in their training. And I don’t know, we did this project with data sharing. I know, you know, where we, yeah, I know, I know, their name rings, a bell, Italian guy, weird glasses. So I, as I said, we, as a company, we learn by doing we have, we haven’t worked for any other LSP. So we know we’re doing something right. Otherwise, we will be losing clients, right. But there’s some some things that we really don’t know how other other companies work, how they organise themselves. Basic stuff. So we had this discussion one day with Miriam, when we are saying hear me and we’re saying, Hey, I wish I could leave Kobalt for six months, go to another companies or other companies learn something, and then come back. And I said, Well, you, I cannot let you do that. But I know a guy in New Delhi, who is crazy enough as to let us go there and see, you know, and talk about how they run the company and how they organise themselves and things like that. And for sure, we can do the same. In exchange, right? So I pick up the phone and call do want to say, hey, there’s a great idea. I’ve been wanting to do this for such a long time, but never found anybody as stupid as I, I guess until he found me. So yeah, let’s do it. So we flew to people to creative words, offices in Italy, they spent they spent three days there. And then they flew back to Barcelona, and we spent and they were sitting with us at meetings, they were sitting with us at the computers. I mean, hey, how are you doing this? Why? How are you managing this? There were no secrets. Everything was completely open and transparent. And that was a really, really, really, really good learning experience for them and for us. Because they learned Yes, we are different companies. Yes, we’re doing things differently. Yes, there are things that we might apply from what they do. But all in all, we’re okay. Okay, we’re doing things good ego boost. Yeah. Yeah. But, but you know, that the thing was imposter syndrome, and people feel insecure. And that helps

Andrej Zito

a lot. Right? It also helps with the curiosity. And you don’t know you don’t know. Right? So,

Ricard Sierra

yeah. And you’re and you always think that the grass is greener on the other side, you know, MN and I’m sure there, there is chaos, and there is things that things happening at any company at any level of company. So,

Andrej Zito

but I’ll go back to the question, because I didn’t phrase it correctly. What I actually was interested in when I mentioned like, what is your team thing that you can improve on? I didn’t mean you as a company. Okay. I mean, you as Ricard. Like you’re the man in charge of the company. So

Ricard Sierra

when are they very happy with me? They wouldn’t change anything. I mean. Believe it or not, sometimes I asked that question. Not to everybody, but when I’m talking to someone, hey, what can I do? What can I do better? Say, oh, maybe communication can be improved between you and me or but all in all, they all believe that. We’re doing good and I’m doing good. I don’t know. I’m sure I mean, I’m sure there are lots of things I can I can improve. But either they’re shy or they don’t know any better. Who knows. But yes, sometimes I’m mean not openly to everybody. But you know, we’ve people have been working with For 10 years or eight years, you know, sometimes I bring up that thing, right? Hey, are we doing okay? Are you happy here? Are we still on Route? And to what we want to become? Are we still the company that where we want to work? As far as the the answers are? Yes. So as far as it stays that way, I think we’re, we’re doing a good job. Because as you grow as a company, and things happen, and things get, as you roll, things get more complicated. That’s a given right? I guess and that sometimes it’s easy to deviate from where your intentions were 10 years ago, and the kind of company that you wanted to build 10 years ago. And so to know that you more or less are on track, and you are more or less true to yourself and true to your vision. That’s a good thing.

Andrej Zito

But if you were to self reflect, like, what what do you think is your I don’t know, what’s your biggest weakness?

Ricard Sierra

I believe that my biggest weakness right now is that I was never the CEO of a company, I have zero experience at that. There’s some things that I wish I’d have done sooner, for instance, network networking, I should have, should have done two more conferences and meet more people way earlier than I have than I have. But as I said, when you start a company, and you’re on your company’s in stitches in a way, it’s hard, it’s hard, you have to prioritise. It don’t know. Those are, that’s something that I regret, I haven’t done sooner, get a for instance, get help, or get mentorships. Or because it’s lonely, when you start your company. It’s only you basically, but when you are in that at the top of you know, a company, sometimes it’s it’s also lonely, because there’s some issues that yes, you can discuss with your team, for sure, but some issues that you can’t. So you know, or, you know, you don’t know which way to go to I go to these markets, you invest in this thing or not. And the sooner you get help, or people that maybe they’re not even from our industry, but they’re running other companies, or are in the same situations are you as you are or maybe half are like five or five years ahead of you. And they have gone through that and see how they’ve done that’s, that’s a good thing as well.

Andrej Zito

Earlier, we were talking about the culture, and you mentioned, like, let’s say the foundation of the culture, which was based on your values. So over the time, you know, like you said, like, the company keeps changing, what is let’s say, the most significant value that you let’s say, adopted, or learn from your teammates,

Ricard Sierra

to have a structure, as you probably know, you said before, I’m a creative guy, and I tried to jump from one thing to the other. And from one challenge, when I haven’t finished this challenge, but I think I have this done. I believe that and jump to the next one. I haven’t even finished this one, fully yet. But then, as we brought more people, we brought Miriam to the team, then we brought Sarah and Sarah brought a lot of structure to the way we were doing things and now I stopped, we need to stop doing this. We have to, you know, put things in place, document everything that we do. And things like that. So they’ve, they’ve, in a way they’ve given me a structure as well. That’s something that doesn’t come naturally. To me. Right. And yeah, that’s, I would say that’s the biggest thing. And you also

Andrej Zito

mentioned that one of the things that you wanted to, I don’t know, let’s see, provide or like create an environment where people come to the work and they like it and to make the work fun. How do you do that?

Ricard Sierra

Ah, I don’t have a secret recipe. But I don’t take myself very seriously. As you might have guessed, I might have put on a shirt and a suit and a tie but I don’t and I think that really permeates to the company because I don’t know I might go in there and crack a joke or talk about hey, that’s episode of Game of Thrones. Spoiler alert. Or I don’t know we were woke up is now happening. So I’m talking football with whoever is following their World Cup now at the camp Any, for instance, or I pay for lunch once a month for everybody, and we organise these lunches. Once a month for all the team, the company is paying for them. And the two requirements, there are two rules for these lunches. One, that every month is one different person, the one who’s picking the restaurant making the reservation fixed like that. And the second rule is nothing work related while we’re there. So we took holidays, we target or know, whatever, concerts, kids, but we don’t discuss work things. And that has helped, believe it or not a lot. Because after the pandemic, when, where everybody was still some some sometimes they were working from home. I mean, there were people that I hadn’t met in, like a year or a year and a half, right, you know, to get back to some sort of normalcy and bond. Again, that was something really, really necessary. And those monthly lunches, they, they have done a fantastic job, for instance, and, and we don’t take ourselves really seriously. We try to Yes, as I said, make it as fun as possible. Sure, there are times when the origin deliveries and urgent things and things explode, and you need to fix them and things like that. Yes, for sure. But, you know, try to compensate for

Andrej Zito

him. Are you also not taking yourself seriously when it comes to the clients? Like, do they also get to see that side of you and your team? Or do you just keep it internally? Or depends on the client?

Ricard Sierra

It depends on the client. I’m not gonna lie, I It’s Rico is the guy that one that mimics? Whatever the client is doing. I mean, I might go to a big bank. corporate environment. Yeah, right. Suit and tie is what’s required. That’s, that’s me. And, yeah, I’m perfectly fine. I’m perfectly comfortable doing it. And I have clients that had these, as I told you before, I had this client that called me just 10 minutes before the interview. But it’s just I’ve known this woman for 10 years, maybe. So we were joking and laughing for a good five minutes. Listen, I’m not, I’m not calling you to just to catch up with you and see how you are. You’re doing that, as I know, for that for sure. I mean, you have an urgent request, for sure. How do you know that because we’ve been doing business for 10 years now. And it’s but I adapt to whatever my client is doing. I have all the clients are strictly personal business, and I can talk business as much as anybody. Right?

Andrej Zito

Yeah. But like, in the case of let’s say, the Big Bang Corporation, like you can still be wearing suit. But would you actually try to be the first one to bring the relationship to a more, I don’t know, like a friendlier level, you know, so that the let’s say you don’t wait for the client to actually start cracking jokes, but you will be the one to start cracking jokes, and see like how the client responds, and maybe then you adjust.

Ricard Sierra

Now, and this respect, will always work for the client, just mirror them by completely mirror them.

Andrej Zito

So recently, you you shared your new brand for Kobalt, why did you start thinking about rebirth, rebranding, and maybe give us like a story of the new brands, like what it’s supposed to represent

Ricard Sierra

when I was younger? No, sorry. The thing is that Kobalt as a brand, I came up with a name. And then I had the money to pay it for branding thing. I met this guy who was a designer in Serbia in south of Spain. And he came up to me a decent regard. I can do all the branding for your company, as long as you let me do whatever the EFF I want. And I said, Okay, free. Sounds nice. But why? When asked? He said, Because I work with these clients in South Spain, which are more traditional, you know, they always give me their opinions. Build this really nice logo. Yeah, but can you change the colours? Can you do things? And I want to get out of here. And I want to go to London to go and look for work. And but I have nothing to show my portfolio of the paint jobs, and nothing that I’m proud of. Let me do something that I can show to my potential employers in London and it will be fruitful for you. So I have nothing to lose. Let’s do it. thing is that Sergi that was his name. So he started he did the brand for the for our first branding. And then he used that to present himself in some big design companies there in London, he got a job like two months later. And then from then he moved to another bigger company and then to another beer company. And there was last time I heard of him he was overseeing a company 500 People in in Tokyo No, but no, but but the thing is that our felt that our brand and what was we were transmitting as a brand was really okay, from when we were like a startup, but we’ve grown, we’re older, our hair is whiter. Maybe we gain some weight. And, and it’s it was no longer doing a good job describing what the actual cold is, or more importantly, what we want Kobalt to be in the next five years, for instance. So that’s when the rebranding came about, we want to do to do an evolution of the brand, not a revolution, that something that’s that’s the only indication to the design studio, hey, I want an evolution of the brand, not a revolution. And that’s what they did. And because we want to be one of the biggest companies in Spain, that’s our goal, I believe we’re on track to do that in the next two years, maybe two years, I would say in two years, we would get there in the top five, top 10, top five of Spanish LSPs, which is a very competitive market, as well. And yeah, I believe that we need, you know, a refreshing brand had been for six, seven years now. Untouched there, we built a website, we left it that way. And I felt we needed a change. And that change is always right. The other day, I moved the table from in my office, you know, the orientation. I mean, it was a had the window on the side, and now it’s front facing the window, just you need to change something, you need to move things break things, sometimes, you know, to evolve,

Andrej Zito

right? So does the new brand represent what you want it? Or did you also like get input from team now that it’s more about the people under Kobalt. It’s not only about you, like when you started,

Ricard Sierra

it actually started because one of those meetings I was telling you about there was an Hey, then you think in regards to time to change our website. That was 2017. A lot has changed. Okay, so that was a request by them. I had no intention of doing anything. But I said, Yeah, sure. Let’s do it. Let’s let’s, let’s revamp the website, only the website, but when you start revamping the website, then they tell you all but you should look into the brine and wherever since you’re at it, you know, that’s the reason that and so yeah, we ended up revamping everything. And yeah, we I went to the design studio, for the branding. And so those are the requirements. We weren’t we are we were this company six years ago, we are now at this stage and we want to become that other thing. Can you help us with that too, with the branding and said, Yeah, so the percent that’s like, three options, or four? And I showed that at the meeting in at our company, what do you mean? What’s your input? Everybody agreed on one design one option? So that’s the route we want. But yeah, I checked with them. And it started with them.

Andrej Zito

So what is what is the feature that you’re heading into? How and how is it represented in the new brand?

Ricard Sierra

I shouldn’t have brought the design guy, the agency, they explained that very well. And they give you all these reasons, and why were rounder and thicker typography and things like that. And

Andrej Zito

I do believe I can explain it to you. I can explain to you Well, you’re a seeker because you want to be the top five or top one. So you need to be bolder to show show your position and you want to be more rounded because you want to be more open to new markets and new opportunity.

Ricard Sierra

That’s it more solid and more trustable. Right. You sum it up perfectly. So yep. That was the reason behind it. And

Andrej Zito

no, let’s be serious, like like, what is the future of Kobalt for you or what the team wants the Kobalt to be?

Ricard Sierra

The future is unknown. But yeah, you’re not. I wish I could predict the future. But I also have something that I’ve always said we are on the pilot of this plane. Right. And if I don’t set a course and a route, this plane could be circle circling in the ocean. Then crashing into the war. So you have to set a course. And maybe you want to go to Rio and you will be in Sao Paulo, or maybe when I say it is, but okay, you’re heading to that direction. So the direction we’re heading is that, as I said, we want to be one of the top five companies in Spain, that would translate into getting close to 8 million in revenue, more or less. And you say, Why in Spain? That’s a legitimate question. Because I follow Leonard Cohen and you know, learn our concept. First, we’ll take Manhattan, and then we’ll take Berlin, right? So you need to focus you need to, you need to you need to make someone a player in one market, and then expand to the next one. Right. I mean, there’s no point in Koval trying to get clients here in Spain, and there are no in the UK and Germany. And I don’t know, we felt that we needed to focus, focus on one market, couple of three verticals in one market. Once we get there, and we’re getting close to it, I have to say, we’ll think about moving what’s our next move is going to be and what new markets are we going to

Andrej Zito

go after? How do you see? I don’t know, do you think like the culture will have to change as well as you keep growing more structure? Or like, do you think like, the values will be still the same

Ricard Sierra

device will be the same, but the culturally for sure something will need to change. You will need to be more structured, things are easy when it’s to employees, things are easy. When it’s five employees. Things are getting harder. They’re harder when we were 15. Now, but imagine if we’re 40. You know, we’re not all in the same location where 10 people here 10 People in some other country on Office in Spain, you never know. So I guess there will be an evolution not mean, that’s for sure. And things will get more complicated. Things don’t tend to get easier. They always get more complicated. I mean, that’s for sure. Right. But I guess one of my jobs is to make sure we don’t lose the essence of what I believe the company should be. Yes, we want to be a big player. Yes, we are. We have big ambitions by has to be the cold way. We don’t want to be, again, I don’t want to put names but we don’t want to be like some other big LSPs are doing them in like a soulless Corporation, believe it or not, I mean, I mean, it sounds like an evil thing and soulless Corporation. And if you’re 1,000,000,001 billion company, and we all are thinking about two or three companies that are in this position, it is what it has to be. I mean, there is no other way you have to be a soulless Corporation. I mean, you have no 10,000 employees, that’s what it is. But there are soulless corporations that are smaller LSPs as well. Right. And but real real is more or less same size as us or even smaller than the even at that size. That’s that’s a seem to be a soulless Corporation. When it’s, you know, five employee company,

Andrej Zito

that may be actually a good segue to one of my notorious questions, what do you think is wrong with our industry?

Ricard Sierra

To me, the biggest issue is that we have zero relevance for in zero relevance, no, sorry, zero influence or our, within our clients. I mean, they take translation as a given as an afterthought as a layer that we put on top of whatever we do. And yeah, we have no influence. I mean, you know, nobody would question I don’t know, developers, for instance, in a company, right? Nobody would talk or discuss about the importance of that. And they will give a seat at the table for bigger project, nobody gives a seat at the table to LSPs or localization department. But it’s even true for localization departments within companies. And sometimes you talk to them and you realise they have, like, no power at all. Right? And yes, yes, for us as an LSP. External LSP working with clients, sometimes hard to, you know, get a seat on a table when talking about, you know, globalisation projects or whatever. But it’s also hard for internal departments in companies to get a seat at the table at their own company. Right. So I think that’s something that needs to be fixed. I don’t know how can we do it? But yeah, we need to, you know, get be more relevant.

Andrej Zito

I was going to ask you like, how, since you

Ricard Sierra

have no, I have I have I wish I had the solution. I don’t know. I don’t I don’t have an answer for that. But the thing is, I had this client once that said, I’m doing my job right here. Before working with you, or even when we started working with you, we were doing a project and we didn’t think about translation at all. I mean, there was something that we were going to do at the end of it, whatever it was the project, right? Right. Now, when we start a project at the developing phase, we say, do we have money? Do we have a budget to the translation, because if we don’t have the money, and this is not going to be translated into the languages that we need, there is no difference between doing the project and not doing it. The end result is going to be the same. Nobody’s going to read whatever we publish, if it is not translated into the native language, right? So well, okay, that’s a small win for us. Okay.

Ricard Sierra

And you try to, I hate the word educate, educate your clients, clients are already educated, you don’t need to educate them. But they have to be aware that they have to think about localization and globalisation. As soon as the project is, in its initial stages, concept, right? Because that will dictate if it does make sense, how we’re going to do it, how we’re going to tackle because sometimes when you they end up, they do the project, they finish it, and it’s an already in English. And now we need to translate all you need to read this, what do you have to go back to square one, or square five? Maybe, and start from there, because the choices and the work that you’ve made? I’ve made this man localizable in a way.

Andrej Zito

Okay, final question. What would be your one advice to someone starting a translation agency these days?

Ricard Sierra

Start? Don’t leave it, do it. Go with it? Don’t worry. I mean, you don’t know the answers for everything. Don’t worry, nobody does. Nobody has the answers for everything right? Start the journey, get into the get into troubles get into challenges, and you will find a way out for sure. For sure. As I said, get help educate yourself. That’s a big one. I mean, you are now maybe transitioning from being a translator into being an entrepreneur, right? So there’s lots of things you have to learn, you have to learn your financials, get your numbers, right, you don’t have to be an expert. But you need to at least get to the level where where you talk to the expert, and you understand more or less what he’s telling you. Right? That’s a big thing. But not only financials, development things, I mean, technology, you don’t have to be the expert, but you have to be able to sit at the table and understand what they’re talking about and discuss these things. So those are the two or three tips, or advices. I would say start. Don’t worry, nobody has the all the answer for everything and educate yourself.

Andrej Zito

All right, regards. Gracias, very much. A pleasure. Pleasure, pleasure, pleasure chatting with you. So thank you. I have no idea. I’d like one minute. All right. Thank you and talk to you so much. It was a pleasure. Bye bye.

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