Banding Together for Better Business
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the uninitiated, joining an association with dozens,
even hundreds, of your competitors, could seem daft,
to say the least. As for openly sharing information
with them, well, you'd have to be nuts, wouldn't you?
Or would you?
For several years now, Eurotexte, the company I
co-founded in Paris in 1986, has belonged to a close
network of European translation companies. In our
experience, banding together has been good for business,
yielding unexpected benefits, including where it
really counts: on our bottom line.
Supplier and supli-ee
One unexpected benefit of associating with other
European translation companies is that we have found
several valued suppliers. Our "competitors" include excellent SLVs with the ability to provide
Eurotexte with a quality translation product with
all the services we need: translation, editing,
DTP, proofreading and TM updating.
In addition to finding some great new suppliers,
another unexpected benefit is that we have become
a supplier to a number of MLVs, who are also theoretically
our competitors. While the economics of national
pricing structures would suggest that our translation
company clients should come from the northern countries
and the United States, even this isn't true all
the time. We now have MLV clients in some surprising
But even if our competitors have the potential to
become clients and suppliers, we still need to keep
secrets from them, don't we?
Share and share alike
Or do we? The truth of the matter is that sharing
knowledge freely with other translation companies
hasn't cost us a single client. In fact, we've gained
some new ones because, frankly, we're better as
a company: whether we're talking about using a new
technology more effectively, or adapting a new marketing
technique, in terms of exchanging helpful information
we give as good as we get, and everyone is the richer
The result of all this is that our so-called competitors
have become clients, suppliers and partners.
For a professional association to be able to offer
these benefits to all of us, we need ample opportunities
to meet and to build close relationships. This means
anything and everything that will give us the occasion
to get to know each other better: dinners, cocktail
parties, even weekend conferences in sunny locations
And why not go one step further and create forums
for sharing our knowledge with each other? Given
the pressures on our industry right now, we cannot
afford to overlook any opportunities. With translation
becoming a commodity, distinguished only by its
price, anything that adds to the professional level
of individual members brings up the standing of
our industry as a whole.
For us, this all adds up to a win-win situation.
People who fear close associations with their competitors
run the risk of missing out on a great opportunity
to improve as a company and, especially, to grow
that all-important bottom line.
Thicke is co-founder of Eurotexte
in Paris. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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