e2f

e2f started in 2003 with 3 employees working in a living room on French and French Canadian translations. Now, e2f has 4 global offices and translates over 30 million new words a year for multilingual translation agencies, app developers, and companies in the IT, technical, marketing, hospitality, life sciences, and other industries.

  • As business growth dropped due to the recession, e2f needed to reduce their high production costs.
  • Their in-house system from 2004 was outdated and slow and needed replacement.
  • e2f wanted a robust API to automate their workflow and eliminate manual processes.
The following is written by Pia Bresnan, Director of Partnerships at e2f.

e2f has almost 10 years of experience in translation and localization. We have become the largest French language provider in the world, and are well known in the industry as leaders in language production management. e2f’s strength is in our 24/5 production process and linguistic quality management. We work with a very large pool of translators, both internal and external; we manage over 50 new projects per day totaling up to 400K words per week. Michel, our CEO, developed our in-house system in 2004 and tailored it to support every one of our requirements, little by little adding features and reporting functionalities in order to drill down on processes and quality management. When we were smaller, the development of features was easy and fast. Now that we have grown to be the largest English to French translation production agency in the world, our in-house system has become cumbersome and slow.

Wake-up call

With over 200 linguists in our resources database, approximately 30% of our revenue went toward project coordination management, which despite some automation efforts, was still very manual: sending emails back and forth, schedule linguistic process, confirm and approve, follow up, schedule linguistic backup management, technical difficulties, new client instructions, query management, quality management, etc.

We got a wake-up call toward the end of 2012 when the recession seemed to hit us for the first time and forced us to re-examine our high cost of production. It was clear that change was needed and fast. In an ever changing and ever more agile environment, it was important to become cloud-based. We wanted our 24/5 workflow to be embedded within our website, where we would create projects for our clients, manage the front end and the production workflow, as well as be flexible enough to accept external projects.

We tested several systems, but none measured up to the functionalities Michel had built into our in-house system. Moreover, they were process-heavy and some of the functions possessed unnecessary complexities. These options also didn’t provide an API with enough flexibility and automation to create a behind-the-scenes communication path with a backend translation management system robust enough to launch projects with diverse file types and CAT tools, allocate to linguists, put linguists in back-up, get project status, manage queries, exceptions and last minute updates, gather translated files, reviewed files, linguist comments, add grades for quality of the translation, and repackage the project ready for delivery according to our clients’ requirements.

Eureka!

In August, Michel was approached by Transifex to act as a translation consultant for their platform. They had approached localization with an IT perspective and needed some feedback on the features and functionalities. We were skeptical at first because we had gone through these types of exercises before, but their approach was interesting and very creative. The more we worked on the platform and asked questions, the more we realized that this platform could be the answer we were looking for. The translation portal itself was pretty bare bones at first; certain key features translators rely on were not available or not sophisticated enough to be of value, such as concordance searches, propagation of repetitions, and leverage of glossary matches. Michel provided as much feedback as possible to help Transifex enhance their platform and in doing so developed a trusting relationship with the development and support team.

Solution implementation

With the help of the Transifex API, we worked on developing our own back-end solution originating from our website. We created a frictionless translation management automation system all the while providing the Transifex team with more input to improve their localization platform. The reactivity and enthusiasm of their team was bar none.

We started testing the new system on live projects with enormous success. We estimate that after the SaaS model is rolled out company-wide, our infrastructure costs will be lowered by over 15%. We can work with any translator with an internet connection, and there is total transparency over the work done with statistics and quality checks. Our project coordinators spend less time managing processes and more time with our clients, increasing client satisfaction. Already, a survey conducted by e2f recently showed that by far and large, the main strength of e2f is our responsiveness. With our new system, project set-up and translation process automation has reduced turnaround times and is helping us adapt to an ever more agile environment.

We continue providing our high level of translation quality according to the clients’ requirements, but now we are not bogged down in processes. Already our clients can see the difference as we are able to increase large-scale projects and really small ones with the same efficiency. With the help of the Transifex platform, we have been able to create a system that can harness all the complexities of project management and manage the finesse of translation providing a one-stop-solution for ourinternal process and our clients. It’s fast, simple, efficient and it’s flexible; more importantly it will be able to grow with us as e2f Case Study 4 we expand our business. We are flexible in our service offering providing value to large multilingual agencies by providing quality translations and a frictionless solution to the small app developer as well.

To infinity and beyond…

We have felt the repercussions of staying static with a tunnel vision. It caused us to lose sight of the big picture and not evolve with an industry that keeps changing by leaps and bounds. We had over 20% growth in previous years and a single digit growth rate projected for 2012 made us realize that something was not working. While some feel expansion of their product offering is enough, we went beyond our comfort zone and with an open mind reevaluated our company image, our technology, our workflow and our vision: To be the leading translation producer with a frictionless translation management system capable of accepting projects of any size in multiple languages efficiently and effectively. We embrace new technologies and implement those that will work best for us and our clients in the ever evolving landscape of localization.

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