18 Dec/18

Lesson 6: Understand your international colleagues and the markets they operate in

Florian Schwieger
Dr. Florian Schwieger, Head of Global Sales, EVS Translations

As EVS Translations UK approaches the celebration of its 20th anniversary in February, its founder and CEO, Edward Vick and the EVS Translations team have been joining us on the blog each week to speak about the business and life lessons learned from the UK chapter of the international business.

This week, Florian Schwieger – our Head of Global Sales based at Germany HQ – gives his perspective.

Florian started with EVS Translations USA almost 10 years ago, but now oversees all sales teams across EVS Translations’ international offices, including the UK sales team. What has he learned from working with our UK team?

How the UK and Central European language markets differ

The main difference to me is that the UK (and the US) language services market is highly fragmented and price driven. There is a seemingly infinite number of small LSPs battling for jobs with very little differentiation in terms of quality all using the same pool of freelance translators which they access when they have jobs.

In these competitive markets, quality is often second to the bottom line. Another difference is that the Central European markets have a much stronger single-language vendor focus, as a big portion of the business is dominated by translations into English. So, in Germany, a company can focus on German into English translations and build an in-house team because this is the dominant language combination. In the UK, business is always multilingual. English goes into many languages, making it much harder to build an in-house team, which is the business model of EVS Translations.

What this means is, almost all competitors operate on an agency model. For us, that means we need to find and then capture those clients who have strong demand in one or several of our 10 in-house languages and who value the quality and security that come with our approach, or to attract clients that benefit from our international footprint and broad portfolio of services. It is certainly a different game.

…And working life culture?

Working life is a little different between Germany and the UK or USA. I think that it has something to do with the traditionally stricter separation between business and private life in Germany. A lot of people in Germany still draw a fairly firm line between work and pleasure.

If they work, they are very focused and task driven. While that is also changing in Germany these days, I often feel in more Anglo-Saxon cultures that this separation is not as strict. People identify more with their jobs and thereby are more willing to connect to their coworkers, customers and clients.

Maybe that is simply the good old Puritan work ethic permeating the soul of Americans and Brits but whatever it is, personally, I do like the courteousness of UK and US business people.

Why I’m looking forward to turning 20

We have a really talented and motivated team in Nottingham and as a result, EVS Translations UK is finishing on a high in 2018 with a lot of new clients, new products, and interesting opportunities on the horizon. That’s a very exciting position to be in and I am looking forward to see where we will go next.

Lesson learned

In the last year and a half, I have been fortunate to be able to come to Nottingham on a regular basis. By doing so, I have learned a lot about the UK translation market, but also about customer expectation and their specific requirements.

Most importantly, spending time with my colleagues allowed me to see EVS Translations as a company in a new (more global) light and I think we all benefit from exchanging ideas. I like that every time I get to come here we come up with new ideas on how to grow the business.