by Thibaut Mollard, translated by Jeff Probst
The digital age is well upon us. Its growth has been explosive; few would contest that digital devices have become an integral part of our daily routine, changing the way we work and live. Humans continue to cede more and more ground to machines, and this trend will only continue with the increasing influence of the internet – after all, there’s no denying that better connectivity can certainly help get things done more quickly and easily. Why waste time travelling to actually meet someone when you can soon get things done by having a chat with them on Skype instead? Why bother sending price quotes, invoices or finished translations through the postal service, like in the good old days, when you can send them by email with the click of a button? Well, maybe because the “human” dimension is the very thing we need to truly get to know each other, to understand one another and work more efficiently together. But this dimension is often sadly lacking in the digital world, which can sometimes feel lifeless and impersonal.
“We’ve made plans to see you!”
And so, it was with these words that BVIW launched an invitation for an old-fashioned get-together to its in-house staff and team of freelancers. What could be better than actually meeting people in order to get to know them and establish contacts? What better way to instill team spirit (which freelancers, who are so adept at working on their own, often miss out on) and offer a unified vision for everyone?
But stuffy business meetings are no fun, so BVIW decided to invite the entire team to the Bavarian Alps, near the region’s famous Lake Chiemsee (pronounced “Keemzay”) for a fun and informative getaway beginning on Thursday, June 23. The schedule for the two-day event included discussions of strategy and presentations of BVIW services to help everyone better understand the company’s profile – with a healthy dose of networking, new discoveries and good humor along the way in a delightfully bucolic setting.
The event began with an informal gathering on the sunny patio of our hotel in the tiny village of Adersberg to meet with acquaintances old and new. Spirits were high as we then set off on a short hike through the countryside to a fully restored former inn, where we enjoyed traditional local products.
Our meal may have been Bavarian, but the evening had an international flavor with guests from around the globe (Germany, Spain, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, France, Finland, Italy, and the United States) and discussions were lively.
BVIW: much more than translation
The next morning, we got down to business in more traditional style by gathering for a general conference of all guests.
Anton van Iersel, Ronald Erlandsson-Klein and Richard Peters took turns to speak, giving us an overview of BVIW as it stands today: its work culture, its key customers and, just as important, its future goals. All of us in the room could clearly see the role we and our individual talents play in the company’s ongoing success – and that this was just one of the things we had in common.
Next, we moved on to talk about the personalized services the company offers. Make no mistake, BVIW offers much more than just translation. Its unique services have set it apart from the competition and helped to build up a devoted customer base that recognizes the value that BVIW adds as a true communications and public relations agency. Various members of the BVIW staff took turns presenting these services to us, both to explain the work involved and to encourage the external partners in the room to think beyond translation, develop other skills and join BVIW on this journey.
When it comes to ensuring the quality of translations, each text a BVIW translator produces is reread and corrected by another translator who is also a native speaker, both to check the grammar, spelling and punctuation and to ensure that every nuance of meaning in the source text shines through.
BVIW offers this same copy optimization service to all its customers – not only for the texts they need translated but, just as importantly, for all the texts they need to produce. A good example is customers who want to write directly in English even if it’s not their mother tongue. BVIW’s team of native English experts helps them to structure their ideas and find the right idiomatic expressions.
And let’s not forget that a translator is above all a specialist of the written word, and a top-notch editor as well. So why shouldn’t a translator write the source texts directly for the customer? The idea is to be a creative writer for companies that need all sorts of copywriting for product descriptions, marketing texts, and many other communications. To facilitate this task, customers provide BVIW with the information it needs to write the texts, and they give the copywriter a briefing to explain the key words, the most important points and the messages to get across.
Our extremely informative morning conference session was interspersed with coffee breaks for more socializing and networking, and ended with a presentation of two software solutions BVIW uses: TRARES, a database containing all the documents BVIW has translated, which the company’s translators have been using for several years now as a bilingual knowledge management archive to search for words and expressions in their full context; and ONTRAM, a web-based translation memory tool for managing both translation projects and each individual translation.
The highlight of the afternoon was a trip to one of the region’s stunning tourist attractions: Lake Chiemsee, the ideal place for participants from abroad to discover the beautiful Bavarian countryside. After a cruise on the lake, a guided tour of a craft brewery on Fraueninsel island and a round of drinks in a superb Biergarten, we returned to our hotel for a cookout and an evening of good cheer – which even the results of the previous day’s Brexit referendum failed to dim.
A “summit meeting” amidst the Alpine peaks? Actually, more like a unique opportunity to learn how a group of highly talented individuals who are used to working alone can work towards common goals to form a “winning team” – a fitting way to conclude after the 2016 European soccer championships of this summer!
A big thanks to Anton, Ronald and Richard!