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Translation Companies Aren’t Good at Translating Themselves

I read today that the translation firm RWS Group has changed its name to ENLASO Corporation. Now I understand that the letters RWS hardly roll off the tongue, but is ENLASO any major improvement?

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According to the press release, the new name “was created to convey the nature of the company’s enterprise language solutions, language experts, resources, and quality processes.”

Huh?

Will someone see the name ENLASO and think “enterprise language solutions”? I doubt it. While I don’t see the name change as a big step backwards, but it’s certainly not a big step forward. And redesigning the Web site, letterhead, business cards, etc. is not a trivial expense.

This announcement hits on a theme I’ve been returning to again and again over the years — translation agencies, with a few exceptions, do not speak the language of their customers.

When a customer says, “I want to globalize my Web site,” an agency will often reply, “You mean, you want to internationalize and then localize your Web site.” I started using the term Web globalization a long time ago simply because this was the one term that most customers understood; many people within the industry still resist using it. And did you know that the world’s second largest translation agency, Lionbridge, got its name by playing off the abbreviation for localization (L10n)?

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People within the industry know this, but I wonder how many of their customers know, or care.

The name business is tricky, and I could be wrong — ENLASO could be a hit. And it’s always good news for business card industry.

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John Yunker
John is co-founder of Byte Level Research and author of . He has published 14 annual editions of The Web Globalization Report Card and is also co-founder of Ashland Creek Press.
John Yunker
John Yunker

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