Between Traducciones Spanish translation agency based in Seville, specialising in certified translation
Please introduce yourself and your startup Between Traducciones to our readers!
My name is Ana Gutiérrez González, and I am the founder of Between Traducciones. I hold a degree in Translation and Interpretation and am a Certified Translator in English, authorised by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation to carry out translations in an official capacity both in Spain and abroad. Between is a translation agency specialising in certified translations of every type of document, from Civil Registry certificates to commercial documents, as well as medical certificates, academic documentation, contracts and legal documents. These types of translations are sealed and signed by the translator, which grants them official status and legal validity.
How did you get the idea of Between Traducciones?
Translation has always been my calling, so I have focused my career path in this direction since the beginning. Before embarking on my entrepreneurial journey, I worked for several very intense months at what was, at that time, one of Spain’s most active certified translation agencies. This allowed me to learn a lot about the inner workings of this type of company and also about the field of certified translation, as it was my first professional experience. The working conditions were quite precarious, but it was a sort of trial by fire, an accelerated master’s, if you will. I learned so much. When I decided to leave the company, I continued working as a freelancer for other translation agencies until, ultimately, I decided to create my own with the help of some friends who designed the brand.
Why did you decide to start with Between Traducciones?
As I was saying, I worked for several years both as a freelancer as well as on the staff of other translation agencies, but I found it very difficult to attain any economic stability. Most agencies offer ridiculously low rates, paying their invoices 30, 60 or even 90 days out and working with extremely tight deadlines that undermine the work quality, so the time came when I decided that I wanted to cut out the middlemen. I wanted to work directly with clients through a translation company where quality was prioritised over quantity and that offered its collaborators fair rates and timely payments. I was not out to create a large company but, rather, a good company.
What is the vision behind Between Traducciones?
Our main vision at Between Traducciones is to sustain a business model based on honesty, responsibility and a customer-focused approach. We are a translation company with a clear investment in quality, and we will continue to work with the goal of becoming the leading agency for comprehensive linguistic and communications solutions.
How difficult was the start and which challenges you had to overcome?
Starting your own business is very difficult, and it has been very challenging to get where we are today. Competition is one of the main challenges to face when creating any company. I had to compete with big companies, years ahead of me in the industry, that could afford to offer very low rates thanks to not very ethical practices. And I did not want my agency to be like that. I wanted to pay my collaborators fairly and value our profession.
In addition, starting a company entails an important initial investment: you have to create and register your brand, design a website, rent office space, allocate money to advertising and web positioning… These were all costs that I could only take on little by little, and with my parents’ help, as it is very difficult to get financing in Spain. Aside from that, as up to that time I had only worked for other translation agencies, I did not have a client portfolio per se, as all of my clients belonged to the agency, so I had to start from scratch.
Who is your target audience?
Really, we work with all sorts of clients: individuals, public entities, companies… Anyone who may need a certified translation, from a university student who has completed a Master’s degree abroad and wants to validate their studies to enrol in a doctoral programme in Spain to a foreign company that needs to translate documentation for a public tender, or even government agencies that, for example, are going to carry out a research project with a foreign company and need to make the contract available to that company in their own language.
What is the USP of your startup?
I would say that we have three: specialisation, speed and personalised attention. In Spanish, there is a saying: El que mucho abarca poco aprieta, something along the lines of “Jack of all trades, master of none.” At Between Traducciones we prefer to specialise in a specific area, that of certified translation. This allows us to offer better quality work in less time (always within reasonable timeframes and respecting the time that each project requires). Our quick response time and personalised attention are the two aspects that most stand out for our clients. I personally manage every project to advise them if they have any questions and to provide them with all of the necessary information throughout the process, from the time they request a quote to when they receive the documentation.
Can you describe your typical workday?
I spend my days between emails, phone calls and translations, sometimes in the office and others at home. And I am also personally responsible for carrying out all the certified translations from English to Spanish (translations from Spanish are always carried out by target-language natives), so I spend quite a lot of my day translating and at the same time attending to new quote requests, managing projects in other languages (although I am extremely lucky to have very professional collaborators who make this part relatively easy) and responding to our clients’ concerns. I like to stay on top of every aspect of my business.
Where do you see yourself and your startup Between Traducciones in five years?
At the moment, I work exclusively with freelance collaborators, which is really the most typical set-up in our sector, and I do not have any plans to modify this dynamic. The company works very well like this and I am not one for changing anything that is working well. My objective is to keep reaching new clients, to expand on a national level (we are currently one of the top three companies in every province of our autonomous community and are gaining ground in major cities) and that my clients never stop being satisfied so that we can keep being the highest rated company in the industry.
I do not know how things will be in five years, but what I do believe is that I am going to keep on striving as hard as I always have because I am passionate about my profession and the work that I dedicate myself to every day.
What 3 tips would you give to founders?
First of all, that they have patience! At the beginning, everything is very slow. It is not easy to get the resources to invest, there is huge market competition, and it can be many months, or even years, before you manage to make a living from your business, but if there is effort and quality work behind it, the time will come. The work is the key to everything.
I would also tell them not to try to compete on pricing. As time goes by and you are not seeing results, it is easy to fall into the trap of lowering your prices to attract more clients, but competing on pricing is never a good idea, because your business will not be profitable. You have to value your work and establish fair rates. There will always be clients who are looking for the cheapest option, that is obvious, but there are many others who are seeking quality, and if you offer it to them, they will stay with you and will not mind paying a little more.
My last bit of advice, though no less important, is to always fight for what you want. When I was studying for my degree, a friend who had already graduated was constantly telling me that I would never manage to make a living in translation. Now, ten years later, we laugh, and she says it is a good thing I did not listen to her. It is good to listen to advice, but never let anyone tell you how far you can go.
Thank you Ana Gutiérrez González for the Interview
Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.