Russ: Welcome back to The BusinessMakers Show, brought to you by Comcast Business, built for business. My guest today, Flor Dimassi, Co-founder and CEO of Global Speak Translations; Flor, welcome to The BusinessMakers Show.
Flor: Russ, thank you, it’s a pleasure to see you again; thank you for having me here on the show.
Russ: You bet. So tell us about Global Speak Translations.
Flor: Well Russ, Global Speak Translations is a precision firm that specializes in technical translation in the energy sector. Our particular focus is to support the technical operations of all the exploration and production side as well as the service provider side. Any language, any country; if you’re drilling it we speak it.
Russ: Oh wow, so that takes some very special people to do that right?
Flor: Yes, yes. We need field experienced translators as well as translators that have experience with the technical terminology. As you know technical terminology could be a language on its own.
Russ: Sure. So are you telling me that some of your people, some of your translators are also engineers and some of them might even be oil patch workers?
Flor: We try for all of our translators to have some sort of mechanical engineering background; either civil engineer, mechanical, electrical, geologist, depending on the subject matter that we are translating. As you know, the President of our company is a geologist himself with field experience.
Russ: Okay. And so it being now 2015 and all the activity taking place in Mexico I would assume that perhaps that translation into Mexican is perhaps your biggest market piece?
Flor: We have been so blessed with the advent of the Mexico Energy Reform. We have been extremely busy ever since this past November because that’s what we do, we specialize in technical terminology. We are registered with PEMEX Procurement International and we work with PEMEX very closely and we know their style, we know what they are expecting. So yes, we’ve been very blessed and we’ve been extremely busy up till now working on the Mexico Energy Reform.
Russ: Okay, okay. And so I guess though if you look at it, it’s really just sort of starting now so if it really takes foothold and there’s a lot of development going on you could have a lot of business in Mexico, right?
Flor: Oh yes. We are, as you can see, many of the events that are taking place here locally talk about the Mexico Energy Reform, what’s in the future, what’s the next step? Ground zero is now finished so now it’s just a matter of seeing what the next steps will be.
Russ: Okay. So how many people work today for Global Speak Translations.
Flor: Well we run a boutique operation as you know and we are not like other translation agencies that says that we have thousands and thousands of translators. Our team of translators could run from 25 to 50 at any given time and we want to keep it small numerically because we are specialists in technical terminology; 90% of the translations that we do have to do with the energy sector. We do other translations as well in the medical, educational and the arts field but our specialty is technical terminology because our team is composed of engineers themselves. And that is our focus, to continue doing that. Why? Because at the same time we are saving costs and that is something that we also can give back to our customers in giving them precision work at an effective cost price.
Russ: Okay. So technical translations can be, in my opinion, very important, very serious; so do you do it essentially just with one translator on every sort of project or are they sort of double-checked and crosschecked?
Flor: Every project is unique and as you mentioned there’s a liability behind it in translating it so you have to know what you’re doing and this is why precisely we have a variety of departments. If a project entails geology then it goes through our geology department and the translators do the translation and it goes to the editing department and then to the final approval; so that is the process.
Russ: Okay, so are you mostly translating written documents?
Flor: The majority of the work we do, yes; it’s either very technical terminology – either operational procedures, PowerPoint presentations, websites, you name it – and training material as well or legal contracts. If it’s a legal contract between two companies then it goes to our legal department where we have lawyers that are bilingual and they know the terminology as well.
Russ: Okay. Now do you ever have a job that requires an onsite bilingual person translating as a drilling activity is actually taking place?
Flor: Yes, yes. We’ve worked for several local companies in training either the mud school, environmental solutions and it requires for us to have our steel-toed boots, hard hats, be out in the shop in front of the new technology, the machinery, the procedures and that’s what we do as well. And at the more conference level we’ve travelled now with we mentioned the Mexico Energy Reform in the past and we’ve been extremely busy travelling to Mexico City, Costa Rica, Veracruz; these are the main points where exploration and production is taking place and we do also simultaneous interpretation as the presenter is speaking of the materials at the conferences.
Russ: Okay, do you ever have personnel offshore on a rig?
Flor: Yes, we’ve had in the past and whatever the job entails we have the teams that are ready to go and perform.
Russ: Okay, sort of sounds like the business at Global Speak Translations has been preparing for this opportunity that just evolved with Mexico changing their whole strategy on oil and gas production; did you build the company knowing that was going to happen?
Flor: Not at all, not at all Russ; this has been a surprise for us. It’s just like a highway; it’s been a highway that has been going on and on and that highway divides into other highways and byways and we never know what the opportunities will be. Four years ago the Mexican Energy Reform was not on our radar and all of a sudden here it is and we had to prepare and gear up so that we can provide the services that we say that we are experts to do.
Russ: Okay, so do you speak multiple languages?
Flor: I am fluent in Spanish, French and English.
Russ: Wow. Okay, so have you done translation work as an individual along the way or did you just get interested in languages?
Flor: I will always be a translator and an interpreter. Now my focus in the company as a leader of the company is now to be the Project Coordinator on the linguistic side, but I love languages – languages are my passion. If I did not have to earn a living I would be learning languages.
Russ: Okay, that’s interesting. And it’s a fascinating business but I know a little bit about your background too. So you come from an entrepreneurial family that really wasn’t in the language business, right?
Flor: Right, yes,
Russ: Share your background.
Flor: Well I come from a family of merchants. Since we were children we were always in the family listening to what are you going to do when you grow up? What kind of business are you going to have? What are you going to – it’s always a surprise because I have a cousin that sells brooms and everybody’s like wow, what are you going to make a living out of that and now he makes more money than any of us. As you know I’m one of the Co-founders of Dimassi Restaurants, which now developed the Fadi’s Restaurants; so that family is always a family where we are entrepreneurs. We identify a service that the public needs and we make it a business.
Russ: Very, very interesting. Well I really appreciate you sharing your story, I want to stay in touch with you and see how much this business grows over the next few years.
Flor: Fantastic. Thank you, thank you Russ and remember, Global Speak Translation, energy in every language.
Russ: There you go. All right, and that wraps up my discussion with Flor Dimassi, the Co-founder and CEO of Global Speak Translations. And this is The BusinessMakers Show, brought to you by Comcast Business, built for business.
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