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How to expand at 30% per year for 20 years: Translated did it

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How can you achieve 30% growth each year and repeat this feat for 20 years? This is the challenge successfully met by Translated, a company run by Isabelle Andrieu and her husband. By striving for efficiency at all company levels, Isabelle Andrieu and her husband have built Translated into a translation giant. The company provides its services to all types of customers: from the most influential groups (Google, Airbnb) to individuals and small and medium-sized businesses.

Isabelle Andrieu looks back on the steps that have marked Translated’s evolution and its recipes for keeping up with hypergrowth. In particular, Translated raised funds in 2021, a performance that is all the more remarkable given that fundraising in companies led by women is rare (8.1% in our research)

Summary


The marketing idea to be retained absolutely

Prospects are impatient. When it comes to services, you need to offer them solutions that let them know immediately what they will have to pay. Translated’s online module to calculate the translation price directly is the first step to success.

As we already explained in this article, speed is one of the keys to success in B2B. You need to show your responsiveness to prospects to win business. To achieve this, automating the pricing process as much as possible is crucial.


icône expérience entrepreneuriale et chiffres-clés

Chapter 1: Translated in 1 key figure

7.

Translated has invested in Villas, in which the employees are located on the Pi Campus in Rome. Translated owns 6 villas in Rome and a 7th in Tuscany. It is in the latter that “off-site” strategy seminars are held. Employees can also enjoy the villa in Tuscany with friends and family. For this purpose, they are given tokens that they can use to book the villa.

As you will hear in this podcast, Isabelle Andrieu is very attentive to the well-being of her employees. They are genuinely pampered, proving that human capital is perhaps the most precious thing in a company.

What characterizes Translated is the use of artificial intelligence applied to the world of translation. We’ve injected technology back into a little archaic world


genèse de l'idée entrepreneuriale

Chapter 2: the genesis of the business idea

The idea behind Translated was born out of necessity: the need to find a job that would provide an income for Isabelle and her husband, Marco.

Isabelle and Marco met during their Erasmus in Grenoble (France), each studying in their own field: physics and computer science for Marco, languages for Isabelle.

We had the intuition to do a translation business because it was something that united us a lot

When Isabelle found herself in Italy, the need to earn money led the couple to make an inventory of their skills to find a project. This is how the idea of an online translation platform was born in the 90s. The Internet was still in its infancy, and of course, things didn’t go exactly to plan.

It had to be easy. The vision right away was to create something easy and immediately answer a question: how much will it cost me?


validation de l'idée entrepreneuriale

Chapter 3: confirmation of the business idea

The idea was confirmed by going into the market without any prior research.
The market characteristic was the need to respond efficiently to market demand. So, the vision was to give the prospect a price and a timeframe immediately.

At first, it didn’t work at all. The Italian market wasn’t ready. It was the very beginning of the Internet

The translation market went beyond Italy’s geographic borders and required a global approach. So, Isabelle and her husband set out to find ways to drive traffic to their website.


démarrage de la startup

Chapter 4: getting started

After a difficult start, Isabelle and Marco decided to make themselves known on the Internet and social networks. They did this via the creation of public interest pages.

We became very good at understanding Google’s algorithms. We managed to get to the top position by proposing general interest pages

Inbound marketing and SEO are the 2 factors of success

Isabelle Andrieu explains how the inbound marketing strategy was based on general interest pages at the beginning of Translated’s adventure. Translated placed banner ads on these pages to attract prospects and translators.

The traffic generated attracted the attention of a U.S. company that bought the advertising space. This cash infusion gave Translated a fresh start.

Increased visibility = more demand and more supply

This high visibility had two positive effects. On the one hand, it allowed Translated to receive many translators’ CVs, which was essential to build a network capable of absorbing the demand. On the other hand, it increased the demand and started a virtuous circle.


phase de décollage de l'entreprise

Chapter 5: take off

Translated’s organic growth will leave many dreaming: 30% per year! This performance results from a frantic search for efficiency at all levels of the company.

In 2003, Translated took off. The Italian company signed a contract with Google to translate advertisements into 63 languages. This was a great opportunity that led to others, including Microsoft and, more recently, Airbnb (2021).

For the past 20 years, we have been growing at a rate of 30% per year.

Isabelle Andrieu, Translated

In the podcast, Isabelle explains that the increase in demand has pushed Translated to look for new technological ways to serve its customers better and faster. Marco was the team’s visionary, finding solutions to select translators’ CVs and match translators to a particular project.

A simple idea also drove the search for efficiency: avoid translating the same sentence twice. It is in this context that the My Memory project was launched. My memory is an archive of human translations. This knowledge base makes it possible to use translations that have already been done and to focus only on what is new.


le futur de la startup

Chapter 6: the future

After 20 successful years and fundraising in 2021, Isabelle tells us about her goals for the future.

Innovation will continue to be a significant focus, developing technologies for film dubbing.

In general, Translated wants to provide solutions to simplify semi-automated translations and solve better problems related to the language barrier.


A podcast to help you develop your start-up

The “Entrepreneurship and Marketing” podcast traces the different stages in the life of a promising start-up. By identifying the key elements of success at each phase of the start-up’s development, we help you find solutions for your company.

The podcast is divided into 4 to 6-minute chapters. Each chapter is dedicated to a specific theme or development phase. You can listen to the entire podcast or choose to listen to only a part of it by directly selecting the one that interests you the most. You can also find the video version of the interview on our YouTube channel.

Illustration images: shutterstock

Author: Pierre-Nicolas Schwab

Dr. Pierre-Nicolas Schwab is the founder of IntoTheMinds. He specializes in e-commerce, retail and logistics. He is also a research fellow in the marketing department of the Free University of Brussels and acts as a coach for several startups and public organizations. He holds a PhD in Marketing, a MBA in Finance, and a MSc in Chemistry. He can be contacted by email, Linkedin or by phone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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