Taking the agile approach to business

So what is an agile business exactly? Well, basically it means that you are constantly adapting your business to the changing needs and demands you see around you.

The terms ‘agile’ and ‘going lean’ are becoming quite common now in new business technologies, although the concept is still relatively unknown in more traditional business environments.

There are no short cuts to success in today’s markets. The world is changing, people are changing, technology is changing and needs are changing constantly too. And businesses need to be able to respond quickly to these changes. But there’s no guarantee that strategies that worked perfectly well yesterday will work at all today. This era of changing markets demands a different approach – the agile approach.

Here’s how we at Translin started implementing agility into our way of working. To begin with, we created a simple platform, enabling interpreters to register and clients to enter their requests for interpreting. No bells or whistles, just a stripped-down version. Of course, we conducted research into how it should actually work and to see whether there was a potential success factor present, but we were still making certain assumptions without proven evidence that they would succeed. But isn’t that always the case with a new concept?

Agile means having the guts to act even though you don’t have all the answers. Daring to set up a company that’s different from the others. Sticking to your own vision even though your view is quite different from the rest.

Agile also demands the ability to be creative, to develop new initiatives, and to recognise opportunities as they arise in an ever-changing world.

But to me, agile means much more than that. I’m convinced that it will only work in combination with the proper attention, interaction, and reaction on our part.

Attention – for our interpreters, who often struggle to keep their heads above water. It’s no coincidence that we chose a fixed fee model rather than a marketplace-like environment where interpreters compete with each other on price. We want to provide quality interpreting for a reasonable price – both for the interpreter and for the client. But we all need to focus attention on our clients too, on our organisation, and on the world around us. Attention goes hand in hand with interaction.

Interaction – If you are approachable as a person or a company, you’re sure to receive a lot of feedback. Always respond to that. Interaction can only be meaningful when you do something about it. Launching the site has triggered very positive responses from the interpreting community and much constructive feedback.

Reaction – In the coming months, the constructive comments and the collaboration with the interpreting community and interpreting organisations will lead to further upgrades of our system. So keep sending us your ideas and suggestions, and we’ll keep trying to implement them.

Adapting by doing, that what it’s all about. We at Translin believe that agile is the best way to reach our ultimate goal – to build a worldwide platform that provides reliable and quality interpreting services for a reasonable price!