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This Manhattan firm is proving translation is a human industry

By Carl Campanile - New York Post - September 7, 2018

Business is booming for a Manhattan firm that provides translation services to global companies.

TransPerfect, the world’s largest language-translation-services firm, generated huge profits and growth this year, adding 290 jobs so far, an increase from 252 during the same period last year.

Revenues are up 20 percent and on pace to surpass $700 million, up from $615 million last year, said CEO Phil Shawe.

And profit is up 40 percent.

“We haven’t grown like this for a long time. It might our biggest year ever,” Shawe said of the business he started from an NYU dorm in 1992.

Shawe said the strong economic climate is encouraging clients to invest in their businesses, which is “trickling down” to TransPerfect.

“They can execute their international growth plans. That’s good news for us,” Shawe said.

“People are always looking to run their business more efficiently. We can do any language in any format that can be published easily.”

He said entry-level jobs — including software developers, account managers and in-house linguists — start at $50,000 a year.

Shawe also reports landing new and expanded accounts with firms including Delta Air Lines, Amazon.com, Asiana Airlines, Ernst & Young, Morgan Stanley, Nike, Red Bull, Royal Caribbean and numerous law firms.

“We have to add to our head count to take care of our customers,” Shawe said.

And the firm’s translation software is a major revenue producer.

While automated translators like Google Translate have improved, Shawe stresses that there is still need for the human touch.

“The knowledge of the subject matter and the culture is an important as the language,” he said.

“You need to need have people familiar with legal documents. The word ‘warrant’ has 14 different definitions. You need a human being to figure out the difference.”