Our interview with Matteo Ippoliti, Founder of Langpros – The Language Professionals, where we discover his company – which provides a myriad of services including interpreting, localization, transcreation, copywriting, and editing, his passion on his business, serving high-profile clients including the Pope on his visit to the UAE how technology is having a positive impact on language translation and related services.
AG: Tell us about your company – Langpros
Matteo: Back in 2011, after traveling the world for several years while working as a professional interpreter and translator, I landed in Dubai and felt ready to challenge myself with a new, exciting project. So I founded Langpros.
Our company has been running successfully for almost a decade now, providing localization services, copywriting, legal translation, as well as simultaneous and consecutive interpreting for every industry.
Our team – both in-house and remote – has been constantly growing over the years. Today, we have a consolidated workflow and we rely on expert project managers who can select the best linguists for every given project. Taking advantage of the different time zones, we are now able to offer 24/7 customer support.
We strongly believe in innovation. This is why we continuously expand our range of services in order to provide the most innovative solutions, in keeping with the latest trends in the industry.
AG: You come from a family of linguists. What drives your passion for languages?
Matteo: My dreams and aspirations have always revolved around languages and discovering foreign cultures. When I was growing up and throughout my studies, my parents encouraged my passion because they understood perfectly how mastering foreign languages would help me participate more effectively and responsibly in a multi-cultural world.
I was taught how this path could help broaden my horizons, opening me up to a new, more expansive world view and granting me an appreciation for cultural diversity.
Being passionate about traveling, I chose to study and work abroad in Canada, Spain, Australia, and the UAE. Above all, I learned how language and culture are interrelated and the importance of effective communication to overcome linguistic and cultural barriers.
Later, this concept became the driving vision behind Langpros. Today, it’s the guiding principle that I use to motivate my team.
AG: Can you briefly tell us some of the solutions that you offer?
Matteo: Our main areas of expertise are interpreting, localization, transcreation, copywriting, and editing.
We help companies and individuals with all their language needs. We specialize in localization and copywriting services for all kinds of content, from official documents to webpages, brochures, and even video content.
Our professional interpreters handle all kinds of conferences, meetings, exhibitions, and any other events. We provide consecutive, simultaneous, and liaison interpreters along with the latest technical equipment such as booths, receivers, etc.
The Covid-19 pandemic is an unprecedented event that has brought the world to a standstill.
In such a sensitive working environment, communication errors could cost lives, so it’s fundamental that what is said is translated accurately.
While on-site interpreters have to be physically present during medical examinations, court hearings, or other events, remote interpreters can be contacted on demand through applications or websites. This allows clients to choose from a global network of highly qualified professionals working in every language, without having to rely on local availability.
This solution is ideal for organizations working with the public and in need of linguistic services, such as hospitals, hotels, law enforcement authorities and public offices.
AG: What is the market potential for your business?
Matteo: Cloud technologies, global availability and smart devices have already begun to create a combination of speed and efficiency that is transforming the translation industry as we speak.
As per my expertise in the interpreting field, I see huge potential in remote interpretation: thanks to evolving technology and digital tools, we no longer need to rely on local resources and markets anymore.
Interpreters working from all over the globe can easily translate in real-time using any internet-connected device (computers, tablets, and smartphones) whenever and wherever needed.
This applies to conferences or business meetings and makes life much easier for everyone, as it guarantees professional linguistic support at any time with revolutionary cost-efficiency.
The idea of telephone interpreting is not new of course, but the latest generation of internet connections and video calling takes this option to a totally new level.
Instead of an on-site interpreter, our clients can choose SmartlangPro and get the best linguists any time through their smartphone, tablet, or laptop 24/7.
AG: You offer services to governments and international organizations and you interpreted for the Pope’s historic visit to the UAE. What are the typical challenges involved in this work?
Matteo: All translators and interpreters working for us are fluent in two or more languages, but that’s not enough. Here’s what it takes to become a language professional:
It is one of the most sought-after qualities both in translation and interpreting.
If the translated text is too close to the original, the syntax or some of the nuances may not sound right to native speakers. Therefore, a good translator has to find the right balance between the faithfully transposing the original meaning and adapting the text for the new language.
Interpreters should also be accurate and precise in retaining and conveying information, especially on historical occasions such as Pope Francis’ visit to the UAE.
- Cultural Awareness
Translators and interpreters must be culturally aware. This means adapting to the target context without losing the original intent.
- Multitasking abilities
These are essential for interpreting jobs. All of the above qualities would be useless without the ability to employ them in a fraction of a second. Interpreters are often working under incredible pressure and they need to be able to make decisions very quickly in order to guarantee the natural flow of the translation.
Professional interpreters should spend a great deal of time studying before an event. They should do additional research to better understand the terminology for the event and be ready to face any challenge that might arise during the interpreting process.
AG: How is technology shaping your industry? Do you see it as a menace or as complementary to your work?
Matteo: For most industries, technology is an integral part of the production process. This is also true when it comes to translation and interpreting.
Remote Interpreting, for example, means enabling 24/7 access to language services through common devices such as PCs, smartphones, and tablets. This can make all the difference for people dealing with language barriers during emergencies, such as in medical scenarios.
Speaking of translation, our linguists use the latest Computer Assisted Translation tools to guarantee consistency of terminology.
We also employ cutting-edge Machine Translation technologies to help accelerate the translation process when dealing with large volumes of text. Human linguists then refine these machine translations, to ensure we deliver 100% accurate, natural-sounding results.
AG: What kind of challenges did you face during the incorporation of various technologies?
Matteo: One of the challenges we faced in the last years in the UAE is to win potential clients’ resistance over the introduction of the newest technologies.
We always keep an eye on the latest trends in the industry and on what’s going on in more advanced markets for translation – such as in the US and Europe – and we aim at offering to our clients in the Middle East the most innovative solutions.
For example, remote interpreting for events and meetings has quickly spread in the Western world and we already have the technology to offer this service which helps reduce cost and guarantee the best quality, also here in the UAE.
Nonetheless, we often find some resistance, as clients feel more comfortable with the traditional yet more expensive option of having the interpreter physically at the venue.
Changes require some time as what is new and unknown is hard to trust, so we are constantly working on showing the potential and reliability of the solutions we offer.
AG: How is Artificial Intelligence reshaping the industry?
Matteo: AI is playing a very important role as it helps speed up our work and turn-around times.
For instance, Google developed a new type of machine translation called Neural Machine Translation. It is extremely precise for technical and legal translations, where the terminology may be complex, but the language is very plain and simple. Thus, the result is accurate enough for a human editor to review and rectify any mistakes.
However, when it comes to marketing and creative content, machine translation still doesn’t make the cut. In creative translation and copywriting, you need to be able to talk to your readers and audience; and this goes beyond translation. You have to write something that appeals to the audience, and machines are not able to do this at the moment.
Although Machine Translation could be used for interpreting as well, combined with speech recognition, text-to-text translation and speech synthesis (similar to what you actually experience nowadays with Alexa, Siri or Google) the results are still not satisfactory for most of the instances where interpreting is required (i.e. international conferences and congresses).
AI has certainly improved the overall Machine translation quality but it is still very weak at thinking and analyzing context and nuances, especially for events where humans interact using different sensory channels. As a matter of fact, tonality, accents, gestures and non-verbal language in general can play a very important role in communication, sometimes even more important than verbal language.
There is certainly plenty of room for improvement in the application of AI in the interpreting field but I don’t think human interpreters will be replaced any time soon by machines, especially for top level events such as gatherings of heads of state and government where the consequences of mistranslation could be very serious.
AG: Any other interesting info that you’d like to share with us?
The COVID-2019 pandemic will change the interpreting field as we know it.
After all, interpreters’ work is traditionally done face-to-face, which means that the countless cancelled events and serious warnings against in-person meetings have an inordinate effect on their ability to continue to make a living during this crisis.
There will be a general increase in demand for human remote interpreting, especially in multilingual countries or countries with large expat populations. Hospitals are also starting to rely more heavily on remote interpreters, both over the phone and via Video Remote Interpreting (VRI).
Similarly, many conferences or meetings are already moving online. Speakers deliver presentations in different languages, while audiences listen in the language of their choice, in real time, thanks to Remote Simultaneous Interpreting (RSI) platforms designed to allow professional simultaneous interpreters to deliver their services virtually.
Enterprises and multinational organizations are also going virtual, with many of them also increasingly making the switch to video conferencing solutions for their internal meetings.
I think this development is a resilient way to face this emergency. It’s also a trend that is likely to continue long after the pandemic is over, since it will have changed the field in a smarter and more efficient way.