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19 Years of Changing the World. Lessons about Translations and Life We Learned Over Two Decades

10/08/2023

19 ani de swiss solutions

In a world dominated by social media, climate change, war, viruses and whatnot, what can a translation agency from Timisoara, with a staff of 40, do for us all to live a better, more development-driven life? Almost nothing, you might think at first. Yet numbers don’t lie. Over the past 19 years, we’ve changed the lives of millions from Romania and across the world.

How? Translations. By bringing a piece of text from an unknown language to a much more familiar form for the people around us. In almost two decades we grew from an unknown gig to the most important language service provider in Romania and one of the largest in Eastern Europe and beyond. The decisions we made took us here, starting in 2004 and counting.

Starting out in a young industry

As soon as she graduated from linguistics school, Roxana decided to start looking for jobs at the local translation agencies in Timisoara. In a relatively new industry, her beginnings in the world of translations were not easy at all.

The very first team selfie

“Back then, translation offices would take in any document, no matter the industry, difficulty or volume. There was no specialised translation, specialised translator, or domain-specific work. Translators would just translate. There were no proofreading or verification processes. You couldn’t even count on Google as a tool for verifying certain words in specific contexts.

The translation offices in Unirii Square were only taking in documents and then you’d go back to get your translations. There was no accountability to be found in their work. 19 years ago, translations were also solved with a pen and paper, at times. I lived through some interesting mishaps during those years. I had the vision to change things for the better, in terms of quality, specialisations, as well as in regard to customer satisfaction”, Roxana Grunberg, cofounder of Swiss Solutions, remembers from back then.

Our agency was the first in Timisoara to challenge the “normal” of that period. Instead of having the client go to the notary public or a translation office, we implemented a simple process of working for them, including digitally. Clients would submit their request and that would be it, as we would take care of the rest. Florin also remembers those first days of the agency.

Frist Swisscar #oldschool

“I started learning about management two years prior. As soon as I was done with my university studies, I opened an internet cafe with a friend, as we both wanted to be our own bosses. It was a whole new world for us, a nebula. And because of that, I had to take small steps and go through all possible jobs (sales, accounting, hiring, management, proofreading, translations, project management, delivery, and notary assistant).

These jobs, sort of speak, I went through are of great help even today. I can still remember how we used to print and stick flyers on poles near the university campuses, and the joy I felt the first time we got a big client in, as well as the satisfaction of meeting and working with so many incredible people over the years”, Florin Grunberg, our general manager, recounts.

Swiss Solutions was born because of these mishaps Roxana and Florin discovered in the industry. It came to be thanks to a mixture of actual needs, just like most successful companies come about. Sure, it’s inspiring to say you are living your dream through work, yet doing translations was never on Florin’s mind. The real necessity he and his partner found pushed them both into taking action.

So… what have we accomplished?!

We love numbers. Emotionally speaking, we can say we’ve done this and will do that. But numbers don’t lie. Numbers tell the truth and show you where you are. Don’t read them and they’ll ignore you as well. Give them enough credit and you will have loads to learn from them. What did we accomplish in our first 19 years? Here are some numbers we really love!

Our very first desk

-We worked with over 4000 clients during our two decades in the business, from Romania and abroad, many of them companies worth millions of dollars;

-We translated with the help of over 3000 collaborators from across the world, who’ve helped us become the agency we are today, and for whom we are very thankful;

-We hired over 250 employees directly to the agency, helping us grow and develop into a force in the industry, all of whom deserve our praise and thanks;

-We translated to and from 100 languages in Romanian, as well as other linguistic combos our clients requested;

-We worked and delivered over 200.000 successful projects;

-We reached the top 20 translation agencies in Easter Europe over the past 5 years;

-We travelled to over 100 industry events over the past 19 years;

-We translated hundreds of millions of words, maybe even more, in this time;

-We billed over $22.000.000 worth of translations.

Lessons about translations and life

It’s nearly impossible to write an anniversary article without giving yourself praise. We are trying to do this and when we fail… at least we’re being honest and admit it. We do like to focus on lessons though, more than on anything else. And after 19 years doing translations, we do know a bit more about life in and outside the business.

The indestructible first Swiss mobile phone

Good manners will get you far – When you provide honest communication, quality, promptitude, and an honest smile, results will naturally come sooner or later;

Constant development is key – Try to be a little better than last year in the year ahead;

Technology helps you grow – Use the latest technology to get where you need to easier;

Satisfaction comes from small wins – Take everything from the start and bring it to the finish line, as this will bring motivation and satisfaction;

The people are everything – Gather the right people around you, who can teach you something new on a daily basis, as they will make or break your dream at the end of the day.