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To learn more about Teneo Linguistics Company, we sat down with Hana Laurenzo, the Owner & CEO at Teneo Linguistics Company:
Q: What is the story behind Teneo Linguistics, how did you start?
A: I grew up in Central Europe, in a very small country (the Czech Republic). There are more people who live in Manhattan, than there are speakers of Czech (my mother tongue). Because of this, Czech children (including myself) start learning foreign languages early on. And I didn’t like math so the choice was pretty clear for me. Shortly after graduating with a master’s degree in Translation Studies from Charles University, I started a business in Prague with a friend of mine. We had a great run providing high level translation and interpreting services to businesses, government agencies, and transnational bodies such as the European Union.
Several years later, after moving to North Texas where I now live with my husband, I did it again and started Teneo. I could not imagine doing anything else. We help businesses grow and reach a broad range of customers by providing language services for their expanding needs. This includes fostering partnerships to help businesses sell more products & services to more people. Using languages to help businesses communicate effectively with their customers is my passion.
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Q: Why is using your services better choice than using free online translation tools?
A: Recently, one of our customers told me that when they used an online translation tool for the phrase “DNA match,” it was translated using the word “match,” as in the stick you light on fire. That is what free online translation does. It works based on statistical methods and substitutes the most likely equivalent for each word without regard for context or syntax. Just try to translate a paragraph using an online tool. Take that result and translate it back to English, then see what you get. Chances are it is gibberish.
While free online translation tools might do for a postcard to a friend in Germany, businesses have to be much more cautious. If something is translated wrong, you may lose your only chance at a good first impression. You could jeopardize a transaction, or even expose yourself to legal risks. Translation does not have to be expensive. If you find a language services provider who puts emphasis on learning about you, your business, and your goals, they will be able to make recommendations that are appropriate and cost effective. If you do great things and have a message worth sharing, you will get your best shot at delivering it across language and cultural barriers when you enlist the help of a professional.
Q: Who makes your team?
A: I have an in-house team of talented, skilled language professionals who take care of project management, account management, customer service, operations, marketing, and business development functions of my business. We also have a team that is growing the training and education side of what we do (Institute for Language Professionals – ILP Web.
And, of course, we have hundreds of linguists around the world, typically living in the country where their language is spoken. They are the true foundation of our business. We look to them every day to deliver the promise of excellent service we give to our clients.
Q: What types of projects have you worked on in the past?
A: We have worked on a wide variety of translation, transcription, and interpreting projects. Our most typical projects include supporting our customers through translation of legal documents, translation of marketing and product literature, localization of websites, translating user manuals, localizing software strings, and others. We provide traditional interpreting services, both consecutive and simultaneous. With our new interpreting platform, we offer over the phone interpreting and video remote interpreting. All you need is a cell phone, tablet, or a computer and an interpreter is just seconds away. We also transcribe audio recordings and provide a number of accommodated products, such as text to speech, close captioning, subtitles, etc. You can learn more about our services on our website – Teneo.
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Q: Why should someone choose your company over similar services?
A: We often hear from our customers that when they used other language service companies, they were not dependable on providing accurate translation. They felt like they were throwing their project over the fence, experiencing radio silence, and hoping the finished product would not embarrass them. Unfortunately, it oftentimes did.
We work in partnership with our customers and welcome them to be as involved as they want to be in the process. We learn about you, discuss your goals, then recommend strategies to get you a top-quality product while saving money. Our strength is in being able to customize our process to meet our customer’s specific needs and deliver on their particular requirements. Our customers tell us that our passion for using language to build relationships and opportunities shines through everything we do.
Q: What advice do you have for early entrepreneurs who hope to scale up as quickly and successfully as you have?
A: Most people who start a small business are subject matter experts. I am a translator by background and I may be an excellent one but that does not mean I am a great businesswoman. To me, scaling has always been about learning, and I am a tireless reader and learner. I am in a business class right now, taught by successful entrepreneurs who have traveled much farther down the road to success than I have. I also have a mentor and a peer group of business people I see on a regular basis. Having a clear vision and knowing where we are going is essential.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: We want to leverage language to help as many businesses grow as possible. This will help us grow our own business and tell the world about the great things our customers do. The more we grow, the bigger impact we have on our customer’s success. The more success our customers have, the more success our family of employees and linguists achieve.We also believe that giving back is the truest form of success, and with growing revenue, we can set our sights for bigger charitable contributions.