Two Northumberland companies are evidence that while export is critical to their success, some of the very best customer service is actually on the doorstep.
Or, in the case of Alnwick-based Pure Fishing and RWS, it is just the other side of the A1!
Both companies are longstanding and active members of the North East England Chamber of Commerce and have formed a strong working relationship based on their respective success in international markets.
Pure Fishing, which acquired Hardy & Greys, and its subsidiary Hardy Advanced Composites in 2013, has 12 brands that operate worldwide providing specialist fishing tackle and gear. The latter business, which was known as House of Hardy, has its origins in the 1870s when it started as a gunsmith before moving into fishing.
Demand for product across the breadth of its brand portfolio is continuous and growing. Alongside this the company has a rapid product development programme, which means that customers need to be made regularly aware of new launches and enhancements to existing products.
Al Cross, European marketing manager for Pure Fishing, said: “We need to communicate fresh updates on a regular basis with the primary languages being French, Spanish, German and Dutch, although we also occasionally use Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Czech and Slovak.
“The process has the potential to be complicated as we need to use a lot of technical terms and there are also a large number of different versions of a product. For example, in our Greys brand alone there are rods that cover fly, Carp, Coarse, Predator and Sea. When you then factor in product length, weight and style, there is a tremendous amount of detail that needs to be accurately translated. It is crucial that it is correct as it is on the basis of this information that customers make purchasing decisions.
“While we stretch out across the world, we are very much aware of our roots here in Northumberland and that as both a company and as people we are very much part of the community. Where possible, we always look to engage with local businesses and that is why we are so pleased to have developed a relationship with RWS. It is another company that is deeply embedded in the region and is passionate about North East business.”
RWS provides translation services that cover all of Pure Fishing’s primary marketing channels including websites, catalogues, manuals and product specification sheets. To ensure accuracy of content, Pure Fishing has a dedicated team at Alnwick that is solely responsible for content updates and these are forwarded to RWS by file, in English, for translation.
RWS’s Alnwick site is this year celebrating its 20th anniversary, employs over 30 staff and supports an extensive network of language specialists based around the world. It offers dedicated support in over 50 languages, with its key services being translation, interpreting, localisation, subtitling and voiceovers. Sectors it operates in include chemicals, pharmaceuticals, legal, financial services, defence, manufacturing, automotive, government and energy.
Sarah Cross, contracts manager at RWS Alnwick, said: “Similar to Pure Fishing, we have a very strong focus on export markets but at the same time have a large number of clients based here in the North East of England. We believe that mix is very important to us as it makes us both very connected to, and an integral part of, the regional business scene.
“We enjoy a great relationship with the team at Pure Fishing and have developed a very structured approach to the work that we do for the business which helps ensure that activity flows as smoothly as possible and to the highest quality.
“The benefit of building a long term relationship is that we can develop interesting tactics that assist the process. For instance, on behalf of Pure Fishing we have built up a glossary of technical terms that are used across the different brands that we are able to call upon and share with our client as required. The level of time saving that this allows is considerable and means the client can get-to-market at as short a space of time as possible.”
The world of technology, project management and linguistic excellence operate in close harmony at RWS.
One of the most interesting ways we see this is in the work we are regularly asked to do on E-learning projects where modules need to be localised for staff training. The wide range of content we see on these projects makes this interesting work, with examples including corporate codes of conduct, staff environmental & sustainability training, insurance risk training and pharmaceutical cleaning and validation training.
The nature of our work in this area can be varied with a strong emphasis on being flexible. For some projects, we manage the complete workflow, including the localised software build and testing. For others, we need to work closely with a client’s team to make sure our part of the process (localisation of content, images, voice recording and animation) is delivered on time and integrates seamlessly with the overall project. In all of these projects, we manage the cultural adaptation of the content and advise on appropriate use of images, colour and necessary content adaptation for the relevant market.
One recent Japanese localisation project we worked on demonstrates this need to combine technical engineering, project management and linguistic skills to deliver an end-to-end service.
Initially developed in English using the Articulate Presenter authoring tool, our remit was to create a fully functional localised version that mirrored the original. Our teams worked together to deliver the various project stages and deliver a SCORM compliant build which our client was able to use. This project was successful because the team could bring together the technical engineering skills with excellent linguist services and manage the approval and version control stages to deliver a finished project on time.
However, some clients prefer to manage the software engineering aspects themselves and we also work on many projects as part of our client’s team. In these instances, we adapt their approach to work in the client’s LMS or CMS systems or work with extracted files.
Being able to work flexibly and having the technical competence to adapt our approach to different client requirements is certainly a key part of our localisation service and makes for very interesting projects.
Resource Manager, Janine Dunn, discusses the team’s dedication to quality management systems
Having worked at RWS Alnwick for 18 years, I have witnessed firsthand how we have developed a team that prioritises providing excellent quality of service. Consequently, I’m delighted to share the news that we have, once again, met the highest industry standard for quality and retained our ISO9001 accreditation.
This is a certified quality management system (QMS) which allows us to show our ability to consistently provide products and services that meet the needs of their customers.
Every three years our accreditation is reassessed and we are measured on five key areas of the business: facilities, people, training, services and equipment. I am a member of the internal audit team and we are ever vigilant to ensure that all quality procedures are aligned with these five areas, not just in the run up to the audit but as a matter of routine.
For example, we use our monthly internal meetings to report on how our procedures are running and to relay important customer feedback to the team. It’s a great opportunity to make staff aware of positive comments and also to discuss different ways we can do things.
The period leading up to the assessment necessitates additional work but it’s definitely worth it as the long-term benefit is that we increase customer satisfaction levels and improve productivity. We also believe the fact that we actively look to achieve ISO9001 without contractual obligation, underlines our commitment to quality.
By maintaining and following the ISO accreditation we are developing a system that works effectively for us so that we can come together as a team and share best practices.
A big well done to all involved in ensuring that our accreditation has been reissued!
At RWS we have seen a substantial increase in the use of video communication to reach global audiences.
By 2017, video will account for 69% of all consumer internet traffic, according to Cisco. 
The potential reach of video is peerless and it is naturally engaging. It is therefore no surprise that it is increasingly being used by global HR and Communications teams to encourage employee engagement. 
Video production costs have fallen significantly in recent years and solutions are available for companies to keep information private through internal video hosting and/or by creating Vimeo or YouTube accounts granting access to a select group of members only.
Benefits of localisation
- Leveraging your investment in video communications to overcome language barriers and reach a broader audience. Only 6% of people in the world speak English as a first language.
2. Localising video to achieve a better understanding and more engagement. Customisation of content via translation, localisation and the consideration of cultural nuances tailors the content specifically for the target audience and will enhance the viewer’s experience and understanding considerably.
At RWS we provide a range of video and multimedia localisation services:
- Transcription: Transcription work should be performed by a trained transcriptionist and the method of transcription used will depend on the intended use of the transcription e.g. will the transcription be used for reference only, or will the transcription also need to be time-coded so that it can be used to create a voice-over script or subtitling document?
- Transcript translation: Our translators are native speakers who are equipped to translate your video transcription files
- Subtitling: subtitling can be done within the same language, for the deaf and hard of hearing (also called captioning), or across languages, for foreign-language film and television. The subtitling task is challenging because subtitles are limited in space and time. The result is that the content of the dialogue has to be cut down to fit in the subtitles. Not only that, but the content has to be translated, and the subtitles also have to be ‘spotted’ or timed carefully to match the dialogue.
- Voice-over: A native-speaking, professional voice talent will use the translated content to record a voiceover audio track. The audio on your source video will be muted and replaced by the voiceover track. You can choose your voice from a database of trained and experienced professionals, either a male or female voice.