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Alex started TRANSLIT in 2019. They detail the beginnings of their company in their Starter Story interview: 
Q: How did you get started on TRANSLIT?
Since secondary school, I have had two passions: languages and computers. I've learned to speak six languages and have a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Engineering after moving to Ireland in 2003. That’s actually where the business name TRANSLIT came from. It refers to TRANSLation and IT, combined into a technology-driven business long before Google Machine Translation became a trend.
Over my career, I have worked as a localization engineer, translator and interpreter, quality assurance, web developer, test lead, test manager, and other tech roles.
My entrepreneurship journey started inadvertently 13 years ago when I was let go from a well-paid job. I was working as a software tester with a multinational IT company. One day my HR director picked up a piece of paper I had sent through the work printer. Unfortunately, it was an image of a woman in a bikini for a CD cover. Yes, back then we had CDs! The image itself was ok, nothing vulgar or provocative, but that happened exactly one week before my contract renewal date. As a result, my contract wasn’t extended. However, it was a blessing in disguise even though I had moved to Dublin with my family for that job, and all of a sudden everything was up in the air again.
I was already doing freelance work at that time and for that full-year, I went into freelance and self-employment. After a few months, I set up my first limited company in 2009. Part of it would be a translation, there was a web development division, and the other part was business registration and company formation.
Focusing on a range of freelance services and outsources was the original idea. But it was never going to work. From a company doing so many things, the language industry was the most promising as it was where my language skills were of use. But it was bad timing. The recession really hit Ireland that year. I lost many clients and sales declined too. I had to go back into employment.
There were years where I had to find myself. I went after side projects, many of which had failed, but despite the growing list of start-ups that never caught fire, TRANSLIT continued to burn brightly in the background.
I dropped out of web design and other side projects and only kept two businesses afloat, language services and company formation. Part of me loved helping other entrepreneurs to become successful. Seeing how my clients became profitable and grew after registering a company with me had always inspired and motivated me to push forward with my own business.
My soon-to-be wife, Tatsiana, originally doubted the longevity of TRANSLIT but when I really began to notice there was a future in it, she started to believe in it too.
It culminated in the perfect storm. It was 2015, I turned 30, I got married and my third child was on the way. I went to India on a spiritual retreat and tried vegetarian food too. I did the same the following year, and between my trips to Varanasi and Rishikesh, I took up yoga and meditation searching for answers, trying to understand what I wanted to do with my life going forward.
It came to me. Instead of starting new ventures, I had overlooked TRANSLIT which had survived and managed to grow even without me working on it. So I decided to quit my well-paid, full-time job and go full-on into self-employment. That was the third attempt.
Now I am more cautious about spreading focus and keeping two to three things on my plate at the same time. Diversification is good. My company formation venture Chern & Co continues to grow and has its dedicated team. While three years ago I invested in Kauza, which is doing really well too.
But TRANSLIT remains my priority. Like my three sons, TRANSLIT is the oldest of my three businesses. The company won two government tenders in 2020: one with an Irish state body and another one with an EU-funded organization, to provide interpreting and translation services.
One of the things I enjoy the most is helping start-ups. If you have developed a good product or built a great website, solving someone’s problem, I would like to work with you. TRANSLIT will help you to translate and localize your message and spread it to other countries.
After running TRANSLIT for many years as an interpreting agency, we realized there are three major problems: agencies share the same interpreters, there is a shortage of good interpreters, and agencies waste so much time managing interpreting assignments and communicating between clients.
Being able to book an interpreter in the same way as you would order a taxi or a pizza - was an idea that came to me after riding with an Uber cab driver one time. It hit me. I was going to design scheduling and centralized management platform removing unnecessary emails and phone calls to check interpreter’s availability - saving time and money for our own agency, clients, and other Language Service Providers, adding a marketplace functionality where users can get direct access to qualified interpreters.
Contributors to this article:
- Pat Walls, Founder @ Starter Story
- Wiki Updater