For over 30 years, we’ve been helping clients fulfil their international ambitions and pioneering fresh approaches to marketing localization. As we get ready for the next decade, we’re looking back on the journey so far.
OUR STORY AT A GLANCE
CHILD OF THE 80S
In 1988, a British software company lost out on a £2 million contract with a Dutch electronics conglomerate. From the ashes of that catastrophic defeat, Wordbank was born.
A string of embarrassing translation mistakes caused the deal to collapse, along with the British firm’s hopes for continental expansion. And it revealed a gap in the market to employee Giles – accountant by trade, visionary entrepreneur in spirit.
He realized quality marketing translations were hard to come by, so he set up Wordbank and pioneered a solution. Our fresh approach – working with teams of in-country linguists for better quality – set a new industry standard and remains at the heart of our translation services today.
FAST-FORWARD TO THE 90S
Our goal at Wordbank was to become a UK leader in translation services – an ambition we soon achieved. We grew quickly and accumulated happy clients. Soon we burst out of our first office in Notting Hill into a new habitat in the heart of Soho, London.
Our office wasn’t the only thing that expanded – so did our services. Enter the Media team and John, our CTO and longest-serving Wordbanker. He was part of the team that invented our cutting-edge software to manage marketing translation workflows.
This allowed us to offer multilingual typesetting services. It also began our long-term commitment to harnessing technology that would produce the best possible results for our clients. We were among the first to adopt industry tools we now take for granted, like automated typesetting and translation memories.
ENTER THE NEW MILLENNIUM
Time to expand. After sustained growth in our London office, we set off to deliver a local experience for our US clients. Wordbank Denver was registered in 2003, giving way to a full production operation in 2007. Headed by US-based CEO Lindsay, it’s been going from strength to strength ever since. Our London and Denver teams work closely on a wide range of projects. We regularly exchange team members to keep us on the same page and innovate around service development.
Our tech teams continued maturing into a full R&D offering. We set up specialist media teams to provide expert service from website localization to QA. And our commitment to quality was further secured through ISO 9001 certification – one of the first in our industry to do so. It’s an award we hold to this day.
A CHANGE OF DIRECTION
2013 saw the launch of a new global strategy – building on our unique approach to marketing localization. We’d provided great language support for almost 25 years, but recognized a need for a more comprehensive approach. Translation services alone wouldn’t help clients achieve their goals – they covered the ‘what’ of content, but not the ‘why’ behind it. So we combined our marketing translation experience with digital marketing services to create a new focus with new insights.
This change of strategy coincided with a new, collaborative structure in London, headed up by Lydia, COO and long-time Wordbanker. A restructured Client Services remained at the heart of the company, combining first-rate service with top-notch deliverables. And we continued to add new strings to our bow, including brand and creative services.
D MARKS THE SPOT
International expansion is no mean feat. Cultural nuances, technical delivery and important marketing goals all contribute to a complex picture. That’s why we relaunched our Five Ds service roadmap in 2018:
- Discover your market.
- Define your brand.
- Develop the strategy.
- Deliver content.
- Drive sales.
It allows us to provide expert support to every client, at any point on their international journey.
PEOPLE, PLANET, PROFIT
At Wordbank, looking after our people and protecting the planet is just as important to us as the work we do. That’s why the triple bottom line ethos of people, planet and profit is a key part of how we do business.
In London, we’re proud of our We Invest In People Gold certification. And our team in Denver have almost completed the process of becoming a certified B Corp. In 2018, we were named one of the best businesses in Colorado for the state’s workers, communities and environment.
As a company of learners, we have a firm focus on training and development. Our volunteering programme allows Wordbankers to take time off for good causes. We’re committed to fair pay and conditions for our global resources. And we also do our bit to protect the planet by encouraging each other to adopt sustainable practices – at work and at home.
We’ve been doing things differently for over 30 years. Now, we’re ready for the 2020s. Want to partner with us in the next leg? We’d love to hear from you.
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