We’re delighted to share that, after a six-year journey, we’re officially a certified B Corporation! And what’s more, we’re the only US-based, B Corp-certified language service provider (LSP), as well as the first marketing localization agency to achieve certification. Though we’re certainly celebrating this news, it’s not really about us. It’s about being part of a movement and standing up with other companies who’ve made a commitment to business as a force for good.

Our determination to become B Corp-certified, despite many hurdles along the way, marks a key milestone in our commitment to a better way of doing business. We’ve always been a B Corp at heart. And as an aspiring B Corp, the concept of business as a force for good inspired us to continue striving to be the best in all we do. For our people, our clients, and our global resources. Here’s why B Corps matter.

WHY B CORP CERTIFICATION MATTERS

The process of becoming certified is rigorous and isn’t just an evaluation of a product or service. It assesses the overall positive impact of the company that stands behind it. The B Impact Assessment determines how a company’s operations and business model impact its workers, community, environment, and customers. From supply chain and input materials to charitable giving and employee benefits, B Corp certification proves a business is meeting the highest standards of verified performance.

While only 3,422 companies worldwide are B Corp-certified, 50,000+ companies are in the process as the movement gains momentum. B Corps are shifting business values by challenging growth without responsibility, building an alternative corporate model, and inspiring others to do the same. In turn, consumers are shifting business values by choosing companies that do business in a responsible way. The B Corp brand makes that clear.

PEOPLE, PLANET, PROFIT

Companies that treat their people and planet well can inspire a cycle of positive change and drive sustainable business. B Corps commit to triple-bottom-line standards of people, planet, and profit.

Wordbank made a strategic commitment to triple-bottom-line standards of doing business in 2012. Since then, we’ve formalized several programs that keep us accountable to our goals related to:

But it goes deeper than just programs. A culture of accountability drives everyday decision-making from big things like how we position ourselves and who we work with, to smaller things like where we purchase our pens and how we dispose of our waste.

Progress happens when people band together, and B Corps make up a movement of companies working toward a common goal of driving positive change. B Corps do this by using the power of business to help solve social and environmental issues impacting our world today. We’re proud to join this movement and connect with others who are taking real action to be the change they want to see, whether it’s through racial justice activism, building an inclusive economy, or meeting targets against environmental standards.

WHAT ABOUT B CORP-CERTIFIED LSPS?

Simply put, LSPs with sustainable business practices are in short supply. The localization service industry has an unfortunate reputation for commodifying language and devaluing the human talent on which it depends. Evidence of this abounds on the internet, and it’s a cycle that’s been happening for the last 20 years, at least.

LOW-COST TRANSLATION & LOCALIZATION COME AT A PRICE

LSPs are known for driving down costs to win business, negotiating on price to produce the lowest-cost translation. This often comes at the expense of professional in-country freelance linguists, whose compensation, value, and contribution aren’t generally considered in that process. And yet pressure is often put on those people to work faster and cheaper to support those cost-saving models.

In this study conducted by the CSA, 64% of professional linguists feel their income isn’t enough to live on (despite nearly half of them having a master’s degree or higher). 65% report that fluctuating income is the top demotivator within the linguist profession. And 53% have to do other work to supplement their incomes as professional linguists. This just isn’t right.

In turn, LSPs have a poor record for staff retention in the US. And for the client, the impact is clear. Poor treatment of LSP staff – which includes project managers, media and QA engineers, and in-market resources – inevitably results in low quality, and high staff turnover. This often leaves clients to deal with an inconsistent customer experience. The ultimate consequence of that impacts clients’ bottom lines to their global brands, and lost time managing inconsistent relationships. For some clients, this results in a seemingly endless search for better translation and localization solutions, involving repeated, time-consuming RFQs and RFPs.

B THE CHANGE

It doesn’t have to be like that. We strive for a better way – for us, for our clients, and for our industry.

We’ve always challenged the status quo when it comes to the value of human talent in localization. And we’re determined to spread the B Corp message across our global network. Our aim is to empower our people around their value and connect our clients with a better experience in the process.

No matter how important technology becomes in delivering localization, human talent is behind everything we do. We cannot achieve high-quality services or ROI for our clients without our wonderful people. And certainly not without our network of 4,000+ marketing localization professionals comprising linguists, designers, researchers, and digital marketers in the US and across the world. 

No LSP can function well without their in-country resources. And yet, the value of those people continues to be traded for the highest volume at the lowest cost. For “just-in-time” resourcing awarding work to the lowest bidder. For machine translation passed off as human translation. For localization software subscription “lock in” and inconsistent quality of both the product and the service experience. For many client/LSP relationships, it’s a lose-lose situation.

FINAL THOUGHT

We’re thrilled to achieve certification and stand alongside other B Corps who make a difference every day. More than ever, we want to continue our evolution in joining the movement. This is a major milestone in our journey and a wonderful recognition of the hard work and commitment our people have put into the way we do business. 

Manufacturing and B2C companies make up a big part of the B Corp community. But, as a service business, we have a big part to play in making the world a better place. And so do clients in choosing their localization partners to drive their international growth. For us, certification is not the end, it’s a beginning. We’re in the business of helping companies grow. And we look forward to rallying our resources in helping members of the community and the movement in any way we can.