Mathieu Marechal, Founder, Trad Online and BeWords
“Translating for Communication”
Communicating with people is a large part of establishing and running a business. The communication takes on an extra dimension when the languages that are spoken are different and requires a special touch. Translation and interpretation are where Trad Online comes in. Mathieu Marechal is the French entrepreneur behind Trad Online and BeWords who believes in adding a special touch to his services.Yourstory spoke to Mathieu and learnt more about his forte and his entrepreneurial journey so far.
Please tell us more about Trad Online and its services
Trad Online was launched in 2008 as a limited company and serves today more than 300 companies over 4 countries in Europe. Main services include translation and interpreting services, in more than 20 languages. Trad Online also provides web marketing services via its Indian-based branch. In 2010, a new innovative site (community-based translator platform) is in the works: www.bewords.com will launch officially to customers in September ’10 and is already welcoming professional translators (1500 have already signed up).
What has been the foundation of your successful services?
Our organization has based its success from the beginning on its use of the Web and the professional networks it has a strong presence on. The company has groups on linkedin, Viadeo, Xing.com etc (among the most visited are http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=2838991 and http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=145268).As previously indicated, more than 300 companies (about 1000 people working in those companies) use our services, but further than this, thru our CV translation service, we typically serve 500 to 600 more individual customers per year.
What sets you apart from all the other online translation services?
Trad Online provides human translation services, using all the latest project management and terminology tools and technology. But this isn’t enough to be better than the rest in the translation industry. We also strive to provide excellent customer service and to have a strong presence online, wherever our customers want to exchange with us, we’re there! (to accompany this, we have just hired two community managers and are planning to hire a 3rd one in Spain very soon).
A last thing which makes us different: our involvement in the “non-profit” world, all Trad Online associates are environmentally-minded individuals, and thus we support each year one or more projects, thru the company, to help the planet or people in need (this year’s project is a website to drive donations for a French NGO which replants forests in 3rd world countries: www.monarbre-matribu.com)
What are your plans and hopes for the future?
More branches in Europe, more quality people to help, more Web-based actions and providing better and better quality service to our customers!
In 2 years, I hope that Trad Online will have 7 to 8 branches in Europe and maybe we’ll have had time to open a branch in the US. As for Bewords.com, I hope that this site will have achieved a very fast growth rate and become one of the market’s leading translator platform and marketplace.
What made you become an entrepreneur?
I wanted to create things and own them, to be able to decide my own timesheet and report only to customers, instead of a boss. With freedom comes responsibility, but I welcome that.
What has been the most difficult hurdle for you to cross?
The worst thing that can happen to an entrepreneur is not to have customers, or to have too few customers. This happens at times, when the economic cycle is down, and it’s probably the biggest challenge: not to lose faith in your company, to keep going and make things happen so that the temporary lower activity level can be quickly forgotten.
What is the hardest part about being an entrepreneur in India?
I’m French but have launched a branch in Jhansi. I must say that the first thing that struck me was that although the Indian government has set up lots of forms online (that’s great), it still took us almost 6 months to create a LLP company. This is appallingly long and a real determent to business. I don’t know if our case is special but I’d say that this administrative hurdle mustn’t be easy to jump over for Indian entrepreneurs.
What is the mistake that taught you the most as an amateur entrepreneur?
Many mistakes ;) Being too impatient, trying to impose things that need more time to be accepted, not taking enough time to evaluate people’s capacity to do certain things and assigning them the wrong tasks, etc etc! We entrepreneurs learn by doing I think!
What should one do to grow as an entrepreneur?
If you have the entrepreneur spirit, you’ll just know it; don’t wait for people to tell you what to do, just do them. Unless you’ve got a family to support and not enough money, I can’t see any reason for not taking risks (financial, etc) if you really want to build your company.
Yourstory thanks Mathieu for his time and efforts in answering our questions. We wish him a long and fruitful entrepreneurial campaign in India.