Katya Aricci, founder and General Manager of the international Italian translation company Arkadia Translations talks to Fiona Tankard Lister.
The world of translation has changed beyond recognition since the founder of one of Italy’s most successful translation and interpreting companies Arkadia Translations started work. In 1994, Katya Aricci was just starting her career as a freelance translator in Milan, working in English, French and Italian. “Back then, companies, even international ones, would use secretaries or in-house staff to do their translations,” she says. “It was all a bit amateurish. Now, I’m pleased to say, almost everyone understands how important it is to have professional translation and that is a very positive thing.”
Katya specialized in legal and financial translation because “I had a passion for those areas. I know it is not normal!” she laughs. “But I do enjoy the discipline and technical nature of this kind of language work.”
Many of her freelance clients at the time were telling her how much they needed a service focussed on law and finance. “They complained that all the big agencies were generalists and that in their fields they needed very specific, specialized translation done by people who knew what they were talking about.”
In 1999, realizing there was a huge gap in the market, Katya decided to create a translation company that focused on a few very limited areas demanded by businesses: law, finance, insurance, marketing and communication. Arkadia Translations was born. The company worked mainly in the most popular languages of the time: English, French, German and Spanish and comprised Katya and a team of ten freelancers.
Fast forward to 2017 and Arkadia has a network of 700 professional native speaker translators all over the globe, working into their mother tongue. The company still handles the popular languages of course, but over the years has added many others to its repertoire, including unusual ones such as Vietnamese. The client deals exclusively through a project manager who oversees the whole process from start to finish. The translator’s work is sent to a reviser who checks the text. They have seven of those in-house dealing with the most popular languages and then additional freelance proof readers in various countries around the world. Arkadia says it deals with “all the world’s languages” and this is another area where Katya has seen big changes.
“Emerging markets and globalization mean that Chinese, Portuguese, Turkish and Arabic are now very much in demand and we also work a lot in Russian,” she explains. “We opened an office in Belgium two years ago and handle many of our international clients from there, including those from the UK, Germany, France, The Netherlands and Belgium. We deal with law firms, banks and financial institutions as well as the legal and finance departments of many multi-nationals.”
Arkadia also supply simultaneous interpretation services and can call from a pool of 50 worldwide who deal with the 100 or so requests they receive each year. They may be called on to interpret in conferences, trade fairs, press conferences and interviews or even travel with clients to business meetings in another country.
“We work 365 days a year and 24/7,” says Katya. “Because your business never goes on holiday.” The nature of the work means that many translations are often required on a weekend or late at night. “It’s often urgent or last minute. We’re used to working like that.”
Arkadia’s Marketing and Sales Manager Giuseppe Pietroforte met Ben Radomski of Business e Via Italy (BEV) in February 2015 courtesy of his friend Daniel Shillitoe. The introduction was made at a meeting of the Milan Business Group which was set up by Ben and Daniel. It soon became obvious that BEV had plenty of clients in their professional network who could benefit from a high quality translation service and that Arkadia would also develop some very interesting and productive new contacts.
“BEV’s network contains companies and individuals who match our legal and financial target market,” explains Katya. “It’s a very good fit.”
Giuseppe agrees. “Thanks to BEV we have acquired customers from the UK and Italy, particularly in the finance, corporate, marketing and communications sectors,” he says.
It’s clear that both he and Katya are very satisfied with the results of the collaboration with BEV. To Katya, this demand for Arkadia’s services is also a natural development arising from globalization. “Today’s businesses, particularly in the legal and financial sector, understand that if they are to come across as professional in another country and culture then they really do need the services of a professional translation company.”
Thanks to the relationship between Arkadia and BEV, both sides are benefiting. It’s a win-win, and that’s a positive thing, whichever language you use.