Business as Usual – Thoughts on Working Remotely

The translation industry as a whole is well placed to continue working during the Covid-19 crisis. At Alexika, all of our translation project management team are working from home successfully – we are fortunate in that we all work from home one day per week anyway, so all of the systems were already in place. Translators tend to work from home, indeed many of our core team are past masters at it, having worked from home for years. Face-to-face interpreting does not take place during the crisis, but technology opens up other options such as telephone interpreting. We do try to appreciate how fortunate we are, and really feel for those whose work has dried up overnight.

So are there any lessons on remote working that we can pass on to others? We have the following thoughts:

  • We have tried to make the home-working regime as relaxed as we possibly can. Hopefully none of us feel that we have to be looking at a screen for a full working day – we all need lots of breaks, we all need to move around and we all need to attend to family and household needs during the day. All this really is fine.
  • We were fortunate in having this in place anyway but having a robust ‘Virtual Private Network’ (VPN) is essential for us. This means that the computers that we are using at home do the same things as the computers in the office – and the project management system operates as it usually does. The service for clients is the same, just some of the internal team communication works in a different way…
  • We find it very helpful to have a daily team video chat at 3pm. We find that Microsoft Teams works well but Skype is part of the mix. We discuss business issues of the day, and we’ve just had a complex ISO quality process review meeting on there – but it is also just good to see that everyone is looking OK.
  • The team at our IT provider NewFox IT has been helpful in checking that we are in the right shape to move from a position of partial home working to full-time home working. As part of this, we accepted the nudge to speed up some decisions that would have happened at some point anyway. So our back-up system has gone from a hybrid to a fully cloud-based solution, and our phone system is moving over to VOIP (internet.) Maybe this situation will nudge other businesses to bring forward investment decisions.

But despite all this talk of computers and IT, the translation business – and any other business – is really about people. We are very grateful to our clients who are still trusting us with their projects, and our linguists who are still providing the highest quality of service. There are many challenges in life at the moment, but providing our usual translation service is fortunately not one of them.