A new role, a Book Fair and a load of pretzels!

Nov 17, 2023 | Language Industry 101

It’s been a wonderfully busy and productive year at First Edition Translations, and as we head towards the conclusion of 2023, we finally had a chance to catch up with newly-promoted Ana Grilo after a hectic week away at Frankfurt Book Fair.

Ana, congratulations on your recent promotion to Director of First Edition Translations – what a great way to celebrate October! What are your plans to develop the business in this new role, heading into 2024?

Thank you! I’ve been at First Edition for nearly 20 years now, and I know the company inside out. I want to leverage that experience and knowledge to drive our business in 2024. Primarily I want to expand our editorial services. In addition to the traditional book translations we already do, I will explore opportunities in related areas such as audiobook translations, digital publishing, and e-book localisation, further expanding our service offerings. We also have a more commercial side, especially with pharma clients, and keeping up to date with EMA regulatory requirements will be essential to see our business grow even more.

That sounds exciting! What challenges do you foresee in the new role, and how will your experience help you to solve these?

What’s in everybody’s minds in the language services industry is AI Integration and how it can help with our business. I would like for us to stay ahead of this curve and use it to enhance the efficiency of our translation services, but without ever losing track of the end quality result which means always using human linguists to review, verify, edit and transcreate.

It’s important to note that, while AI has brought and will continue to bring numerous benefits to the language services industry, it is not a perfect replacement for human linguists and language professionals. The other caveat is that there are limits to where and how to use it – never in creative content such as book translations, marketing copy and with a grain of salt in specialised medical and pharma translations, because human expertise is still essential for nuanced and context-dependent tasks, especially in areas where cultural sensitivity and subject matter expertise are crucial.

We already offer a service called Post-Editing – in which our linguists can use AI-generated translations as a starting point and then perform post-editing to improve the quality, reducing the time and costs for our clients should they need it. AI should be seen as a tool to enhance the capabilities of language professionals rather than replace them entirely.

You recently attended the Frankfurt Book Fair – I’m sure AI was raised, and what other trends and new developments did you identify that will impact the publishing world in 2024?

Again, it is incredible how Artificial Intelligence seems to be everywhere these days and there were quite a few roundtables and talks about AI at the fair. The biggest concern is how to make sure that copyrighted content stays so, but there are very clever ways AI is being used in publishing, including market research and predictive analytics, optimising the distribution process, and more.

The Fair is vast – did you manage to meet any specific authors or publishers looking for translation services specifically? What sort of projects are they working on?

You call it “vast”, but that does not describe how mind-blowingly enormous the Fair truly is! It has many halls, each with many floors, with publishers and professionals from all over the world in attendance. I met some of our existing clients – including our largest publishing client Scala Arts and Heritage with whom we cooperate to create amazingly beautiful books such as the upcoming Arabic version of Impressions of Oman. I also met with potential new clients and we discussed how we can work together and how we can support them in their global expansion.

I hope you had some time to enjoy the cultural aspects of Frankfurt – the city is renowned for Bethmännchen (marzipan cookies) – did you manage to sample some of the local cuisine?

I am vegan and Frankfurt (and Germany in general) is actually really vegan friendly. To note, there is one Vietnamese vegan restaurant in Frankfurt that is absolutely delicious called Ong Tao Vegan. But in the Fair halls I couldn’t resist their famous pretzel stands! I may have had far too many this year…

Thanks Ana for your time, and wishing you the very best in your new role!

Do you have any questions for Ana or our team? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us via enquiries@firstedit.co.uk.