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Provo • Fluent in French? Know a lot of Spanish? How about all that German you learned in high school?
It isn't likely to lead to a coveted translator job at Provo-based MultiLing, a company that offers translation services worldwide. Although the company does get plenty of resumes from those who speak other languages including a plethora of returned missionaries with foreign language skills the company prefers native speakers with advanced degrees in technical disciplines.
"We have a very educated, very skilled workforce," said Lyle Ball, chief operating officer.
It's one way the company, founded in 1988, competes in the crowded industry of translation services, increasingly crucial in the global economy. Another is through specialization: The company focuses on intellectual property and information technology, in large part by translating documents and correspondence relating to patent applications filed in other countries.
That high degree of specialization has helped the Utah County company carve out a successful niche. From just a handful of people in the late 80s, MultiLing today employs 90 people at its headquarters in Provo and another 120 translators worldwide. In addition, it contracts with another 1,000 translators and linguists globally who help translate documents for multinational corporations such as Procter & Gamble, Dell and IBM.
The company recently outgrew its office space, moving into larger offices in the Zions Bank Financial Center in Provo. The company held an open house in its new digs Tuesday.
Its new offices have about 20,600 square feet of space, 50 percent more than at its previous location down the street.
Multinational companies that do business with Multiling often file a patent application in the United States and then translate that application into other languages in some instances dozens more so the patent can be registered in other countries.
As with any area of international business, there are no shortage of errors and blunders in translation services. MultiLing hires native-speaking managers who work with its staff and contract linguists around the world, adding a high level of quality control, said Todd Rapier, a MultiLing executive vice president.
And that quality control is key in the translation business, said Franz Kolb, a director in the Utah Governor's Office of Economic Development's International Trade and Diplomacy office in Salt Lake City. "A company's image depends on correct translation," he said.
It isn't always easy to find the right translator for a particular assignment. But today, the company has language specialists in most every corner of the world and if they don't, they can use their extensive array of global connections to quickly find someone with the right skills who speaks the right language.
"They started small and built a network," Kolb said. "I'm impressed with their commitment to helping companies grow internationally."