The Business of Quickly Translating from One Language to Another Has Been Very Good for the Gables-Based U.S. Division of the Flix Translations Group
If you’re among the millions of people around the world watching more movies and TV series these days because of coronavirus, Manuel Gutierrez and his team say, “Thank you.”
Gutierrez heads up U.S. operations for Flix Translations Group, and the company has been extra busy this past year, translating scripts into subtitles and dubbing dialogue for films distributed internationally. It works with such giants as Sony and Universal, switching between English, Spanish, Portuguese and other languages to reach viewers globally. “Since Covid, we’ve seen business boom, likely up at least twice previous levels,” says Gutierrez.
Flix was launched 12 years ago by a husband-and-wife team in Argentina, Jorge Alonso, and Gabriela Arriaran. She had worked as an English teacher and branched out into translations. Soon, the family business was handling projects from the U.S., Europe, and beyond – everything from contracts to textbooks, websites and advertisements. Their client roster grew to include such heavyweights as Amazon, Twitter, Warner Brothers, Unilever, General Electric and Samsung.
In 2017, Flix opened an office at the WeWork co-working space in Coral Gables, spurred partly by the need for a U.S. physical presence to bid for government contracts in the United States. The company tapped Gutierrez, who’d worked with the World Bank, Citibank, and Forbes magazine, to run the office and lead marketing and business development. He’s since secured contracts with area clients such as Mercy Hospital and the University of Miami, as well as with local and state government agencies.
The translation business faces many challenges, especially time pressure, says Gutierrez. Clients tend to be in a hurry. To ensure accuracy (even certified translators “typing, typing, typing for hours a day” can make mistakes, says Gutierrez), Flix has a project manager to monitor progress and quality for each job. Among other things, this is to ensure the correct regional differences within any language; think British English vs. American in words like flat vs. apartment or lift vs. elevator. For Latin American audiences, for example, Flix offers three types of Spanish: Mexican, Colombian and Argentine. “Colombian Spanish is the most neutral,” says Gutierrez. “But for Mexicans, it’s important to dub in Mexican Spanish.”
EMerge Americas, the Coral Gables-based firm that promotes Miami as a tech hub for the Americas, works with Flix and considers the translation company “an integral part of our extended team,” says Ashley Abdullah, director of marketing. EMerge requires translations in Spanish, Portuguese, and English for press releases, websites, and more. “What differentiatesFlix,” says Abdullah, “is that they dedicate a team [for each client] that can easily and swiftly evaluate context, target audience, and appropriate tone of voice for language translation, with a quick turnaround.”
Gutierrez says being in Coral Gables facilitates business, because clients can park easily, and he can walk to lawyers nearby for notarizations. Flix works with a network of certified translators, mostly working remotely in Argentina, Mexico, the U.S. and beyond, handling some 125 languages.
Even when the coronavirus subsides, requests for its services are expected to grow. Studies show most people prefer to receive information in their own language. To reach the world’s online population that way used to take just 12 languages: Mandarin, English, Spanish, Japanese, Portuguese, Arabic, German, Russian, French, Indonesian, Korean, and Italian. But as more nations grow internet savvy, demand is expanding. Urdu, anyone?