The Linguist

The Linguist 57,1 – February/March 2018

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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26 The Linguist Vol/57 No/1 2018 FEATURES UK-based packaging company Mosca Direct shows how international businesses can – and should – adapt to their new and growing language needs What happens when a piece of machinery arrives in a British factory and the only available manual is written in German? At Mosca Direct, a subsidiary of the German- based strapping solutions company, this was once a common occurrence. Although new manuals are now available in English, there are still a number of machines that pre-date the digital age and come with German-only instructions. The answer, of course, is to have a German speaker on site. When Office Manager Catherine Ćurčić started working for the company 14 years ago, she expected to use her German to talk to colleagues at the parent company, Mosca GmbH, but soon found that they always reverted to English. Nevertheless, her language skills – a 'desired' criteria for the job – have been invaluable. "Occasionally there is a misunderstanding with colleagues at Mosca GmbH and it is good to be able to ask 'how would you say that in German?' in order to aid communication," she explains. Despite their excellent skills in English, her German colleagues can still make mistakes in the written language and Ćurčić has found herself translating on numerous occasions. The website is set up in Germany, ensuring a shared corporate look across all subsidiaries, but each country can switch pages on or off, or add to them. For most subsidiaries, the translations are done locally, but Mosca Direct tends to receive an English translation from Germany. "Most of the time it is good but sometimes it doesn't read right, and it's easier to go back to the German and translate it afresh," Ćurčić explains. "Over the years I've taught them to also send the German copy." There was one difficulty Ćurčić hadn't envisaged when she joined the Nottingham- based company: having spent a decade in Switzerland, honing her school-taught German, she was confident with her language skills, yet she discovered that she still had a lot to learn. "At Mosca we don't always use language I learnt at school: I had no idea what a Taktrollenbahn ['pacer conveyor'] was, but you learn these things," she explains. Mosca GmbH operates in 62 countries, and Mosca Direct has covered the UK and Ireland markets since 2000. In 2016, Mosca Direct took over management of Mosca's newly formed Northern European hub, adding Finland, Norway and Sweden to its remit, and was quick to address the associated languages needs. Mosca GmbH had already been working with partners in these countries, and the arrangements with Norway and Sweden have continued with little change. Operations for the Finnish market, however, are moving to the UK, so recruiting a Finnish- speaking member of the team became a priority. "All our customers in Finland are going to be speaking directly to us," explains Ćurčić. "Mosca machinery is the high end of the packaging world – we're not the cheapest and customers expect high-quality service – we felt that to continue to provide that service to Finnish customers we had to have a Finnish speaker on board. Finnish people speak very good English, but it's not the same as conversing in their native language." The process was not without its challenges. "The pool of Finnish-speaking customer account managers in the Nottingham area looking for a new job at any given time is quite small," says Ćurčić. "We have been very lucky to find somebody who not only speaks Finnish as a mother tongue, but also fluent Swedish and has a good understanding of Norwegian." The Finnish Customer Account Manager joined the team in April 2017 and immediately began making contact with Mosca's customers in Finland. Mosca Direct is looking to expand the hub to include Denmark and Iceland in the coming months, but will continue to work through their established agents in both countries. "A decision to hire another customer-facing person with specific language skills would be based on the volume of business coming from those areas," says Ćurčić. "There is no plan to employ more people at the moment, but things change and we are always ready to react to the needs of the new markets." A strapping success

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