Straker Translations is in the business of future-proofing global communication through cutting-edge language translation solutions. To deliver these global communication services, it relies on its top-notch productivity platform, Slack.
“We’ve really grown with Slack. We’ve been using it since 2014 when we were about 30 people,” says Grant Straker, Co-founder and CEO of Straker Translations.
Headquartered in New Zealand, Straker Translations has grown exponentially since its launch in 1999—working with more than 500 enterprises and translating more than 10 billion words. Along the way, it has acquired a number of companies and built a workforce across different countries and time zones.
“We needed a tool that would solve the problems that come with employing people across the world. Today, we have around 370 people across ten global offices. Slack has been crucial to this growth.”
“If we didn’t set up these workspaces to manage the communications for an organisation that large, we’d probably have to hire three or four people. The ROI of Slack was clear.”
Building a global company
Before Slack, Straker Translations tried email, Google Hangouts and HipChat for communication and Facebook Workplace as an intranet platform.
“These tools just did not work for us. As soon as we brought on Slack, we started seeing productivity gains instantly—we could pin documents, hook in our existing apps and have communal conversations that drove work forward,” says Indy Nagpal, Chief Platform Officer at Straker Translations.
“This is because Slack is not email, nor is it a messaging app. It’s a productivity platform that helps you do so much more than just message—it’s the central source that houses your files, apps and conversations all in one place.”
“We found that Slack worked easily alongside our existing processes and apps. Everything was simple.”
And the team has seen huge efficiencies, not just internally—but also in how it collaborates with its customers too.
For example, when the company began working with IBM, Slack was crucial to streamlining the onboarding process and ensuring deep collaboration moving forward.
“One of our largest customers is IBM and we do their translations globally. Our sales team was trying to onboard an organisation with 200,000 people. If we didn’t set up these workspaces to manage the communications for an organisation that large, we’d probably have to hire three or four people. The ROI of Slack was clear, even then,” says Straker.
Slack has also helped Straker Translations innovate, thanks to Slack integrations—the ability to integrate industry-leading software and custom apps right into Slack.
“A lot of our clients already use Slack. To help them get our service faster, we’ve created an app that they can integrate into their own workspaces,” says Nagpal.
“They can send files for translation via this app without having to go through external web-based systems and can then track the whole translation process and approve it. This creates a much smoother and natural experience as our clients don’t need to log into an external portal.”
As soon as we brought on Slack, we started seeing productivity gains—we could pin documents, hook in our existing apps and have communal conversations that drove work forward.
Fuelling internal efficiencies
Slack has improved Straker Translations’ internal operations as well.
Channels—flexible spaces for all the people, tools and files you need to get work done—have been crucial to improving transparency and collaboration, and have made communications more transparent.
“I have a philosophy—if you want to inform people, it’s much better to push that information to them, rather than forcing them to search and find it,” says Straker.
Straker started an #
announcements-channel for important company updates. He prefers sharing clips—which allow him to record and send audio or video clips as a convenient way of sharing information without needing to meet. His team can then respond to his updates and have a two-way conversation, rather than a top-down announcement.
Channels are also great for team updates.
“We have different business units around the world. And rather than forcing people to find information, each department will instead put together a summary of what the team needs to know and push it out on the channel,” says Straker.
“It means everyone can get a quick summary, without having to search for it.”
Future-proofing with Slack
Looking back, Nagpal wonders how his team operated before Slack.
“I shudder to think about how we worked before Slack. Finding information used to be a mission—everything was through emails with information getting lost. It made for a disconnected and unproductive team,” he says.
As Straker Translation prepares for its future, it knows that Slack will be key to having engaged customers. It has built an app that will make it easier for customers to access Straker Translation products and services and manage their projects.
“We have an app for managing translation projects that integrates straight into Slack. So rather than having a web-based portal to manage our jobs, our customers can upload files directly on Slack without having to go to any other system and track the whole translation process—all in one place.”