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The ATC’s Member of the Month in October 2022 is Dialogue Language Services International, an all-round language training, cultural consultancy and language service company based in Oxfordshire.

We caught up with Dialogue’s Business Development and Marketing Director Cathy Branson to talk about the idea of a total client service package, how to stay relevant and add value in a changing landscape.

A tale of three musketeers

Dialogue Language Services International was founded nearly 30 years ago by Nicola and Rob Shimwell as a corporate language training company supporting a booming automotive industry in Swindon – training employees in multinational companies needing to communicate and work better together, as well as those dealing with overseas clients, or being posted abroad.

Fifteen years later, they were joined by Cathy Branson, a German/Russian-English translator and language trainer. “Going into business together felt really natural, and we just clicked as a team,” says Cathy. The trio call themselves the three musketeers, with different strengths and personalities, and a team of 10 employees – Nicola directing overall operations as the company’s CEO, Rob in charge of training as the Training Director, and Cathy bringing in the business as Dialogue’s Business Development and Sales Director. “We have a great and talented team working incredibly hard to support our clients” says Cathy “and on top of that we have a lot of fun together.”

Over the years, Dialogue has grown first from local to national, and then an international provider of corporate language training, cultural consultancy, and language services across the globe.

True language partnership

Dialogue’s versatile services are also their unique selling point, and the company’s focus on cross-selling and an all-round partnership with the likes of Thales, Honda, and No7 (Boots) keeps their clients close.

“We are a true language partner, whether a client needs translation or interpreting, language training for relocating staff, or bespoke cultural training to understand business meetings and social etiquette in another country. We can also advise how to navigate company cultures and retain a culture of inclusivity when one of our clients acquires a company abroad,” Cathy explains.

During the Covid pandemic, Dialogue developed the proprietary, Ed-Tech business English platform Kudos, focusing on video-based training to help business English learners speak and perform more naturally and confidently at work. Kudos is not only the brainchild of co-founder and experienced language trainer Rob Shimwell but he also takes a starring role!

Apart from Kudos, Dialogue’s technology journey has seen the company implement new translation management and CAT software, as well as incorporate machine translation with post-editing in earnest. “As language service providers, we need to embrace what technology can offer to our clients, understand what they need, and give them advice on what will, or what simply won’t work for them,” Cathy says.

Sustainable, inclusive business development

Joining the ATC as an Accredited Member and gaining ISO certification to Quality Management Standard ISO 9001 and Translation Services Standard ISO 17100 have been milestones in Dialogue’s journey towards sustainable, inclusive business development.

In 2022, Dialogue won the ATC’s New Member of the Year Award. “Our ATC membership has already proved tremendously useful. Research and reports both from the ATC and its partners are packed full of key data in terms of understanding where the industry is going, and the ATC’s events have made us feel very welcome as well as being extremely informative and engaging,” says Cathy.

“Our growth strategy is very much about building an ethical, sustainable business with like-minded clients and providers; it has been really interesting to become part of the ATC community and to exchange thoughts and experiences with other ATC member companies,” Cathy concludes.

Cathy Branson was in conversation with ATC CEO Raisa McNab.



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