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The ATC’s Member of the Month in February 2024 is IMD Translation, a specialist language service company initially established by solicitors for solicitors which has now expanded to offer language services to all the professional services, including financial and legal sectors.

We caught up with IMD’s Managing Director and Co-Founder, Marcin Durlak, and General Manager, James Halstead, to talk about setting up a company in the middle of severe economic challenges, building a hyper-focused service offering, and fostering a thriving company culture.

Setting up in the midst of a global pandemic

Known originally as IMD Legal Translation and Interpreting, what has now grown to become IMD Translation was founded by Iwona and Marcin Durlak in the beginning of 2022, in the midst of a global pandemic, economic uncertainty, and the aftermath of Brexit.

“In some ways, the timing worked in our favour, as our market research was carried out at what were some of the worst of times for business, and therefore our approach from the outset needed to take challenging economic realities into consideration,” explains Managing Director Marcin Durlak.

“As a consequence, we have by default developed a cautious but smart approach to the use of technology, respectful and collaborative approaches with customers and suppliers, and relatively liberal but focused investment for growth.”

In its two years of trading, IMD has stormed its niche and grown from a client base of 1 to over 400, including 66% growth with top 100 law firm clients in its second year, and a comparable increase in performance and turnover.

“We have built the most focused LSP in the UK for the legal sector,” says Durlak, “and now, due to popular demand and as part of natural growth we have been able to expand our services to the other professional services such as accountancy, private equity, asset management, and medical firms.”

But no new entrant to the language services market in the middle of an economic downturn can survive without reaching out and connecting with the industry. As well as joining the ATC, IMD Translation has established connections with the management of other language service companies across the world, connected with the next generation of professionals at universities, and linked up with the linguist community through CIOL and the ITI’s Law, Insurance & Finance Network ITI LIFT.

A hyper focus on the professional services

IMD Translation provides translation, transcription, and interpreting services for professional service firms in the UK, with an initial sole focus on the legal sector and solicitors’ needs, and now also incorporating financial and medical firm needs.

The company’s staff members combine deep legal and professional services expertise with extensive language services industry experience: two of IMD Translation’s Directors, including the Managing Director, are solicitors, General Manager James Halstead is a Chartered Linguist, and all nine staff members are trained on the specifics of legal service provision.

“For our legal clients, this means that we truly grasp that their legal language service needs are often complex and life-impacting,” explains James. “We take the time to understand their cases and requirements, and talk them through options relevant to their particular legal practice area or jurisdiction. On a practical level, we also recognise how critical for example deadlines are in a legal setting.”

IMD Translation also seeks to add value and grow its brand recognition through thought leadership in the niche of legal language services, featuring in leading legal industry media including New Law Journal and Solicitors Journal.

Building a company culture

In a growing, remote-work-enabled company, company values and culture play a major role.

“We are culturally diverse, honest, collaborative, respectful, and committed to excellence,” says James, “and we believe that investment in our staff’s and suppliers’ development and wellbeing will help us not just to grow and prosper, but also to hold on to our skilled and capable people.”

Building a healthy and skilful team are no idle words at IMD Translation. Over the past two years, the company has established committees for EDI, wellbeing, and mental health, and set in stone its commitment to continuous improvement through robust corporate governance policies to ensure transparency and fairness in the company’s structure and dealings with clients, suppliers, and staff. IMD Translation is also certified to ISO 9001 for quality management and ISO 17100 for translation services with ATC Certification.

“We believe that it is our investment in our staff, our infrastructure, and digital transformation, and our focused sales approach coupled with our personal touch which have made us resilient in terms of service offering and allowed us to grow – even through these challenging times,” concludes James.

Marcin Durlak and James Halstead were in conversation with ATC CEO Raisa McNab.

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