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The ATC is delighted to feature Wessex Translations as our Member of the Month for September 2022. The Hampshire-based company’s three Directors, Jonathan Nater, Robin Weber and Paul Stewart talk about Wessex’s journey and the company’s 50th anniversary, which they are celebrating this year.

Listening to what clients want


Fifty years and still going strong is no easy feat for any company, let alone in the language services industry. How has life at Wessex Translations changed?

“When I first joined the company, translation was viewed as a specialist service,” says Robin. “The whole landscape changed with the emergence of translation technology and larger LSPs, which moved the industry towards commoditisation of translations in the way that we see them today. Today, you can buy translations online anywhere, at any time.”

Over the years, Wessex has adapted to the changing landscape by holding true to their values and listening to what their clients want.

“Wessex was then, and still is, seen as a specialist service provider by our clients. It’s a service rather than a product that we’re about. We happen to deal with translations and interpreting, but we haven’t lost sight of that service angle, which I believe is the reason why we’re still here after 50 years,” Robin continues.


It’s a family affair


People are at the heart of Wessex’s philosophy. For many years, Director Paul Stewart ran the company with his original business partner Jill Field – Jonathan Nater and Robin Weber’s mother – but over the past 15 years, the day-to-day management of the business has moved firmly into the brothers’ hands.

For the directors, it’s all about taking care of their team.

“For us, being a team also means working together,” says Jonathan. “We’ve always had an office-based culture, and a tight-knit team. The pandemic changed how we worked overnight, but we are now coming back to the office – more flexibly than before, but nevertheless, coming back. In the longer term, we believe in the team being together, for the company’s longevity and success, but also for the team’s cohesion,” continues Jonathan.

And that seems to have done the trick. On the eve of Wessex Translations’ 50th anniversary celebrations, their employees got in touch with the ATC to publicly recognise the amazing level of support the directors gave them throughout the pandemic and beyond.


A portfolio of services keeps the doctor away


Wessex Translations has developed a diverse portfolio of core services, which has stood them in good stead over the past few turbulent years.

With a focus on technical translations, Wessex covers all languages and all domains. Previously, services were almost evenly split 50-50 between translations into and out of English, with large EU translation contracts balancing a client base of UK and international commercial clients. Today, the balance has shifted towards increasing volumes of work out of English.

They have also diversified their interpreting service offering to include remote and telephone interpreting alongside the usual face-to-face assignments – in direct response to the changing needs brought about by the pandemic.

For UK language service companies, the right to participate in new EU tenders is still somewhat unclear, but Wessex is leading the drive to ensure clear and unambiguous opportunities and a level playing field. As the longest-serving ATC Council Member, Wessex Director Paul Stewart is working closely with the ATC’s CEO, the UK’s Department for International Trade, and the EUATC’s liaison with the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Translation, to clarify the terms of different EU institutions.

It’s clear that a well-rounded, wide service offering has played a major part in keeping Wessex Translations relevant, as has their firm focus on strong, personal client relationships.

“Many clients have been with us decades,” confirms Paul. “But so have a great number of our wonderful freelance translators and interpreters. That means a lot to us.”

“We of course need to keep the company financially viable and profitable to ensure its continued success, but our emphasis has never been, and never will be, on taking over the world. Instead, we focus on the very best quality service, and our clients appreciating what we do,” concludes Jonathan.

And that is the recipe for a successful business entering its 51st year.

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