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Happy 5-Year Work Anniversary to anh Tiềm!

Happy 5-Year Work Anniversary To anh Tiềm!

a tiem

You made it anh Tiềm! Happy 5-year work anniversary and congratulations on reaching such an impressive career milestone! 

Your hard work and dedication are truly appreciated. Here’s to many more years of amazing accomplishments. Happy work anniversary, anh Tiềm!

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Internal Post

2023 in The Rearview

1.   The Team

During my 7 years with GTE, I have had the joy of working with several team generations. Each generation was an exact fit at each stage of the company. But it seems to me that the current version of GTE, or all of you now, is the strongest team we have ever had.

  • The two quite well-established teams, IH and PM, are at a new level. IH was strengthened with a couple of new editors who can work really well on multiple domains, possess the perfect service attitude while ensuring the over-target capacity and deadline compliance. PMs are so happy for this, you know.
  • On the PM side, a few new PCs bring your distinctive strengths of quick action and excellent service mindset, balancing with the very careful and stable existing PMs. The PM team size was also increased timely to catch up with the workload, which resulted in an all-time-low OT rate for PM. It’s a huge relief that we actually made it, almost the first time in the entire PM history (chart below).
  • The BO teams (HR/ACC/Admin/System) are still performing wonderfully despite the compact size. The company’s working environment, facilities and events are in great shape. Invoices to clients and payments to suppliers were very smooth even when our revenue has been increasing considerably over the years. Our new BA – Helen, with her positive energy and dedication even makes it stronger. New GO modules and functions are released regularly. Bugs are fixed quickly. Release Notes and User Guides are available in a very professional fashion.
  • I’m sure all of the teams at the front line have been enjoying the support from the BO team during the last one year.
  • MKT team had a minor change in team size. But the real differences were a new dedicated leader, and also MKT members have the chance to try a new interesting task – Outreach. The whole MKT team has proved that you’re able to add more value to the company. Thanks Tony for making MKT a real team under your management.
  • VM & Sales have experienced a very challenging year with an almost entirely new team. Darla is the youngest TL we’ve ever had. The Sales team does not even have a dedicated TL. The temporary Sales TL, Brian, did not deliver any impressive results. The performance was down for both teams, obviously. But I take the bet on the potentials of the new faces. If you can keep your current momentum, I have no doubt that you will outperform the previous generation very soon.
  • I’m no longer the best in many aspects of the company. And I’m extremely happy with it. If I’m the best, the company’s growth is limited by my own capabilities. But PMs are now much better than me in production knowledge (CAT, RCA, Subtitling process). Some sales are more comfortable talking with clients than me, and are willing to work at late night to support them which I can’t do any longer. The Outreach team, after a while, can teach me how to work on some tools and steps.
  • We need more of these examples. Beat me on your job – that’s the requirement.

All of the above does not mean that we’re perfect. To make a stronger team, we need to attract new talents. But one no-less-important task is screening out mediocre members. Mediocrity in work results, attitude, or a misfit with our culture is not tolerated for long. We don’t want to let anyone go, but we will do it if we have to. It’s a harsh truth. And that “anyone” includes myself as the owner and founder of the company. The business world has proven many times that the founder can be out if they no longer perform well in their position.

At the end of the day, it’s about the sustainable growth of the entire company. Not about any individual position.

2.    Key figures and milestones 

The first one should be our Revenue. For the entire year 2023, we have made 1.86mil USD, or 92% of our target. While the YoY growth is 20%, it’s less than our expectations. And for the first time in many years, the result in H2 was not as good as H1. This was caused by the “renovation” in Sales team during H2. Anyway, if I could do it again, I would have done the exact same way. The Sales renovation was not a choice, but a must. And I hope the Sales team goes down just to go up stronger.

AMs & PMs were doing a great job, though. The revenue from PM & AM exceeded 112% of your target, and made up 77% of the company revenue. Thank you team for always being the reliable part of the company.

The second aspect involves our client and revenue structure. 67% of our revenue comes from 14 Strategic and Big accounts. This handful number of important accounts allows us plan our resources with needed priority for the long run. Three over seven Strategic accounts are End-clients, which means we’re able to handle EC demand on a quite large scale. The biggest account is 16.7% of our company revenue, which means their essential to us but we’re not too dependent on them (like we’re dead without them). Overall, our revenue and client structure are quite stable for further growth in the upcoming years.

Last but not least, we’ve done an incredible amount of work within 2023. In Q2, we successfully deployed of IMS automated numerous internal administration work. By Q3, we moved to a new bigger office that uplifted us to a new level, both physically and mentally. In some last days of the year, we achieved ISO 17100 – the most specialized ISO for a translation company. Those milestones used to worth some separate sessions in my blog. Now they’re just briefly mentioned. Don’t get me wrong – it does not mean they’re not important achievements. On the contrary, the ones behind those milestones can be very proud of yourself. But at the company scale, if they’re not as big to us as they were a few years ago, it means that we have grown up.

3.   2024 – To the bigger world

Yes, that’s the title for our YEP this year. Over the last two years, we have acquainted ourselves with the Singaporean market. We act like a SG company, accumulate a pretty good SG client base, and pay for suppliers from our SG bank without any issue. However, the SG market is small. It’s the good start but can’t be our long-term playground. That’s why we’re aiming to a bigger world: China and the US.

  • China

I debate with myself a lot regarding this market. Personally, I don’t really like the business philosophy of some Chinese clients. They’re just too aggressive in cutting cost, and it’s not my style. Professionally, our company has been designed and built for the English-speaking markets since Day 1. But on the other hand, China is a huge market next-door. They’re forecasted to become the world’s largest economy within the next decade. If companies all around the world come a long way to do business in China, why shouldn’t we?

So, we just do not sit there and guess the answer. We shall give it a try. The brief plan is to recruit a small team of native Chinese salespersons, build a Chinese version of our website, and invest in paid search from their search engines like Baidu. More actions may follow if the first ones are checked.

  • The US

The US market has always been the biggest playground for all industries, including L10n. If you may remember, we failed it two years ago. This is our second attempt. But this time, instead of sending someone here to the US, we plan to recruit one or two native US Salespersons. Marketing activities can still be done from here by our MKT team. For production teams, VM & PM may need to evolve to support the business side in terms of time zones and required languages pairs.

Expanding into two new huge markets in one year is simply super ambitious for a company at our size. But I’m already thrilled with excitements. If we can’t do it, we shall learn some good lessons. If we succeed with just one among the two, we may enjoy the unexpected growth. Those are the reasons for us to take this big bet. And “Challenge Accepted” is our culture, isn’t it?

Related Posts:

These data & information were shared to help you gain an overall picture of your work and to promote our transparency. Do NOT disclose them to external parties unless you have written approval from the MD.

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Public Post

Happy 5-Year Work Anniversary to chị Hiền!

Happy 5-Year Work Anniversary To chị Hiền!

It’s a remarkable day at GTE Localize as we come together to celebrate chị Hiền’s journey with us. Over the past five years, she has proven to be a trusted Accountant of the company.

 

From the early days when GTE Localize had just 10 staff members to now, with a workforce of nearly 40 at our “new house”, chị Hiền has been a pillar of support and expertise. To mark this occasion, the company threw a party, and it was heartwarming to see chị Hiền surrounded by colleagues who have been with her every step of the way. Chị Hiền also reminisced about both memorable and forgettable moments with our team. The atmosphere was filled with laughter and joy that truly reflects the GTE Localize spirit.

 

Anh Linh on behalf of the company presented chị Hiền with a crystal achievement award as a token of our appreciation for her contributions to GTE Localize. It symbolizes the respect we hold for her and the faith we have in her future endeavors with us.

 

Chị Hiền, thank you for your hard work, and we look forward to the many more milestones we will achieve together in the years to come.

 
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Internal Post

H1-2023 Revenue data & Highlights

1. H1-2023 Revenue

Revenue is not simply a monetary figure. It quantifies our growth and measures our value added to the client’s business. In this sense, we have a very good first-half of 2023:

  • Almost USD 1mil has been made, which is 104% of our target.
  • A new striking monthly revenue record at VND 5.05 bil in April.
  • 46% up compared to H1-2022

Our MKT & Sales contributed VND 5.36bil, accounting for 23% of total rev (215% of Sale’s target). PM & AM delivered the rest 77% – VND17.01bil (117.5% of their target). Very nice job, guys and girls!

image001But behind these very positive data, there’re still things to do. The high revenue came mostly from some big projects (both LSP & EC). We have not gained any new strategic account with significant monthly revenue yet. As I’m writing these lines, the July rev is expected to be as low as the break-even point. A good H1 also puts the pressure on us to overcome our own performance in H2. 

Overall, we have reasons to feel good for the past half year. But stay alert for the 2nd half.

2. One step higher in the value chain

During the last few years, we have been trying to move up in the value chain by working directly with end-client, rather than just being a sub-contractor for other LSPs. H1-2023 marks a new milestone in this journey. For the first time, the revenue from our direct clients has outgrown the revenue from LSPs. More than half of our revenue, or 53%, is now from direct clients (EC, EM & ES of the below chart). While the revenue from LSP is still growing itself, it now makes up only 47% of our total revenue. 

image002

It is important to be less dependent on LSP clients. During hard times or under new supplier strategies, LSP clients can simply switch from agencies like us to in-house and FLs. We may lose clients without doing anything wrong. A relatively safe ratio for us is less than 30% of revenue coming from LSP clients. Let’s keep working on this goal. 

3. Macroeconomics & industry trend

We hear the news about the global economic downturn everywhere. The “AI” buzzword has flooded our social media. But no one can tell exactly what will happen to our industry, and what we can do from our position as a company. FYI – here’re my personal opinions to prepare for GTE:

Economic downturn

It’s closer than we think. One day, AM told me that the PIC from Meta is no longer working so we can’t ask for their testimonials. The other day, I was reported that client RedHat laid off almost their entire L10n department. And many other stories, directly or indirectly, linked to our clients and us. There’re a few actions we can take:

  • Think positively. The pressure of the big Corps to cut costs may result in their shift from big LSPs to smaller ones like GTE.
  • Stay resilient. Any economic crisis will eventually end. Survivors from the crisis have more chances to grow. We keep preparing for future growth despite the current negative outlook.
  • Try to diversify our client base, both in terms of industry and size. If a client industry/size is down, another is likely to be up.
  • Find ways to be effective with cost. I’m not a fan of cost-cutting but being efficient in the cost structure and fully utilizing human capacity to avoid waste are necessary.
  • Depend less on LSP clients, as analyzed above.
AI vs Human
  • AI is real, but it takes more time to measure AI effects on human, L10n industry, and our company. Also L10n is a very fragmented industry with thousands of suppliers and millions of buyers across the globe, making it unlikely for AI to transform our industry overnight. Wait for the AI hype to die down first.
  • GTE is too small to be proactive, such as developing a new AI-integrated tool or technology. Our strategy is adaptive.
  • Just like past lessons with CAT tools & MT, our industry expects (hopes) that AI will be a friend, not a foe. We may need to switch from high-unit-price services like TE, to lower-unit-price services like MTPE. But the volume (total demand for L10n) should be bigger. Before the CAT tool era, only the biggest Corps can afford multilingual website by paying for all as New word. Then CAT tools make translation accessible for medium companies by offering discounts on reps and fuzzy words. What if every single SME can buy L10n service at an even lower cost fueled by AI? Definitely not our industry’s doomsday.

These data & information were shared to help you gain an overall picture of your work and to promote our transparency. Do NOT disclose them to external parties unless you have written approval from the MD.

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Internal Post

H2-2022 Revenue data & Highlights

1. The US: we failed the first battle. Can we win the war?

We entered H2-2022 with a high hope on the US market. A Sales to be sent there by Q3. MKT activities would soon convert into Leads. A new batch of US clients will start appearing.

But we were too naive to think it was that easy.

Firstly, Alex’s visa application was not accepted. The US immigration system is not simply designed for small companies like us to send someone there. Then MKT failed to bring a stable number of US leads. We tried to execute numerous plans and waited for four months. The results not improved as we expected.

By writing these lines, we gave up the plan of sending a Sales to the US. The MKT team still has been struggling with the US campaign. 

We did have some first US clients, but they’re not enough to cover the total the U.S. market’s investment. More importantly, we have not created a template to acquire the US clients. New tactics are being deployed. But we can’t (and should not) say anything in advance. Let’s wait and see.

2. A new Revenue milestone

Nevertheless, it’s the year-end. The right time for us is to look back at a key figures: revenue data. 2022 marks a milestone with the new high in revenue (you already saw this in the YEP video):

  • For a year: VND 37.5bil.
  • For a single month (Dec): 4.27bil

image001

The total revenue comes mostly from the production efforts. Yes, Production. I mean, here are PM & AM directly, with support from VM & IH. You have done a beautiful job, teams! Thank you so much for the contribution.

Our working culture is to look forward and to keep improving. However, I guess a brief looking back would be acceptable sometimes. Compared to our first year 2017 in which the revenue was VND 2.4bil, we are now 15 times bigger. It’s a quite something, isn’t it?

3. Revenue per Headcount (RpH)

As can be seen from the chart, the RpH is on the upward trend (except for 2019 and 2020 – there was several huge one-off projects). We closed 2022 with VND 1.072bil/headcount, or about $45k/headcount

There’re many factors affecting the RpH: team efficiency; team structure; unit price of our product (language pairs); average client/project values; and many more. 

Therefore, it’s hard to conclude firmly which is the attribute mainly caused for this positive trend. However, my best guess: we’re doing well with the Unit Price. Specifically, we gradually transform from EN-VI language to other LPs with higher unit price (mostly Asian LPs).

What does this RhP mean to you? Somehow, it indicates our human quality/efficiency. So if we can push the RpH up, the company has more revenue resources to offer you better compensation packages.

That’s our own data. What about other companies? Let’s select a few (random) others to make a comparison.

image-003

The gap between our RpH and those companies are quite big. Still a long long way to go.

4. My year-end reflection

Personally, when I look back at 2022, the first thing comes to my mind is the lessons learned. Not the revenue recorded. Not the profit earned.

In fact, lessons do not come easily, or quickly. We learn our best during the turbulent time. To name a few:

  • People management: within 2022, there were changes at several key positions: 2 times with the PMTL role, 2 times with the MKT TL role, and 1 time with the Sales TL role. Not mentioning multiple changes at staff level.
  • Sales & MKT investment: H2-2022 was the second period that we experience a loss from Sales & MKT activities. The lost in H2 was even bigger than from H1.
  • Revenue management: 2022 revenue target was established as a wishful goal without a clear roadmap on how to achieve it. When the actual achievement was behind the target, I didn’t really know what to do.

Sometimes I doubt my own ability to drive our company forward. But these lessons are of great values. They’re my weapons for 2023. I hope you all have learnt something for yourself in 2022.

Let’s finish what we couldn’t do in 2022 in 2023, won’t you?

These data & information were shared to help you gain an overall picture of your work and to promote our transparency. Do NOT disclose them to external parties unless you have written approval from the MD.

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Public Post

“Meet me in my language” – 2023’s holiday fundraising campaign

"Meet me in my language" - 2023's holiday fundraising campaign

Meet_me_in_my_language_webpage

“Meet me in my language” is 2023’s holiday fundraising campaign with TWB Community and CLEAR Global​.

As a partner of CLEAR global, we support the organization to make communication more accessible for more people. “Meet me in my language” is the campaign to make more voices be heard. Together, we can help the world’s most marginalized people protect themselves from climate change, know their rights, stay safe in crisis and connect with one another. We are supporting the campaign, will you? clearglobal.org/donate

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Public Post

Happy 5-Year Work Anniversary to anh Tony!

Happy 5-Year Work Anniversary To anh Tony!

Happy 5-Year Work Anniversary

It has been half a decade since anh Tony joined GTE Localize and became an essential part of GTE Localize’s journey and success. We are eternally grateful for the dedication and passion he has shown. 

We celebrated his 5th work anniversary with a mini party full of food and drink at the company. Thank you anh Tony for being with our team. 

At this event, anh Brian on behalf of the company gave anh Tony a crystal achievement award and some other gifts. Let’s guess who is the receiver in the picture since both of them look so happy!

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Public Post

The Most Beautiful Moments in Our Thailand Trip 2022

The Most Beautiful Moments in Our Thailand Trip 2022

Thailand is an awesome destination for many reasons. Tropical beaches, exotic islands, food, big city life in Bangkok, and so much more.

Top Memorable Things

GTE Localize’s first trip ever to Pattaya and Bangkok comes with various beautiful moments and memories. Here are the top memorable things in this land:
– Traditional Thai massage: the treasure trove of relaxation and wellness experiences that many team members love.
– Thai royal family & Thailand Kings stories (Rama V, Rama X, Rama IX)
– The nightlife at Pattaya walking street: various colorful bars & pubs, beautiful ladies, live music, etc.
– Alcazar Show at Pattaya: Theater presenting dance shows with colorfully costumed transgender performers & high-tech lighting.
– Various shopping places in Pattaya and Bangkok: Pattaya floating market, Big C, the center world, etc.
– Thailand foods: Eating Thai food is a huge part of our trip to Bangkok and Pattaya. Thai food has diverse ingredients, complex spices, and exotic herbs.
– The land of temples: It’s no surprise we can see temples in Thailand anywhere we go.

Pattaya

After arriving in Thailand, we visited Buddha Mountain (Khao Chi Chan) and Pattaya floating market.
Khao Chi Chan is a famous place as it features a giant sculptural image of Lord Buddha erected on a giant cliff, it is made of 18 tons of gold. The landscape is beautiful so we took a lot of pictures at this place.
At Pattaya Floating Market, we enjoyed the beautiful scenery of the place, had some Thai foods, and be bedazzled by the shops entirely made of teak wood and some cultural performances.
At night, our team experienced the traditional Thai massage and discovered some Thai street foods.

Pattaya +

The best place on this Thailand trip is the beach. In the morning, we came to Coral island which has a gorgeous beach with huge coral reefs. We have a lot of fun, images, and activities out there.
At night, some members came to the Alcazar Show while some members enjoyed Thai massage again, and others went to the Pattaya walking street.
The walking street is an attractive place for every team member. We came there for the food, nightlife atmosphere, bar & club, etc. a Tony, Alex, and a Bruce had fun at the beach and had some beers at a club. The VM team came to a bar enjoying DJ’s EDM music. Some PM, Marketing, and Accounting members went to a bar requesting some live songs from the bar’s singer. It took 20 baht to request a song.

Bangkok

Our group arrived in Bangkok and went to two famous Thai temples. Then we had a boat trip on the river of Bangkok.
We had dinner at Baiyoke hotel Bangkok, the tallest building in the city and had a chance to see the dynamic highest views of the city and beyond while enjoying the ultimate in delicious foods from its restaurant.
It is a must to go shopping in Big C & The center world. With various local products at affordable prices, we selected many kinds of stuff and waited in the long line for payment.
At the midnight, some team members came to Chinatown seeking Thai foods, bar and had fun there.

There was a battle of finding Mango sticky rice on the last day of the trip. We came around the airport and finally accepted to buy the Mango sticky rice at a high rate (180 baht/ box).

Our team

Here are some pictures of our company members. 

Thailand foods

Here are some Thai foods such as Tomyum, mango sticky rice, etc. 

The umbrella story

This is not The Umbrella Academy on Netflix. This is the story of a Brian’s umbrella. Our captain did not go on the trip to Thailand but his umbrella did. The umbrella experienced beautiful moments in Thailand as it went to visit a coffee shop, a restaurant, a 7-eleven store, a hotel, an elevator, etc.

Wrap up

-Thank everyone for joining the Thailand trip.

-Thanks to the admin team for planning and organizing the trip.

-Special thanks to c Nguyen for your supporting, caring, and guiding us during the trip.

-Special thanks to Van Anh and her Mickey for many awesome pictures.

-Hope a Brian and other team members can join us on the next trip.

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H1-2022 Revenue data & Highlights

H1-2022 Revenue Data & Hightlights

As promised, I bring you the first summary of our business situation during H1-2022.

1. The 1st real step into an international operation

Recently we decided to close the Indonesian Representative Office. The original purposes of setting it up were no longer relevant. As our working culture, we simply adapt and move forwards. Instead, we put more effort into the two other offices: SG and the US.

  • Singapore: besides the legal entity, we successfully opened the SG bank account. Consequently, our SG office can operate fully as a Singaporean company: sign the contract with clients, receive the payment, and pay out to suppliers. For the first time ever, we’re truly doing international operations! Behind the scenes were a lot of efforts from the Accounting & Admin team to smooth out all the legal and accounting setup. VM team has recently joined to integrate the supplier part. Kudos to the ladies!
  • The US: the biggest battlefield! We have got the legal entity in June. MKT efforts have just geared up – we got the very first US Lead last week. But unlike the SG office in which the physical presence of a Sales is optional, we would need someone to be in the same time zone and working atmosphere with the US clients. And that “someone” is chosen to be Alex with his proven Sales performance in 2021 and working morale during the last 3 years. Alex is currently in the visa-applying stage for US entry with a tentative interview date this Sept. Wish his luck, won’t you?

2. The 2nd start-up

Without knowing it before, we were in the second start-up time. If the first start-up in 2017 was to enter and survive in the business, this one was to climb up the value chain. To be clear, we were no longer contented to be a purely sub-contractor providing some local languages for other LSPs since 2019. But it was not until 2022 that we put all our efforts to acquire new end-clients. Marketing spending was invested heavily. Sales operation was standardized. Production & back-office were lined up to support.

And the results?

Within the first 6 months of 2022, we acquired the same number of clients as the entire 2021. The majority of them are EC.

It’s a Wow, right? But if we take a closer look, the full picture was not as rosy as the number of new clients. To gain that many new clients, we spent a lot of money. And the revenue and profit from those new clients were not large enough to cover the spending. Technically, ROI from Sales & MKT activities was negative. Or simply put, we were making a loss. The precise number of losses was somewhere 1bil VND for H1-2022.

What do all of those things mean? We now know the first step: how to get new clients. But we don’t know yet the second step: how to make profits from them. The responsibility to answer this question falls mainly into 3 teams:

  1. MKT – your results were not too bad, I can say. You brought home quite a lot of new Leads. Many of them had big potential. But you still need to optimize your activities more and more. A key figure like CPBL (Cost per Business Lead) was still high.
  2. Sales – I know you guys were trying hard. But it can’t be denied that the final result was far from ideal. The successfully converted clients were mainly small & medium ones. We didn’t get any big deal. So please be more aggressive. Optimize your chance with every single Lead. Count on your luck. Or whatever. I expect more visible results in the H2, bros.
  3. VM – though your work is far from the client, your part is significant here. If you can’t find a way to have cost-effective resources, the front-line team, Sales, will never be able to offer good quotations to win new clients. And the quotation is about 80% of the reasons clients select a vendor. Once we get the client, only cost-effective resources can turn a project into profitable. The resource cost from you matters, a lot!
Either as the temporary Sales TL or as the MD to lead MKT & VM team, I personally share the responsibility here. And I will still be around, very closely, in the H2 to find the answer together with you. 

A note for this part: we made a loss with Sales & MKT activities but we still made profits from the overall business. Don’t be confused. But at the same time, that profit was pretty thin due to the Sales & MKT investments.

3. Revenue and the vision ahead

The first half of 2022 recorded 15.7bil VND in revenue. This is the best 1st half of the year that we have ever had. Or 27.7% up in comparison to the H1-2021. However, it’s only 80.5% of our H1-2022 target.

Remember our vision to be on top of the 20 largest LSP in APAC with about USD 9mil in revenue by 2026? That means we need to be on a good track of revenue every half a year during the 10 periods until 2026. The first one was not as expected. Please join your hands to make it up in the second one.

Final words: You didn’t find other teams in the spotlight: PM, AM, IH, Dev, Engineer. It’s not because you’re not newsworthy. On the contrary, you’re doing generally well (though there were still some hiccups here and there) so that I can feel confident to switch my focus to other hot spots. A big thanks here to you actually! 

These data & information were shared to help you gain an overall picture of your work and to promote our transparency. Do NOT disclose them to external parties unless you have written approval from the MD.

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Internal Post

GTE Localize’s Working Culture – Full Ver

GTE Localize's Working Culture

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