Language services in Ukraine: Business is the best support
The war in Ukraine has destroyed lives, homes and businesses. But in the middle of daily fear, struggle and hardship, Ukrainians continue to work and do business.
Raisa McNab, CEO of the Association of Translation Companies talks to Yurii Tsverkun. Yurii is a Kyiv-based CEO of language services companies Profpereklad and OCR Craft, and a company owner determined to keep his business growing – for his employees, and for the country.
How are language service companies and professionals managing to work in the middle of a war zone?
There are two sides to the story, a technical one, and a people one.
In Kyiv and elsewhere, there are a lot of power cuts, and we typically have electricity for four hours at a time, then it’s cut for four hours – or sometimes it’s three or five, or completely unexpected. For a busy language service company with tight schedules, this makes managing work extremely complicated and creates a huge amount of stress.
In our office, we have a diesel generator and Starlink satellite internet service, so if there is a total blackout we can stay online for a while. That works for our twenty in-house DTP specialists who can work from the office, but it’s obviously not a solution for our two hundred freelance linguists working from home.
The people part of the story is one of resilience and determination. My team is doing incredible things, and I couldn’t be prouder of them. Since the war started, they have shown their determination and courage and just kept on going.
The blackouts have shown me what my team is made of. If there is electricity at 5 am, they get up at 5 am to do their work, and deliver on time or even ahead of schedule, just in case. They run around the city in search of electricity at friends’ houses or cafés.
What can we do to support Ukrainian language service professionals and companies?
Business is the best support right now. It brings revenue to Ukraine; it helps us fight and keep our lives going.
Inflation is nearly 30% in Ukraine now. For me, it means that as an employer, I need to grow the company in order to increase salaries so that my team can afford to live. Our lives are about total unpredictability and stress. We fear for our lives, our families and our houses, we don’t know if we’ll have heating tomorrow at -10°C, and many people are in a very vulnerable state.
With a safe and stable job, my team knows they will get paid, and that’s something they can hold on to. For many of us, work is also one of the only places where we can return to for a semblance of normality. From a psychological point of view, in a toxic environment we can’t escape, work is a relief right now.
Ukraine has lost almost half of its GDP, so as a company owner I am also driven to keep doing business to bring taxes to the government. When you do business with a Ukrainian company and with Ukrainian language service professionals, you support Ukraine and its people.
What services do Ukrainian language service companies and professionals provide?
There are many reputable language service companies and professionals in Ukraine.
My own companies Profpereklad and OCR Craft provide translation, layout and file preparation services to LSPs, global companies and international organisations. Of course, there are also many other internationally-orientated companies, and you can get equally good quality services from companies like Technolex Translation Studio, InText and Aspect Translations.
The Ukrainian Association of Translators and Interpreters is the home of language service professional, and a member of the International Federation of Translators, FIT.
We provide translation and interpreting services not just into Ukrainian, but also Russian, although of course we now consider quite carefully what the purpose of a Russian translation is going to be. But don’t think of us for just our own languages! Our linguist networks are global and extend across the world, so we are able to handle multilingual projects just as well.
We aim to keep normal business running as best as we can, but if you are able to give us a bit more flexibility in terms of delivery windows, it will just help us that little bit more to make sure that we get your job back to you on time.
Business during the war is about resilience and strength in the face of challenges. It’s also about collaboration and support, and the best support you can give us is to just keep sending work our way.
Ukraine Language Support in the UK
To support the increasing demand for Qualified MITI translators in Ukrainian > English, for a limited period ITI are offering the opportunity for existing and new members to take the MITI assessment in this language combination free of charge.
In addition, for new members who successfully pass the assessment, the first year annual MITI subscription will be half price. Please contact [email protected] for further details.
The UK’s Ukraine Language Support Task Force, of which ITI is a member, works with stakeholders in the UK and Europe to support the humanitarian response to the war in Ukraine.
In the UK, Charity Translators’ Links for Ukraine is updated continuously with:
- Translation and interpreting support links and resources
- Free Ukrainian/English template translations for key identity documents
- Information on volunteering your language skills
- Resources for professionals and volunteers providing language support
- Information on becoming a public service interpreter
- Language apps and learning resources