TransPerfect Co-CEOs Warned To Make Peace Or Else June 8, 2015Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Translation.
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This makes me want to pop some popcorn…
By Matt Chiappardi
Law360, Wilmington (June 03, 2015, 10:01 PM ET) — A Delaware Chancery judge Wednesday warned the co-CEOs warring over translation services firm TransPerfect Global Inc. to settle because he is prepared to write an opinion neither side will like in an ugly battle that features sanction bids from both sides, including one lodged against Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP.
At the end of oral arguments in Wilmington, Chancellor Andre G. Bouchard said Co-CEOs Elizabeth Elting and Philip Shawe have until roughly the end of the month to independently come to some sort of resolution to their web of litigation over the future of the company, or the court record will feature an opinion neither party will be happy with.
“The opinion is not going to be pretty,” the chancellor said from the bench. “There’s a lot of evidence that makes both parties look small-minded, petty and vindictive. You’ll have to live with it forever … available to anyone who does a Google search.”
The fight — essentially a business divorce between Elting and Shawe who both own roughly 50 percent stakes in the business, which has been raging for more than a year in courts in Delaware and New York —- has taken a bitter tone with Elting saying in court papers that Shawe has “stalked and bullied” her for years and is seeking sanctions against him for alleged conduct that includes breaking into her office and acquiring 12,000 privileged emails.
Shawe has accused Elting of her own misconduct, such as what his court papers called “outright sabotage” of the company by allegedly getting customers to withhold business and blocking needed hires. He has also moved to have her Kramer Levin counsel disqualified from the case, arguing that one of the attorneys representing her should actually be a witness in the case because he has been a “central figure” in past disputes, and asked for monetary sanctions, accusing a lawyer from the firm of acting improperly during a deposition.
In court Wednesday, Chancellor Bouchard went on to say that both sides would be “naive” in what appears to be their expectations from the litigation — Shawe for thinking that the current situation at the company is tenable, and Elting for thinking his driving concern would be the maximization of her stake.
The chancellor said there are other factors that greatly concerned him, including the future of the enterprise itself and the livelihood of its roughly 4,000 employees, and went as far as suggesting a mediator to allow “cooler heads” to prevail.
“You would be wise to use his skills to cut a deal,” Chancellor Bouchard said. “If you don’t, I will do what I have to do.”
The battle centers on a business Elting and Shawe created together in 1992 that has grown into “the world’s largest privately held provider of language and technology solutions for global business” with annual revenues of $470 million, according to its website.
In court papers for the myriad lawsuits the partners have thrown at each other, much of it redacted because the company is privately held, it is clear their relationship has deteriorated.
Shawe has accused Elting of a series of fiduciary duty breaches, including diverting funds for her own personal use and causing business harm to the company.
Elting has said in court papers that she and Shawe are hopelessly deadlocked in every facet of the business, and has requested the court equitably dissolve the company. Shawe has resisted that outcome, arguing he does not want to cash out, and Elting has requested the court bar him from bidding if the company goes up for auction or from competing for several years.
In a related dispute in New York over control of the company’s payroll system, Shawe was successful in a bid to have the court sanction Kramer Levin for not moving fast enough to correct a complaint that identified them as co-owners of affiliate TransPerfect Translations International Inc., which is actually owned by parent company TransPerfect Global Inc.
Kramer Levin has said it believes the New York judge’s decision was incorrect and have moved to have it stayed or vacated. The docket in the case indicates Elting and the firm have appealed the decision.
In the Delaware cases, Shawe has tried to have Kramer Levin attorney Ronald S. Greenberg thrown off the case arguing that he “often crossed the line between acting as a legal adviser to Elting and directly interfering in the affairs of TransPerfect, its management and its personnel.”
Shawe has also moved for monetary sanctions against Elting and Kramer Levin, arguing that during Greenberg’s deposition, attorney Phillip Kaufman essentially wasted everyone’s time by directing Greenberg not to answer more than 70 questions and then abruptly terminating the proceeding.
In court Wednesday, Elting’s attorney Gerard E. Harper of Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP said Shawe was trying to drag Greenberg’s name “through the mud” for his own gain.
Kramer Levin’s general counsel Charlotte Moses Fischman told Chancellor Bouchard that the questions Kaufman directed Greenberg not to answer were either on information Shawe’s counsel already knew or to protect attorney-client privilege, and argued that no prejudice or injury resulted from the deposition.
Shawe’s motion was “a counterweight” to Elting’s sanctions request and it would be “a travesty of justice for Kramer Levin to be the only law firm sanctioned in these proceedings,” Fischman said.
For her part, Elting has lobbed sanctions of her own at Shawe, accusing him of not only gaining unauthorized access to thousands of her emails, many of which were communiques with her lawyers, but other misconduct including spoiling evidence by deleting files from his laptop the court ordered be turned over for forensic analysis.
Shawe’s attorneys refuted accusations of wrongdoing in court Wednesday, arguing that he believed he had authorization to see the emails per company policy, and the files deleted from the laptop were programs automatically generated when a computer performs functions with the relevant information preserved.
Elting is represented by Gerard E. Harper and Robert N. Kravitz of Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP, Philip S. Kaufman, Ronald S. Greenberg, Marjorie E. Sheldon, Jared I. Heller and Theodore S. Hertzberg of Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP, and Kevin R. Shannon, Berton W. Ashman Jr., Christopher N. Kelly and Jaclyn C. Levy of Potter Anderson & Corroon LLP.
Shawe is represented by Ronald C. Minkoff, Richard M. Maltz and Andrew J. Ungberg of Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz LLP, Philip L. Graham Jr. and Penny Shane of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, Howard J. Kaplan, Joseph A. Matteo and Joshua MacLeod of Kaplan Rice LLP, and Gregory P. Williams, Lisa A. Schmidt and Robert L. Burns of Richards Layton & Finger PA.
The Delaware cases are In re: TransPerfect Global Inc, case numbers 9661, 9686 and 9700, in the Delaware Court of Chancery.
The New York case is Elizabeth Elting v. Philip Shawe et al., case number 651423/14, in the Supreme Court of the State of New York.
–Additional reporting by Lisa Ryan. Editing by Chris Yates.
Interesting blog post on Machine Translation and what sites store December 9, 2014Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Random musings, Tools, Translation.
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My ATA not-so-newbie, Joe, wrote an interesting blog post in response to Jost’s article in the recent ATA Chronicle. He discusses an important issue involving machine translation and the data collection methods of various cloud and MT services and how this affects the translation industry. If you choose to use these services you should also be aware of what liberties you are giving them.
Guest post: Do translation customers really care what kind of people they’re buying from? November 18, 2014Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Translation.
I don’t normally accept guest posts, but I am making an exception for this one. This needs to be heard and discussed.
Guest post by Terena Bell of In Every Language.
Maybe people really don’t care. That’s what I thought this morning as I got out of bed and read today’s news on my cell phone. Maybe people don’t care, maybe they don’t want a better world, maybe there are no rewards for the good or punishment for the bad.
I’ve written in my MultiLingual Magazine column before about how American culture is trending so that people no longer want to spend money at businesses where they find the owner’s behavior deplorable. Well, I’m writing this blog to say that I was wrong. Or at least I was wrong about how or when this particular macrotrend would affect our industry.
See, there’s this little thing going on right now — maybe you’ve heard of it — Crain’s New York is calling it the TransPerfect Storm. I’ve got to admit, the title’s catchy. For those of you who haven’t seen the press, Liz Elting and Philip Shawe, co-owners of translation giant TransPerfect, are going at it in the courts, in the office, in the breakroom — pretty much everywhere these two can find a place to disagree, according to Crain’s, they’re doing it. And it’s not just Crain’s reporting the story either. It’s The New York Post and The New York Daily News, too. And when The Daily News – which let’s face it, is pretty much a fancy tabloid – starts covering the story you know it’s salacious.
According to Crain’s, the two owners “are suing each other for malfeasance and mismanagement, and each wants the other thrown out of the company. The parties have asked a judge to break the deadlock, and a hearing is scheduled for Nov. 18.” The translation industry will be watching today’s results with bated breath.
See, here’s the thing: Many in the translation industry have thought for years that Elting and Shawe are not what most people would call good people. Multiple media reports of Elting kicking Shawe with her heels and pouring coffee on him during work, all the media reports of the f-you emails back and forth, filing restraining orders against the other, all these reports of what – if true – is clearly unprofessional, childish behavior, well juicy as the news maybe, it’s not a surprise to many who work in translation for a living.
In October of 2013, the blog TranslationEthics.com called TransPerfect a “sweatshop” because of the well below standard rates it pays its translators. As far back as 2011, a different blog, TransPerfect Translation Concerns, reported, “It’s only a matter of time [before] a hungry investigative reporter will has burst the … TransPerfect PR bubble [sic], and release some less than glowing information.” Well, that time is now.
So here’s my question, and here’s what has me writing a blog entry before breakfast: Do clients even care? Court documents for the case claim Fortune 100 clients have either threatened to pull or have already pulled over $20 million worth of work. But there’s a big difference between threatening to yank your business and actually doing it. In the sales meetings I’ve been in with current TransPerfect customers, the topic hasn’t even come up. As a TransPerfect competitor, I haven’t had a single client come to me saying, “Oh my, their ethics are horrible, they’re just not good people.“ Have you?
You don’t become the kind of person who would assault your ex-fiance at work overnight. Nor do you develop so much hate for someone overnight that you would sue them in open court to the detriment of your own business. No. If the press is revealing who the owners of TransPerfect are, if this scandal is revealing the way they live their lives, then they have been the people they are for quite some time. Any client kickback now is simply because the world finally sees Elting and Shawe for who they apparently are. But where is the kickback really?
Maybe I’m wrong. What do you think? Will TransPerfect actually lose business because of this? Will clients actually leave? Do translation customers really care what kind of people they’re buying from?
Terena Bell is the chief executive officer of In Every Language, a language services provider offering translation, interpreting, and localization. She served on the Association of Language Companies Leadership Council. She is a member of the Obama Administration’s White House Business Roundtable, which has taken calls from the president and the vice-president, as well as senior advisors and members of the Cabinet. She writes the “Micro/Macro” column for MultiLingual Magazine, and has been quoted by Inc., Forbes, and CNN Money.
New translation tool on the market November 11, 2014Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Fun stuff, Tools, Translation.
There’s a new translation tool on the market. Bad Translator was developed by Ackuna Translator to show just how funny things can get with Machine Translation. Enter any text in English then click “Translate!” to start. The program translates the text back and forth using FreeTranslation.com, TransPerfect, and Yandex, then displays the final English translation.
Bad news for those who work for CLS Communication November 10, 2014Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Translation.
Lionbridge to Acquire CLS Communication
Lionbridge is delighted to announce a definitive agreement to acquire CLS Communication! CLS Communication is a global leader in translation services for financial, industrial, life science, telecom, legal and public sector organizations. This acquisition will further expand Lionbridge’s end market diversification of translation solutions.
CLS is a complementary addition to the Lionbridge team, as both organizations have excelled in vertical market expertise, geographic scale and technology and program management. The joining of our teams will allow us to deliver greater scale, velocity and global knowledge to our clients and enable them to engage their customers across any geography, market, language and channel.
John Oliver on military translators and interpreters October 20, 2014Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Random musings, Translation.
From last night’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver:
Translators who have aided the U.S. Military in Afghanistan and Iraq are in great danger in their home countries, but red tape is making it impossible for many of them to leave. John Oliver interviews Mohammad, one translator who made it out.
In the process he made millions of Americans aware of a problem many of us in the industry have known about for years. Thanks, Mr. Oliver! And thanks for sharing this, Rose!
Also, Afghan interpreter Mohammed started a petition on Change.org to help save his family’s lives http://t.co/l7Gc1UoXW7 Please sign and share.
Linguee to launch in other languages today December 4, 2013Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Tools, Translation, Translation Sites.
One of my favorite tools when I translate is Linguee, an online search tool that searches millions of bilingual texts in English and German for words and expressions. It is also available for French and Spanish. It uses translated text (aka corpora) that are on the web and compares the original sentence and the translation.
When you search for a term or phrase, it shows the actual sentences in which the term is used on the web side-by-side, allowing you to get an idea of how the term has been translated on other sites and giving you some possible ideas. One caveat is that some of the examples are poorly translated, but it can be an excellent starting point for your thought process when trying to find a good solution for a particularly tricky phrase. Just think critically before using the term or phrase blindly and if you are unsure make sure you double-check it using other means.
They are branching out into other languages such as Chinese, Russian, Japanese, Italian and others as of today. As they explain, “In Germany, France and Spain, Linguee’s new bilingual dictionary concept is already a huge success story: over a million daily unique users have recently reached 2 billion searches.” (although probably a thousand hits a day are probably from me ;-) ).
By indexing translations available online, Linguee can provide 1000 times more entries than the largest traditional bilingual dictionaries. While traditional online dictionaries offer editorial content only – which sets natural limits on its size, even for the most elaborate ones – Linguee is able to search a vast amount of translations published by companies and various institutions on the internet, leveraging the know-how of millions of translators.
Using the site is really easy, but if you need a quick overview please watch their video.
“With its global headquarters in Leeds, thebigword interprets two million minutes of speech and translates 35 million words every month. With 2,500 clients speaking 234 languages across 77 countries, the family-owned business has more than 8,000 freelance linguists and uses automated technology to co-ordinate its global operation.”
This “unnamed highest paid director who took home a total of £1.99m during the year” and is getting an additional “discretionary bonus of £1.68m” should be proud of the work the company has done… oh wait, none of the 8000 translators or interpreters – who do the ACTUAL WORK – are seeing any of that. I wouldn’t be surprised if they got another e-mail asking for yet another 15% pay cut. You know, because the company is hurting so much in this economy. You know they certainly won’t be RAISING rates since it seems they are now doing so well.
Note from the Conference November 8, 2013Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Random musings, Translation.
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Quote of the day: There are three kinds of translators: perfectionists, imperfectionists and transperfectionists.
SAPterm October 4, 2013Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Tools, Translation.
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As most people who deal with SAP know, SAP is a language unto itself. SAP has often used its own terms for areas and items that already have industry standard naming conventions. In some cases, SAP even use existing terminology for different purposes. It’s enough to make you want to tear your hair out. SAP realizes this and offers a terminology database to make our lives easier. The SAP terminology database offers access to thousands of terminology entries in over forty languages.