Welcome to Day Translations’ Open Mic series. In this series of Open Mic, we will interview collaborators and company friends who will talk about their roles and careers and provide some insight into what working with Day Translations is all about.
Between translations, interpretations, and many other roles, we will learn about life all around the world, and how different cultures relate within Day Translations as a family company, working remotely for more than 15 years.
Our first interviewer will be Mr. Sean Hopwood, CEO and founder of Day Translations and Day Interpreting.
Open Mic: Hello, Mr. Hopwood, thank you for agreeing to be the first person interviewed for our Open Mic at Day Translations. We have a couple of questions for you that we know many people will want to read and learn about, especially given your experience in entrepreneurship; and maybe it will inspire younger generations to create and found companies just like yours.
Open Mic: Why did you chose the industry of translation, interpreting, and languages in general?
Sean Hopwood: The reason that I started working in this industry is that I was guided by my grandfather. I always loved languages and started learning Spanish when I was 8 years old. I love languages and I love people. It seems that this love is renewed every day. I am now learning Chinese, and it’s amazing. It’s opening new windows for me, new philosophies, new words that they don’t have in other languages, and I love it. I really love this. When I was younger, my grandfather used to write me letters and guide me. He was my father figure, and his name was Francis Joseph Day, he influenced me, guided me. I wanted to be a pharmacist, thinking I would win more money but then my grandfather told me:
“Sean, you’re seeing just one star, you can have the entire galaxy! You need to do what you love. If you do what you love you will figure it out.”
I was in Pre-pharmacy and I changed my career to International Studies with a speciality in Spanish, later to get my MBA.
I worked as a guiding counsellor for a company that helped migrant workers get into universities, I taught English to Koreans in college for free, I worked as an Interpreter at a law firm and in hospitals; I’ve always done what I loved, and it’s gone well for me and I am happy about that.
Mic: What is the company’s mission and what vision do you have for it?
Sean Hopwood: The mission and vision of Day Translations is to facilitate communication between people, companies, countries, and governments to the point when communication can never be an obstacle for progress in the world.
My vision is to grow the company in multiple countries, to make it a truly global company; we’re never an American company or a Portuguese or Russian or Chinese company, we are a Truly Global Company. We have offices in 10 different countries. That is my vision. The vision of having people maintaining the cultures and maintaining their traditions, while also accepting other people.
“The best we can say is that it’s like a Neapolitan Ice Cream where all their flavors keep their flavor.”
Mic: What do you think are the biggest challenges in the translation and interpreting industries? Do you think it will be better in the future? What would you change?
Sean Hopwood: I would say that the biggest challenge in the translation and interpreting industry is keeping the quality. There is a lot of growth, it’s one of the biggest growing industry, and the challenges are in getting all these translations done in a quick manner but also keeping the quality.
A lot of these companies that want localization in movies or subtitling, video games and software, they all want their translations done fast and they all want these done perfectly, and they want them done efficiently and with a good price, and that is a big challenge.
I honestly think this will get better in the future. It’s been getting better – as long as you adapt using software and technology that has been used. As long as you adapt, it is going to get better.
“The Ability to adapt is what keeps you successful.”
In terms of what would I change in this industry, it would be to everyone, translators, and interpreters, to be as neutral and arbitrary as possible, respecting and understanding the point of view of a writer or person that are working with, and putting the focus on delivering the message from the messenger. Like a calculator: you type the numbers and the numbers come up; keeping the translation as original as the original message.
Mic: What are the most helpful technological platforms and tools you use in your company that help you and your collaborators to deliver a better written product? And how does Day Translations internal organization work?
Sean Hopwood: One of our best platforms, created by our company itself, is our translation management system, Day TMS. It helps to manage our translations in our own way. However, there are many technologies that are out there, and we have no desire to rebuilt or reinvent the “wheel”. software like Smartcat, one of the most beautiful tools with which we have a wonderful partnership, I really like it.
Day Translation works as a Team of project managers all around the clock, that learned to work together and share work around the world from the States to Colombia, France, Portugal, Germany, Turkey, we’re going across the globe, Middle East, and Asia. We go across the globe and pass off the work onto the next person, this way no one feels totally overworked.
Mic: Day Translations is a 15-year-old company with a huge list of collaborators working remotely. How did the idea come to you, when no one was doing it, and how do you manage such an immense team?
Sean Hopwood: We were actually one of the pioneers of remote working. I started working remotely, I don’t know if I was anti-social or simply didn’t want to drive to work. I looked at a lot of work on Craigslist when I started the company. I started doing a lot of Search Engine Optimization on the website I created and wrote countless pages of content. I had 4127 pages of original written content for the website. After that, people started contacting me on the website, and then Google recognized what we did, and clients started contacting us.
The idea appeared in the beginning, I used to go to work a lot, the drive was very laborious and troublesome to get there, to dress up, it was stressful; now with a lot of people working at home, people realize how great it is. We have a lot of people contacting us for advice, on how to transform their companies to remote company, as we are 100% remote. I am happy to give them ideas.
People ask me: How do you monitor people like this? We give them benchmarks, we give them goals and how to achieve those goals, and we know how much work can be done in a certain amount of time. In our management, we don’t say how they can do their job, we tell them the goal and they will find their own way to do their job and achieve their goals.
Mic: Day Translations is not only a big working machine, it also helps with Charities. How did this start and why did you choose those charities?
Hopwood: I started with Charities with Shakira’s “Pies Descalzos”. I was interested in her goals to help people in Colombia. It’s a country that I really love, love the people, is a country where I have been to big cities like Bogota, Medellin, or Cali, as well as to small cities like San Onofre. It’s a place where you see the disparity, and I wanted to be involved and help. And then I realized what kind of position I was in, and we were in as a company, with the ability to help other people; it’s almost like the translation is secondary sometimes. I love languages and I am a linguist; I love to help other people and the ability to give other people jobs especially during this year with the pandemic, the ability to help and work my hardest to keep a place for people to job during this time, it was priceless for me. I work hard, we work hard to keep everything going well, and it worked out, and I am very happy about that.
We donate to the “Boys and Girls Club”, we plant a Tree for every translation that we do, we donate to charities to clean the waters and the oceans, we do a lot through DayCharity.org, and we’re going to continue to grow.
I chose things that were important to me like helping the environment, helping the poor, the elderly or babies. The elderly did so much for society and there are some cultures in the world where they don’t respect them as they should. If they can’t contribute as much physically as they did, some people want to write them off. This was something that always bothered me. I have a huge love for the elderly. You don’t just throw them away. You listen to them, you respect them, you can learn so much from them, such as history. They saw history, there is so much to love about it.
Mic: We have learned a lot from your experience. How does Sean Hopwood, the CEO, separate himself from the non-working Sean? How do you relax from all the work and coordination?
Hopwood: I have gotten very estranged from my personal life. I am a very professional person at work, and that bleeds into my personal life a lot. And to be honest it’s because I created something that I love so much, I love what we do and I’ve created this and I am so proud of it, and I am also fearful at the same time. I don’t want to mess everything up.
I act this way; I act this work way in my personal life. I speak in my soccer games with people like: “Yes sir, no sir, how are you doing?”, and I forget to shut off that business acumen. I just want so bad for our company to have a good reputation, and to have a good reputation for myself, that it’s kind of hard to separate sometimes. Not necessarily hard because I just want to be that person in every aspect of my life.
People do call me uptight a lot, and it’s something that I really try to work on but it’s a happy payoff because I love what I do. But I do get to relax a lot. I work a lot, and then I can get to play soccer and go to the gym, I’ll talk to friends. I do a lot of gardening. Sometimes I go to the woods and see the trees, I love nature.
Mic: To finalize this Interview, on this year of 2021, what is your biggest goal or resolution?
Hopwood: My biggest goal for 2021, is to become the most respected company in the translation field. I want to be respected, I want to be respected for our work, our quality, and the way we treat our employees. And the way we treat our employees is just as important to me, or more important to me than revenue. These are some things that are important to me.
Thank you so much Mr. Hopwood for your time and for all the tips on how to have an idea, execute it, develop it, and coordinate it.
Developing a company takes time, effort, and money, but without confidence in your team, knowledge, respect, and love for what you do, a company cannot be successful. Thank you for sharing your goals and experience with us.
See you on the Open Mic 2!