“The best translations don’t read like translations.”

Kristy Sakai heads up Supertext USA, Inc., a newly founded subsidiary in Santa Monica, CA. We talked to her about what has driven Supertext’s growth and why California is the place to be.

What’s your story?

I was born to Japanese parents, spent my early childhood in Orange County, had a few testing years in Japan before surviving adolescence in England. I studied in London before making a move to Berlin, where I was based for almost nine years. Five years ago, I swapped bohemian cafés and cheap rent for long walks and lakeside picnics in Zurich and now, I’m embarking on my next adventure – in Santa Monica, USA. My background is in marketing and languages and I’m looking to leverage this to establish Supertext in an important market.

So what is your market? Tell us more about what Supertext does.

In four words: we write good copy. Whether it’s translating marketing material for the next product release, localizing a website, editing a white paper, or writing a headline for a specific market from scratch, we provide clients with well-written texts that get their message across. And we do this in over 30 languages in all industries. How do we make this happen? Over the past decade, we have built an extensive network of carefully selected copywriters, translators, editors, and proofreaders – 800 professionals at the last count. They are assigned to projects by our in-house team of language nerds and wordsmiths according to their specialization and strengths. We’ve put in a good word for over 3,000 companies to date.

Why expand to the US? Is there a market here for your services?

You might not realize it, but language is everywhere. Just look around! This part of California is especially multicultural and multilingual. We chose Santa Monica because the language industry is actually very cutting-edge in terms of technology, and we want to be close to the rapidly emerging tech hub without being confined to the San Francisco tech bubble. Any company operating internationally needs language services – getting its message right is the key to success in global markets. And the best translations are the ones that don’t read like translations. Language is a $38 billion industry that’s growing by 6-7% every year, and identified by Inc.com in 2014 as one of the best industries to start a business. We’re excited to be here in one of the world’s biggest markets for language services.

Sounds good. But what makes Supertext stand out from the crowd?

First, our platform. Supertext makes copywriting, translating and editing services as easy as ordering on Amazon or getting an Uber. There’s no waiting for a quote, no unsecure emailing of files, and no wondering what the status of the project is – clients can simply upload their docs on our secure website, select the deadline and price, and click ‘order’. That’s it. They can track their projects via their portal and download their finished documents securely. Second, our quality. We are one of the very few agencies with a team of linguists involved in every aspect of project management and quality control. We have an in-depth understanding of our work, which for all our technology is ultimately about the craft of writing and translating. Third, our service. After all, most language projects require much more than simple matchmaking. Our experience working with multinational companies enables us to handle complex large-scale projects expertly and efficiently, which means our clients benefit from quality service and cost-effective rates.

Do you write and translate yourself?

Yes, it’s one of my great passions. I love playing with words and the cultural aspects of translation. On any one day, I can be involved in a campaign promoting a German food brand in Japan, an announcement by a multinational conglomerate that needs to be released to the press simultaneously in six languages, and the localization of webpages for a new product release by a telecommunication company. Having grown up immersed in two cultures and languages, and now watching my kids grow up with three, I’ve learnt a great deal about the importance of communication and the pitfalls of messages getting lost in translation. It’s a challenge that never ceases to fascinate me.

What goals have you set for yourself and Supertext USA?

My goal is to build the business and a team that can support its growth. We’ll be looking for people in sales, project management and, of course, linguists. I want to connect with marketing and communication managers from all industries, and businesses that are on an international expansion path. We’ll also be looking to expand our network so that we can provide a 24-hour service. If I can squeeze in a few trips to the beach and enjoy some good food in between, I’ll be super happy.

Is Supertext going to make the world a better place?

Yes, we can! One slogan at a time. We certainly believe that our texts bring people from all around the world closer together.

Cover picture: Photo via Supertext

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