Walking Hand in Hand with a Giantmar 1 2023
By Marcos Chiquetto
In the early years of the decade of the 1980s, I got my electronic engineering degree. At that time, the Brazilian government was putting forward a protectionist policy for computer products, giving rise to a strong domestic industry in that area. First, I went to work at a computer factory, creating training courses. Then I started to work as a free-lance writer for the computer industry. Within a few years, I was heading a small technical writing agency, specialized in producing user manuals for computer products.
One day, I was at the print shop to deal with the printing of a manual, when the manager said to me:
− Our shop prints the manuals for HP calculators. They asked me if we could also translate the manuals. Do you guys do that?
Well, we were technical writers. Translating manuals would be something similar to writing them, so I said we could do it. That´s how we started to work as translators: translating HP calculator manuals.
This was in 1986. Let’s take a look at what happened with HP and our company since then:
Founded in 1939, HP grew over the next 30 years as a manufacturer of laboratory instruments, plotters and large computers.
From the 1970s on, they turned their attention to the consumer market, producing electronic calculators (some of which became icons, like the legendary HP 12C).
In 1990, they began to incorporate other companies, including giants such as Compaq and Palm, adding microcomputers, personal printers and scanners to their portfolio. Through mergers with EDS and 3Com, they also became strong players in the corporate software market. As of 2010, HP was in ninth place on the Fortune 500 list.
With operations in dozens of countries, the volume of translation services required by HP became enormous, which led them to create their own translation agency, named ACG (Applications and Contents Globalization Group).
In 2015, HP was split into three companies: HP Inc, HP Enterprise and DXC Technology. ACG remained active, as a part of DXC Technology, providing translation services to all three of the new companies.
Our company, initially a technical writing agency, has also transformed itself. With the end of the Brazilian protectionist policy in the 1990s, most of the domestic companies in the area of information technology became representatives for global manufacturers, reducing the demand for technical writers and increasing the demand for translators. Following that market trend, and as we were already providing translation services for HP, we gradually changed our profile from a technical writing company to a translation agency.
Our path has run parallel to that of HP. We entered the translation arena in 1986 translating manuals for HP’s sole Brazilian product at that time, its electronic calculators.
Today, HP Inc, HP Enterprise and DXC Technology offer products and services in all areas of IT, and we still provide them with the translations they need, now working as a vendor to the DXC ACG. Moreover, over the course of these decades, we have established ourselves as a solid agency, developing other strong partnerships with a host of global companies.
Presently, considering HP Inc, HP Enterprise and DXC Technology as the current configuration of the old HP organization, I can say we are HP’s oldest supplier in Brazil, even if you consider all the areas they purchase from. Since 1990, there hasn’t been a single month where we haven’t received service requests from them. Currently, we receive somewhere around 10–20 jobs per day from the DXC ACG. Our translations to Portuguese and Spanish are incorporated into products from HP Inc, HP Enterprise and DXC Technology in Brazil, Latin America, Spain and the United States.
Back in 1980, that young engineer would never have imagined himself as an entrepreneur in the translation business. Maybe the stakeholders in HP also didn´t see their company becoming such a powerful global player.
This unpredictability is one of the factors that makes our lives so tasty.
Marcos Chiquetto is an engineer, Physics teacher, translator, and writer. He is the director of LatinLanguages, a Brazilian translation agency specialized in providing multilingual companies with translation into Portuguese and Spanish.