A review on The General Theory of the Translation Company

Unfortunately, I haven’t had the chance to meet Tucker Johnson but, for better or for worse, I met Renato Beninatto many years ago when I was taking my first steps in the translation industry. Since then, I haven’t been able to make up my mind on if I like him or not. I don’t think he cares much about it anyways.

When I heard he had published his book, I thought I wouldn’t buy it. But I couldn’t resist the curiosity of knowing what it was that he had to say now.

Not surprisingly, I found it very easy to read. It has a very conversational style. You can almost hear Renato talking conveying his ideas in his distinctively direct way. They argued that if you read the book, it was because you were looking for answers. Although I don’t think I was, I found many interesting and enlightening concepts.

As an LSP owner, the first part of the book was particularly interesting to realize where you are located as a company in the language industry and why the industry works the way it works. Things that are not entirely new but that are always good to remember The authors define the translation industry, they identify the different layers (market influencers, support activities and core functions). As I said, they define the language industry as a value chain, where depending on the value you provide to customers you may be higher or lower in the chain. Renato and Tucker’s ideas on how easily or not you may move up or down was one of the richest food for thought. They permanently talk about identifying and adding value to your services through innovation.

The second part of the book was about support activities (management, structure, finance, culture, facilities/HR, technology, and QA) and core functions (vendor management, project management, and sales). They describe each of them in detail and clearly explain why they are important to the overall functioning of a language company. But above all, it was about making LSPs realize they should always think of themselves as global companies instead of thinking small.

I believe The General Theory of the Translation Company is a really inspiring book to realize where you are, where you want to be and what you need to do to get there.

Thanks a lot for reading.
Thanks a lot for sharing.