Every story has a narrator, and although I'm talking about a wonderful team whom I'm happy to work with, no one knows better than me how to answer the question of what "Logrus" is.
I borrowed the name "Logrus" from the fantastic epic of Roger Zelazny, "The Chronicles of Amber." The world described in this work is not too noticeable among other fantasy worlds, but I still believe that it contains a profound philosophical meaning. Logrus is a magical artifact, the center of Chaos, opposite the Labyrinth of Amber, personifying order. The truth of this fantasy is that in the course of the multivolume adventures, in which members of the royal family are at war with each other, it turns out that good can not exist without evil, evil often does good, and it does not pay to await good from good, as noted in the well-known Russian proverb.
To us in the early nineties, a magical artifact personifying chaos gave a very suitable name to the enterprise. The name Logrus symbolizes that we will create beauty, good and order out of chaos.
I created the Open Company "Logrus" before the real action began. However, this was not done in vain – our services came into demand suddenly, when in 1993, Microsoft decided to sign a contract with us to localize some software into Russian. We have a little more detail about this on our website in the section on Software Localization, which can be found here: Software Localization.
The early days of our work were spectacular for us. We were visited every four months by Microsoft representatives, who asked us, “what’s the money situation, is it not time to give you another project?”.
This was so good that we gave ourselves completely to the actual translation process and the terminological creativity, because absolutely everything had to be invented from scratch - not only the terminology, which was completely absent in Russian, but also the style of translation. Everything that was done at that time looked terrible. It was then that I wrote the Logrus Localization Bible, one of the very first style guides in the industry. On the style, we argued endlessly - including with representatives of Moscow's Microsoft. We had several principal stylistic differences with experts in Microsoft Moscow office, who then were responsible for the Russian translation. The process of discussing the options for translating "click" and the variants of its use ("by" or "on" or at all without a preposition) was long and amusing. It always seemed to us that Ekaterina simplified the language, while we advocated a more dull style, in the tradition of Russian-language technical literature. In the end, a slightly less strict version won out, and I will not say that it's so bad. In any case, now the attempts of some enthusiasts to return to GOST-style software translation looks very archaic.
Linguistic Quality Control (LQA)
An integral part of multilingual production is linguistic quality control. Logrus went deep into this issue in the early 2000s, exploring possible metrics in conjunction with the Language Excellence Group, one of our largest customers. At that time this topic was new and not at all worked out. We took part in the development of the client's methodology, but the final version acquired some features that did not seem right to us, so Logrus developed its own methodology and metrics.
We developed the LQA system and organized the provision of this service. Striving to sell it, I made several presentations at TAUS, Tekom, and other events.
The need to develop a system of quality control metrics become evident to everyone over time, and there have emerged two trends that have more opportunities for developing and advertising these areas - TAUS DQF and MQM (an EU project). However, the approach developed in Logrus, was the one we, of course, consider the most correct and understandable.
At present I am the technical coordinator for the development of the ASTM 54884 standard, which is based on the methodology developed in Logrus.
ERP - partnership with SAP, Oracle, PTC, JDA
Our meticulous and professional approach, high level of service, and accumulated experience allowed us to acquire large customers in the field of ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) in the 1990s, such as Oracle, Microsoft Business Solutions (later renamed to Microsoft Dynamics division of Microsoft, dealing with Development of business applications), PTC, and JDA, and in 2007 we became an SAP partner - one of the few approved translation service providers.
Our company Logrus Global, the backbone of which is a powerful ERP team, is very proud that we have been a certified supplier of SAP for ten years, having passed several very serious SAP audits and becoming a partner in the SAP Partner Edge program.
The direction of SAP has always been led by our leading employees - production director Andrey Chechenin, head of the SAP translation group Elena Susina, and operational director Olga Blokhina.
Logrus Global now translates SAP software, marketing and training materials for SAP global and its regional representation, and develops applications for SAP HANA.
The topic of ERP is dedicated to a separate web page.
Engineering and testing
As we evolved, we attained additional important customers. The next big success after the contract with Microsoft came when we received an IBM Ireland client and began to perform engineering work for them on Lotus Notes. At that time IBM had the task of reducing costs, and our team perfectly engineered Lotus Notes by consolidated the entire product in all languages, searching for errors in the templates and eliminating them. Our work was so successful that at some point we became the sole IBM Lotus supplier.
Small translations into Russian
Microsoft, Lotus- they are very 'cool', but we understood that even having two large clients still leaves our business model unstable, and in 1997 we started accepting small (in comparison with large projects) written translations. Ah, how many difficulties we had to overcome! This was not only difficult, but it also seemed unprofitable, and that's why for a long time there was chaos inside Logrus on this issue - there were opinions that it was necessary for the company to remain a "boutique" and engage in only major projects.
Now, almost all translations in the industry are small. Fragmentation of content turned out to be one of the enduring long-term trends.
In 1997, I said, "Guys, we need to grow in the videogame industry." This industry is promising, it is very large, and will only continue to expand. We asked Microsoft, "How can we start translating your games?". We were told, "We are not planning to translate games yet, but if you do it professionally, then - when we expand into Russia, we will contact you". There was something of a "chicken and egg" problem, because there were no customers for such a translation at that time, as the market was absent and games were massively pirated.
However, I was on good terms with the founder and director of the company "New Disc" Boris Gershuni. My rapport with the "New Disc" gave us the idea of translating and selling games at our own expense, that is, not translating by order, but buying a license, then manufacturing and selling a finished localized product.
In the autumn of 1997, I went to Canada for a game event and approached a representative of Wanderlust Interactive. I agreed to buy a license to translate the PC game, Pink Panther: Passport to Peril. Our team, led by the unforgettable Nadia Romanchuk, translated this game so well that it sold perfectly. We liked the process - the profit from the sale was much higher than the cost of the license and localization work. In Russia, a new era was dawning - licensing of computer games.
It was a tangible boom that, in all honestly, deserves a separate description. And while a description is not available, you can see our game portfolio on a separate site: www.logrus-games.com. Since then, our team has translated into Russian an incredible number of games, leaving big marks on our company . After the complete collapse of the CD-ROM market in 2012, when the life of the game translator seemed to end, we finally received the long-awaited localization orders from Blizzard, Ubisoft, and Turner Broadcasting. It had been 17 years since the inception of the idea of translating and selling games until stable stream of game localization orders appeared.
It is interesting to note that Logrus is widely known to the general public as a localizer of games, although all these years the revenue from this pursuit amounted to no more than five percent of our turnover.
Design and multimedia
One thing led to another. For voice acting games, we needed a studio, and with a studio, we were able to create voiceover for videos. Along with translation of advertising and marketing materials, layout has always been required, and often very complicated; so we launched our creative design initiative.
I must say that all this was even further from translation of software than translation of games, and this new direction had to be defended. Over time, it was successful, and now our design and multimedia team, which works with Logrus Global, is made up of outstanding specialists. Our work on creative design can be viewed on a separate site: www.logrus-design.com. This topic has devoted to it several descriptions of the services in our Klondike.
Sergey Pushkin, head of out creative department, is a true guru.
A potential client who sees their work does not go away without placing an order with us. Our designers do not vigorously post on social networks all over the country, but let their portfolios speak for themselves.
Multilingual translation is particularly noteworthy. Back in 2000, we began cooperating with our Czech competitors, Moravia. They invited our employees for training, wishing to establish relations with us as suppliers. It turned out to be amusing, as already then we were much more technically advanced thanks to Lotus engineering projects, and our engineers ended up training their engineers - not vice versa.
Throughout all this we paid attention to their focus on multilingual translation. They made it clear, "We outsource projects that need to be translated into Russian to you, but you are not going to meddle with multilingual translation." They failed to take into account that you can’t tell a Russian person they can’t jump off a bridge. They buried the idea.
For a company that only does one language and proudly calls themselves an SLV (single language vendor), it is very difficult to become an MLV (multiple language vendor), because their philosophy is fundamentally different. Those who translate only into their own language, often consider all "multilinguals" as simple intermediaries of questionable value. This, of course, is quite understandable – it is human nature to overestimate one's work and underestimate the work of another. (It is in the same manner that some freelance translators consider translation agencies as just intermediaries for their customers.)
However, for transnational corporations there is no other way than to translate their product into many languages when entering the global market. Therefore, there is, of course, a value in multilingual translation.
When Samsung's Russian representatives (of SRC, Localization Research Center) placed an order for multilingual translation with us, I said, "To hell with doubts, we must offer it." We did, and apparently it turned out to be the most literate and put-together among the Russian alternatives, for Samsung became our first large multilingual customer.
This is how we shifted our primary focus onto multilingual translation. This service has devoted to it a separate story in our Klondike.
I will note that in recent years, a significant part of our work in the field of multilingual translation, including many translation projects, was "acquired" by our sales department director Stanislav Dvorak. And so our directions, in crossing, "pollinated" each other.
Here it is necessary to take a step back and remember that we formed an excellent engineering team while working with "small" translations in Russia and representing foreign firms. They needed design; they also needed websites; and they also needed web applications.
To create a web application, you need to have a staff of programmers. We had both programmers and engineers on staff - in addition to localization engineering, we developed our own enterprise management system.
I put forward the idea of developing our own EAS (enterprise application software) when the number of orders received exceeded two per month and they became necessary to manage. The concept of the "information model of the enterprise" that I formulated was implemented, and we had our own accounting management system in place. In the process of developing this system, we were faced with the fact that maintaining a team of our own programmers was a costly matter, and I began looking for other projects to assign to them.
So we found ourselves with our own software development department, which now works for our company full-time. Examples of our work – such as solid information systems, for example, for AUMA - are available on a separate website, www.logrus-soft.com.
Head of the Logrus Global software development department is Oleg Sigutin, who started this new direction in Logrus.
We must separately mention our path to eLearning. This aspect has always presented a huge budget problem, which had to do with the fact that there is a lot of content (words) in the courses, with engineering tasks for assembling the courses and a limited budget for training. But we received a number of orders for localization of courses from Microsoft and went to NETg, for which we did several rather complex and voluminous courses. At the same time, our experience with voice clips proved to be very useful. I then acquired the Articulate license, and we remastered the product and used it to create several several projects, some of them for Samsung.
A little later - relatively recently, in 2015 - our large Russian customers became interested in creating courses. They really liked the design that our creative department was doing. Head of the creative department, Sergey Pushkin, who is now head of the creative department at Logrus Global, developed not just a methodical plan, but added an original design to it. As a result, boring material acquired an interesting interactive presentation, which was very much appreciated by its users – our client’s employees.
Now we do full cycle e-learning course development: at the beginning, it is a boring document in a text editor, and by the end - an attractive electronic course with an original modern design and graphics.
R&D – public work
The direction of R&D in Logrus Global is headed by Renat Bikmatov, one of the most experienced people in Logrus and a unique specialist in our industry. Renat and I have been working towards this direction for a long time and have carried out a huge number of research projects, such as ones for W3C and GALA, in addition to independent research. Particular attention is paid to areas like machine translation, development of industry standards, and advanced technologies for working with text. R&D brings social work to the industry . We will be happy to answer any questions regarding research in our industry.
Single service packages dedicated to one task
So how do we manage to combine all these diverse directions, and is there no loss of focus here?
By no means. The fact is that all these services are dedicated to one task - to help companies become transnational and sell their products around the world.
At the center of all this, of course, is language. However, the modern world is so complex and so rapidly changing that translation companies can no longer remain in their small niche - they need to master entirely new areas; "only translation" is not feasible any longer.
Our company has real masters of management, linguistics and information technologies, who are energetic, enthusiastic, engaged, loving and knowledgeable. For them, bringing a translation to perfection and completing a project brilliantly (and on time!) is a matter of honor. We are sincerely proud of our team. On our part, we try to make the work of our colleagues as comfortable as possible so that people could go to work as if they are going on vacation!
The experience we have gained while serving transnational corporations for many years is now available to Russian businesses looking to sell goods and services around the world.
High-tech multilingual translation, multimedia and design, linguistic services, software development - all this our specialists are ready to do for your company.
We will consult you and help build a custom process, performing work both small and large, of any complexity.