GALA Champion Caloã de Sá Gouvêa (Translation Back Office)

In this series of interviews, GALA members share their insights on the pursuit of globalization & localization brilliance. This week:

Caloã de Sá Gouvêa (Business Development Manager at Translation Back Office).



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What’s in a Job Title

I am very committed to my sales duties, but besides sales, I organize training and activities to improve our everyday operations. Before sales, I spent many years as a Project Manager, and I try to share this experience with them to make sure the clients have a great experience working with us. From time to time, I also work together with the vendor management team to make sure we have the right resources to answer the needs of our clients.


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Starting out in localization

Like lots of people, by accident! After finishing my university studies and getting a History Degree, I started looking for jobs as a history teacher, and I did it for a while. After that, I decided to travel, and I moved to the US to work in a hotel, then to Ireland to improve my English (for a while, I questioned my decision of picking Dublin to study English. Anyway, it worked!).

Long story short, after Ireland, I moved back to the US, spent some time in Brazil and then Argentina. It was in Argentina, where I started in the industry. I was teaching Portuguese at an IT company. It was February 2008, the global financial crises were hitting hard many industries, and it was no different at my place of work. Translation Back Office was literally the company next door. Before losing my job as the Portuguese teacher at the IT company, and I knew it was just a matter of time, I decided to try something new.

So, I literally knocked on Translation Back Office's door. I remember as if it was yesterday, the secretary of the company coming to the door, quite scared (nobody knocks on a translation agencies' door) and she asked me:

- How may I help you?

And I told her:

- In fact, I think I will help you! I speak three languages, and you are a translation company; I am sure there is something I can do to help. And I would like to leave my CV. (Yes, I had a printed CV with me, describing my history teacher and barman experience).

Luckily I got the job. Ten years later, I am still around, meeting people, traveling the world, and working hard always to find the best possible solutions for clients and coworkers and the company's management team.

Where GALA Fits In 

GALA is the biggest organization in our industry, and after attending my first GALA Conference back in 2019 (Munich), I understood how big it is and how important it is to be part of it. At that time, Translation Back Office was not a member, but I made sure it changed. We have been a member since then and have taken full advantage of everything you offer. Besides, we have also been sponsoring almost every other GALA event during the pandemic, but I cannot wait for the in-person events to start happening again. I think GALA Connected is not just my favorite GALA event, but it has also become my favorite event since the pandemic hit. Why? Because it is the best place to network.

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I am proud of my entire trajectory in the industry, but I think that making the Translation Back Office name known worldwide is the biggest accomplishment. I did not do it alone; many people were involved; it was already a well-known company, but I am confident that now we are a brand everybody knows, especially for our Managed Service solution. This has always been my baby. After I started traveling the world spreading the word about Managed Service, we became the biggest reference in the industry for this service, and I am really proud of it.

Career-building Tip

Don't ask for a meeting; suggest a date and time. People, in general, are more open to clicking YES than NO. And even when they say NO, there is still the chance they will propose another date. Also, never be absent from work; otherwise, your boss may notice your absence doesn't make any difference. Make sure you are indispensable!" (My dad taught me this when I got my first job at 15.)

Networking Tips & Techniques

Do not talk about work; talk about people and solutions! Use your time wisely; some people might give you only five minutes, be unforgettable, stand out.
If you can, make people laugh at least a couple of times in a conversation. After a laugh, barriers tend to fall, and the level of attention tends to increase.

What I learned in these last 16 months...

I do not love the office as much I thought I did. I am happy working from home. I do not hate airports as much I thought I did; I am missing the check-in lines (I am sure it will end as soon as I get to my first check-in line again). Professionally, I can keep selling even from a distance, but I miss the face-to-face contact.

Finding Inspiration

I am driven by helping people, my biggest goal as a salesperson is to find the right solution for the right person. Money is also important! I think that in sales I was able to find the right balance.

My Brilliant Second Career

I could be a tour guide for exotic and adventurous places. Perhaps an F1 driver, that would definitely be the dream.

Life Beyond Localization

I have moved to Patagonia-Argentina for a month, rented a small cabin in the woods, and now I am having a problem going back to real life. Snowboard and swimming are my favorite sports; I hate runners (a little bit), mainly because I cannot run, but I keep trying. Also, The Old Man And The Sea is my favorite book! Last but not least, I love to be active on social media (Instagram and LinkedIn). I have never had a Facebook account until I had to, but I do not use it at all.