EXPORT AWARD GOES TO CAPE TOWN SERVICE PROVIDER
“It is generally assumed that export awards go to product manufacturers, so I was delighted and surprised to discover that a company in the services sector could be recognised for its export activities,” said Philip Zietsman, MD of the Folio Group, a language services consultancy based in Pepper Street, Cape Town.
The Folio Group received the Cape Town Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s 2011 ‘Western Cape Exporter of the Year’ trophy for businesses in the SMME category, which is sponsored by Credit Guarantee, the largest insurer of trade debtors in Africa.
Established in 1988, the Folio Group incorporates Folio Translation Consultants, which handles commercial translation for South African clients and Folio Online, the international arm. The company has been a member of the Chamber since inception and achieved Founder Member status in 1994.
According to Johan Botha, Director of Folio Online, the theme of this year’s competition, ‘Trading in Africa’ is fortuitous, for Folio is recognised as a global leader in the provision of African language services. It also handles a significant volume of work in West and East European and Asian languages.
“In the last few years, we have noticed a marked increase in the demand for Portuguese translations for clients interested in doing business in Angola and Mozambique,” says Botha. “This is underscored by current statistics which show that seven of the 10 fastest-growing economies in the world are in Africa and at the top of that list is Angola.
By means of the competition, the Chamber wishes to recognise the role of small, medium and micro-sized enterprises not only with regard to job creation, but also for their tenacity and ability to trade in tough economic conditions. Innovation and creativity are important criteria.
According to Viola Manuel, Executive Director of the Cape Chamber of Commerce, “Real innovation comes with the ability to monetise creative ideas. The Chamber is looking to reward companies who have shown they are not just big thinkers, but can build sustainable revenue through that creativity.”
In addition to translations, Folio’s services include interpreting, voice-overs, localisation, copywriting, editing, proofreading, transcriptions and chaperoning/guiding. Currently, it is laying the groundwork for InterTel, an instant telephonic medical interpreting service for hospitals and clinics.
“Over the years we have dealt with every conceivable industry and discipline in terms of translation and our additional services,” says Zietsman. “Positioned as we are at the gateway to Africa, we are frequently approached by clients who wish to conduct export drives throughout the African continent. This can only be done effectively if the marketing material is produced in the languages of the target nations concerned. Moreover,” he adds “this need not be confined to textual communication. We are well placed to assist with audio communication forms too.”