Moravia has come a long way since our foundation in 1990 to becoming one of the largest language service providers in the industry. Here is our story with the key defining moments in our history to date, and what has been driving our development over time.
The Early Years
Moravia was founded in 1990 in Brno, Czech Republic, shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall in Germany and the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia, which brought changes in the country that allowed private businesses.
Eva and Rudolf Forstinger, life-long translators, founded the company originally as a translation agency to provide translation of technical documentation, sworn translations and conference interpreting. The company operated as Moravia Translations a.s.
The agency grew and transformed into a corporation. Multinational companies were starting to enter the market. They needed translations of manuals for their products and required these to be delivered in electronic form.
Ms. Katerina Janku (nee Forstingerova) and Mr. Arturo Quintero joined the company and began its transformation and focus on IT translation and high-tech language services.
At this time, we invested all our profits into computer equipment and networked translation environments in our offices so that production could be done in-house, making us a leader among translation agencies in this respect, as well as among companies in the region in general. Our first technical translations were display messages in fax machines and photocopiers.
By the early 1990s, we received the first requests from customers for localization of documentation, help and software user interface, and we were one of the first companies worldwide to implement the use of software translation memory technologies.
In 1994, we evaluated all the translation memory technologies available then and chose TRADOS as our main tool. We started off with one TRADOS software license, the first release of Translator's Workbench for Windows 1.0. Translation memory technologies are very routine today, but this initial investment in the then-emerging technology was a huge step for Moravia back in 1994, particularly given the economic climate in Central and Eastern Europe at that time.
The cost of one license was no small thing - it corresponded to half of the company's total revenue from the year before. But for us, the latest translation technology has always been a vision we hope to achieve.
We were thus the first company to implement a TRADOS solution in Eastern Europe. This initial investment quickly paid dividends with a dramatic increase in our customer base, as companies began to realize the efficiencies of translation memories, and the amount of translated content was on a sharp increase.
Over time, Moravia became one of the largest language services customers of TRADOS, and one of the industry's leading recognized experts in the use of translation memory technology in general.
Assessing translation quality has often been a bone of contention, and at this time, the rapid growth of the IT sector meant increasing volumes of localization and addition of new languages slated for localization; all this was making this issue even more pressing.
Our approach has been to provide the highest quality level of services, and build a defined, repeatable quality process with clear quality metrics. This led us later to become one of the earliest adopters of the LISA QA linguistic quality standard, established in 1996. Moravia also helped in fine-tuning this new standard and to promote it in the industry.
The standard became the basis of our Quality Assurance (QA) process and recording metrics. Our QA process has evolved much since then, based on inputs from our customers and market requirements, and was made consistent with the ISO 9001, TQM and EN-15038 principles. But the adoption of a comprehensive industry-specific QA model early in our history has helped us to deliver quality to clients consistently.
Foothold in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE)
In 1995, our Polish office in Szczecin began operation. This marked the beginning of our transformation from a Czech-only provider to first a leader in Central and Eastern European languages, and later on a full-service multilingual provider. In a quick succession, we opened our Hungarian office in Budapest and the Slovak office in Bratislava to cope with the growing demand for localization into these growing markets, from large global as well as mid-sized companies.
At this time, Microsoft selected Moravia as strategic partner for localization of their products - first into Czech, and later Slovak and Hungarian - beginning with the successful completion of the Microsoft Office 97 localization.
A growing number of companies recognized Moravia as the partner of choice for Central European languages, where we frequently delivered the first-ever localization or translation of products into these then-emerging languages.
In 1999, Moravia moved to our new premises at Hilleho street, in Brno, which have remained our headquarters since then.
The success of our multilingual solutions in CEE languages led many customers to ask Moravia to provide and manage a larger portfolio of languages, including over time the full set of European and later Asian languages.
At this time, Moravia perfected the outsourcing production model, which is based on a separation of linguistic from non-linguistic activities. While translation is always conducted in-country, the other activities such as project management, engineering, testing and other technical activities are carried out centrally from our regional production hubs.
We focused on developing the best processes to centralize activities that can be completed just once for multiple languages, or which can be done more efficiently and cost-effectively when done by one team for multiple languages. At this time, our only production center was in Brno, Czech Republic, and the major growth of this center preceded the now popular choice of the region as a location for multinational outsourcing operations.
Testing and Engineering
An increased testing and engineering demand led us to expand our testing operations. In the late 1990s, testing became a major area where companies started to see greater efficiencies in outsourcing, centralizing, and combining tasks with related software localization activities.
One additional impetus contributing to the growing near- or off-shoring trends at this time was the major global IT downturn in 2001-2002. Smaller budgets forced clients to focus more on overall cost efficiencies, and the CEE region gained in significance as an offshoring alternative.
Our testing team, which started in 1996, has grown and evolved into a separate unit, based in the company's main production hub in Brno, Czech Republic, benefiting from the large local pool of qualified engineers.
Later, we established a second offshoring hub in Nanjing, China. Adding China-based services offered new far-offshoring options for our clients. This also helped Moravia to compete more efficiently with the growing array of native China-based or India-based testing services providers.
Topping off the first year of the new millennium, Katerina Janku, Moravia‘s General Manager and CEO, received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2000 award in a ceremony in Prague. She is the only representative of the translation and localization industry ever to be named as Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, and was the first-ever recipient of the award in the Czech Republic.
In 2001, Moravia opened a new office in the United States, in response to the growing demand from American customers for Moravia's multilingual services, which by then included a full range of languages and globalization services.
Further global expansion saw the opening of our Irish sales office in Dublin, and a rapid growth of our Chinese operations in terms of capacity and services.
In 2002, Moravia received Microsoft's prestigious Premier Vendor Status, which we have maintained since then. The Premier Vendor program aims to identify a limited number of partners, to which Microsoft wishes to outsource a major part of their global localization requirements.
In 2003, we re-launched the company under the new brand name of Moravia Worldwide. This step reflected the stage of the company's global development and presence to date, and the breadth of services, industries outside IT, and the languages served. In that year we developed our solution for Life Sciences localization, and since then have served clients in this vertical market sector.
We become the first-ever company from Central and Eastern Europe to establish an office in Japan (Tokyo), in 2004, to better serve our Japanese clients and to offer production and QA capabilities for Japanese localization. Among others, this step was in response to the growing interest of Japanese companies for multilingual localization and outsourced software testing from China.
In 2006, we launched a new regional operations center in Latin America. The city of Rosario in Argentina was selected to serve primarily our North American customers. With this, we have established regional hubs in Europe, Asia and the Americas, and can provide a seamless follow-the-sun production model, with round-the-clock operations.
In 2006, Moravia also opened two additional offices in North America.
Focus on Innovation
Much of our most recent development has been driven by innovation, and looking for new ways of bringing additional value to our clients.
In recent years, we have expanded our portfolio with extended services, including Moravia Language Quality Services (MLQS); machine translation (MT) post-editing and deployment; a multilingual compatibility program for Windows Vista and Microsoft Office 2007; testing automation through our internally developed FaultFinder application and other technologies and approaches; and professional process optimization services. We will continue to look for innovation in all we do - for our clients, for our company and for our industry.
In 2006 we implemented ISO 27001 information security management principles to give our customers additional security in the knowledge that we protect their valuable and sensitive intellectual property based on the latest standards in the area of information security.
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