myclimate: Mr Bättig, in August 2012 you offered myclimate a partnership. How did it come about?
Pascal Bättig: In May 2012, myclimate was on the search for a translation provider and had written to several agencies – among them 24translate. As chance would have at, it was at this time that we were also making efforts to take greater responsibility in terms of our impact on the environment. Admittedly, a translation agency hardly causes vast quantities of CO2 emissions, but there were nonetheless a few areas that we were looking to improve, for example, paper and energy consumption. This is why we not only offered myclimate our language services, but also a sustainable partnership.
Please tell us a little more about 24translate and the innovative IT platform behind it.
In total, 24translate has 150 employees in addition to a pool of 7,000 freelance translators and proofreaders. We offer specialist translations in more than 60 languages and 40 specialist subjects.
Language services rely on two key factors: people and technology. Luckily, we have both of these. First, the aforementioned pool of specialists and second, our own IT division, which developed the order portal and its price calculator, for example. Our key accounts even have their own, customer-specific order portal.
In times of internet-based machine translation, is an agency such as 24translate still necessary?
Definitely. Machine translation has certainly made huge progress in the last few years, but in many cases it cannot compete with human expertise. Professional, specialist translators are better at recognising the intrinsic message of the source text and carrying this over into the target text.
In addition, 24translate helps companies to automate processes and reduce manual copying costs and work steps. It also maintains company glossaries in multiple languages and ensures that translated documents retain the formatting of the original text – to name just a few examples. All this saves companies a lot of time and money.
Since 24translate offsets all its emissions, the translations are climate neutral. What does this mean in practical terms for a globally active translation agency?
We take steps to keep emissions as low as possible along the entire value chain (sales, order preparation, translator coordination, translation, quality management). For example, our mobility-related emissions are relatively low, since – particularly with regard to the translators – we encourage and facilitate remote working for a large part of our operation. We offset the remaining unavoidable emissions produced by our offices and IT infrastructure, including servers, through myclimate carbon offset projects.
Do you take other steps to help protect the climate in addition to offsetting your emissions?
A professional translation provider needs many different systems, and correspondingly high server capacities, to process its orders. This also requires the processing of large volumes of data, which in turn produces CO2 emissions. It is for this reason that our servers are now hosted in the greenest server centre in Switzerland. Located in Gais in the canton of Aargau, this Tier IV data centre, the highest possible classification, is operated by Rechenzentrum Ostschweiz Ltd.
24translate offsets its emissions with investments in the myclimate projects "Clean drinking water for schools and households through filter systems" in Uganda and "Climate-optimised forestry in the Canton of Solothurn".