Fratelli Vismara

Interpreting and Translation for the Lift Industry

Business interpreting and translation services to facilitate communication with Asian suppliers through English as a ‘lingua franca’.

The Company

Fratelli Vismara s.r.l. is an Italian company headquartered in Lissone that has been providing mechanical and electric components for lifts for several decades. A few years ago, they also started providing complete systems.

The Challenge

The company collaborates with foreign suppliers, mainly Chinese, and needed an interpreter and translator capable of empowering communication during trade shows and business visits as well as translating documents such as user manuals for mechanical, electric, and electronic parts, industry-specific ISO standards, and contracts (B2B).

The Solution

I started cooperating with F.lli Vismara in 2015 during Interlift, the international trade fair for the lift industry that is held every two years in Augsburg, Germany. The company needed an interpreter who could translate from English into Italian and vice versa in order to engage with suppliers and customers taking part in the event.  

This assignment entailed gaining technical knowledge in the lift industry and creating a detailed specific glossary. The client made a valuable contribution, as their helpful attitude enabled me to thoroughly understand how lifts and their components work, which standards govern the industry, and which resources should be tapped into to keep up with the latest news. 

After the first assignment in Germany, we have kept collaborating during visits by foreign suppliers to F.lli Vismara’s Italian premises, videoconferences, and the later editions of Interlift. In 2023, I also supported the company during Global Elevator Exhibition, organised by Fiera Milano (Italy).

The Difficulties

As previously mentioned, the company’s foreign suppliers are primarily from Asia. The chief challenge entailed by translation and interpreting assignments for F.lli Vismara lies in the use of English as a lingua franca, namely a language used for communication between people who do not share the same mother tongue.

Throughout the years, I have realised that each supplier employs their own terminology for certain parts, which is not necessarily correct or intuitive from a language perspective. Sometimes, British English, the variant I usually use for translation and interpreting, is not easily understood by Chinese suppliers: they are used to ‘international’ English, which does not always strictly comply with British rules. This specificity requires great adaptability and rephrasing skills to promote communication, both during active interpretation (from Italian to English) and passive interpretation (from English to Italian).

Furthermore, cultural differences between the Italian and Chinese cultures should be taken into account too, as they are often reflected in business. In that case, it is up to me to interpret not only words but also gestures – the so-called non-verbal language – and anything implicit in order to provide a complete picture and enable mutual understanding.

Conclusion

F.lli Vismara was my first-ever client, and our collaboration is still going strong, even after many years. We have established a professional relationship built on expertise, mutual trust, and friendliness where both the client and I strive to facilitate each other’s jobs.

This collaborative approach allows me to keep my finger on the pulse of the lift industry and constantly enrich my industry- and client-specific glossary. Thus, I can leverage my experience of many years in this field and provide a high-quality, specialised, and tailored service to F.lli Vismara.

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