Ana Ramirez-Saenz, founder and CEO of La Fuente Consulting
, has recently launched the partner company La Fuente Communications
, which provides clients with interpretation, translation and multimedia services to meet the growing multilingual sector.
After a career in corporate banking, often the only woman or woman of color in positions, Ramirez-Saenz built La Fuente Consulting, a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) consultancy. During their first years of operation, many clients began requesting language services, which prompted their addition of language services in 2003.
As business began to grow, so did some confusion between the brand and its two areas of service. “The positioning and the messaging [were] becoming a little muddled now that there was more significant growth,” says Ramirez-Saenz. “I decided that it was really time to split the two services — so I created La Fuente Communications.”
This new company has a three-pronged approach: translation, interpretation and multimedia. In addition to direct translation for many technical documents, like policies and employee handbooks, her team also focuses on localization, which is a service that takes a campaign, document or marketing asset and, instead of providing a direct translation, provides a culturally intelligent and culturally competent version to promote to a new market.
“You want it to sound, feel and look like it was originally created, for example, in Spanish, and that it wasn't a translation or an adaptation, so to speak,” she says. “So, localization has become very big and this is really now the standard.”
Last year, her team received a request to translate a technical manual from English to Farsi. For large projects like this, La Fuente brings in technical partners to assist with deliverables.
In terms of interpretation services, La Fuente Communications offers consecutive, simultaneous and sight interpretation for clients. With consecutive translation, an interpreter works with two parties, listening to one party, interpreting it for the other, and vice versa. Simultaneous interpretation is a higher level skill set, according to Ramirez-Saenz, because the interpreter is interpreting and speaking while the other party is speaking in another language. Oftentimes, technologies such as headsets are used. With sight interpretation, an interpreter will be given a document, such as a letter, and have to interpret the language as they’re reading it.
The multimedia portion of the new company is exciting for Ramirez-Saenz, which she says has been growing over the last few years. “We provide a lot of training and development bilingually.”
For example, she says if a client has a training program in English, but they now need it facilitated for their Vietnamese employee base, La Fuente Communications will either translate it, provide a facilitator, or dub it into the necessary language. “We do a lot of voiceovers, subtitling [and] captioning. We work with video files and also provide the narration and the voice-over.”
“Our scope and breadth of clients is pretty diverse,” adds Ramirez-Saenz. From the smallest client with 30 employees to the largest with 6,000 employees and three offices around the world, La Fuente Consulting works with every industry from health care and finance to manufacturing.
“Most of our work for the translation and interpretation, I would say that about 60% is here in the state of Michigan,” she says. “And the multimedia is mostly outside the state of Michigan.”
When Ramirez-Saenz was adding the language services to her DEI consultancy, she says her goal was to really elevate the translation and interpretation field to a professional status because oftentimes the field isn’t treated as a profession.
“This is really an important service area that bridges not only communication, but it also bridges cultures. It has a direct impact on business results.”
Ramirez-Saenz has been the CEO of the La Fuente brand for over two decades, but it hasn’t always been easy, especially as a Latina business owner.
“We, as Latinas and business owners, are really blazing trails; we really are," she says.
"I am one of the few...in this space, particularly in diversity and equity consulting, that is owned by a Latina, driven by a Latina, and is doing 60% of work in their space outside of the state of Michigan, with some major organizations. So, highlighting the fact that we are talented, that we do have that expertise, and that we are making a difference in this space is really important.”