Mr. Germán Garis holds a University degree in EN-ES Translation from Rosario National University, Argentina. He began his career as a Spanish translator for local and foreign NGOs on a pro-bono basis and then he built a strong career as a freelance translator working for companies, organizations and individuals. In 2009 he set up “GeaSpeak”, a language service company focused on marketing, technical and creative contents. During this time he began learning leadership and teamwork skills, and he developed a solid team made up of translators, designers and other collaborators with the aim of helping clients “reach the summit of language and communication – or Gea’s Peak”.
What did you dream of at the beginning? What made you become an entrepreneur?
When I was a child, I shared Mafalda’s (a character by Quino) dream to be an interpreter for the UN to promote peace and understanding among countries in the world. Although I finally did not become an interpreter, I got a degree in translation and I kept alive this dream to help people understand each other through language and communication. For me, translation goes far beyond literality to include the meaning behind actual words, i.e., translating what is said into what is meant.
The transition from freelancer to entrepreneur came naturally. At first I reached my full potential as a freelancer so then I asked for the help of a friend or colleague, and eventually I made up a team to work on larger projects and in other languages. While I still work on some projects myself as a translator/transcreator or editor because I love what I do, I am constantly learning leadership and business skills. I no longer have the mindset of an individual freelancer, but that of a leader of a whole team. I like challenges and learning new things every day, and in fact in our team we encourage the concept of kaizen, or continuous improvement, to constantly improve ourselves and become better.
– When I grow up I will work as an interpreter for UN.
– It will be my contribution to the peace among nations.
– I will learn English, Russian…
– Tell him to go f*** himself!
– And judo, just in case…
What are the biggest challenges facing an entrepreneur?
Well, probably one of the biggest challenges is learning to listen to your inner voice and follow your intuition. You have many resources and people that can lend you a hand, but in the end you are on your own. It is you who have to make decisions, you who have to take responsibility for action and lead the way for the rest of the team. You need to develop discipline, patience, perseverance and other personality skills.
It is also challenging to deal with the unknown. How long will your business exist? How profitable will your business be? You have to be prepared for unforeseeable situations. You have to adjust yourself to new conditions or changes. When everything seems to be on track, you may face unexpected issues.
What recommendations would you make to other entrepreneurs?
I think the first thing to do is setting clear goals. What do you want to achieve? Where are you heading to? These seem to be simple questions but you may need some time to answer them. If you are not sure where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else. Also, if you make the right questions to yourself, you’ll finally get the answers you need.
In your opinion, what makes entrepreneurs successful?
I think you have to be tough and tenacious and never give up. You need to follow your dreams. It is important not to get stuck with temporary obstacles. Once you overcome a setback there will be more coming, but you’ll keep moving towards your ultimate goals. No matter what the circumstances, continue to picture your vision so vividly as if it’s already in your possession.
I think it is also important to be surrounded by people who do their job well, with dedication. Good things take time and effort. For each project we try to select the right individual for the task, and we get to know each collaborator very well over time. We are committed to our customers and take a proactive approach towards them. We do not limit ourselves to just completing the task assigned, but also suggest improvements or offer advice to them based on our expertise, and we are willing to help them meet tight deadlines or special requests. When our customers get to know us, they see how we work and we develop a long-term relationship.
What is now your big dream for GeaSpeak?
My big dream for GeaSpeak is being a world-renowned language service company. We are currently a great team made up of great professionals and human beings, and I hope to grow this team in the short term. My aim is to continue assisting our customers in reaching the summit of language and communication by helping them selling their products/services, spreading information and/or having an efficient internal communication in other languages.