Running a Language Translation/Interpreting Business with FileMaker

betmar-logo-wideBetmar Languages, Inc. serves both the translation and on-site interpreter markets as well as converting audio/video to other languages. They must keep detailed records of their wide range of clients from manufacturers to law firms, state and local government agencies, marketing firms, ad agencies, and other type of businesses across most industries.

In 1998 Betmar Languages came to Cimbura.com with a vision for capturing and integrating every detail of their language translation business using technology. FileMaker was the ideal platform to make this happen. After the initial build of a custom app to run their business, Cimbura.com maintained and enhanced this application using FileMaker’s rapid development environment. FileMaker allowed for an affordable solution that grew in capabilities as their business went from a two person company to 15 full-time employees, many contractors, and over $2.5 million in revenue. To this day, there are still no off-the-shelf tools that allow the complete integration of information that is required to effectively run a language business like this custom app. As they grew, the application saved Betmar up to $100,000 a year in administrative costs so the investment paid for itself over many times.

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Betmar languages started out as an idea from Beth and Mary (the secret behind the name “Bet-Mar”)…a mother-daughter team. They identified FileMaker as a key success factor early on. The language business requires a strong contact management system to track manage all the people they work with including clients, translators, interpreters, project managers, proof readers, etc. in a consistent manner.

At a technical level, Cimbura.com worked with Betmar to analyze the business use cases and then designed the way that all the elements of the business are tracked in the FileMaker database. One of the key deliverables during this blueprint process was the ERD (Entity Relationship Diagram).

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The application created by Cimbura.com met Betmar’s criteria to link all individuals from within a specific firm or agency who call on them for language assistance, all of the projects they order, translation teams or interpreters used on their projects, quotes provided, detailed tracking and archiving of jobs, and a calendar for scheduling interpreter assignments. The application also provides up-to-date project tracking and usage reports for clients on demand.betmar-db-icon

To provide superior client service, Betmar asked for metrics to evaluate projects and team performance for future reference. They envisioned a way of having client specific requirements pop up for project managers to ensure they would give accurate, consistent instructions to team members on each project. Betmar finds it critical to have this information captured as opposed to entrusted to individual memory. The custom app we created has designated places for notes about projects, how pricing was determined, and any other information that could be captured and reviewed when working for the same client in the future. It allows Betmar to meet the needs of their clients over time and through staff changes as training new employees is much easier with the system.

In all, there are over 80 built-in reports. The app also allows Betmar to provide clients with customized usage reports. It auto populates rates, locations and other details that reoccur on interpreter assignments.

Sales and Marketing

Betmar’s app provides comprehensive records of critical information for sales and marketing campaigns and business strategizing. The system tracks sales opportunities similar to much higher end applications such as Salesforce without the ongoing per user per month fees.

Contacts – Clients, Leads, Employees, and Contractors

Projects for Betmar’s clients can often involve upwards of 50 people depending on the number of languages involved. The app keeps track of each individual working on a project.  An agreement is auto-generated for each contractor and emailed as a PDF. The system identifies what they need to be paid and auto-generates payment upon job completion.  The system is fully integrated with their accounting/bookkeeping system and eliminates the possibility of inputting errors.  Year-end 1099 tax forms are easily generated for each contractor.

Projects and jobs are linked to contacts so that any project ordered by a client or participated in by a contractor can be viewed under their contact information easily.

Simplified Accounting

The app also tracks project costs, invoicing, statements, and payment to contractors in the built-in customized bookkeeping/accounting tools without the need for other accounting apps like QuickBooks (although integration with QuickBooks is an option if desired). The system generates payroll including tax and benefit deductions and W2s for taxes.  It also manages all operating expenses in categories that pulls reports for tax purposes. Aging reports can be generated showing jobs in progress, invoiced and past due and projects in the pipeline.

Betmar Language realized significant savings using the FileMaker app created by Cimbura.com that allowed their existing staff to do much more productive activities by automating repetitive processes and simplifying data entry. The app acts as an effective training tool for new staff bringing them up to speed with procedures quickly thus reducing the cost of training and staff development as well.

 

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Also published on Medium.

About Us 11

Tim Cimbura – CEO and Solution Engineer

Tim is an expert in creating custom business solutions that make your work more effective, productive, and profitable. He specializes in FileMaker application development (certified in versions 8-15) for Mac OS, Windows, iPad/iPhone as well as integration with the web using WordPress, PHP, and AppleScript. He knows Apple technology and Windows systems inside and out.

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