Applied Language Solutions changes its name to Capita Translation and interpreting. Everything else stays the same
Professional translators and interpreters boycotting the Framework Agreement can definitely celebrate today. Their continuous battle against the useless and unprofessional company Applied Language Solutions resulted in a whopping success: Applied Language Solutions disappeared. The new owner, Capita, had to resort to stringent measures and took serious steps to erase the old name from the public domain. Well, they call it rebranding.
As an experienced marketing professional, I had a look at their new website. Let’s start with their domain. You can still type www.appliedlanguage.com, but you’ll be instantly redirected to http://www.capitatranslationinterpreting.com/. That’s subtle, isn’t it? If one of my clients suggested such a move, I’d tell them that it’s very risky and confusing for your old and new clients. But Capita seems to have done that on purpose. The more confusing it gets, the higher the chances are that people won’t notice that Capita Translation and interpreting is the same as Applied Language Solutions?
Let’s move on to their home page. You have to admit that it looks exactly like any other seemingly corporate website out there. Its only aim is to give a decent impression of assumed professionalism. But something else struck me. New Capita Translation and Interpreting uses exactly the same colours as Applied Language Solutions: white, blue, and yellow (or orange). They couldn’t do without the ALS-like quotation marks either.
The home page slider features some vague and hardly positive testimonials, including this one: “My translation requirement was extremely urgent and when all other companies said that it couldn’t be done, Capita delivered the project ahead of time and within the budget.” How can one talk about professional services without mentioning quality?
The language of the new website is a yet another issue. Just a quick look at the copy results in phrases such as: “high quality language services”, “complex language requirements”, “tailored solutions for your business”, “quick and affordable service”. In theory, there is nothing wrong with them. But practically speaking, they’re used on all corporate websites and only on corporate websites because… they’re just placeholders, meaningless catch-phrases. It all doesn’t sound too convincing for a language service provider.
There is more to it. Some claims on the new website are either just poor copywriting or plain whitewashing attempts. Taken from their website: “In August 2011, Capita was awarded a major national contract from the Ministry of Justice in the UK to run a new Framework Agreement for the provision of language services, which has been in effect since February 2012.” It’s not exactly true, is it? Or another example regarding interpreting services: “If you’re interested in working as an interpreter either full time or part time you will need to complete a profile at www.lingusitlounge.com [sic] and we’ll be in touch.” Are they suggesting that anyone can work as an interpreter for them, because no qualifications or experience are even mentioned?
There are also countless examples of sloppiness in the language the website uses. Some of the sentences backfire at the company. Obvious ambiguity in here: “If you need a professional interpreter in a hurry then give us a call” exposes the seemingly professional company to a round of laughter, especially taken into account their problems with their freelancers being overbooked and rushing from one court to another.
Capita Translation and interpreting wanted to carry out a seamless rebranding surgery. We can’t forget that branding is all about the image a company creates. Based on what I’ve seen in relation to Capita Translation and interpreting, I would be very hesitant in entrusting this entity with my documents or conversations. The message their new branding gives is: Capita Translation and interpreting is a huge corporation like any other, they don’t care about being professional because they’re big enough to survive anyway, they’re cutting corners, they don’t care about their language, quality is secondary. I don’t think their rebranding attempt is even close to being successful.
These are just my first impressions. I’m sure that they will iron these inconsistencies out at some point and they will improve their website and branding. Capita Translation and interpreting tries hard to separate itself from Applied Language Solutions and low quality associated with the former company. Capita Translation and Interpreting may think that a change of name will be enough to give the impression of improved quality and service. However, as they admit themselves, it’s only a change of name: “On Tuesday 9th October, the commercial division of language service provider Applied Language Solutions (ALS) has changed its name to Capita Translation and Interpreting.”
Everything else – including poor service, using unqualified linguists and compromising on quality – stays the same.