Business, Translation


A Bay Area Trados guru travels to the Indian subcontinent to spread the word, sample local cuisine, and experience a fascinating culture. BY TUOMAS KOSTIAINEN

Cover of the May 2009 issue.It was too cool to pass up – you can’t be a real “Trados guru” unless you go to India to teach Trados, and if that wasn’t enough there was always a chance you might meet some of those beautiful Bollywood dancers. Or at least there would be plenty of good Indian food every day. So considering all of this, I said “yes” and agreed to teach three two-day Trados workshops in India last September. That was before I realized that it takes about 24 hours to fly there from San Francisco and I would need to subject myself to substantial needle poking by the Kaiser travel health nurse. Oh, well. There was also the less selfish point of view, and that was to spread the “happy Trados message” around the world…
Mr. Ashok Bagri has a translation and localization company ( in Bangalore, in addition to which he is also one of the Trados distributors in India, or the only real one, as he put it. To make Trados more widely known and used by Indian translators and corporations, he decided to offer a series of workshops in India and wanted to get an experienced trainer from abroad. He contacted me, and after a few emails we agreed on the plan to offer one two-day workshop in three different locations, namely New Delhi, Bangalore and Pune.

I loaded my mp3 player with Finnish audio books to keep me company for that dreaded 24 hours of traveling. However, the entertainment system on my Continental Airlines flight from Newark to New Delhi had plenty of Indian movies to choose from. I decided to “localize” myself by watching a sad story about Mahatma Gandhi’s son (Gandhi My Father), and then counterbalance that with a peppy Bollywood movie (Om Shanti Om) and music. When the flight finally landed 8:30 pm local time, I was ready for all the dancing. And a dance it was, trying to find my way through the hordes of eager cab drivers and other “helping hands” throughout the terminal. I finally got my prepaid cab, and about an hour later found myself at the hotel – a drive that should not have taken more than 15 minutes but for some reason the driver kept getting lost even though there supposedly was “no problem”. It looked like my preprinted Google maps confused him even more. But I made it.
Mr. Ashok and I had planned my schedule so that I had one free day before the first workshop and between each two-day session. That way I had a little time to play tourist and fly to the next city without being in too much of a hurry. It’s safe to say that my first full day in Delhi will never leave me. No, I didn’t get hepatitis A or some other incurable disease, but the sights, sounds, smells and sensations of the bazaars in Old Delhi were incredible. I got to eat absolutely authentic samosas and naan on the street, met holy men, visited the largest mosque in India, stepped in cow shit, saw elephants carrying bamboo scaffoldings, and finally in the evening while riding in a rickshaw back to my hotel I saw monkeys as well. What a day! Even the mild episode of the infamous “Delhi Belly” that caught up with me a few days later couldn’t dampen my memories.

The next morning I met Mr. Ashok at breakfast for the first time, and whatever lingering doubts I may have had about the business side of the trip quickly evaporated. I had been concerned about the organizational aspects of the workshops. Mr. Ashok, however, seemed to be very much on top of the situation and explained to me that in India business is taken seriously. There are so many things that can go wrong for reasons over which you have no control that you need to manage well whatever you can. Half an hour later it was obvious that traffic in New Delhi is one of those things you can’t do anything about, even though our driver tried his best by crawling into every inch of free space he was able to reach. We made the workshop in time and were able to get enough cooperation from the hotel staff to get their projector working, and the students arrived as well. Good start. To be continued. TK