Christian Arno

From a guest room at home to a translation company that operates on four continents - how do you create a career like this?

Guest room instead of garage

Schotten says one likes to prove that you are stingy! If stinginess means that you can keep operating costs low, so to speak Companies build up slowly and respond to market fluctuations, then I like to agree!

I started 2001 in the guest room of my parents' house in Aberdeen, Scotland, with translations. Today, I am managing director of the international translation company Lingo24, which operates on four continents.

Working from home turned out to be a great advantage for Lingo24: I was able to keep my operating costs low and offer prices that were up to 30% lower than those of my competitors through direct online marketing, gradually expanding my customer base. Today I have 25 employees worldwide and for 2010 we expect sales of £ 5 millions.

International instead of regional

Initially, I had only a few customers on the ground, but the Internet offered me new opportunities: why limit yourself to the clientele in your own region, when you can penetrate into foreign markets around the globe?

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The beauty of the Internet is that 1,8 billion people worldwide are online, and knowing how to market efficiently can make Japan as successful as it does in Johannesburg or Jordan - the key to sustainable growth for me!

Internet as a financial advantage

Financially, it was very useful to focus on the Internet: All 25 employees at Lingo24 work from home. It does not matter where they live on the globe. On the one hand, this keeps the operating costs low, is more efficient and more flexible - and ultimately also saves costs. This is an extremely important point for newly founded companies!

Also the name of my company I could make on the Internet at minimal cost. And the increasing shift to international markets has led to a gradual increase in company turnover from year to year.

Know the market

The most important pillars for online success in foreign markets are in my opinion every market, before you take the plunge, and to translate the website content and the direct marketing strategies in the local language.

Before investing large sums into any new initiatives, I first tested the results. When it came to the development of our online presence in foreign markets, I initially researched the competition in every country, made a few contacts and convinced myself that we could be confident of making a profit there.

Website in the Landessprache

The next step was to set up national language websites for each country. According to research, 85% of consumers consider buying a product if they do not find information about it in their native language (Common Sense Advisory, 2006).

For this reason, the top level domains (TLD) for every country with regard to e-commerce and aesthetics are tailored to the preferences of the consumers in every market and was designed specifically for the culture and language of each country.

Search Engine optimization

I quickly discovered that there are numerous methods of online marketing that are very costly but extremely effective. First and foremost was a convincing strategy for search engine optimization (SEO).

The main advantage of SEO in non-English speaking markets is that there is less competition for keywords on non-English websites - simply because there are fewer websites in languages ​​other than English - and this makes it easier to move up the page rankings ,

Keywords carefully research

The twist in non-English search engine optimization was to research the keywords carefully before integrating them into the site content - the English term or its literal translation was often not the most commonly used search term.

It was easy to find the most popular search terms for products, services and formulations in all languages, using a keyword search facility like Google's.

Pay-per-click advertising

Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) also proved to be a practical and cost-effective way to get the top of the search engine rankings at the top.

Because: I was able to set a monthly amount (for example, € 10) and check the results before I changed the distribution of my advertisement month by month.

Linking and texts

I supplemented these marketing strategies by building strong relationships with other relevant websites in my industry by posting on their Internet forums and communicating online with the rest of the industry to build the profile and brand awareness of Lingo24 organically.

In addition, the Lingo24 website is regularly updated with new, relevant text to ensure that not only the search engine bots keep coming back, but also my clients.


I was able to gradually create a carefully designed and managed growth model and increase the sales of Lingo24 to our currently expected revenue of £ 5 million for 2010 by slowing my spending down and by both my own Experiences as well as those of others who have already achieved success in each of my markets.

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