June 28, 2008

One year Babel Translations - growing of a virtual business

A year ago I danced in one of my favorite SL hangouts in the Dublin sim and met SL oldie Brooke Fairplay. We chatted about SL now and then, how it had changed, and about her business in SL. When she learned that I am not an English native speaker, she casually mentioned that she thought of targeting an international audience as well but somehow never got around to do it. The discussion followed me for a few days. I realized that with my background in marketing and foreign communications - and applied business English for almost 30 years now - I could offer translations and sales-driven text creation as a service to the SL community. This was the moment Babel Translations was born.

My first office

Since I had not a lot of L$ back then, I set myself both a financial and time limit. I saved 2000 L$ aside, looked for office space. My first office was at 50L$/week, and I placed a classified for another 50L$/week. On day one I got my first client - the landlord of the office tower - and by the end of the trial period I had translation jobs for 4000 L$ and a revenue of 500 L$. "That goes rather well", I thought, and continued with Babel Translations.

By that time I was primarily offering English/German at a price of 2 L$ / word, but soon requests for other languages came. I recruited French and Italian translators, soon Danish and Swedish followed. I charged 3 L$ for those languages, but kept English/German for a long time at the lower level as I was making these translations myself. In August 2007 I acquired my first reference customer. Blaze Columbia of Blaze Fashions not only insisted on paying the double rate, she also gave me some valuable business tips, like implementing a minimum fee for jobs. Back then I was in awe of what I considered "large" amounts of money, so I did not follow her advice of establishing 500 L$ as minimum fee, but instead chose 250 L$. I was reluctant to mention this limit to the first clients, but none of them objected. So up to date 250 L$ stayed the minimum amount for translation jobs.

Also in August, I managed to acquire the first large translation job worth 9500 L$. I still can remember my accelerated pulse as the client paid the 50% advance payment. It was the single largest sum of L$ I ever got until then. The client turned out to be a repeat account, returning each month with multiple translation jobs. Also in August I moved into my current office at Beachwood, something I never regretted so far as this estate is run perfectly well by landlady Kitty Umarov.

September marked the month where I got first asked to deliver a complete concept. Finally I could apply another of my RL skills, and developed a shop concept, along with English and German press releases, advertising texts and notecards. December on the other hand was a comparatively bad month, with "only" 13 translation jobs, but at the same time the month with the most beautiful job ever. Usually SL businesses asked for translations, but this time a private citizen asked for a translation. He is French, his girlfriend German - they only communicate in English, but he wanted to have one if his favorite love songs translated into German for her. Despite Decembers bad results, I was happy I could pay a bonus to all translators at the end of the year.

In January I took my associate Tina Lynch aboard. Not only did she work on French translations, but she also replaced my notecard-based bookkeeping with a sophisticated spreadsheet based on Google docs. Under her lead we refined the spreadsheet over the next month, and now it is an invaluable tool of keeping track of jobs, degree of completion, distribution of jobs among translators and calculating revenues and fees.

The most "odd" feeling decision took place in February: I almost completely stopped doing translations myself, since it became too time consuming. I started to focus completely on marketing and sales now, and in consequence had to recruit people for English/German. As a consequence I had to raise the price for those languages to 3 L$ / word as well.

In May, Babel Translation took over the competing agency "2nd Tongue Translation". For a couple of months we have silently cooperated already, granting 2nd Tongue a bulk buying rate for the languages they did not offer themselves. As 2nd Tongue's manager had to reduce her SL involvement, Babel Translations stepped in and integrated 2nd Tongue's business into our own.

Today, Babel Translations is the premiere translation and copywriting/text creation agency in SL. With a 3-figure number of jobs and a 6-figure amount of translation fees in recent months, our 50 translators provide the finest and most professional translation services in SL. We cover almost 20 languages, and each language is at least covered by 2, typically 5 translators. The translators themselves are in most cases RL translators, or have a similar qualification in language teaching, journalism or other text creation parts. Even though Babel Translations is a virtual company, we praise ourselves with having the highest standards and providing the best possible service to SL companies.

The past 12 months with Babel Translations where very challenging, but also provided a lot of fun and satisfaction nevertheless. I want to take this opportunity to thank all my clients who put their trust into Babel, as well as all my translators for their exceptional work and loyalty. My special thank goes to Tina, with whom Babel would not be where it is today.

Thanks a lot - I am looking forward to the next 12 months!

June 24, 2008

Welcome to the readers of The Second Life Herald

Welcome to my blog, I'm glad you liked my Post 6 Guy appearance and chose to see what I write. I would like to point out a few posts from the last year of blogging, which give a good insight into me. I also would like to direct your attention to my in-world translation company Babel Translations as well as my new founded furniture company GREENE concept.

Customer survey

June 22, 2008

The girl that fell from the sky

About a year ago I visited Torley's Watermelon paradise, when a female avatar dropped on my head. Immersionist that I sometimes am, I said "ouch", and that was the opener for what must have been nearly 3 hours of talk. Turned out she was fairly new, didn't have a clue and since she skipped orientation island was weak on the controls. I taught her the basics, gave her a couple of freebies and some cash, and we generally chatted along about what is ossible in SL. As I had to go, we said goodbye - uncharacteristically she did NOT issue a friendship offer. I put "Newbie help" in the "My Comments" section of her profile and logged off.

The story could have ended here.

Last night I was delighted to manually find the entrace to the "Super Secret Sewer area" at Silent Sparrow, where hyasynth Tiramisu is retiring some of her old outfit. Happily I announce to the small crowd "I found it", when a kid avi wide exed stared at me and asked me if I know a certain avatar. The name she said rang a bell, I looked the profile up in Search and, sure enough, there was "Newbie help" in the comments section. Turns out that kid avi was said avatar. She changed her account once in the meantime, but for over a year she hoped to run into me again, to say thank you. We talked in open chat and I was a litte bit embarrassed since she painted my picture in the brightest colors, but she said I was the person that really made the difference to her first days.

I usually make it a point to help newbies who are halfway polite. This amount of gratitude after a year really made up for all the jerks I ecountered in the meantime. Go out! Help a newbie today! The first days are so critical, and you don't know what gifted designer, artist, entrepreneur or just good person SL might lose only because she/he made bad experiences in those critical days. We all started - and we all neded help. Help a newbie today!

June 21, 2008

No Woman No Life

Gina has participated in the "No Woman No Life" photo contest. She made it among the finalists, and the public voting is available here. Ginas image submission is the third from bottom - if you like her image I'd appreciate if you could vote for her.

June 20, 2008

Google Gadget for Second Life

Already in April I have talked about my Googlized Virtual Office, and my heavy use of the personalized iGoogle website. Recently I found myself in the situation of wanting to look up an avatars profile without actually being logged in into Second Life. So I wrote a Google Gadget to do exactly this.

With the introduction of the new seach a while ago, avatar profiles are accessible from the web (unless the avi has ticked "Publish on web" off). The address is constructed like this:


The long number at the end is the UUID of the avatar. The UUID can be acquired in-world when an avatar clicks an object, sits or comes into the range of a scanner. Every object and every avatar within Second Life have a unique UUID - which is not considered to be confidential data. Therefore a couple of external databases exist, which deliver the UUID of an avatar. For any security or privacy concerns regarding this data I suggest this forum thread. My Gadget queries one of these databases and constructs the corresponding URL. It does not actually display the actual profile, but only offers a link which needs to be clicked.

The Gadget can be found here and should be easily integratable into your iGoogle personalized homepage.
Add to Google

June 18, 2008

Deja vu

Now that was eerie... I logged into SL this morning, to get 3 notecards and 2 offline IM's. Then I switched SL off for a few hours. And now, that I logged in again, I got the same 3 notecards, and the same 2 offline IM's again! However in my iventory only the single copies from this morning are there - the notecards are not there twice. Bizarre.

June 15, 2008

Lucky chairs

[15:29] Peter Stindberg: I just won a dress from a lucky chair
[15:29] Peter Stindberg: Can't resist them
[15:29] Peter Stindberg: Lucky chairs, not dresses
[15:30] Peter Stindberg: Well, now that I think of it I can't resist dresses either

June 13, 2008

Going green(e)

Some 3 months ago I founded my second SL business with my friend Ivanova. GREENE concept started to bring highest quality low-prim furniture to Second Life. Unlike Babel Translations, which sort of just "happened", GREENE concept was meticulously planned from scratch. Both Ivanova and myself made a capital investment, and the last three months we worked a lot and developed concepts, plans, designed furniture, created textures and poses. All this is documented on the GREENE concept blog - and today, finally, we went live!

GREENE concept furniture is now available in-world, as well as on OnRez and SL Exchange!


June 09, 2008

Don't call it a game

"Don't call it a game. People don't like that. It's.. it's more a hobby. Games have an objective - winning, competition. This thing.. it's more like life. The objective is to do whatever you find most rewarding, and it's got the depth and flexibility to offer many entertaining alternatives."
(Paskis Robinson - LSL Programmer)

Found this in a residen't profile. He does not know in which context it was said, but I could subscribe to this quote.

June 08, 2008

Plywood Man in the press

Pheobe Petrov of Fashionality featured Plywood Man in her recent review. I'm really worried about them having it dance so close to the fire...

June 04, 2008


Watch the timestamps!

[6:59] Sasha Fabre: thanks
[6:59] Peter Stindberg: phone
[7:06] Peter Stindberg: back
[7:15] Peter Stindberg: brb
[7:21] Peter Stindberg: back :-)
[7:21] Peter Stindberg: I have a meeting with Seik in a few minutes - feel free to continue to idle in my office.
[7:21] Sasha Fabre: lol thanks
[7:22] Sasha Fabre: whee
[7:22] Peter Stindberg: ?
[7:23] Sasha Fabre: I was just demonstrating my excitement at the prospect of continuing to idle in your office
[7:23] Peter Stindberg: lol

June 03, 2008

No, I did NOT make Babbler!

[13:01] Peter Stindberg: Hi there. What can I do for you?
[13:01] TK: who are you
[13:01] Peter Stindberg: You sent me a friendship offer
[13:02] TK: oh are you the translator duder
[13:02] Peter Stindberg: That's me
[13:02] TK: i need a translator thing
[13:02] Peter Stindberg: An online chat translator? Or commercial trabslation services?
[13:03] TK: online chat
[13:03] Peter Stindberg: Sorry, wrong person. I offer translation services - not a tool.
[13:03] TK: ok i need translation sevice
[13:04] Peter Stindberg: Let me send you my pricelist.
[13:04] TK: ok
[13:04] TK: i need mone
[13:04] TK: y
[13:04] TK: im broke

All's well that ends well

I had a long talk with a certain person I had a business dispute with this afternoon, and another long talk with his associate. In fact we should have had that talk many weeks ago, but the issue became emotional on both sides. The person in question made a remarkable turn, which I honor greatly. His associate did only now hear of the whole matter as RL issues were predominant.

We acknowledged each others position, and reached an amicable agreement on the open payment. I received a satisfactory amount of money. However, since I never was after the money, but more after the acknowledgement that my claims were justified, I donated 4/5 of the amount to the independent SL publication REZ magazine.

Both asked me of course to take down the blogposts. I even got offered money as compensation for my time doing so. I declined and made it clear - and I repeat this publicly - that I refuse any payment for taking down or changing the blogposts. I preferred for a while to simply anonymize the blogposts, but then again I was so glad that this annoying issue got finally resolved, with all parties standing behind the compromise, that I decided to take the posts down completely.

In fact, we even restored trust and business attitude to such a degree that I got assigned the task to finish the project as initially discussed. I am very glad about the whole turn of events. Better reaching this point late, than never. My grudge is completely gone, and I will deliver results of best possible quality.