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Telegraph and HSBC’s Istanbul Thought Exchange trip

Recently Lingo24 was listed as a regional finalist in the HSBC Business Thinking competition, which earned us a place on the Thought Exchange trip to Istanbul in mid-September – a chance for business leaders from Scotland and Northern Ireland to swap ideas and build business relationships.

The trip itself was a very intense week, which saw me socialising into the wee hours every night with the other regional finalists, the HSBC Turkey team and local business people, and then rising early each morning for full days of meetings and conferences. Let’s just say that, besides being an education in Turkish business, I also got plenty of work on my cat napping skills.

Getting to meet a wide range of Turkish business people also opened my eyes to the opportunities that Turkey presents to UK exporters. If you’re interested, please have a read of the interview ‘Talking Turkey about Translation’ with the Daily Telegraph and the blog post for the HSBC Business Thinking blog for more on Turkey as an emerging market.

Other beneficial results of the trip included gaining an insight into what sort of Turkish businesses have translation requirements, as well as striking deals to provide language services to some of the fellow finalists.

Another excellent result was the formation of a partnership with a group of local Turkish advertising agencies, to gain a foothold in the market as well as give a boost to the Turkish language Lingo24 website which we already have up and running.

I also had a very encouraging talk with Labour peer Digby Jones about the opportunities presented to UK businesses by the foreign language internet, a topic which he has resolved to pursue further.

But the trip wasn’t all business, as there was plenty of fun as well, such as the group trip to the Grand Bazaar, where a haggling contest spurred some warm-spirited but stiff competition between both fellow finalists and stall owners. The contest was eventually won by Chris from Lossie Seafoods, who managed to talk his way into a 60% discount on a souvenir.

The next step in the Business Thinking competition is to deliver a presentation in London in early October, showing evidence of how Lingo24 has benefited from the Thought Exchange and how it has helped to grow the business. If successful, the step after that will be to the Grand Final in Hong Kong in early December – stay tuned here for news of how it all goes.

Christian Arno, Founder and President, Lingo24

Christian Arno is Founder and President of Lingo24. He started the company in 2001 after graduating from Oxford University with a degree in languages. He has won numerous awards including HSBC Business Thinking and International Trade Awards (2010), and TAUS Excellence Award (2012) for innovative technology. He contributes to leading industry publications and has been featured on the BBC, in the Financial Times and other media around the world.

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