I come from a southwestern region of France known as the Bordeaux region. After graduating from a Masters in International Trade focused on the Asia Pacific region, I wanted to strengthen my knowledge of the Asian market. At that time, I already had some experiences abroad, as I had the opportunities to study and intern in Scotland, Taiwan and Canada. However, I was looking for more challenges and Korea seemed like the perfect place for that. I decided to stay here for a year and see what I could learn in this bustling country.
For 9 months, I volunteered for an association where I was helping French-Korean adoptees reunite with their birth families in Korea. It was truly rewarding, as I felt I could bring France and Korea together even if it was only on a relatively small scale. At the same time, I was freelancing for Korean companies that were looking to launch their businesses in the European or French-speaking markets. I was living life in the fast lane but learned so much from it and after a few months in Korea, I knew I had a long way to go here!
It was then that I discovered Hansem, just over 3 years ago.
I came across an ad in which Hansem was looking for French reviewers for a huge project. We had 3 months to translate and review 4 million words – talk about a real challenge! While interviewing with the leaders of the language department, I brought forward the fact I was trilingual in French, English and Spanish (I had studied for a Bachelor’s degree in English and Spanish translation) and I could also speak some Korean. My language abilities were considered a strong asset for this project and I was chosen as the lead reviewer of the French team. It was very demanding, as I was not only reviewing but also ensuring smooth communication between the French team and Hansem, and I have to say I absolutely loved the dynamic atmosphere.
The skills I demonstrated during this project are actually the kinds of skills needed in a very special team: the Resource Management Team. Resource Managers not only need a strong background in the localization industry but also soft skills, such as cultural awareness, problem-solving and the ability to communicate with international partners — most of Hansem’s suppliers being from Europe. Hansem was looking to grow their Vendor Management Team at the time, and it was decided that I would be a good fit for this team. My original plan to stay in Korea for a year quickly turned into what has now been four years.
As a Resource Manager, I now take care of our suppliers and freelancers to ensure our translation projects run smoothly. What I like most about this position is the varying nature of the tasks I get to do. It goes from participating in localization conferences, to solving problems our linguists may encounter. My week is certainly never boring. Our Resource Management Team has a key position and our professional resources are one of the main reasons for our success and quality service, so it is essential to find the “rare gems” and maintain good relationships with them.
I had worked for a few Korean companies before but Hansem was immediately distinguishable by its presence on the international scene. Due to its history, Korea has only recently opened up to the rest of the world which might make it difficult for European and other western companies to find a reliable partners that can adapt to their working styles. But Hansem has been able to grow strong over the past 30 years and perfectly understands the needs of foreign companies. They constantly train their employees to be up to date with international requirements (ISO certifications, new CAT tool training, etc.) and to carefully listen and adapt to what their clients want.
I am proud to be part of a company that evolves so quickly, especially in such a competitive country. The truth is Hansem has a great potential. It is constantly on the move and that is exactly what I was looking for when I came to Korea.
After four years in Korea, being immersed in a culture opposite to mine has taught me two things:
The first one would probably be that I could always find support and help here. I cannot count how many times people went out of their ways to help me feel like I was home while being so far from France. I am terribly thankful for that.
The second one is that every person I met in Korea has always tried to accept cultural differences. Hansem played a big part in it, especially my team who welcomed me from day one and has been very supportive. I probably made many cultural mistakes but everyone has always been very understanding. When cultural differences are welcomed and understood, I strongly believe that we can work more effectively together.
I am sincerely looking forward to keep growing with Hansem and integrating my localization experience and love for languages in my work, and I hope to pass on the great support and care I have received here to our linguists and clients.