Export or Die

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November 1, 2015 by atacompass

“Export or die,” The Economist warned American businesses in an April 2010 special report on rebalancing the US economy.

In a recent interview with The ATA Compass, Rosetta Stone CEO Tom Adams confirmed this imperative for US business. A polyglot who took the helm of the computer-based language-learning company in 2003 and has increased annual revenue from $10 million to $252 million, Adams sees a more aggressive approach to exports as the only solution to the budget and trade deficits plaguing the US. “An American company that wants growth over the next four or five years has to look to countries outside the US – in Europe and even more so in Asia.”

“And exporting isn’t just about price or quality, it’s a question of relationship-building,” Adams continues. “You’ve got to connect, speak their language – metaphorically, but also, to some extent, in literal terms.”

“I was born in Sweden,” says Adams, “and then lived in Paris until age 10. I’m completely at home in the two languages. But there’s a real need for professional translation once the communication requirement gets sophisticated. To be able to translate I’d need special training – it’s a very different skill. And there’s also a very big difference between writing and speaking: that’s a whole different issue.”

A professional translator or interpreter can make the difference between closing the deal and never knowing what you missed – from a single client to entire markets. ATA’s Services Directories can help you find the best linguist for your needs.


  • Lillian Clementi
  • Esther Diaz
  • With special thanks to Terena Bell

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