In the 1980s Cambridge was at the centre of modern computing – hence the name “Silicon Fen”. Acorn, a spin-off from the university’s computer lab, had won the contract to produce the BBC Microcomputer which conquered schools and homes, and later became ARM, the company that developed the RISC chip, now ubiquitous not just in computers but also in mobiles. When Acorn decided in 1985 to sell its microcomputer into Germany, Isabelle won the tender for doing the translation of the user guide* and the localized applications. She had previously been translating technical manuals and commercial materials of all kinds, but at this point realized that a revolution was about to take place, with computers entering everyone’s life. This was a chance to do translations in an innovative field where the terminology needed to be invented. Something unique and exciting, something that demanded high-quality translation.
The first step was to replace her IBM typewriter with an Acorn BBC. Then, over the span of 2 years, as new computers entered the market and more and more software was developed requiring translation into a number of languages, Isabelle decided to set up a company dedicated entirely to this new burgeoning industry. So, in 1987, equipped with a number of Apple Mac’s she set up ALPHA CRC. This coincided with Electronic Arts establishing their European HQ near London, so Isabelle and her little team started translating games into multiple languages – yet another totally new field to get into.
Isabelle’s concept was very different from your typical translation agency. She was convinced that translation was a collaborative undertaking. Not just translators of different languages solving problems and exchanging ideas, but also working together with desktop publishing operators and project managers, to streamline the workflows and prevent the typical mistakes that she had seen creep into the final texts when the work was dispersed.
The rest, as they say, is history. Now, more than three decades later, Alpha CRC has grown to become one of the world’s leading translation and localization companies. With 16 offices in 14 countries, we manage large-scale projects for some of the biggest multinationals and brands in the world, and we have branched out into testing, linguistic quality control, and transcreation.
But we have always kept true to Isabelle’s original vision: to bring together translators, linguists and other professionals in dedicated in-house teams under one roof; to use technology to add value to our client’s projects; and to deliver exceptional quality of service, every time. That’s Alpha CRC.