It’s a Company Milestone: YLT Translations Turns 5!

Dec 22, 2023



We have something big to share. It’s a big company milestone for us – YLT Translations turns 5 years old!

Over 5 years, Jana Krekic has worked tirelessly to build the leading Amazon-centric translations agency, optimizing listings to perform profitably in other countries, aiding thousands of sellers with their global expansion. So, turning 5 years old is quite the company milestone indeed – although the past 5 years have gone by quickly, the parenthood adage seems to hold water in this instance: “the days are long but the years are short.”

To commemorate all the hard work that the team has done these past few years, and to truly commemorate this company milestone the way it deserves, let’s take a quick trip down memory lane to see where we’ve been. Let’s look at where we are – and let’s look towards the future with hope, purpose, and positivity.

Did you know that Jana assembled the translators in Serbia a few years ago to celebrate YLT’s birthday? Check out the YLT End of Year Party, when the team celebrated turning 3 with our fearless leader!

Company Milestone Part 1: Back to Basics and the Beginning of YLT

In 2018, Jana, a polyglot herself, was unimpressed with the content on Amazon. She read listings in the languages that she herself speaks, and none of them resonated with her. “I saw the state that the content was in at that time,” she reminisces. “I thought it could be done better, better than hiring freelancers to translate the content as-is.”

Hence the birth of YLT Translations. “We needed a service that wouldn’t just translate, but would optimize highly relevant keywords, and localize the listings, so they connect with the target audience,” she points out.

There were many translation and localization services up in 2018. In fact, localization took shape in the 1970s and the 1980s with the rise of the software industry. Many of the products needed to be adapted for users in different countries. This entailed translating the user interface, and ensuring that the software was culturally appropriate and complied with local regulations. In the 1980s, Microsoft and Apple led the charge by investing in localization to make personal computers accessible to a global audience. The 1990s were another milestone for localization; the rise of the internet connected people on a global scale, leading to an increased demand for localized content and products. Businesses recognized the need to communicate with customers in their native languages and to respect cultural differences, which led to a rise in the popularity of localization. So, fast forward to today – AI and machine translations have hopped on board the localization train – but more on that later. Bottom line, the localization industry has grown from simple translation activities, to a sophisticated sector that plays a role in global commerce, communication, and technology.

Jana understood full well the need to create content that connected people on a global scale, through optimized content that was published in native languages and that respected cultural differences. It wasn’t enough to release content for an English-speaking market then pressing “enter” on a machine translation software with the hopes that it would continue to resonate with customers all over the globe.

Enter YLT Translations – an Amazon-dedicated agency that translates and optimizes listings to resonate with customers all over the globe. YLT Translations, indeed, plays a role in global commerce, communication, and technology, as we’re about to see. Keep on reading!

Company Milestone Part 2: From Awareness to Enterprise

Like all savvy business owners, Jana started small. She was unsure if Amazon sellers would understand the importance of localization. She understood that an element of educating the target market was crucial.

“I was hoping that my service would appeal to sellers, because I knew how much they’d gain if they had their listings optimized in other languages,” she shares. But it was definitely a risk, putting up a service that was clearly well-needed, but in an area of Amazon selling that was, as of yet, unfamiliar to many Amazon sellers.

Nevertheless, the proof is in the pudding. YLT Translations can translate from English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Dutch, Swedish, Polish, Czech, and UK English — as well as Mexican Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Canadian French, Arabic, and Japanese — and from all of these languages into other language combinations. Thousands of sellers have seen conversions rise, and the profitability of their global expansion efforts improve, thanks to the optimization work of YLT Translations.

Now, Jana focuses on a bright future. “My goal is to bring YLT to an enterprise level,” she shares. She’s talking, of course, about the bigger brands, whose branding and communications adhere strictly to a set of rules. “It’s challenging,” she notes, “because they’re already established, and they have their branding, but I’m curious how we can help them sell more.”

Jana knows what she’s talking about, because YLT Translations has quietly started accepting more of these enterprise-level clients, and optimizing their online presence to improve conversion and profitability across many different markets. YLT Translations started out as a small agency hoping to improve the (eCommerce) lives of Amazon sellers; now, it helps bigger players in the field, and Jana is hopeful to keep on doing the same. She’s definitely up to the challenge, and so is the team.

Company Milestone Part 3: The Growth of the YLT Team

Speaking of the team – YLT Translations started with 5 people. Jana did all of the operational work, and had 4 translators working part-time. “Now there are 83 of us, and everyone’s a full-time employee,” she beams. Furthermore, they’re all remote employees. YLT Translations is a case study on how to manage a remote team successfully.

The growth itself has been sustained by one of Jana’s core values: to make sure everyone on board feels valued. She will go above and beyond to recognize their hard work, to remember little details about their personal lives and engage them on it, and ensure that everyone feels seen and recognized. “When they feel valued, they want to work for you, they feel part of the team. A lot of people have been with us 4 to 5 years; they’ve been there since the start. That’s a tremendous success. I’m really proud of my team and the core values we all share.”

We talked a little bit about Jana’s secrets for business scaling previously. Aside from growing the business, it’s important for Jana that everyone on her team knows how valued they are. “They feel that someone cares,” she said. “Which I do — I care.”

Granted, finding the right people wasn’t a walk in the park. “Hiring was not easy,” she remembers. “I had a bunch of failures. But hiring people who understand the (company’s) core values and (who) share the same vision…that’s important. Without these guys, I wouldn’t be able to focus on growth and content, to do the things I do for the company. I’d be drowning in tasks and procedures.”

Company Milestone Part 4: The Growth of Jana Herself

The secret to YLT’s success could be summarized as finding a good niche at the right time — but that’s oversimplifying matters. Jana discovered that to be a good business owner, she had to work on herself.

“I started with an imposter syndrome!” she recalls. “I really doubted why anyone would want to work with me.” Inasmuch as that would strike the rest of us dumbstruck, why anyone wouldn’t want to work with this intelligent Amazon and localization expert who strikes a stunning figure no matter where she speaks — online or offline — Jana recalls feeling the same insecurity that many business owners feel. “It took some time. A lot of time. I still have it. But I sound more and more confident now, and I have (the results of YLT Translations) to prove that.” It just goes to show – everyone feels that same self-doubt and insecurity, even the most confident people on earth. Nobody is exempt.

“(I’ve learned to) put myself out there more and more and not to overthink,” Jana notes. She has learned to step out of her comfort zone and just do it. “Like, if someone invited me to speak in Denmark and to deliver the speech in Danish — I’m proficient in the language — the more I thought about it, the more I’d say no. but if I didn’t think about it, I’d say yes.” Jana learned that she — like many business owners and entrepreneurs out there — can be her own worst enemy, with issues of self-doubt and imposter syndrome. But she has learned her lesson. “The moment I have an idea, I should start working on it, and not postpone it,” she smiles. She knows this about herself – if she spends time mulling an idea over in her head, it’s likely that she’ll turn the opportunity down. She has learned to say yes the minute opportunities arise, and figure it out as she goes along. Sink or swim, as the saying goes. “I challenge myself to get out of my comfort zone,” she says. “When I stay in my comfort zone, nothing good will happen.”

But this is an uphill climb for anybody, so the people that essay that hike are heroic, to say the least. “I’m still anxious,” she admits. “But I push myself, because maybe someday I’ll start feeling less anxious about it.”

And the day came when the risk was to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. (Anaïs Nin)

Jana also had to learn how to delegate. Part of that was finding the right team, of course, but as she explains, “It was impossible for me to grow the team and the business (before I removed myself from most of the procedures.” Jana has said before that she is a perfectionist, and leaving things to other people causes her anxiety. But it was important for her to focus on the bigger picture — growing and scaling the company, instead of working inside of it. She recalls going on vacation for the first time in 2 years. She set guidelines for the team to follow, and was happy to discover upon her return that they’d been followed to her satisfaction. It became paramount for Jana to value her own time more, and really understand how much her own time was worth.

Company Milestone Part 5: Getting Out There

So, aside from choosing the right team, the right time, and the right mindset, what else did Jana do to augur YLT’s success?

It definitely had a lot to do with putting her face out there, one stylish stiletto at a time. She’s guested and spoken at over 100 conferences and around 200 podcasts and webinars in the past 5 years. It’s been so important to remind people that YLT Translations is around to help, to stay in people’s minds.

It also had to do with the networking that Jana’s done. “I’ve met some of the most incredible people networking at events,” Jana expresses. The growth in her network — both personal and professional — led to staying top of mind. That brand recall, coupled with professionalism and quality, have led to the growth of the company. People have recommended YLT year-on-year; much of the growth of the company has been due to word of mouth.

It all starts with Jana letting people know they’re valued — whether they work for her, with her, or otherwise.

Furthermore, people wouldn’t recommend YLT Translations if they didn’t fulfill the expectations set. That’s one huge value that has stayed with YLT Translations since its onset: professionalism and quality. “Even when we were a small team, we wouldn’t say yes to projects where we’d be late or couldn’t check the quality,” Jana explains. “(Quality) is our main thing. That’s why we’re so successful and highly recommended in the whole Amazon industry. I’ve always wanted YLT would become a beacon of quality.”

So, Jana’s success story — which feeds directly into YLT’s — could be outlined like this:

  1. Hire the right team and delegate
  2. Work on yourself and sharpen the saw
  3. Spread the word and create brand recall
  4. Nurture relationships
  5. Deliver on promises by producing work that’s of high quality
  6. Staying professional, every step of the way

Company Milestone Part 6: Heading Towards the Future

YLT Translations is the leading Amazon-centric translations and localization firm out there. We are the only translations firm that understands Amazon, the SEO behind ranking and conversion, and how to optimize product listings to convert audiences all over the world. Jana intends to maintain that accolade, but she’s got even bigger plans to look forward to.

First, she plans to expand the team even further. Growth from 5 employees to 83 is nothing to scoff at, and she wants to continue this momentum into the future. Amazon is growing and changing year on year; YLT promises to mirror this growth by offering services that will encourage profitability wherever Amazon may choose to expand. It’s one thing to be an Amazon-proficient localization firm, but to be able to optimize listings across many different regions, encouraging success for sellers? That’s monumental.

This comes hand-in-hand with Jana’s promise to add more services to help sellers understand international expansion. Take for instance YLT’s Amazon Product Opportunity Report (AMOR), which takes the guesswork out of global expansion by identifying if a product is right for a market or not. Jana definitely plans to release more innovative tools and platforms like AMOR to help sellers understand international expansion better.

Furthermore, she plans to make the YLT Translations platform friendlier for enterprise-level clients. We talked a little about the challenges in localizing enterprise-level brands — Jana’s up to the task, and she’s excited for it, so you can expect to see big things in this space in the coming months. After all, Jana has learned to jump on an idea when it hits, before that old impostor syndrome rears its ugly head!

A Word About the Future: Machine Translations, AI, and Human Beings

The whole world is talking about artificial intelligence and machine translations. Jana is on top of the latest developments — highly fitting for someone who helms a localization firm, a discipline whose beginnings stem from software development, after all. “I’m always interested in new technologies,” she promises. “I always test everything that’s connected with what we do.”

So, there has been much research & development into the world of AI – and some of that research has been done within the virtual halls of YLT Translations, as well. Some of the team — mind you, Jana’s highly trusted and highly proficient team — have compiled a case study of an Amazon listing done by machine translation vs. how it looks when a human translates the same content. (Email us at info@ylt-translations.com for a copy!)

“Machine translations and artificial intelligence still don’t understand what localization is,” Jana explains. “They don’t have the capability to take text and translate it so it sounds like it’s coming from a different country. It sounds weird and odd. You still need a human brain (to make content sound natural.”

The case study clearly shows the output from machine translation, compared and contrasted with the same output run through a professional (human) translator. The differences are evident: the machine output is clunky, inaccurate, and under-localized; native speakers would never communicate in this manner. What exactly does that mean for Amazon sellers? People want to read in languages they understand — and if that language is awkward and clumsy, there’s no way the listing will convert the audience.

You see, a skilled translator’s role is to produce translations that do not appear as translations at all. It is only when a translated text flows naturally that it can truly resonate with your customers. The lack of natural flow in translation can range from being mildly annoying to critically dangerous.

Here’s an episode (not from YLT itself, mind you) that illustrates this perfectly. The project was for the marketing of defibrillators for a Dutch-speaking audience. The project involved translating marketing materials and website content, including voice commands for use during cardiac arrests. These commands, originally in English, had already been translated into Dutch. However, the translations were almost verbatim, replicating the English sentence structure, without taking Dutch grammar, expression, and syntax into consideration. It’s a good thing the translator, who was a Dutch-speaking first responder, noticed that these commands were not only unnecessarily lengthy but also unfamiliar in their phrasing to Dutch speakers. This could delay the use of the defibrillator, a critical issue since every second is crucial during a cardiac arrest. The poor translation of these commands risked slowing down the device’s operation, potentially leading to confusion and, in the worst-case scenario, fatal consequences.

The same could be said for two agents in the localization game: freelance translators, who, while good, may not understand Amazon, eCommerce, or conversion rate optimization; and machines, who claim to translate content as if they were multilingual human beings themselves. It’s just clunky. Awkward. And it could lead to dire consequences.

Another reason why you won’t see YLT Translations rely on machines any time soon — clients often like to brainstorm and see what a translator is thinking. This step is absolutely necessary if the seller themselves doesn’t speak the language they need the content translated into. There’s a certain level of trustworthiness that a translator will need to espouse; this dials back to the professionalism and quality that YLT Translations holds dear. It’s all part of the relationships that YLT nurtures — that Jana nurtures — the ability to allay a client’s concerns, to be transparent about how the text will look and sound and feel like. “A machine can’t log into a tool and pull out a list of keywords, and brainstorm what you’d want here or there,” Jana points out. “It’s still not good enough. It’s getting better, but it’s still not a replacement for the human brain.”

We’ll quote Andrew Ng here — the co-chairman and co-founder of Coursera, and the founder & CEO of Landing AI: “Despite all the hype and excitement about AI, it’s still extremely limited today relative to what human intelligence is.”

Bottom line? AI is a tool, and sure, it’s used by YLT Translations as well, but you’ll never get an Amazon listing from us that’s machine translated. You will, however, get a service that delivers you an optimized Amazon listing, with an eye on your customers and your profitability, and with the careful nurturing of your relationship with us. That’s something no robot can do — whether they can and will in the future remains to be seen. (But our money is on NOT; machines will never express the warmth and care of a human being!)

The case study is definitely worth a read. Email us at info@ylt-translations.com, and you’ll see exactly what we mean.

To the Future…and Beyond!

These company milestones have propelled YLT Translations to its 5th birthday — Happy Birthday, YLT! And congratulations!

Where will it be, 5 years in the future? We have to wait for 2028 to roll around to tell, but one thing’s for sure…

Jana has made a promise to keep improving, keep growing, and keep nurturing the relationships upon which YLT Translations has been built, and we know she’s good on that promise.

See you in the next 5 years!

If you liked this peep behind the scenes, take a look at Jana’s experience on the Online Seller Cruise – proof that the relationships she makes all over the world, year-on-year, truly are important to her!