Meet André Palaguine, the CEO of NATIONS Translation Group (NATIONS), a seasoned professional who exemplifies what it means to be a creative leader. His capability and expertise have helped him reach his current stature and achieve many milestones in his career. Prior to joining NATIONS, he held leading positions in business development at Lionbridge, CLS Lexi- tech, TransPerfect, and TRSB before becoming CEO at NATIONS. Since 2017, André has been a board member of the Canadian Language Industry Association (CLIA), where he chaired the Communication Committee and now sits as Chair of the Advisory Board. André began participating in the CGSB131.10 Translation Services Standard’s technical committee review in 2022.
In his ongoing job, André is driving NATIONS into another period of advancement and development. A strategic business expansion plan that aims to transform, expand, and invest in the further development of new capabilities and technological solutions is at the heart of these efforts. At the same time, the company will continue to provide exceptional customer service and high-quality, professional linguistic services.
Rising up the ranks
André’s career at NATIONS officially began when Scott Patles, the board chairman, began looking for the ideal CEO to take the business to the next level. “Destiny brought us together, we both shared the same vision, and today we make a great team,” André mentions. Further, he states, NATIONS was the result of his rebranding effort; to him, NATIONS says it all: first nations and all nations.
André began his career in sales, where he quickly distinguished himself as a top performer. His natural ability to forge strong relationships and identify new opportunities led him to move into business development. With a keen eye for business strategy and a deep understanding of the industry, he rose through the ranks and ultimately became the CEO of Nations. He was visionary and results-driven, exuding a dynamic, effective, influential, and motivational leadership style. The market is consistently changing; the sudden-changing business and economic factors that impacted growth were the biggest lesson André learned in his professional journey. He, being a visionary individual, made the correct decisions that led to robust positive outcomes. In the process, he learned to be better prepared to tackle any incoming dilemmas that put his growth in jeopardy.
As CEO, he methodically plans his efforts to increase company success. Similar to this, he counsels every aspiring business owner to establish a strategic plan to seek corporate finance. He suggests finding possible investors who are a good fit for the company. He advises being ready with a compelling proposal that emphasizes the distinctive value proposition of the company. André believes that an expert opinion is always the best way to approach one’s goals; one must seek expert advice to protect the company’s interests. Improvement is the key; André analyzes his progress every day to reflect on his leadership, focusing on identifying areas for improvement. He actively seeks feedback to improve the overall platform for growth. He relies on innovation, as he considers it the biggest facet of any organization. However, he says, innovation sometimes comes at the price of failure. He says that by being proactive about failure, he can use it as a teaching opportunity and ultimately become stronger and more resilient.
The famous saying by Aristotle, “We are what we repeatedly do, so excellence is not an act but a habit,” is used by André and plays a significant role in his life. His philosophy is to maintain a routine that eventually leads to greatness and then more excellence, rather than chasing success. He believes that every endeavor can be perfected efficiently if one desires to. He accepts success with humility and utmost modesty. His current successful stature is the result of his achievements and the reputation he built with clients, employees, colleagues, competitors, family, and friends, who all supported him over the years. In his journey, he had many great mentors from whom he learned both good and bad examples.
A brief note on NATIONS
NATIONS is Canada’s largest privately-owned language service provider and the next generation in the language industry in Canada. It is headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, and has been in the industry for more than 30 years. Its motto highlights ‘Language Excellence and Innovation at Your Service.’ Its unique combination of human expertise and tech-driven automation—artificial intelligence, machine learning, and robotic process automation—helps it deliver a best-in-class client experience with faster turnaround times than industry standards. It gives clients highly accurate translations that retain their message, tone, and meaning after being translated from the source material.
The company enables enterprises to gain a competitive advantage through effective multilingual content and marketing communication strategies. It is solution-oriented and provides exceptional customer experiences, 24/7/365, with turnaround times that are faster than industry standards. It is committed to offering innovation, and technology ensures that the company remains at the forefront of its industry, providing avant-garde solutions to meet its clients’ needs. “Additionally, we are a strategic ESG partner,” André highlights.
Be a game changer
André mentions that several risks in the past have threatened all LSPs, including its company, such as loss of market share, financial loss, repelling candidates, technology stagnation, inefficiency, incompetence, competitiveness, and commoditization. Planning by design to establish sustainable solutions and forward thinking above and beyond was the effective business strategy that led him to successfully progress with the roadmap.
According to André, the biggest challenge the sector is now facing is the growing pressure on price reduction during times of inflation and the war for talents. André believes that language service providers need to be proactive in managing their costs and pricing strategies and streamlining operations. Additionally, agencies need to invest in technology and automation to improve efficiency and reduce costs. Hence, one can consider that AI and technology are not a threat to the profession but work to its advantage and evolution, increasing productivity and efficiency. He discusses the upcoming initiatives for corporate growth to become a significant Indigenous-owned global leader in the language industry for the future generation. In order to survive in this competitive yet innovative market, he has the necessary insights and has created novel approaches. Thus, he advices entrepreneur’s to, “think above and beyond. Be a game changer!“