Charlotte & Sheila Addison: Fulfilling the language needs of businesses

Enlaza Global plays a pivotal rote in helping businesses transition to the global stage Click To Tweet

Sometimes, not getting to study what you’d like in university can be blessing in disguise. When the Addison sisters were offered a language course at university —a course that was not considered prestigious— they soldiered on.

Today, Charlotte and Sheila are co-founders of Enlaza Global, a language translation service provider particularly focused on the language needs of businesses. Both sisters also work as translators at The Jeli, a literary publisher for black millenials.

Here, they fill us in on why businesses need to use language as a tool and share what living in Cuba to perfect their Spanish taught them.

What are the language needs of businesses?

The language needs of businesses can be one of many things. There are untapped markets ready for products/services by businesses willing to operate across regions and markets. A language service provider like our Enlaza Global plays a pivotal role in helping businesses make that transition.

Having international clients and business partners reveals the importance of having some level of communication in an international language. When working internationally, there will be a need to translate corporate and business documents to reflect in-country needs.

Also, websites and social media sites can be translated in order to create diversity and reach a wider market online.

According to the research survey, “Can’t Read, Won’t buy: Why Language Matters” by CommonsenseAdivsory, 52.4% of consumers buy only at websites when the information is presented in their language.

We create diversity by using the tool of translation to add value to technological products Click To Tweet

We help to create diversity by using the tool of translation to add value to technological products such as apps, software and websites among others.


Why do you think you were offered a language course? Why was it not considered prestigious?

We believe we were offered a language course because of our academic background. We studied Literature, Christian Religious studies, Government and French at senior high school. These would have definitely played a role in the choice of course we were offered.

The notion of prestige when it comes to academic courses in our societies, we believe stems from the belief that some courses map out a clear-cut career path for one whiles others do not.

Another reason could be that most people have not come to appreciate and understand the tool called language and its role in a global village.

I imagine you’ve received some odd questions for studying a language course. What are some of them?

Some of the funniest questions we have received for studying a language course are :

  • Is that a subject within your course or is it your main course of study?
  • Will you gain immediate employment upon completing the university?
  • Do you want to be a teacher?
  • What are you going to do with it?
  • What is the relevance of your course in an office (working environment)?
Living in Cuba fanned our desire to honour and celebrate people who have given us their time Click To Tweet

Tell us about living in Cuba. What led you two there?

Our reason for living in Cuba was to study and improve upon our Spanish skills. We also wanted to acquire cultural knowledge and sensitivity.

The experience was as fun as it was challenging. There are vital principles that we learnt to imbibe from Cuba such as patriotism and loyalty to ourselves as Africans, to our nation Ghana, to always be supportive and to push people forward.

It also fanned our desire to always honour and celebrate people who have given their lives, time, effort or money in building us as individuals, organisations and Africans as a whole.

On the other hand, living in a socialist state like Cuba, came along with its challenges. These include internet limitations, a lack of opportunities for foreigners, the daily low productivity, a lack of ingenuity on their part and the subtle racism that stares you in the face everyday.

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