Photograph by Hamin Lee Photograph by Hamin Lee

Michael Kaye

Co-Founder, Owner Vice-President

Alexa Translations, Toronto

Employees: 3 | Age: 29

Q&A from Michael Kaye

It might seem easy to launch in a sector with low barriers to entry, but that usually means your company has to stand out in a really big crowd. Alexa Translations founder Michael Kaye does that by providing customers with something he says his competitors often don’t—high quality, sector-specific services delivered by qualified professionals.

Kaye started Alexa in 2010 to take advantage of an increasingly multicultural business landscape and the growing need for qualified consultants in the highly fragmented language-services industry. All Alexa language consultants either hold a degree in translation or are professionally certified. And Alexa’s language consultants are not only fluent in the target and source languages, they also have experience working with the specific subject matter on which the client needs assistance.

Launched with just $5,000, Alexa now provides professional linguistic services in more than 100 languages and dialects to a broad range of clients in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Alexa consultants also instruct clients on cultural norms and appropriate business etiquette when dealing with foreign clients. To connect with potential customers, the company is an active member in a variety of professional services associations. “Getting involved with associations allows us to learn our customers’ business and integrate into the industry culture,” says Kaye.

Kaye is not shy about pointing out that Alexa is “not a low-cost provider.” But he believes the level of service the company offers more than justifies its relatively high fees. This positioning also tends to attract a more discerning clientele, allowing Alexa to carve out a lucrative niche by providing language and culture services to some of Canada’s premier law firms.

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