We hopped on our bikes and headed to Drongen to meet Communication Manager Serena Masariè and Senior Creative Copywriter Dorien Schrooten. A (climate-)friendly chat that saw us skip the small talk to discuss pots and pans instead! We also talked about the importance of scratch-resistant translations to share your story with the world.
How would you describe The Cookware Company in just a few words?
Dorien: “The Cookware Company is a pioneer of healthy cookware, with PFAS-free non-stick pans being our flagship product. Fourteen years ago, our founders set up the by now well-established GreenPan brand. Since then, plenty of other brands have joined the family: GreenLife, VitaVerde, BK, van Kempen & Begeer, Merten & Storck, Blue Diamond, Gero, Dagelijkse Kost,…”
What’s the secret behind that swift expansion?
Serena: “When I joined the company, there were just 35 of us. Today, I work alongside about three times as many colleagues. Customers are flocking to GreenPan and our other brands precisely because of our PFAS-free, healthy ceramic non-stick coatings. Plenty of other manufacturers have actually mirrored us and switched to ceramic non-stick coatings as well, and politicians have started discussing the harm that PFAS do. We keep a close eye on developments like that. Getting to advocate for public health on a daily basis is such a thrill!”
Dorien: “People are more aware of their impact on the planet these days. Our story is very timely because we provide an answer.”
What was lockdown like at The Cookware Company?
Dorien: “Our online sales skyrocketed these past twelve months. Covid-19 made people rediscover the joy of cooking. Once you start looking for healthier ways to live and cook, you quickly realise the value of healthy pots and pans.”
Serena: “We also discovered we don’t have to be in the same room every single day for the company to do well. We all have a specific role and know what to do, so we can easily work from home.”
Dorien: “Which doesn’t mean it isn’t lovely to return to the office a few days a week and meet your colleagues IRL once again. Personally, the combination works really well for me.”
The Cookware Company’s brands are all sold around the globe. Do you translate copy into many different languages?
Serena: “I manage content in no fewer than 31 languages. For our own brands, we mainly translate texts into whichever language we’re legally obligated to use in the local market. When we’re running a loyalty campaign, however, anyone can express their interest, so then we proactively translate our print into all 31 languages. Translating something into 31 languages requires quite a bit of planning. I try to send Blue Lines everything in batches, but the occasional change still always manages to sneak in on our side. By now, we’ve learned to anticipate situations like that. We thoroughly review texts with our copywriting team, for example, and include potential additional copy in our briefing from the start.”
Dorien: “Those last-minute changes really characterise The Cookware Company. We’re a fast-moving business, and deadlines can be tight. Preparing content is by far our biggest challenge when we’re ordering a translation.”
Serena: “We’re talking massive volumes of words, though. So it’s give and take for both partners.” (laughs)
Exactly! And it’s precisely because of those volumes that we use a translation memory. How does that benefit you as a client?
Serena: “We’ve been working with Blue Lines for almost four years now. Looking at the quotes I get these days, I’d say there’s a major difference. Some of our brands write very similar content; it’s a relief to get quotes that are up to 50% cheaper than the ones we got in the beginning. We see exactly how much of a match discount we get because of the translation memory. It always feels like a windfall gain!” (laughs)
Dorien: “Consistently translated terminology is also extremely important to us, like when we talk about specific materials. It would look completely unprofessional if we used a certain term for a material in one text, only to switch to another term in the next text. A translation memory ensures terms are always translated correctly and in the exact same way as in previous translations.”
What else makes a good translation?
Serena: “When you’re translating a technical or legal text, accuracy is key. Part of my job is explaining minor nuances – which can make a world of difference to customers! – in language that is as clear as possible. Our stainless steel cooking utensils, for example, are treated with our Evershine (TM) technology to make them resistant to heat-induced discoloration. An invisible but extremely important feature. Which is why I’ll often add pictures and technical explanations to our briefings, so translators know exactly what they’re dealing with. And Blue Lines often sends us critical questions about the technical details in our texts. I actually really like that: some things are so self-explanatory to me by now that I no longer pay any attention to them myself. And legal documents, like contracts or care & use guides, require word-perfect translations.”
Dorien: “For me, translations mainly need to be easy to understand and market. Especially copy about topics like PFAS needs to be translated with end customers in mind. In those cases, more liberal translations can work well, as long as the message is clear and everything sounds natural in the target language.”
How would you rate your cooperation with Blue Lines’ project managers?
Serena: “Oh, it’s a breeze. When I ask for a quote, I’ll get one within the hour. And if I have to change things later on, I’ll get instant feedback. Our deadlines are always reasonable, but still, I don’t think we’ve ever received a translation past an agreed deadline. It can sometimes take a while for the Scandinavian translations to be finished, but Blue Lines always communicates openly about that.”
Dorien: “The hardest thing about translations is actually that you can’t verify their quality yourself. It’s not easy to relinquish control, because the quality of translations obviously affects the quality of our products. At a certain point, however, you simply need to make that leap of faith. But I feel very reassured by the solid personal relationship we have and the fact that Blue Lines will ask us if something’s not clear. So I think it’s safe to say that trust is the most important ingredient of our partnership!”