When Upgrade Estate builds or manages connective housing for students (Upkot) and young professionals (Upliving), they put social and ecological sustainability front and centre. With Upgrade Charity, they help young people in vulnerable situations and support a number of other initiatives.
Policy officer Julie Dujardin recalls how we first got in touch with each other: “I think it was back in February 2018, when our digital marketing officer, Aurelie, turned to you for the translation of our new website. That’s also when I started working with you – a lovely partnership to this day. You respect deadlines and always deliver smooth translations. Because you’ve been translating for us on a regular basis for two years already, you know our company through and through and are able to perfectly capture our tone of voice in all target languages.”
Innovate, connect and anticipate
When dealing with tenants, investors or other stakeholders as well, Upgrade Estate consciously invests in sustainable relationships.
Julie: “We avoid marketing blah blah and meaningless empty words at all costs. Instead, we establish long-term relationships through transparent, authentic communication.”
Did that innovative mindset lead to any new developments when the coronavirus broke out in Belgium?
Julie: “When the crisis started, we instantly invested in a digital information platform, on which we’ve since been posting new videos, webinars and virtual tours on a daily basis. We got everything up and running in a matter of days. Luckily, we could count on Blue Lines to quickly help us out with excellent translations into English and French. This allowed us to start up rentals at the beginning of April without any problems. Everything from viewing apartments to discussing and signing contracts simply happened online. For our most vulnerable tenants, we set up Upgrade Solidarity. It’s basically a support fund that pays a daily allowance to students whose parents are temporarily unemployed because of the coronavirus crisis, or who’ve lost their own (student) job, leaving them unable to pay rent for their room. Because Upgrade Estate sets great store by sustainability and social added value, we’ve decided to turn Upgrade Solidarity into a permanent support fund. We want to be prepared for future crises and support students in need in a humane way. Upkot students weren’t required to vacate their student room, but we did ask them to choose either to live at home or in their room, not move between the two. Those who stayed at Upkot could count on our coaches to take the appropriate hygienic precautions – or lend an ear, where needed.”
Valuable advice for Blue Lines
When I ask Julie if she has any questions for us, I’m rewarded with an excellent tip:
Julie: “You know, I’d like to have a clearer idea of who does my translations. Sometimes, the way they write really strikes a chord with me. It would be great if we could ask you to always use that person from then on.”
To take Julie’s wish into account, we’ll actually be changing our evaluation process. Today, clients can already send us feedback or indicate their preferred translators if they want, but from now on we’ll be adopting a more structured approach. Soon, every translation will come with both the translator’s and the proofreader’s contact ID, as well as an evaluation form. This way, clients will easily be able to send us feedback on their translation, whether positive or negative. And that, in turn, will allow us to really get to know customers’ preferences and wishes, raising the bar once again. It just goes to show: connective communication works!