International Staffing: Building a Global Workforce the Right Way

It’s no secret that identifying and hiring highly qualified candidates is one of the most important steps in building a successful company. But when your organization is ready to expand into new markets worldwide, finding the right talent becomes even more complicated. Hiring someone who lists a foreign language on their resume is never enough. In fact, the selection process is much more nuanced.


Four Key Factors to Investigate in Global Hiring

Language fluency—not just language proficiency—is essential for outward facing roles. A native English speaker may have studied a second language in school or college, but this doesn’t mean they can engage in a sophisticated discussion or negotiate a contract with C-suite executives in another country. Unfortunately, if an employee is unable to truly speak the business language of their target market, an employer may not even know that opportunities are being missed due to subpar communication.

Cultural expectations and customs are another area where there is no substitute for real world experience. For example, in Latin America the role of relationships and personal trust in business is completely different than the transactional approach in countries like Germany or Switzerland. Choosing a job candidate who knows how to behave in specific social and business settings helps ensure success.

Hiring locally might reduce issues with language and culture, but there can be other factors at play under the surface. Even regional differences can constitute a significant barrier in trying to build a strong presence in some nations. During the hiring process, identifying prejudices or allegiances that could hamper job performance is important.

What is the candidate bringing to the table? For roles like sales, networking is always a big part of the equation. In some countries, simply working hard isn’t enough to break into the “right” circles. A job candidate who already has strong connections within your target market would be a substantial asset.

Can a Global Staffing Partner Help?

As you can see, navigating the international hiring process can be very complex. A staffing agency may be able to step in and help fill the role of talent sourcing and recruitment. However, making the right choice in this area poses a challenge of its own. There are some simple ways to narrow down your search for the best agency to fill your global staffing needs. Here are a few questions to start with:

  • Does the agency offer other international and multilingual services, indicating a greater depth of resources?
  • Do they have global offices, or are they located only in one region?
  • What kind of research are they willing to do to learn about what your company needs?
  • What is their process for identifying the best candidates for a multilingual or international position?

How You Can Help the Staffing Process Along…

Of course, you also need to be prepared to provide information to help your selected staffing partner find the right talent. In addition to the standard job description and the desired level of industry experience, an agency needs to know:

  • The country/city the employee will be working in
  • Whether they will be working remotely from the U.S. or on location
  • The length of the engagement if extended travel or expatriation is required
  • What support will be available to the employee if working internationally
  • The types of internal and external interactions they will be expected to have in their assigned role

All of this information can help qualify or disqualify candidates more quickly, aiding your search for your next set of global employees.

The right multilingual and multicultural staffing partner can make your global expansion plans go much more smoothly. To learn more about making smart decisions for international hiring, contact our team of experts at Akorbi today.

About Akorbi:

Akorbi provides enterprise solutions that empower companies to achieve success in the global economy. It helps companies connect with employees, vendors and customers in over 170 languages 24×7, in any modality, from any location. Akorbi’s customizable, enterprise solutions include: technical and multilingual staffing, learning services, multilingual contact centers, video remote solutions, translation/ localization and in-person interpretation services. | 214.256.9222

6504 International Parkway | Suite 1500 | Plano, Texas 75093

Demystifying the African Localization Industry – Challenges and Opportunities

In my quest to better understand the opportunities and challenges of the African translation industry, I recently traveled from West to East Africa. Because the global demand for African language translations continues to increase, I felt it was important to assess and demystify this market. It’s clear that the localization industry is alive and vibrant in Africa. Linguists are mainly involved in diplomatic, governmental, religious, tourism and humanitarian work. Some commercial work is also done for a variety of industries such as global consulting, mining, financial and technology, among others.

The most common translation requests in Africa are for English, Arabic, French, Portuguese, Swahili, and Amharic among others. Additionally, many professionals are translating from one African language to another to support cross border trade. Surprisingly, China is investing in infrastructure, such as bridges, railways and roads, in Africa so that has increased their demand for translations and interpretations from Chinese to African languages.

Africa has a total population of 1.21 billion people who speak in 2,139 living languages. Around 85 percent of the population is concentrated in 15 countries and the rest of the population is dispersed throughout the continent in smaller countries or territories. The most populated countries in Africa are Nigeria with 181 million people followed by Ethiopia and Egypt with 99 million people each. The smallest countries are Saint Helena with only 4,000 people and Seychelles with a total population of 97,000.

U.S.-based companies interested in targeting the African continent will be pleased to know that English is one of the official languages in 24 out of 56 countries in Africa. Out of these 24 countries, English is the only official language in 10 countries. In fact, advertising and marketing materials in Nigeria, Ghana, Malawi, Zambia, South Sudan, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Namibia, Gambia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda are done in English. The most utilized official languages in Africa are Arabic and Swahili (the official language for 181 million people), followed by French, Portuguese, Amharic and Zulu.

As the CEO of a U.S.-based multilingual business services company, I feel it’s my moral obligation to help develop linguists around the world, especially in emerging countries. In partnership with the East Africa Interpreters and Translators Association, which is led by Alfred Mtawali and Salome Nduku, Akorbi sponsored a full-day workshop in Nairobi in January. The goal was to create awareness of what it takes to compete as the global demand for African languages continues to increase. We were excited to have 65 attendees at the event from a range of professional backgrounds, including translators, interpreters, interns, university professors and even Swahili sign language interpreters.

The translators and interpreters were well educated, very knowledgeable and eager for global exposure. This full day workshop included the macro-economics and opportunities of the African continent, while emphasizing the importance of the mobile economy. Additionally, it addressed the TAUS Translation Technology Landscape Report from September 2016 and how these trends impact the translation profession. We also discussed the importance of investing and becoming proficient in CAT, Q/A quality control tools and the TAUS post-editing courses. Additional topics included machine translation technologies, the future of translators, responsible sourcing practices, teaming arrangements, Internet security and overall business management.

We made the event interactive so we could all learn from each other’s experiences. Through these discussions it became clear that African translators and interpreters are faced with many challenges including the lack of language technology infrastructure and best practices, funding to support large projects, strategic alliances and mental health support for traumatic interpretation sessions such as homicides, domestic violence and dying patients. They also struggle with a lack of scalability and non-payment from dishonest customers. Another hurdle is the lack of trust in African vendors due to the amount of fraudulent activity in the region. On top of all of that, they have to learn how to manage pressure from violent groups to translate content that violates ethics and security standards.

Clearly, there are many challenges and opportunities for the African localization industry. However, because of the growing demand for African language translations, this is a region we can’t ignore. In fact, several years ago we noticed the trend, so we opened an office in Cape Verde (in the central part of Africa) in 2015. Our talented African team provides translation and interpretation services in African languages, such as Zulu, Wolof and Portuguese Creole, to our global customers. Since then, the demand has continued to increase, leading us to expand recently to a much larger office. Without a doubt, this is a sign of the opportunities that lie ahead in this region. What are you doing to capitalize on these opportunities?

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Akorbi Ranked as the #33 Fastest-Growing Company in the Dallas Area in the SMU Cox Dallas 100

Only translation, interpretation, contact center and e-Learning provider to be included in prestigious list for 2nd year in a row

DALLAS, TX – December 5, 2016 – Akorbi was ranked as the 33rd fastest-growing company in the Dallas area (up 13 spots from its #46 ranking in 2015) at SMU Cox’s 26th Annual Dallas 100 Awards ceremony on November 29th.  For the second year in a row, Akorbi was the only translation, interpretation, contact center and e-Learning provider to be recognized in the impressive list of fast growth companies, which spanned just about every industry.  Hundreds of entrepreneurs, community leaders and business executives were part of the prestigious event, which took place at the Omni Dallas hotel.

Since being founded in 2003 by Azam and Claudia Mirza, Akorbi’s revenues have soared.  Earlier this year, the company competed with the fastest-growing companies across the U.S. and secured the #501 spot on the 2016 Inc. 5000 with 758% growth in the last three years.  The Women Presidents’ Organization also ranked it as the #12 fastest-growing woman-owned/led company globally.

Akorbi’s impressive growth has been largely due to the launch of a wide range of multilingual business services (such as staffing, contact centers and e-Learning), which support clients around the world.  The company’s impressive client base includes many government agencies and Fortune 500 companies.

Annually, SMU Cox ranks the top 100 Dallas entrepreneurial companies based on sales growth during a specific period of time. These companies must be privately-held and based in the Dallas Metroplex. This year, SMU Cox looked for a high percentage in sales growth from 2013-2015 as the main criteria for the Dallas 100. Akorbi’s impressive 758% growth in recent years makes the company highly deserving of this recognition.

“It’s an honor to be recognized among so many impressive and fast-growing companies in the Dallas area,” said Azam Mirza, President of Akorbi. “We are incredibly grateful for the support of our community, SMU Cox, as well as our outstanding team, which works tirelessly to serve our clients and distinguish Akorbi in such highly competitive industries.”

About Akorbi

Akorbi offers global and multilingual business solutions in more than 170 languages to some of the largest companies in the world. The company offers a full range of language, localization and global marketing solutions, including: professional staffing, translation, interpretation, multilingual call centers, business process outsourcing, video remote technologies, sign language interpretation, alternate formats, transcription, eLearning and eDiscovery. The company holds several certifications including ISO 9001:2008, ISO 13485:2003, EN 15038:2006 and M/WBE Certification.  For more information, visit or call 1.877.4.AKORBI.

Akorbi Ranks #501 in Inc. 5000 Based on Impressive 3-Year Growth of 758%

PLANO, Texas – November 8, 2016 – Akorbi, a leading provider of multilingual business solutions, has been ranked by Inc. magazine as #501 in its prestigious Inc. 5000 list, making it one of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S.  The ranking was based on a remarkable growth rate of 758% from 2012 to 2015.  Since 1982, the Inc. 5000 has highlighted the nation’s most successful private companies and has become a symbol of entrepreneurial success.  Akorbi received the award during the three day conference in San Antonio, Texas, which took place October 21-23.


Akorbi’s fast-growth can be attributed to the fact that it’s one of the most diversified companies in the language services industry.  In the last few years, the company has expanded globally and added a variety of new services, including multilingual staffing, business process outsourcing, multilingual call centers, eLearning, interpretation, video remote technologies and so much more.


Akorbi also continues to improve its competitive edge by developing proprietary technology.  This year, the company introduced its Unified Multilingual Communication’s Platform (UMCP) which, among other things, is helping companies in the healthcare industry be compliant with Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act.  Section 1557 prohibits using non-certified interpreters, except in emergency situations.  Akorbi’s UMCP gives healthcare providers access to certified interpreters and translators, from any service provider, in every mode of communication (voice, video and in-person) through a single, secure platform.


“We are extremely honored to be part of this exclusive list with so many impressive and fast-growing companies,” said Azam Mirza, President and co-founder of Akorbi. “Our growth wouldn’t be possible without the support and dedication of our more than 600 team members around the world, including our co-founder Claudia Mirza, who work tirelessly to support our global clients and make Akorbi an industry leader.”


The Inc. 5000 is the most competitive list of fast-growing private companies.  This year, the average three-year growth rate was a staggering 433% and the aggregate revenue was $200 billion.  The companies generated 640,000 jobs from 2012-2015 – about 8% of all jobs created in the entire economy during that time. The complete results of the Inc. 5000 can be found at





About Akorbi

Akorbi offers multilingual business solutions in more than 170 languages to some of the largest companies in the world. The company offers a full range of language, localization and global marketing solutions, including: professional staffing, translation, interpretation, video remote technologies, multilingual call centers, business process outsourcing, sign language interpretation, alternate formats, transcription, eLearning and eDiscovery. The company holds several certifications including ISO 9001:2008, ISO 13485:2003, EN 15038:2006 and M/WBE Certification.  For more information, visit or call 1.877.4.AKORBI.


More about Inc. and the Inc. 500|5000

The 2016 Inc. 5000 is ranked according to percentage revenue growth when comparing 2012 to 2015. To qualify, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by March 31, 2012. They had to be U.S.-based, privately held, for profit, and independent—not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies—as of December 31, 2015. (Since then, a number of companies on the list have gone public or been acquired.) The minimum revenue required for 2012 is $100,000; the minimum for 2015 is $2 million. As always, Inc. reserves the right to decline applicants for subjective reasons. Companies on the Inc. 500 are featured in Inc.’s September issue. They represent the top tier of the Inc. 5000, which can be found at


Veronica Thomison
MPR Source, Inc. for Akorbi

The U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Names Akorbi CEO Claudia Mirza 2016 Businesswoman of the Year

Claudia MIrza

Plano, TX – Oct. 12, 2016 – Claudia Mirza, CEO and co-founder of Akorbi, received the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s (USHCC) 2016 Businesswoman of the Year Award. Hundreds of Hispanic business, corporate and community leaders from across the U.S. attended the awards’ luncheon, which took place at the USHCC’s National Convention in Miami.

Every year, the USHCC recognizes a female entrepreneur who exemplifies the best of America’s business community through her outstanding leadership, pioneering spirit and social and economic contributions.

“Claudia is a steadfast businesswoman whose enterprise continues to reach new heights, and she inspires business leaders everywhere,” said Javier Palomarez, USHCC President and CEO.  “We are proud to recognize her as the 2016 Businesswoman of the Year.”

Claudia founded Akorbi in 2003 as a home-based translation business.  Today, the company is a global provider of multilingual business solutions with locations around the world and more than 600 employees.  The company serves some of the largest companies and organizations in the world including MoneyGram, Aetna, Health Services Corp. and Fossil, as well as leading technology companies.

“I am incredibly honored to receive this award from the USHCC – an organization that does so much to support Hispanic entrepreneurs across our country,” said Claudia Mirza, CEO and co-founder of Akorbi.  “As an immigrant from Colombia, this is proof that the U.S. is truly the land of opportunity, where we can live the American Dream through hard work, a clear vision and the support of amazing organizations like the USHCC.”

Akorbi’s vision and leadership has led Akorbi to experience explosive growth in recent years.  This year, Akorbi landed the #501 spot in the 2016 Inc. 5000 with 758% growth, and the #12 spot in the Women Presidents’ Organization’s 2016 list of fastest-growing woman-owned/led companies in the world.  The company has also been recognized as the fastest-growing language service provider in the world.

Claudia also does much to give back and help her community and other entrepreneurs.  She’s served two terms on the Board of The Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and has joined the Board of the Women Presidents’ Organization.

About Akorbi

Akorbi offers global multilingual business solutions in more than 170 languages to some of the largest companies in the world.  The company offers a full range of language, localization and global marketing solutions, including:  multilingual staffing, translation, interpretation, multilingual call centers, business process outsourcing, video remote technologies, sign language interpretation, alternate formats, transcription, eLearning and eDiscovery.  The company holds numerous certifications including ISO 9001:2008; ISO 13485:2003, EN 15038:2006 and M/WBE certification.  For more information, visit or call 1.877.4.AKORBI.

About the USHCC

The USHCC actively promotes the economic growth, development and interests of more than 4.1 million Hispanic-owned businesses that, combined, contribute over $661 billion to the American economy every year.  It also advocates on behalf of 260 major American corporations and serves as the umbrella organization for more than 200 local chambers and business associations nationwide.  For more information, visit  Follow the USHCC on Twitter @USHCC.

CONTACT:       Veronica Thomison
MPR Source, Inc.

The Women Presidents’ Organization and American Express Recognize Akorbi as the 12th Fastest-Growing Women-Owned/Led Company Globally

Akorbi’s fast and impressive growth was celebrated during the Women Presidents’ Organization’s (WPO) 2016 Annual Conference, in partnership with American Express. On April 8th, hundreds of business owners and executives from around the world gathered at the dinner and awards ceremony held at The Baltimore Marriott Waterfront in Baltimore, Maryland, to celebrate the impressive growth and success of the world’s 50 fastest-growing, women-owned/led companies. The awards ceremony was part of the WPO’s 3-day conference, which took place April 7 – 9.