Short-notice interpreters for the Grab app launch

1 App launch. 5 interpreters. 4 days lead time.

Our client is Grab, the only Singapore-based ride-hailing company.

Having acquired Uber’s South-East Asia operations in March 2018, they are now the only such service provider in the region.

Planning to launch their new app at an event for their Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) partners, the Grab team realised they needed five interpreters to make the event a success.

They contacted us about the project.

What challenge did we take on?

  • The event was scheduled to occur in less than four days. We received the request at 2.24 pm on Friday. The event started at 9.30 am the following Tuesday morning.
  • The language pairs they needed were English to Bahasa Indonesia, Thai, Vietnameseand two others. The Indonesian linguist was their only must-have. But if we managed to secure any of the others, that would be a significant bonus.

What did we do?

Within half an hour of receiving the call, our vendor management team had started contacting our extensive network of professional interpreters we have previously worked with in the region.

Simultaneously, we began requesting presentation slides from the client:

Interpreters need materials such as these in advance in order to prepare for the assignment. They need to prepare a glossary so that they can interpret using the right terminology during the presentation.

By the end of Saturday, our team had confirmed a Vietnamese linguist who was interested in such a short-notice assignment. On Monday morning, a Thai linguist accepted our request.

But we were still missing the must-have Indonesian linguist…

Our team messaged all of the Indonesian interpreters Asian Absolute had worked with previously. Several responded. But as the assignment was due to start the next day, many had already taken other jobs.

Finally, one Jakarta-based interpreter responded. Confirm within the hour, she said – so that she had enough time to book her flight and accommodation – and she would be willing to take the assignment.

We instantly contacted the Grab team and asked them to confirm that their budget meant they were happy to fly the Indonesian interpreter from Jakarta.

They approved.

How did the linguists possibly arrive in time?

The short notice did mean that the interpreters had a very short timeframe to reach the event.

For example, our Indonesian interpreter booked her flight to Singapore departing the same evening that she agreed to the assignment. This meant she could be at the event the next day at 9 am sharp.

From her home to Jakarta airport is a two-hour drive. Having packed and left the moment she received the call, she arrived in Singapore just before midnight. Just in time to quickly check-in to the hotel for a few hours’ rest before the event began.

What was the outcome?

The main objective was achieved. Plus, two of the bonus interpreters were also acquired.

The event itself was a complete success. Grab’s partners from the different parts of the ASEAN region used headsets to listen to the interpretation and found it very useful.

At the end of the event, the Grab team told us how happy they were with the interpretation support they received.

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