Innovation 50 – the Midland’s most forward-thinking businesses

translation services, Innovation 50, StorySign

Innovation has been at the heart of everything we do at Comtec since the company began over 30 years ago. We have been market leaders in introducing new ideas, technology and ways of working to the translation industry: refining and improving our services to help our clients promote their brands and products to customers worldwide. Every day at Comtec we practice our core values; ‘we’re always learning’, and finding opportunities to innovate in our business, and we ‘don’t stand still.’ Our clients are always changing, evolving and adapting, so we do too.

We are therefore delighted to have been recognised as one of the Midlands’ most innovative businesses, following the publication of law firm Mills & Reeve’s Innovation 50 report. Mills & Reeves launched this biennial Innovation 50 index in 2017 to celebrate the Midland-based businesses that are forward-thinking and driving innovation in the region. The expert judging panel included business leaders like Paul Bassi CBE, CEO of REI PLC; Anita Bhalla OBE Chair of Performances Birmingham; and Paul Faulkner, Chief Executive of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce.

Comtec’s Director, Sophie Howe, said, “Being included in Mills & Reeve’s Innovation 50 report is such an honour and really reflects how innovative the team at Comtec are. Last year we developed a service package for Huawei Mobile’s StorySign app, which combined all our specialist expertise. We recruited sign language interpreters, deaf actors, translators, language interpreters, and even 10 signing Father Christmases, to help develop the app in 9 different languages.”

“We also provided our services for a once in a lifetime trip to Lapland for deaf children and their families who travelled from UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands, Portugal, Eire, Belgium and Switzerland for this amazing experience.”

Other Innovation 50 2019 include: Airband, Aquarius, Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education, Bradley Murphy Design, Bronze Labs – Tribe Project, Buckt, Conference Aston, Credex Network Ltd, Curium Solutions, Cysters, Daden Limited, Enate Ltd, Fluence World Ltd, Forensic Pathways, Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, Green Sisters Ltd, Grigor Group Ltd, Innovating Minds, CIC Learning Labs Loki Wines Love Writing Ltd LoyalFree Medherant Limited Mercian Labels Ltd, METCloud Micro-Fresh Millennium Point, Miss Macaroon, Natural Grower Ltd, Nicklin Transit Packaging, Oxbridge Home Learning, PLANit Global Quanta Engineering Ltd, Rateaco Limited t/a Feelyx, Raymont-Osman Product Design, RNF Digital, RSS Infrastructure Ltd and INFRA Skills Ltd, sales-I, SDS MyHealthcare, Second Home Studios, Spendology, Toppa, Transreport, University of Birmingham, Updates Media, Vanti Waldeck Consulting, Wearable Link and WOW HOW Ltd.

“We loved the Huawei sign language package” – Innovation 50 judges

StorySign is an AI app from Huawei Mobile which deaf children can use to read popular children’s stories like Spot The Dog. Comtec worked with Aardman Animations and creative agency FCB Inferno to develop the app, providing a diverse range of language support.

At Comtec, we help our clients communicate and engage with their audiences around the world. Our work for Huawei Mobile exemplified this commitment as it combined communicating with audiences in their native language and their native sign language.

There is no one international sign language, so each language version of StorySign needed to be signed using its own unique version of sign language.

Comtec recruited native deaf actors to become ‘Star’ the animated avatar that signs the story, sign language interpreters to communicate with the actors and language interpreters to make communications easy between the director and the sign language team.

Comtec also provided language and sign language support for the launch of the app, including a StorySign video (with signing Father Christmases) and interpreters and sign language interpreters for the Lapland trip.

You can watch the StorySign video below:

Account Manager Tanya Bain, who worked on the project, said:  “At Comtec, we like a challenge so we weren’t daunted! We enjoy using our expertise to find new solutions and approaches that help our clients. With StorySign, it was wonderful to be part of something that really enhances people’s lives. Storytime is something I remember very fondly from when I was growing up, so helping to bring this experience to deaf children across Europe is very rewarding.”

Download the Innovation 50 report here

To learn more about our work with Huawei Mobile’s StorySign, please read this article.

Comtec’s innovative approach to translation services and how we’re driving quality, efficiencies and better customer service is explored in this video:

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