After completing her masters in France and studying various languages such as Japanese, German, and Spanish, Madhuri wanted to explore more languages and experience things that she had only seen through books.
“You get a peek into somebody else’s life through a language. We get to see how different we are from other people and that is very fascinating,” she says.
As luck would have it, she got a job with an Indian company in France and was successful in selling their services all over Europe, thanks to her knowledge of several languages.
In 2003, she returned to India and started Mayflower Language Services in Bengaluru, now an ISO certified organisation that helps companies succeed in global markets.
With the growing interest of foreign players in the Indian industry, there is demand for people well versed in foreign languages. Madhuri and her team have made the most of this opportunity dealing as they do with over 100 languages.
Entrepreneurship isn’t easy and Madhuri has had her fair share of challenges. “As a woman entrepreneur of the time, I encountered all the challenges that a typical startup of today faces and more.”
Setting up full-fledged operations, finding first clients, managing cash flow proved tricky for her initially.
“Finding skilled manpower was a huge challenge. It took more than six months to one year just to train people on the concept of localisation. Even now, people consider translation to be a simple job. They are unaware of the numerous processes involved in producing a good localised product,” she says.Madhuri also faced challenges on account of the social perception of women as homemakers before anything else. She says,
“I did have a very supportive family, but everyone looked at my work like it was a hobby or a pastime, never as a career. All responsibilities at home become a priority when compared to your business. If there is a family errand to run and an important client meeting, you are expected to choose your responsibility toward the family over that to your company.”
Dealing with clients has also not been a cake walk. As a woman entrepreneur, she had to change her behaviour to suit the culture.
“Once I had to go for a meeting and was standing on the factory floor of my client. I was the only female present there and all eyes were on me. Someone even asked me—isn’t anyone with you? I got more acceptance when I started wearing a sari,” she says.
“And yes, I remember that in 2004, I started wearing saris to work and especially to client meetings. There was a lot more acceptance from clients in certain industries, like the manufacturing sector. They were more open to talking to me unlike when I went to those meetings in a business suit,” she adds.
How Mayflower Language Services works?
Mayflower operates through four business units that are streamlined and specific to the services they offer—localisation, translation, multimedia, and staffing. They collaborate with native language experts across the world for providing these solutions. The in-house project management team and localisation engineering team help in providing high-quality translation services with quick turnarounds.
Mayflower, a bootstrapped company with a team of 80 people, is among the top three companies in India that provide language services. The company derives substantial revenue from adapting software UI and apps to suit local and global markets. A big part also comes from localising e-learning courses, which includes multimedia localisation.