10 years of doing things differently at Entre les lignes

30th Mar 2021
Entre les lignes

Yes, it’s true – Entre les lignes has just turned ten. There’s been a lot to celebrate over these ten years: building close, tactile relationships with our clients; finding the perfect team of language artisans; and, above all, taking the art of translation to the next level. 

At Entre les lignes, we don’t just shift words and sentences from one language to another. We transcreate, which has as much to do with localization as translation. 

Every project involves going deep with our clients to understand how they want their message to be crafted and conveyed in a new language to a new target market. We creatively design content that helps our clients to communicate the emotional texture of their brands and strikes a chord with their new audience.  

We’re proud to work with major global brands and respected Belgian institutions. But it all started with one guy, Tim Renders, a little bit bored during his translation masters. This would eventually lead him to found Entre les lignes, but the path there took a few twists and turns. 

Anniversaries are good moments for taking stock. We’ve been reflecting on where it all began, our current work, and the future we want to build. Join us as we share our story. 

Entre les lignes helps brands craft messaging across languages and cultures. Want to learn how we can help you with translation and transcreation? Get in touch today. 

Our beginnings: a winding path to translation 

“After my Master’s degree, I was so fed up with translation”, Tim recalls. He was starting to wonder whether a more dynamic industry would suit him better when a job offer with an ad agency fell into his lap. It doesn’t get much faster than advertising, and Tim found himself “attracted by the glitz and glamour of the advertising world”. He thrived under the fast pace and pressure. Until he didn’t. After a few years, Tim was burned out and he quit. 

“The breakdown made me really think and question what my skills were”, he says. Tim realised he now craved the slower, deeper work of translation – not the rapid churn of high-volume assignments, but the intricate, challenging projects that required deliberate craftsmanship. 

Starting afresh as a high-end brand translator, he could combine the creative talents he’d developed in advertising with his love for linguistic precision. “Working in peace, without a million things going on” allowed him to flourish, by slowing down, getting deeper, and creating work he was proud of. “I can remember the exhilaration those first assignments gave me”, he says.

Entre les lignes has had a strong focus on service from the start. Tim prioritised his client relationships above all else. “Giving my full self to my clients was really important”, he notes, and he was always willing to go further to ensure they were truly delighted – not just pleased – with the results. 

So once Tim’s clients started asking for more work, in more languages, it was natural that he’d respond to their needs by bringing more staff on board. This happened organically, as the flow of client requests led naturally to the process of building a freelance team to fulfil them. 

But Tim says that “for a very long time, I considered myself a solo entrepreneur, just working with freelancers.” It wasn’t until 2015 that he began to think of Entre les lignes as a full company “and really started implementing a structure and workflows in operations”. The next step was establishing a core team – and beginning a new chapter.

Our present: an artisanal approach 

From Tim’s very first hire back in the day, he knew hiring the perfect people was key. Growing organically has allowed him to keep values consistent and bring in people who truly connect with the company’s creative vision and commitment to service. Today, Entre les lignes has an in-house team of five and a 400-strong freelancer pool. 

And when Tim’s asked what his biggest achievement has been with the company, he doesn’t hesitate in answering: “My most beautiful accomplishment is my team – the way they work together makes me super proud”. 

A team to be proud of 

The Entre les lignes team showcases a unique combination of skills and passions. 

Project manager Olivia comes from a speech therapy background and brings her distinct perspective on language and communication to her work in strategizing and structuring projects. She was Tim’s neighbour in Brussels for five years and got to know him and the brand well.

“I always loved what he did with his branding and communication, and I really liked him as a person”, Olivia says. When, several years later, she saw that Tim needed a project manager, she got in touch right away, attracted by several factors, “working with languages and actually using them, working with Tim, being a project manager, working for a small company, working from home.” Like Tim, she believes in “deep work every day” and implements high-level quality control. 

Project designer Gyokhan also thrives on the high standards at Entre les lignes, both in his translations and his coordination of projects with clients.

“I discovered I love the polyvalence of my job”, he says – it takes him from deep dives with clients to planning out projects to participating in the occasional translation project. He continues: “I truly love being a part of this team and I feel valued”. 

Sophie, who works in project design and editing, is the newest team member. The “happy and positive vibe” at Entre les lignes appealed to her, and she appreciates that “everybody is ready to help you when you get stuck on something”. She relishes the challenge of “offering clients added value, understanding what they need, and guiding them in a world they don’t necessarily know.” 

We have one other core team member, Steffen, who has two very important roles. First, he manages the company’s German administration, and secondly, he’s Tim’s husband­ and unofficial Chief Wellbeing Officer, committed to “keeping his work-life balance in check”. “I’m proud of the agency Tim’s built up over the years, and I’m happy I can help,” he comments. 

The exquisite art of project design 

What makes the present-day Entre les lignes special is what made Tim’s solo translation special: stellar project design. Through in-depth conversations with clients, we get to really understand their needs, asking the big questions to get a full sense of how each project fits into their larger brand identity and the cultural schema of their target market. 

“We are part of a very big picture”, Tim says, “and we want to know everything: Why do they need the translation? How will it help their company to evolve? Where will it be published, on what medium?” It’s also crucial to grasp the feel of each client’s company. A skilled transcreator needs a sixth sense for qualities that can’t be easily described – the tone of voice, the emotional texture. 

 Like haute couture design, each project is made to measure, with exquisite attention to detail throughout. Gyokhan comments on the “technical knowledge” that goes into each translation – and the “happy, proud” feeling that comes with nailing it. 

“Translation is often seen as something that’s done as the end of the chain,” Tim reflects, “but it’s also the start of a new chain – an opening to new markets.” At Entre les lignes, we tailor each translation to resonate perfectly with its target market, helping brands to speak the language of new cultures.  

Connecting with clients 

Engaging with clients on project design is only the first step. Client relationships are an ever-evolving process – we stay in constant contact throughout each project, welcoming feedback and suggestions. Our clients know we’ll keep going until the result is exactly what they need.  

We build real, profound connections with our clients – the kind of alignment that’s developed over time. “It’s very personal”, Sophie notes, “and you really put a bit of yourself into each daily contact”. 

We mainly work with creative clients, including brands and advertising agencies, who are often looking for small, bespoke chunks of text. Tim was especially happy to work with Delvaux, a respected Belgian institution. In his words, “it makes me proud to be able to work for big Belgian names that are also aligned with our values of craftsmanship; of respect for people who make things and design art.”

As a translation agency based in Belgium, Entre les lignes enjoys working with a mix of global and local clients.

Our future: defending the art of transcreation

Looking ahead, we plan to deepen our reputation as a reference in language transcreation. As the company grows, we’ll maintain the close, personal touch that allows us to create translations as well-crafted as they are evocative. 

“The translation industry is splitting up”, Tim says. “There’s a real separation between commoditized translation and the human creative side”. He predicts that the commodity model will continue to grow, with machine translation and high-volume, speed translations popular and cost-effective for certain kinds of work. 

But the role of creative, artisan translators is also expanding. As Tim puts it, “we don’t compete on price, we compete on value – and that’s a big blue ocean for us.” Brands recognise the value of skilled professionals who know how to reach and move human beings with their words. “By combining translators and copywriters, we get fireworks”, Tim adds.

Going forward, we’ll continue to carve out a niche as content artists who rewrite brand messaging for new audiences. 

10 unique years  

10 years of Entre les lignes is 10 years of doing things differently. Born from Tim’s unique mix of content creation and translation skills, Entre les lignes has kept this deep, creative work ethic front and centre. We’re proud to be the multilingual partner of major brands, and looking forward to working with many more. We’re excited to see what the next ten years hold... 

 Entre les lignes helps luxury brands communicate the highest level of craftsmanship across their international branches. Want to see how we can help you with translation and transcreation? Get in touch today.