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ida Corporation --- Translation - DTP - Web

1-17 Taiyuji-cho, Kita-ku, Osaka 530-0051 Japan TEL: 06-6360-6300 Email:

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About Us

The Story of ida

In Osaka there is a company that provides businesses with multilingual language services. The company, called ida Corporation, is headed by President Tod Baudin, a native of Alberta, Canada and his partner and Vice President, Akiko Nakamura.

The first part of this story begins with Tod.

As a teenager in Canada, Tod’s friend Bruce was crazy about Japan. This was back in the days before the Internet exploded, when most people’s impressions of foreign countries came from watching TV and movies.

Tod and Bruce first came to Japan in their twenties. Bruce was very excited when he arrived in Japan, but that quickly changed. The samurai, swordsmen, and ninjas he had been expecting to see weren’t there. Shortly after coming to Japan, Bruce returned to Canada disappointed and never came back again.

Tod, who came at Bruce’s request, had no real expectations. He could find the country on a map, but that was about the extent of his knowledge. Unlike Bruce, this made it easy for Tod appreciate Japan for what it was.

In 1989, shortly after arriving in Japan, Tod found a job as a technical writer at a translation company whose main client was a large electronics manufacturer. Eventually Tod left the translation company to work as a freelance writer. As an employee, Tod simply had to do the work that was put in front of him. However, things don’t work that way when you’re a freelancer. In addition to doing the work, you have to do sales and win customers. It was a completely new experience in a foreign country. Even Japanese freelancers can find it difficult to get work.

Tod’s income dropped off rapidly, but he still had to live. The monthly bills kept coming in. His bank balance got smaller and smaller and his worries got bigger and bigger. Eventually his savings ran out.

Most people would have decided to head back home to Canada. But not Tod. He could have done the prudent thing and return to Canada. Instead, he sold his house in Canada, thinking, “There’s no guarantee that I’ll find a job that I want to do even if I go back to Canada.”

In life, time washes every one of us in the same way. A minute for you is no shorter or longer than a minute for any other. The only difference is in how we decide to use it. Do we just keep living from day to day or do we follow our dreams?

Tod thought that by being in Japan, the chance to find his dream job would eventually present itself. Selling his house had given him the means to keep living in Japan. However, he knew it was only a matter of time before his savings would run out again.

He decided that he would stay in Japan and look for a job that he really wanted to do. Staying on as a freelance writer was certainly not his goal, so he decided to work at the translation company in Osaka where his friend Bruce had once worked.

The next part of this story is about Akiko.

After finishing school, Akiko helped her uncle with his jewelry business for a while before joining a publishing company. Working mainly as a writer, Akiko also did freelance translation work on the side. After a few years, she left the publishing company and joined a translation company.

Akiko was a natural writer. The company appreciated her characteristic cheerfulness and she was given more and more work. She took on projects with foreign writers both inside and outside the company and successfully completed job after job. Her days were constantly busy.

Six years after Akiko joined the company a Canadian—Tod— joined the company on Bruce’s introduction. If Akiko and Tod had never met, ida would not exist today. The two went on to complete numerous jobs and projects together as team mates.

In time, the translation company gradually showed signs of instability. Economic conditions worsened and competition was fierce. The mood in the company darkened and eventually the company became a shadow of its former self.

Tod and Akiko quickly realized that there was no time to waste. If something wasn’t done, they felt that they wouldn’t be able to give their customers the service they deserved. And above all else, they both wanted to follow their dreams. So they decided to start a company.

The final part of this story belongs to ida.

ida Corporation was founded in 1997. In the beginning, Tod and Akiko rented a small office in Nishi-Temma. Starting completely from scratch, they began by buying computers from a Canon distributor. As the company got more and more work, staff numbers grew and the office started to feel more and more cramped.

As the Apple Macintosh evolved, pamphlet, leaflet, and catalog production changed dramatically. In other words, the nature of work was evolving. Tod tried to find as much space as possible to make it easy for his staff to work. As a result—despite being the president of the company—he ended up working between bookshelves in the smallest space in the office.

When the company switched their Internet connection from a slow ISDN connection to optical fiber, ida began a website hosting service. Soon the growth in demand for websites put pressure on its resources. In those days there was not much information about the web industry in Japan. The time lag was such that developments in the US would only feature in Japanese computer magazines around half a year later.

Tod learned to handle a variety of software as part of his work. When asked to do a job, his reply was always, “Yes. We can do that.” It was only after that that everyone in the office would put their heads together and figure out how to do the job. Everyone quickly learned how to work flexibly. This experience helped ida to develop technological skills that other companies are unable to match.

In 2002, the company moved to its current premises. It was around this time that ida started to get a variety of different jobs in addition to regular translation work. For example, Osaka Mayor Jun’ichi Seki requested the translation of speeches and PowerPoint presentations. It was also at this time that Tod took on the role of Kansai Chairman of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japan.

In 2006, to try to reduce overtime and improve the working environment, Tod and Akiko worked on developing team leaders within the company. Driving this development was their hope that their employees wouldn’t have to experience the tough times that they had gone through such as staying in the office until the small hours to get things done. As a result, ida has been able to train staff who are able to think and act independently. Thanks to this the company was able to survive the global financial crisis.

Supported by employees who think for themselves, decide, and then act, Tod and Akiko plan to open an ida office in Singapore to spearhead the company’s global expansion.

The 17 years since ida’s inception have flashed past and so much has happened. In the early years, the company had trouble keeping staff and there seemed to be one problem after another. However, there are two reasons why all the staff look forward to coming in to work each day at ida. One is the exciting challenge of dealing with new technologies and ideas in this ever-changing industry and the other is the satisfaction of being able to earn a living from it.

That’s why you should follow your dreams.

To finish, President Tod Baudin says:

“I can concentrate on overseeing our IT infrastructure at work. However, I can only do this because of Akiko, who manages our 45 staff and looks after everything from sales to accounts. I have the easy job. She’s the samurai.

I’d also like to say thank you very much to all our staff. I really appreciate their creative work.”