It is a situation that is played out in high-risk countries throughout the world.
Business travelers working for a European multinational are in the field in Central America, a region renowned for its abundance of oil, silver, copper, gold, lead, zinc, natural gas and wood.
It is also a part of the world noted by the US Department of State for widespread violent crime, such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking and robbery.
Two of the workers become separated from the rest. Isolated, they suddenly find themselves surrounded by a gang of heavily armed criminals.
The kidnappers threaten the pair with death and demand money with menaces from their employers. An excruciating wait begins.
On the other side of the world, the group’s security consultant contacts TBW Global with an urgent message: it has to warn the rest of the multilingual party to change course or risk running into the armed kidnappers.
TBW Global is the defence division of thebigword, the technology-enabled language services provider.
The company’s patented highly secure translation editor is helpful for tasks just like this one.
The precisely worded message is dragged and dropped into the editor, which returns accurate translations in seconds.
The translated messages are burst to the travelers in the immediate area. They get the warning and steer clear of danger.
The employer negotiates with the kidnappers and secures the release of its two employees.
“The speed and quality of thebigword’s work significantly reduced the impact of this threat-to-life situation and, in short, saved lives,” said the security consultant, a former Royal Marine Commando with the British Army.
“At the end of the day, all of our clients are safe and well.”
Death or serious injury might have been avoided on this occasion, but similar situations involving mobile workers will be unfolding on a daily basis.
International business travel is a growing market and is currently worth an estimated $1.4 trillion a year, a trend driven by continued globalisation and increasingly sophisticated supply chains.
Political and economic uncertainty means that kidnapping remains a serious threat in many parts of the world, involving organised criminals or extremists, and employers are under pressure to mitigate against the risk.