ALMA: Access to Language Methods for Increasing Migrants' Abilities to Start Their Own Business

alma: Access to  Language Methods

ALMA: Access to Language Methods for Increasing Migrants’ Abilities to Start Their Own Business is a European cooperation project aimed at stimulating migrants to begin a new business, to inspire and provide them with practical guidelines in order to start and run a successful company within a new cultural and linguistic context.

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Role Models' Guide / Profiles

The guide introduces active entrepreneurs with migrant background who have become successful thanks to their language and intercultural competences in the partner countries. Promoting real people with real stories, the project provides clear picture on what knowledge and skills are important and needed to be improved and what steps migrants should take towards establishing and running an own company.

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Photo of Ahmed Ali Hassan

Ahmed Ali Hassan

Hassan’s “Roma Traduzioni S.r.l”

"Roma Traduzioni S.r.l", managed by Ahmed Ali Hassan, is an agency specialized in offering linguistic assistance services of various types: translation, interpreting, language training courses, conference organization, as well as providing assistance services for the legalization of acts for prefectures, prosecutors, chambers of commerce, embassies and consulates. Arrived in Italy in 2002, he wanted to satisfy his passion for languages, acting as a bridge between different languages and cultures, so he carried out various activities of translation and interpreting as a freelancer. Responding to a growing demand from both companies and individuals, he decided in 2011 to set up his own company: “Roma Traduzioni S.r.l”.

«One alone can't do it» says Hassan to emphasize the great importance played by the role of the family (wife and children) and some friends in providing support, moral and financial. With regard to the training courses attended before starting his professional activities, Hassan highlights the usefulness of having obtained a university master's degree in Pisa. In fact, it allowed him to better integrate into the community and then to register at the court of Lucca as a sworn interpreter and translator. This way, he had the opportunity to start his professional activities, participating in various conferences and translation congresses.

After moving to Rome, «he started working as a sworn translator and interpreter at the Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt. All the work experience that I have accumulated over the years - points out Hassan - have been the basis that led me to learn more about the market and to start my agency, also in response to the various requests I received from companies and individuals». Regarding the management of bookkeeping procedures, Hassan emphasizes the importance of relying on experienced accountants, having had to change his accountant several times, until he found an agency specialized in the field of language service companies. The main target costumers for Hassan's business are Italian companies: he collaborates, for example, with the Associated National Press Agency “ANSA” and other important Italian companies that have different relationships with foreign companies (in the Arab World, America and Europe). The second target costumers are those individuals who turn to Hassan in particular for the translation and legalization of certificates (such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, etc.). The main advertising and communication channels that Hassan relies on are mainly the website www.romatraduzioni.com, and social media: Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. In addition, his company is registered on paginebianche and paginegialle (the most comprehensive telephone directories in Italy used to find telephone numbers, addresses and other information about people, companies, professionals and institutions). As he is aware that the main channel of communication for his business is the Internet, Hassan invests a lot to appear among the first results on web search engines. Nonetheless, according to Hassan, «the key concept in advertising is to offer a good service, since it is easy to get new clients, but the challenge is to meet their needs and maintain them».

Over the years, Hassan's company has succeeded - together with other companies operating in the same or similar sectors - in creating a network of exchange and collaboration. Hassan highlights how useful it is to organize, together with the other members of the network, promotional events and training days to keep up to date with new techniques and new tools in the field of translation. To the question: «Does your work make you compromise with something or make you make sacrifices? », Hassan answered: «Yes, of course. You always have to sacrifice something. In my case, I had to take time away from my family. Often there are urgent demands that you have to work outside normal working hours... Deadlines can also be a stress factor». Despite the sacrifices, Hassan finds many advantages in doing this work: «I have made many friends in Italy and abroad. In addition, my work has given me the opportunity to participate in various conferences where there were important personalities, even ambassadors and heads of state. For all this I also feel a great personal satisfaction».

To be successful, according to Hassan, one need to be credible: you have to be transparent and try as much as possible to meet the needs of customers.
During the COVID-19 crisis, the agency suffered a lot and had to close for about 3/4 months. Even after the reopening, activities are slowly recovering. However, the support provided by the government (redundancy fund, rent guarantee credits, etc.) was very important to be able to withstand this unforeseen event. In order to deal with this situation, he had to move the agency's headquarters to another location to reduce the rental costs that were high. Now he is dedicating these savings to making more promotions. Hassan concludes: «I am very confident that we can overcome the current emergency situation».