When Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, Carlotta took it by word.
Carlotta Trevisan is a wonderful enthusiastic woman in her thirties, who embraced China as her second home, after Italy. She spent three years working in Shanghai and then came back to her hometown, Piacenza-Italy, to found her own interpreters and translators Agency, focused on Chinese language. Entrepreneurial, with a lot of charisma, huge smiley face and big blue eyes, I met her and her baby Carlo on a playground while having a cup of Chinese tea.
Her story is much more than what she does today. Her journey started in Venice, ten years ago. Internationally renowned for the beauty of its settings, its architecture, history and its artworks, the Republic of Venice was a major maritime power during the Middle Age and Renaissance, as well as a very important centre of commerce ( especially silk, grain, spice and art) in the XIII up to the end of the XVII centuries. Its eyes were always looking to the East and to the Far East, reason why the republic of Venice, which afterwards became the city of Venice, chief town of the Veneto region, established along the years a very prestigious faculty of languages, cultures and societies of East Asia at Università Ca' Foscari.
Carlotta studied languages, history and culture of China, nurturing a passion for this far away country. Unraveling ideograms, understanding Chinese behaviors and presenting a socio-linguistic thesis on the reasons why Chinese kids migrating to Italy with their families decide to keep the Chinese language in their lives through the attendance of Chinese schools during weekends, Chinese language courses in their Chinese communities in Italy, the insatiable curiosity of Carlotta did not end here.
Her dream of traveling to China materialized when she enrolled in a Master of Economics and Tourism management, and she was offered an internship at the Italian trade agency in Shanghai. Once graduated, she started working for an Italo-Chinese import-export fashion firm for a year. However, her following meeting with Alberto Forchielli, CEO of Mandarin Capital Partners changed the course of her narrative and drove great changes in her life decisions. She started working as his personal assistant, learning about finance, mergers and acquisitions, strategies and business expansions. When she talks about him now, she considers him as "her spiritual guide" because "he transmitted me a good dose of motivation and entrepreneurship to start my own business" .
And there she is. In 2008, strong of her international and multicultural experiences, she founded Chinarancia, an agency offering Chinese mother tongue translators and interpreters, economics and engineering technicians, sinologists living in China for a wide range of services, including Chinese language courses, Chinese language translations, tourist guides and training on Chinese outbound tourism.
Doing a swift SWOT analysis, her strength is being so specialized in the Chinese market/outbound Chinese tourism and Chinese language that no other agencies within Italy can beat her. On the other hand, the size of her company (small-medium size) could be a potential limit which could become an opportunity by exploring the European market first and then "adopting and applying an American model to it".
She is also one of the co-founders of Chinese Friendly Italy, a network that certificates hotels, museums, restaurants, castles, boutiques and shopping malls, with a Chinese-friendly etiquette if these structures have knowledge and competences of the Chinese tourism market, if they meet Chinese reception standards, standard language, standard room (for hotels), always respecting the Chinese culture, the Chinese tourists requests, while preserving the identity of the offer.
Carlotta is innovative, her business is new and fresh, like her ideas and her desire to connect people. "Educate, train and inform about the Chinese market, the Chinese culture, history and people is the first step to deliver a professional and tailor-made service". By reaching out to China, her Chinese dream became reality and now she is spreading her knowledge and love for China through words, ideograms, courses, services to expand the mutual understanding and to embrace the new Asian tourism that we are experiencing today.
Carlotta, the Chinese-Italian girl as most of her friends call her, feels that life is about expanding horizons and gaining knowledge, experiences and seeing the world. An advice for travelers to China, or for Chinese tourists to the US? "As Chinese people say, reading 10,000 books will never replace traveling 10,000 miles"-she tells me. Meaning that, to really know something, we must go and visit places, seeing them with our eyes. Go, take the plane, and Discover what we read in books.
This is how you would actually write this Chinese proverb of traveling ( Thank you Carlotta!) : 读万卷书,行万里路 (pronunciation: dú wàn juăn shū bù rú xíng wàn lĭ lù).