2023 Year in Review

Happy New Year from everyone at Queen & Co.! Every January, we send a message to friends and stakeholders to reflect on the previous year and anticipate developments in the coming year.
2023 Year in Review

Happy New Year from Everyone at Queen & Co!

Every January, we send a message to friends and stakeholders to reflect on the previous year and anticipate developments in the coming year.

Reflecting on 2023, our advancements in the Honyaku Cloud platform have been monumental. We've better integrated the use of translation memories and termbases on the platform, enhancing the overall localization and data management experience for our enterprise clients. This, coupled with the integration of streamlined workflows and AI technologies, has significantly benefited clients in terms of cost, quality, and speed. In 2024, we're exploring ways to integrate the Honyaku Cloud platform with our other services to help our clients seamlessly achieve localization, communication, and marketing goals across languages and cultures.

Honyaku Cloud: New Technologies, New Tools

We celebrated the 5th anniversary of the Honyaku Cloud platform, expanding the number of language pairs we offer. We also revamped our algorithms and pricing structure to ensure clients never pay twice for a translation and can effectively use and reuse localized content. Our clients saved more than ever before, reducing year-on-year translation costs by 20% or more for many enterprise clients and an average of 14.9% across the entire platform.

We also launched a new secure client portal that offers real-time access to evolving resources such as translation memories and termbases. We translated more characters via the Honyaku Cloud platform than ever in 2023, indicating an enduring need for translation, localization, and data management in the face of technologies like large language models (LLMs) and generative AI, which we have also begun to integrate into the exploratory stages of our localization and copywriting workflows. We expanded the staff at our Tokyo Office in Kuramae, which serves as the base for Honyaku Cloud, welcoming Yoshiko Teraoka as senior project manager to build out our full-service localization team across three main locations: Aomori, Tokyo, and London.

Visit Honyaku Cloud for more information

14-54: Financial Resilience Through Art & Food

14-54 celebrated its 6th anniversary in March, launching our second-ever 14-54 Residency, this time with Mariano Perozzino. As chef-in-residence, Mariano served as head pizzaiolo, reconfiguring many of our pizza recipes and engaging with the local community through several pizza classes—all of which sold out! We also hosted an installation by visiting artist Arata Mino inside 14-54 next to the Towada Art Center library space for several months, contributing to the promotion of the arts in the area. Cafe "bloom" continues to share the 14-54 kitchen on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in our efforts to offer low-risk opportunities to small hospitality businesses as an extension of the entrepreneurship program we started in 2018 with 14-54 Café.

Mariano at 14-54

14-54 has been an essential part of our business since the very beginning, yet it has not been profitable since 2020, when the pandemic forced us to close our doors. Over the past year and a half, together with 14-54 manager Noriko Miura, we streamlined the business, efficiently cutting costs while taking action to increase revenue. As a result, both the pizzeria and the event space are now financially viable and self-sustaining, and we remain firm in our commitment to ensure that 14-54 remains a free and open space for everyone in the community.

Yakeyama House Exceeds Expectations & New Venture YADO by 14-54

With travel and tourism returning to Japan post-COVID, we have seen a significant uptick in property bookings. We celebrated one year of hosting and managing Yakeyama House, our beautiful hot-spring home at the entrance of Oirase Gorge and Towada-Hachimantai National Park, which saw a surge in interest. With effective marketing and management using custom-built digital tools, we saw occupancy rates climb from 29.1% for the first half of 2023 to nearly 60% in the second half, with almost double the number of nights booked during that time. Our investments in the rental property space over the past three years are paying off. Based on the results of 2023, we have been able to halve the return-on-investment timeline for Yakeyama House from more than four years to just over two.

Book a stay at Yakeyama House

We also finished major renovations at 14-54, reimagining the quaint residence tucked away at the back of 14-54 into inviting accommodations as an extension of 14-54's ethos of "connecting people with places." YADO by 14-54 is a three-bedroom property that blends traditional Japanese aesthetics with contemporary creature comforts, prioritizing sustainable practices by upcycling and repurposing materials wherever possible. Complete with a full kitchen and located centrally at 14-54 in downtown Towada, we hope that this addition will allow our guests to immerse themselves into life in the heart of Towada. Just a stone's throw away from the central Towada bus terminal, YADO by 14-54 is a 2-minute walk from the center of Towada's nightlife and a 3-minute walk from the Towada Art Center. Not only can the home be rented, but it is also a base for participants in the 14-54 Residency program and artists visiting the Towada Art Center.

Book a stay at YADO by 14-54

Financially, the company saw an impressive net profit margin of more than 30% in the first half of FY2023–2024 on the Honyaku Cloud platform and over 20% for our other digital services. Our community space, 14-54, became financially self-sufficient in 2023 as it celebrated its 6th anniversary with vibrant cultural programs that included a residency and art exhibits.

We invested a lot in Aomori in 2023, and the performance of our property investments, including Yakeyama House, has exceeded expectations, showcasing our commitment to business success in local communities.

We hope to see you again in the new year, both online and in person.

On behalf of everyone here at Queen & Co., I wish you a Happy New Year!

Alex Queen
CEO & Founder, Queen & Co.