By Louise Law
This past week in Berlin, global business leaders, localization experts, and colleagues working in language industry gathered at two important events: LocWorld28 and LocLeaders Forum 2015. These are key events where clients and vendors rub shoulders, shake hands and exchange ideas about the opportunities and challenges facing their organizations and the localization industry.
The general conversations at both events centered around growth, globalization, people, and connectivity. We now live in a digital knowledge economy and as we build more infrastructure to improve networks, more and more people around the world will have access to this knowledge. We must deliver this knowledge to the right people in the right language.
Welocalize’s exclusive semi-annual event, LocLeaders Forum, was held at 40Seconds on the eighth floor of the Loeser & Wolf building in central Berlin. The focus of the day was Elevating Results, which aimed to help attendees learn how to raise the profile of their localization teams internally, across all stakeholders and divisions.
Smith Yewell, Welocalize CEO, opened the event conversation and stressed the importance of engagement, usability and the future of data and analytics. He emphasized engaging everyone in the localization supply chain and engaging everyone in the organization. One of the key challenges for many of our clients is that the localization function is typically decentralized and fragmented, which can result in inefficiencies and inconsistencies.
Driving internal marketing and increasing networking activities helps to raise awareness of the great work provided by localization teams and it helps to place localization as an integral part of the overall corporate business strategy. Invited guest speaker Molly Wendell, a global networking expert, led the morning LocLeaders session Building Your Sphere of Influence and shared her expertise on creating a culture of constant networking to improve company performance. It was informative and provided a great refresher on networking skills.
Special guest localization leaders from TripAdvisor, Dell, Canon, Intuit and Optimizely led a peer-to-peer panel discussion to share challenges and experiences of how they elevate engagement and awareness of localization through their organizations and help achieve their corporate objectives.
Held at the Maritim Hotel in Berlin, the theme for this year’s Localization World Conference was the Internet of Things (IoT). Many of the sessions focused on how our increasingly connected and data-driven world will impact localization.
The keynote speaker on day one, Gerd Leonhard, presented “Big Data, the Internet of Things and the Rise of Intelligent Software and Digital Assistants – Opportunities and Challenges in the Next Five Years”. His presentation opened with the simple premise, “It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.” As an industry, we have to be ready and prepared for even more connectivity, data and increased use of smart, mobile devices that reach global audiences.
Gerd stated that the main objective of the IoT is to increase business benefits through automation and digitalization and the ability to be able to handle and process eye-watering amounts of data. These two components are already integral to localization. We must continue to innovate to drive better and slicker processes that further enable companies to be able to publish content to reach local audiences. Although the focus of the content was IoT, many of the conversations revolved around the importance of the people in the localization process, as well as the emerging technologies.
Here are a few highlights of conversations at LocWorld 2015 Berlin sessions:
1. MAKE DATA-DRIVEN DECISIONS. Test the responsiveness of published content. As the IoT grows, we will accumulate more and more data and we must use this data to help localization decisions. Many well-known localization leaders talked about the importance of testing the responsiveness of localized copy. In her keynote presentation, Iris Orriss from Facebook talked about how continually using analytics and data can help continuously adapt localized content to the target audience. It could be a simple change to the UI; however, by monitoring these changes, you can see what localized content works and what doesn’t work. Increased use of predictive analytics can also help make the localization workflow work smarter by further anticipating what resources will be required further down the line.
2. PEOPLE MATTER. Make everyone in the supply chain feel recognized. At one of the excellent Unconference sessions at LocWorld run by Teresa Marshall, the general consensus was that although much of localization is about further automation and digitalization, many LocWorld discussions focused on the people involved in the localization supply chain. It wasn’t just Smith Yewell at LocLeaders who stressed the importance of everyone involved in the chain. Many client presentations demonstrated how feeling appreciated, a great attitude and enjoying translation can really help produce quality translations. Maxim Lobanov from Google delivered a great pitch, 12 Pillars of High-Quality Localization, where he focused his presentation on the people and how we need to drive our love of language, add value, give good metadata to those who need it and never give up. He reminded us to engage the people in the process, not just the technology.
3, QUALITY AND METADATA. In addition to some of the great sessions run by TAUS on quality and translation automation, much of the focus to improve levels of translation quality was to look at the role of the translator throughout the process. Putting translation further upstream will increase quality. Providing accessible metadata and providing a solid in-context review environment to those who matter will save time and money in the long run and also create a more enjoyable process. Translators need high levels of engagement to be successful.
4. CONTENT IS A REVENUE-ENABLER. For many global companies, published content means more revenue streams and that impacts the financial outcomes of the business. Accurate, accessible and targeted content to a wider audience means higher awareness, engagement and results. This is why C-Suite level executives must understand and realize localization is an integral part of corporate strategy.
5. WE ALL FACE SIMILAR CHALLENGES! From tech start-ups to established global brands, organizations face similar challenges. Welocalize’s Steve Maule hosted a brilliant presentation by Karen Loughrey from Optimizely, “Structuring Localization at a Tech Start-Up.” At both LocWorld and LocLeaders, Karen spoke about her experience setting up a localization function from scratch at Optimizely. The company provides global A/B testing solutions. She highlighted how all companies have a lot of content – key digital assets like websites, UIs, videos, products, manuals, and emails. To be global, this content must be localized. Although Karen rapidly set up the localization function to meet fast growth targets, typical of a start-up environment, the challenges she faces are no different to that of a more established brand who has huge amounts of legacy content (including technology and TMs).
The localization function needs to work with multiple internal divisions, manage the localization supply chain and technology and provide metrics and reporting. This further demonstrates how important events like LocWorld and LocLeaders in bringing together people from a variety of industries and disciplines, all facing similar challenges and learning from each other.
Did you attend LocWorld or LocLeaders? What stood out for you at these events?
Louise Law is Global Communications Manager at Welocalize