Highlights from LocLeaders Forum Silicon Valley 2017

Welocalize LocLeaders Silicon Valley 2017 provided an exclusive and unique program of expert discussions for global business leaders and localization professionals. In this blog, California-based Peter Koh, Welocalize Regional Sales Director, shares his highlights from the event.

HIGHLIGHT ONE: Localization as part of the overall content workflow

Some of the discussion for the first-panel session, It’s Not Just About Marketing Anymore, focused on abolishing the term “Localization”. This was said in the context of talking about how localization, content, marketing, product development and other related areas are not working as one content workflow. Many enterprises have these areas working independently of each other and this creates silos that are always difficult to reconcile.

The main takeaway on this point is that localization shouldn’t be a separate offering and something that one specific internal group manages. It must be a feature that is part of the overall content workflow that all stakeholders have access to.

HIGHLIGHT TWO: Localization is a globalization process – not just translation, not just words

The impact localization has on a brand can vary based on so many factors, not just linguistically but other factors including culture and generation. One of the key points here is that we must start paying close attention to how the next generation is responding to content and how they are being exposed to it. Generations Y and Z have grown up with digital content being available 24/7, on a variety of devices. This is an important factor for many organizations, especially those targeting younger generations. We are now being exposed to so much content and that content is more visual, with audio and text. This is something that must be taken into consideration when putting together a localization strategy. 

The key takeaway here is that we must localize all aspects, seeing products and services through the eyes of the user to make the experience flawless and natural. Simply localizing and translating content will not create a truly local experience. Globalization must get into the mindset of targeted users and address all factors, not just text.

HIGHLIGHT THREE: Advances in neural MT and language technology

For the session hosted by Welocalize VP of Language Services, Olga Beregovaya, The Impact of Technology, many discussions centered around neural machine translation (NMT) and how machine translation (MT) overall is improving in commercial settings. There is some discussion that NMT can be “deceivingly fluent”. It might read better with fluency, but in some cases, the engines will get the meaning wrong. This is something we must be aware of during the post editing processes. Commercial providers and academic organizations all continue to work to improve the use of NMT in practice. The best solution often depends on the individual needs of the client and striking a balance between NMT and statistical MT solutions.

The bigger conversation for this session was about language technology replacing the localization and translation industry. The consensus was that technology will never replace the human element, but the discussions proved that the growing need to communicate across languages, cultures and generations is becoming more and more mainstream.

Innovative language technology is essential to global business and we need to embrace it, not fight or limit it. We need to continue to leverage technology to create efficiencies and enable growth for global brands.

I’d like to thank everyone who took part in LocLeaders Forum Silicon Valley 2017 for their excellent, open and honest contributions.



Based in Los Angeles, Peter Koh is Regional Sales Director at Welocalize.