Pushing Boundaries at LocLeaders and LocWorld Dublin 2014

ogla blOlga Blasco, Senior Vice President of Supply Chain and Production Business Units at Welocalize, led the discussion “What Not to Translate” at the recent LocLeaders Forum in Dublin. At Localization World 2014, Olga took part as a featured panelist at the LocWorld keynote discussion on day two, “Keep Calm and Carry On,” which detailed how to best manage disruptive innovations. In this blog, she shares her key takeaways from both discussions.

As I reflected on our LocLeaders Forum in Dublin and the LocWorld conference that followed, one overriding thought emerged: The power of “what if” is constantly accelerating the pace of change and disruptive innovation in our industry.

Today’s market economics have forced all of us to reassess how to maximize return on global content by whatever means possible. We have collectively evolved from articulating the challenges created by an ever increasing demand for product content diversity and consumption across the globe. This means we need to actively pursue alternative approaches to the time, quality and cost equation so that we can make wider and speedier brand reach more possible.

How many of us got to this point with a bold “what if” conversation? What if we could significantly improve turn-around-times (TAT) on marketing content whilst maintaining high quality? What if we could rely on brand enthusiasts to translate the products? What if user-generated content (UGC) could be quickly made available in any language to guarantee reach? What if we could increase the funds available to penetrate new markets while maintaining or reducing the total localization budget?

The key to turning all this to reality is pushing the usual boundaries in relation to what, who, how and why and build flexibility into the supply chain. The most difficult part is to create a sustainable ecosystem where inefficiencies are not just moved from one entity to another in the process.  Emphasis is being put on using technology as a true productivity and sourcing enabler, matching the right talent match to content type and adopting quality evaluation (QE) methodologies that are aligned to content impact purpose.

Here are some of my takeaways from the discussions at LocLeaders Forum 2014 and LocWorld in Dublin:

  • Sophisticated MT programs, especially those that involve high-visibility content, can only be successful if there is continued investment into training both the MT engines and the supply chain to deliver higher post-editing (PE) productivity and consistent quality results. This requires long-term commitment from engine developers and LSPs, like Welocalize. Being able to demonstrate results and linking them to business objectives is directly proportional to over-coming resistance and augmenting adoption across all stakeholders.
  • Access to individual talent credentials is quickly becoming a prerequisite to choosing the right business partner. Building confidence is more effective and has positive effects in the relationship when the black box disappears (see Smith’s blog, Dating Websites, Black Boxes and Translation Quality). Buyers want to be reassured that every single resource working on their deliverables is the best possible choice to deliver the brand message. Not only that, buyers also expect LSP’s to ensure that qualified supply is available, ready and motivated to perform.
  • The importance of attracting, training and retaining talent fit for purpose is a topic that took center stage at a few sessions and is top priority for both clients and LSPs. In critical target markets driving high content demand, we are experiencing shortages in specialized resources and recruitment conversion rates can be low even at the most tolerant SLA tiers. Among the different initiatives being discussed on how to close this significant gap, here are the ones gaining most traction:
  1. Creating greater and better defined opportunity and localization career path awareness through social media campaigns and webinar event presence
  2. Identifying academic champions in key markets that can influence university curriculum that speak to the needs of the localization industry
  3. Invest in client/LSP driven training programs that continuously develop university graduates or professionals from other industries who present the right potential into becoming experts and create loyalty and continuity to deliver returns
  • Crowdsourcing is gaining traction among us as a successful means to cast a larger net on a wider spectrum of talent skill sets and configurations to deliver bilingual services outside of traditional supply chain models. Some leading brands are turning to non-professional, passionate users to deliver some services under professional community moderation. Recognition awards, easy-to-use community on-boarding platforms and tool training modules are a few of the necessary investments to keep the crowds engaged beyond financial compensation.
  • There is a clear demand for innovation in relation to quality strategy and execution, particularly in relation to measuring brand voice and sentiment adherence as part of evaluation process beyond the time-consuming feedback loops between stakeholders, reviewers and translators. There has been significant progress since the launch of TAUS DQF and many organizations have also been customizing their own quality models further to address this need. However, other interesting ideas on the table include dynamically correlating quality scores to user experience ratings and product reach. This will open an interesting dimension to budget allocation and decision-making as regards to maximizing return on content.

Pushing boundaries together is the most exciting part of our business. Let’s keep the momentum going!


Olga Blasco is Senior Vice President of Supply Chain and Production Business Units at Welocalize.