Six Game Changers in Globalization and Localization

Derek McCann LocLeaders 2015 twoDerek McCann recently joined the Welocalize senior leadership team, having spent more than 20 years successfully managing many Microsoft localization programs and most recently, as head of  localization for Microsoft Windows®.  At the Welocalize LocLeaders Forum 2015 event, held at the Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, Derek was a featured guest speaker, sharing his views on the topic of Game Changers in Globalization. In this blog, he details some of the significant and disruptive influences that are shaping the industry today and in the future.

We recently finished a busy week of localization events in Santa Clara. For me, it was the first time I had taken part at the Localization World conference and Welocalize LocLeaders events as a supplier of language services. Having spent so many years in the industry at Microsoft, on the buyer-side, I was in a really advantageous position when I spoke to the crowd at the Welocalize LocLeaders event. We had localization professionals from so many global brands in the room, I had a good idea what might be going through their minds and some insight into some of the frustrations and delights they were experiencing with their globalization and localization programs.

LocLeaders 2015 threeJoining Welocalize gives me opportunity to bring fresh perspective into the industry. Welocalize has great personality and a sense of humor. We’re not just pushing the sales agenda, we want to deliver great experience and continue to build great values within our clients and employees. It’s a growing company with a small company mentality. We will grow with our global brand clients and have the honest conversations, not deliver a magical (and undeliverable) sales pitch. And to grow, we have to embrace change. We’ve hit a point of inflection within the localization industry. Nothing bad has happened; however, localization needs have changed. It’s not just about words and volumes anymore, it’s  about a set of localization services to offer to our clients, with the emphasis on customer experience and really considering customer sentiment. We have to deliver customer-centric value and experience to ensure our client’s needs are met.

To embrace this change, we have to consider the following “Game Changer” approaches and strategies in localization.

#1 – GAME CHANGER: TRANSLATION AND LOCALIZATION IS NOT A UTILITY. We are working in an environment which is no longer just about words or even volumes. It’s about customer experience, measuring customer sentiment, changing technology, new content types, emerging markets and evolving customer demand. They are all impacting the way we localize. With the growth of the Internet, it is relatively easy to grow and trade globally, build an international presence. Global brands achieve that by offering a brand experience, not a homogenous product. In many cases today, the buyer of localization services is looking for a partnership. This is a partnership that can solve problems. A partnership that can create solutions and not a set of menus that they can chose from, but real solutions from trusted partners.

#2 – GAME CHANGER: MT IS PART OF OUR LIVES. At the LocLeaders event, I talked about the “MT-pilot.” Piloting is an over-used word in our industry. MT has arrived. It’s an essential part of our lives and part of our programs – now. It is an extremely good tool to deal with huge volumes of content. The only piloting needed is implementation piloting. Sometimes it does need post-editing; however, for tackling the rise of low impact content, like user-generated content (UGC), it is perfect. We shouldn’t be piloting MT, we should just be doing it. Too much human intervention slows things down. Automation of the translation workflow keeps content and data flowing.

#3 – GAME CHANGER: BE AGILE. Having worked for many years in the software industry, I have witnessed a great revolution in how we build, develop and distribute technology and software. Historically, we may have built a product (source and localized version), with a release due every two-three years. That schedule no longer meets the needs of our hungry end-users. THERE IS NO BIG RELEASE DATE! Technology providers deliver constant iterations in a “trickle” approach. Waterfall is out, agile development is in. New features, patches, updates and bug fixes – end users want these automatically downloaded to their device with localized versions being sent out simultaneously. Agile software development needs an agile approach in localization. Small packages of content released rapidly and continuously into the translation workflow is the new velocity in the technology space.

#4 – GAME CHANGER: OUR END-USERS TALK FREELY. In complex localization programs, errors do occur. When they occur, your end-users will talk openly, freely and loudly about them. One tiny error in a translated string or a broken or non-global  feature in localized software could soon go viral through posts on social media or industry forums. End-users love to talk about their experiences with products and services and with the use of the Internet and mobile technology, they can talk about your product anytime, anywhere to anyone all over the world. Not only do global brands need to avoid negatively impacting the customer experience, they also need to know and hear what people are saying about them. Monitoring social media output is a new emerging area for many global brands. This is another area where MT is a key tool. MT with light post-editing can help organization understand what is being said about them and also increase the reach of positive social media to other geographies by publishing translated reviews and posts. End-users speak early and often. We need to listen to them.

#5 – GAME CHANGER: BIG DATA. This was a big discussion topic that carried on throughout LocLeaders and at LocWorld29. The general consensus was that we have a deluge of data, though very few people know how to manage and use data to help make intelligent business and localization decisions. Data means nothing if you can’t base any decisions on it. A good dashboard helps present data in a way where you can make decisions and as a language service provider, we need to empower our clients with technology to ensure their localization data is presented in a way that works and that our translators have access to the information. At Welocalize, we want to build that muscle and give data real meaning.

#6 – GAME CHANGER: THE SUPPLY CHAIN AND IN-CONTEXT REVIEW. The needs of the translation supply chain has evolved. To simply do blind translations is no longer sufficient. Translators, linguists and reviewers are brand ambassadors. They need to learn more about the context of the content. Content is not king, context is king. By providing the supply chain with information about the content, products and company, this will empower translators. The translation supply chain needs a higher level of humility and attention to changing buyer priorities. This will be driven by changing perceptions and providing further efficiency in the translation technology workflow, giving the right people access to the right information.

Derek McCann, Vice President at WelocalizeMy first LocLeaders event was a great experience where I saw many old friends and made new ones. I feel Welocalize is equally committed to making change happen and not just talk about it. I’m excited to be part of a team who will influence change in the industry, taking us to a place where we can go beyond what we all expect.


Based in the US, Derek joined Welocalize in September 2015 to direct the Western US Sales and Operations teams. Read more:

Localization in China and Tomorrow’s Translators

Multilingual China Issue Oct 2015Welocalize’s Louise Law and Alex Matusescu recently contributed a feature article to Multilingual Magazine, October/November 2015 edition.  The article, titled “Localization in China and Tomorrow’s Translators,” looks at the Chinese economy and culture and considers translator retention in the localization industry.

The newly released article features interviews with representatives from The Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU), giving real insight into how the translation and interpretation is perceived within Chinese society, which ultimately impacts how many young people enter the profession.

Click here to download a pdf of the full article: Multilingual Welocalize Article – China Oct 2015

Here are some excerpts from the article:

The Chinese Economy

China has a culture that goes back nearly 4,000 years and is currently the world’s fastest-growing economy. The Chinese economy grew at an average rate of 10% a year for the three decades up to 20101. In per capita terms – a rough indication of living standards – China has advanced by 1,300% from 1980 to 2010.

Over the past few years, economic growth has slowed down. In 2014, the Chinese economy grew 7.4% and the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) most recent forecast is 6.8% growth for 2015 and 6.3% for 2016. However, the Chinese government wanted a slowdown and after decades of growth, it is inevitable and better to have a gentle slowdown rather than crash.

Even with a slowdown in growth, China is the second biggest importer of goods and services in the world. With a population of 1.3 billion, it is not hard to conclude that there is also a growing demand for Chinese language services. As western goods and services flood the Chinese market, global organizations have to be able to communicate and engage with customers in native Chinese locales.

The Chinese Language

Standard Chinese (also known as Mandarin, Putonghua and Guoyu) is classed as a mega-language with nearly 1.2 billon native speakers3 (around 16% of the world’s population). Standard Chinese includes the writing system of traditional and simplified Chinese. In the Welocalize 2014 Language report, simplified Chinese was second in the language ranking with traditional Chinese ranked 12 in word count. The demand for translation into Chinese has increased significantly as the Chinese economy has grown. According to independent research firm, Common Sense Advisory4, in 2015, global marketers need 14 languages to reach 90% of the world’s population and simplified Chinese ranks right up there at number two top tier one languages, with 21% share of the global online audience and 36.5% share of online GDP.

Translation as a Profession in China

In China, it is known there is a lack of translator retention in the localization industry. Many qualified people do not stay in the role of translator in the long-term because translation is not perceived as a desirable profession by many Chinese parents and societies. Qualified translators see translation as a stepping stone to another career path and translators are often seen as the lowest link in the production chain of localization. This leads to a high turnover, which can impact translation quality in the long-term for enterprise clients and those clients seeking highly accurate technical translations when using less experienced or qualified language service providers.

It would seem many young people are training as translators because it is highly desirable to be fluent in English and Chinese, though it is not considered a long-term profession. Many of those working in the Chinese translation industry are highly qualified. Figures issued by TAC show that 96% of full time translators have bachelor degrees, 23% have masters degrees and 9% are PhDs. Translation as a starter career is popular, especially Chinese into English as the English language is very important in China.

Translation as a Stepping Stone

Liang Shuang, Head of The Translation Department of The School of Translation and Interpreting at the Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU) said, “It is relatively easy to find work as a translator, freelance or otherwise because there is such a strong demand for translations, in a number of language pairs. However, in China, translation is perceived as a hard career without a good income. Many see it as a stepping stone to work for a large international company in a more ‘profitable’ or ‘easier’ job, like project management, quality management or engineering. Historically, these roles only existed in Europe and the USA but now these opportunities exist in China with many of the multi-language vendors (MLVs) providing full-time opportunities in these areas. We do find that interpreting is a popular area because many of the students think interpreting will provide a better income after they graduate, and they’re right, interpreting work generally does pay more in China.”

Salary prospects seem to be one of the key drivers to creating stickiness in this profession in China. As the cost of living in China continues to rise, especially in the mainland’s first tier cities like Beijing and Shanghai, it is not just the respect that certain professions earn that attracts talented young people to certain careers, and more importantly the long term salary prospects.

Translator Supply

There are lots of translators in the Chinese market but it is difficult to find very good translators who deliver quality translations and can work with the relevant computer tools,” noted Emily Wei, Sales Manager at Linguitronics Co. Ltd in Shanghai. “It takes several years for them to qualify and they need to experience a lot of projects for them to become professional translators. In China, though most people learn at least two languages, only a few people can transfer the two languages freely, skilfully and artfully to meet the high standard required by industry. Students do see translation as a stepping stone to other professions, such as management positions in a large global company, because those professions pay well.”

Emily Wei continued, “As the localization and translation industry draws more and more attention, the situation might be changed some day. With the increase in demand for localization and translation projects in China, we do find it a challenge to find qualified translators with the right level of experience. At Linguitronics, we continuously recruit and train translators to help them develop their skills.”

Where does the Future Lie?

How do we raise the perceptions of tomorrow’s Chinese translators? The answer seems to lie in establishing strong links between industry, academia and government initiatives. This will ensure translators have the right skills to work in the localization industry, in the long-term, to meet growing demand and quality levels. Hopefully, over time, translation will be further established as a well-respected and appropriately paid profession. As China continuing its rise on the worldwide economic stage, the demand for language services in a variety of language pairs and content types is there and set to grow. With institutions like BLCU working closely with industry, the future is looking bright for the next generation of translators working in China.

YOU CAN READ THE FULL PUBLISHED ARTICLE HERE: Multilingual Welocalize Article – China Oct 2015

Welocalize Guide to the Global Localization Industry

Guide to the Global Localization IndustryThere is a growing demand for outsourced language services worldwide. Welocalize is one of the world’s leading providers of localization and translation services. We are ranked as the 4th largest language service provider in the United States and 9th largest provider in the world, according to Common Sense Advisory (CSA). There are an estimated 18,000 language service providers, both single language and multilingual. That means you have many choices.

To help organizations navigate the industry and go global, we want to share our industry expertise and give you a quick guide to the global localization industry.

Why Localize?

Adapting brands, products and services to reach an international customer is essential for global success. Each product, whether sold to individual consumers (B2C) or business buyers (B2B), require a plethora of communications in the form of published content, including instruction manuals, websites and user interfaces, marketing and promotional materials, packaging, legal and compliance documentation, technical information, digital media, customer help and much more. To effectively reach your intended audience, your content has to be consumable and understood by your target. You need to have a local strategy to truly go global.

Although many consumers will research in the English language and buy English language products, business buyers strongly favor local language websites and products. Even imperfect localization meets the needs of many business buyers. According to the Common Sense Advisory (CSA) Report “Why Localization Matters for Corporate Buyers,” 51% of business buyers would buy a product with poor-quality localization instead of English. Translated product reviews – and nothing else translated – provide significant help in the decision making process for 75% of business buyers. Failure to localize your content, dramatically reduces your reach and can hurt your prospects of growing your business in different locales around the world.

How Big is the Language Services Market?

According CSA, the 2015 market for outsourced language services and supporting technology is US$38.16 billion. It is growing at an annual rate of 6.46%.  To remain competitive in the world economy, language services is a top priority in any globalization strategy.

Where Do Localization Managers Start?

Global organizations need to identify those local markets and customers who require content in local languages,. The next step is to audit and prioritize their content based on the potential global reach and target audience. Organizations sometimes make the mistake of not translating all the content that will be distributed across boundaries and into different geographic regions. This can slow down sales results and impact revenues. The question to never ask, doesn’t everyone speak English? There are more than 7,000 spoken languages in the world.  It is estimated that a business can reach the majority of global consumers in 12 to 29 languages, depending on the statistical source. What languages are top priority for you and your business?

As recommended by your peers in the industry, localization managers must make a good business case for translation and localization to internal stakeholders, based on data, analytics, knowledge of local markets and how content is consumed. Make sure this knowledge and any subsequent localization strategy is linked to corporate objectives and goals. For example, if a company goal is to grow globally in BRIC countries, investment in localization will aid any revenue generating activity targeted at new, emerging geographical markets. Further Reading: Seven Tips to Evangelize Localization at Your Company.

As localization and translation is often an outsourced service, a key component for success is partnering with the right language service provider (LSP). A good LSP will be expert at “going global” and reaching local markets. They will need to have the right knowledge and experience based on industry, content type, service offerings and capabilities based on your specific requirements.  It is essential rely on experts who have a qualified and vetted network and connections to provide the best talent within a given supply chain to meet your specific requirements. Further Reading: What is Your Localization Strategy Missing to Succeed?

What Criteria do Your Peers Use in Evaluating Language Service Providers?

Welocalize surveyed hundreds of localization buyers to learn their top 10 criteria for choosing a language service provider.  Each participant chose their top three criteria and the results are summarized below:

Welocalize Client Survey Results Presentation 6-10-2014

What Should You Look for in a Language Service Provider?

All of the above criteria are extremely important.  You need to find the best match for your defined business needs and requirements. Scope, reach and flexibility does matter. Equally important is the proven experience to work with multiple stakeholders in a business to help them achieve their specific business objectives. Speed and quality are always expected with predictable results from a top service provider.  It is very important that your partner can work with you to align your program to business outcomes. This provides the winning formula for a great partnership.  The provider needs to be solutions focused, looking for solving business challenges that are not expected today. It’s about being proactive. Transparency is fundamental to any great relationship and provides you the opportunity to win – together!

If you want global reach, then your primary LSP must have the ability to target the right resources with speed and agility to serve your current and future demands – for all your target markets and languages Products and services must be adapted to local markets and they also need to be adapted to different industry sectors, audience types and content types. For example, the US-manufacturing sector may differ dramatically from Northern Europe. As well as the obvious differences in language and culture, there will also be different legislation, standards and buyer habits across local industries. It’s a collective and complex matrix that a qualified language service provider can manage for you, if they have the right level of experience and expertise.  A proven localization provider will have the relevant experience to understand and adapt to all geographic and industry differences.

In addition to the top 10 list above, here are what Welocalize’s defines as must-have characteristics for choosing a localization partner:


Further Resources for Buyers of Localization Services

As well as talking to your LSP, there are a number of good global industry resources to help you understand localization, translation, interpreting and associated technology.

  • Common Sense Advisory: Independent research firm, publishing market research for global 2000 companies on best practices in translation, localization, interpreting, internationalization and globalization.
  • Globalization and Translation Association (GALA): A non-profit membership organization and the world’s leading trade association for the language industry.
  • TAUS: An independent think tank and resource center for the global translation industry. Join us in October in Washington, DC and San Jose at the upcoming TAUS events.
  • Multilingual Magazine: Published each month, Multilingual is a good information resource relating to language and business. It covers a wide range of topics relevant to the language industry and what it takes to take your product international.
  • Welocalize LocLeaders Magazine. Welocalize hosts peer-to-peer collaboration events for senior decision-makers involved in globalization. The Welocalize LocLeaders Forum main events, held in Europe and North America, enables clients and colleagues to openly discuss key topics relating to localization. In follow-up to our two primary events, we publish an e-magazine which summarizes the thoughts and opinions of those who attended. Click here to see the Welocalize e-magazine for LocLeaders Berlin.
  • Localization World Conferences. The LocWorld events are great opportunities to engage with your peers to learn industry trends and address different needs and challenges.  Welocalize is a sponsor of these events and will be in Silicon Valley at the next LocWorld in October.

If you have any questions about the localization industry or choosing a LSP, simply drop me a line at


Louise Law is Global Communications Manager at Welocalize

Technologies Reinventing Global Manufacturing

Are new technologies in the global manufacturing industry driving the next industrial revolution? The answer to this question will be on full display and central to many of the topics discussed at two big global manufacturing events taking place this week: M2M World Congress 2015 in London and Smart Manufacturing Summit in Indianapolis, USA.

Core to both event agendas, how manufacturing is being reinvented for the 21st century.  New technologies and movements such as additive printing, the Industrial Internet, the Internet of Things and M2M remote monitoring means new global expansion and new ways of doing business for industrial manufacturers around the world.  These along with the way we share information today via the cloud, mobile, wearables means languages, translation and localization play an important role for these innovations to take full effect.

As an example, manufacturing companies do face challenges in the areas of technological skills gap. Recruiting and training is global. The impact on the supply chain plus changing world economics means many manufacturers are having to face re-shoring production activities to make the books balance. In addition to training materials, translation of technical documentation and content must be localized when operating a multinational supply chain.

In this blog, I want to look at these key technologies that are changing the face of manufacturing, possibly driving a new industrial revolution and consider the impact on globalization.

3D or additive printing is the process of making a 3D solid object of virtually any shape from a digital model. “Manufacturing on demand” is now a production reality. Gartner analysts said worldwide 3D printer shipments are set to double, year-over-year. Advances in additive manufacturing technology indicate a growth in small, local production units, providing on-demand 3D printing which means increased demand for localization of user manuals and training materials. Manufacturing-heavy sectors, like energy, oil and gas, are seeing an increased use of additive production methods, leading to more specialist requirements in the translation of technical communications.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a well-known, heavily used media term used to apply to a system where microprocessors are in everyday items – cars, credit cards, domestic white goods (see: The Internet of Things and How it Affects Localization). From a localization perspective, the IoT has significant implication and opportunity. For example, more communications will exist on smaller screens, smart devices and rely more heavily on imaging and iconography – all of which have to be localized for local markets.

Machine to Machine (M2M) refers to technologies that allow both wireless and wired systems to communicate with other devices of the same type and is an important part of the overall IoT movement and enables the Industrial Internet.  M2M uses a device, such as a sensor, to capture an event like temperature or inventory levels, which is then relayed through a network to an application that translates the event into meaningful information. This meaningful information, relayed to an internet-connected IT infrastructure, must be understood by other machines and ultimately, humans.

Although the language between machines is universal, we don’t all speak the same language therefore information must be localized for the intended audience. As production sites shift, seeking lower cost alternatives or to a more local unit for on-demand 3D printing, each locale and every user and workforce must be considered.

For global manufacturers, translation and localization of data and information is crucial for all content types, including user interfaces, training materials, technical manuals, software localization and internationalization. All this content has to be localized by specialists, experienced translators and language service providers that are experts in working with global manufacturing leaders.

All these interconnected innovations – the IoT, 3D printing, M2M, the Industrial Internet – are all technologies that are driving the global economy towards a connected world with intelligent machines and processes. They will have a big impact on manufacturing supply chains and the skills required by the manufacturing workforce. We know universal computer codes and languages exist and can smoothly communicate with each other. However, even in this climate of innovation and change, one fact that remains is that humans will always speak different languages and will ultimately be managing and operating this intelligent machinery.

Even if machines become super-intelligent, global communications will be still fundamentally driven by people and not machines.


Louise Law is Global Communications Manager at Welocalize.

For more information on Welocalize services in the manufacturing sector, click here.

Increasing Localization Efficiency in the Oil and Gas Industry


Falling oil prices are impacting many energy producers and exporters revenues, resulting in the energy market to look for ways to economize their globalization efforts. According to The Economist, 18 March, 2015, the price of oil is falling “…mostly because of increased supply from America (up by 4M barrels a day since 2009).”  They also note increased supply in America’s domestic production is mainly due to changes in policy and the emergence of new techniques such as fracking. The decrease in demand by the US for oil produced on world markets, lower oil prices and potentially lower profits requires many energy companies to look for ways to increase operational efficiency in more ways than one. This includes their localization and translation strategies.

How does the recent drop in oil prices affect the way the language service providers’ work with the energy companies and those involved in the supply chain? An experienced language service provider (LSP) will help energy companies streamline their localization strategies for all types of content through more effective and efficient workflows, language technologies and program management.

Localization and translation is an integral part of the oil and gas supply chain and it comes as no surprise that margins for translation are being squeezed. Here are some quick examples of how to achieve efficiency in your localization strategy:

  1. Market Expertise. Considerable content generated in the energy industry is focused on compliance regulations, health and safety, technical and legal documentation. However you go about oil extraction and production, if you have to meet various compliance regulations in certain geographies, you have no choice but to make sure content is translated accurately into the appropriate languages to meet local government requirements.  Utilizing an industry-experienced provider can help increase speed and reliability of translation quality by knowing your market terminology and practices, having experience in international regulatory requirements and providing vetted linguists in both industry and content types.
  2. Compliance and Training Expertise. If health and safety training is conducted on oil rigs to an international workforce, then you have to make sure all training materials are communicated in the native language and fully understood by the workforce and when required, provide qualified interpreters to deliver the training programs.  This type of high impact content requires specialized language services that can assure quality and speed are aligned to the purpose, even in the current situation of falling oil prices. For example, increasing efficiency in this area may include utilizing text-to-speech versus voice-over to minimize eLearning localization costs and increase turn-around speed for producing vital multilingual training materials.
  3. What Not to Translate. Certain content types may remain in the source language. Similar to the IT industry, certain phrases and terminology are globally accepted in English; therefore, companies can afford to “not translate,” leaving content in the source language. Work with your provider to look at types of content that may stay in the native language for certain geographies. As an example, English videos are more widely accepted in some Nordic regions; whereas they must be subtitled include voice-over in other parts of the world or a viewer will not watch it. What is known is that for high impact content like regulatory, legal, safety and compliance, translation must remain an integral part of the overall international business strategy to achieve the best business outcomes and mitigate risk.
  4. Work as a Team. A global LSP that specializes in oil and gas localization and translation, like Welocalize, should be relied upon as a trusted adviser and consultant. Providing expert resources and sharing best practices for the translation life cycle should be expected from any experienced and qualified energy sector LSP. This experience can help companies navigate the best service options to continue to translate the high impact content as well as low impact content, and even increase translation volumes with greater efficiency. Ask your provider, how can you help me achieve my goals based on today’s market conditions?
  5. Localization Needs a Program Strategy. Viewing translation as part of the overall long-term business strategy will ensure companies benefits from economies of scale rather than conducting the procurement of translation in a transactional way. Investing for the long-term can reap multiple benefits in terms of costs, time and quality. Look at your localization projects as a program and strategize with your LSP to define an optimal workflow and process to manage your projects over time.
  6. Language Technology and Automation Matters. LSP’s can also ensure that translation tools like translation memory, glossaries and terminology management play an integral part of the localization strategy so clients can benefit from lower costs as a result of repeated, regular and similar translations.  Efficiency can also be realized through machine translation (MT) for content that is defined as low to medium impact. Companies frequently look at MT for online help content, user-generated content and some forms of technical documentation. Use of innovative translation technology can also help streamline the translation process. By working with one main supplier, instead of emailing and transferring translation files via FTP, implementing a translation management system (TMS), like Welocalize’s open source technology, GlobalSight, can improve communications, increase speed, quality and significantly reduce the amount of human touch points.
  7. Resource Management.Keeping a team of consistent, expert linguists focused ensures that translations are conducted quickly, with little time and money wasted on lengthy review processes. Due to repeated familiarity with content, translators, interpreters and linguists can apply their subject matter expertise to deliver quality results within budget and timescales.

Companies seeking to lower or maintain margins need not sacrifice volume or quality of translation and localization of their global content. They simply need to partner and consult with the right LSP and partner together to maximize the efficiency of their localization strategy to match current economic climates.  Whether you are in the oil and gas industry or just looking to make your localization process more efficient, the best practices outlined in this blog are ways to get started in achieving your market-defining goals.

Louise, Louise Law is Global Communications at Welocalize

Further Reading:

Energy Company Requirements for a Localization Partner

Three Localization Trends in the Oil and Gas Industry

Welocalize Industry Solutions for Oil and Gas


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.


Quality Evaluation in Localization: Top Three Factors Creating Change

MiguelMiguel Gonzalez is Quality Director at Welocalize. In this blog, Miguel talks about recent changes in localization and how they are affecting our approach to quality evaluation (QE). He also selects his three must-see sessions for the upcoming LocWorld 2014 in Dublin.

During the last few years, the localization industry landscape has undergone profound changes. Traditional approaches have been challenged for matching content, talent and QE models, highlighting the need for more sophisticated, targeted and integrated approaches. Why? What factors have caused these changes?

  1. The rise of social media and its adoption by companies as a key sales and marketing tool has sparked an exponential growth in community and user-generated content (UGC), which is way beyond the capacity of the traditional translation supply chain.
  2. Emergence of new translation production methods like machine translation (MT), crowdsourcing and community translation has given companies the ability to translate mid to low-impact content in a faster, more cost-efficient manner. It has also allowed the appearance of a “parallel” supply chain of non-linguistic, low-cost resources.
  3. Quality requirements for high-impact content have become more stringent. Companies expect translated content not only to capture their particular voice and style, but also to elicit the same emotional and commercial response from the end-user as the original text. We are seeing a rise in demand for transcreation, not just translation.

As a result, the increasingly transactional nature of localization cycles means that traditional QE models are too cumbersome and detached from today’s fast-paced, on-demand production environment. The traditional classification of content into components such as UI, UA and .doc has lost most of its relevance. Conventional QE and resourcing models are becoming obsolete as they were devised with only a few different content types in mind and considered only a relatively homogeneous supply chain, exclusively based on human, professional translation.

New, modern localization frameworks need to take into account a multiplicity of factors:

  • There is a broad range of content types and not all content is created equal
  • What is the content domain, sub-domain and similar metadata?
  • How is the content created?
  • How will it be translated?
  • By whom?
  • How will it be delivered?
  • How frequently and how fast?
  • What is the target audience for each type of content?

A structured way of answering these questions would be the creation of a content categorization taxonomy that can guide your production processes and decisions. Create a matrix where each combination of the factors above is assigned the appropriate QE level and assessment instrument, as well as the precise skill profile which best suits each category.

The ultimate challenge would be to dynamically integrate the content categorization and talent profiling matrix into your production processes and build them into your TMS/CMS systems. This would allow the content to be:

  1. Accurately and automatically tagged and categorized from the outset
  2. Channeled through content-aware workflows to the appropriate translator with the right skill-set, experience, level of domain specialization and other factors
  3. Routed to the most suitable QE validator via the most appropriate QE level and instrument for error typology, adequacy and fluency, readability score, end-user acceptance test and more.

Achieving the right alignment of content, talent and QE levels will go a long way to addressing some of the more pressing challenges of our industry, including the efficient processing of vast amounts of diverse content and the management of an ever-expanding supply chain. It will also help your company obtain better, more consistent results in terms of quality performance and return on content.

Welocalize will feature our expertise and share findings at Localization World 2014, in Dublin June 4-6. Quality, quality evaluation and talent management are hot topics. Here are three must-see sessions for LocWorld 2014:

  • Translation Quality Evaluation Summit: Welocalize’s Olga Beregovaya and Lena Marg are featured speakers at this Localization World pre-conference session on June 4. A panel of experts will be discussing four main topics relating to QE: Quality Estimation, Crowdsourcing, Readability/Usability Evaluation and Sampling for QE.
  • Language Quality ManagementModels, Measures, and Methodologies: How Do Others Do It?: Experts panelists from Snap-On Inc. and Microsoft will discuss the challenges of assessing translation quality on June 5.
  • Attracting and Developing Talent for our Growing Industry: At this half-day pre-conference session on June 4, a team of experts look at how the industry needs to proactively manage the supply of professional staff or face with a severe talent shortage. Panellists include Welocalize´s language program architect, Katharina Zimnoch.

Ready to talk quality?


Betting on Talent: Introducing Welocalize Talent Management

By Lyn Carroll

Lyn Carroll is Senior Director, Talent Management at Welocalize, leading a worldwide team with responsibility for the external supply chain. She has 20 years’ experience in the localization and translation industry and holds a degree in Applied Languages from Dublin City University. Lyn’s career spans working as a translator, technical editor, as well as program and vendor management. Lyn is a recognized industry expert and frequent speaker for supply and vendor management. She heads up the talent management program that supports all of Welocalize’s global brand clients.  Lyn is based in Dublin, Ireland.

global talent management“Know your translator” is a phrase we are hearing more and more from many of our customers. There is widespread acknowledgement that quality at source starts with matching the best fit resource for the job.

It makes sense that clients seek to participate in that selection process. What this means for Welocalize is that our understanding and management of our external partners must go beyond high level knowledge of skills and experience at the company level, because our supply chain intimacy will come under increased scrutiny.  I liken it to the traceability concept in the food industry. It’s no longer enough to know the company of origin, rather we must be able to trace right back to the translator of origin for maximum accountability and ownership.

While some may see this as a threat, I view it as an opportunity. Translator selection at the individual level with buy-in from the client stakeholder leads to a far more qualified job-resource matching and ensuring a better fit. Having the client vested from the outset also accelerates on-boarding and ensures any tweaks needed are addressed early on to produce the desired output.

This demand calls for a new approach to how we manage our external supply chain: Talent Management.

Welocalize’s Talent Management is about “knowing your translator”, whether employees or freelancers of our single language vendors (SLVs), individuals we engage directly ourselves, or communities we build. The concepts of “vendor” and “supplier” are too vague. Talent Management necessitates market mastery and deep understanding of the talent available: who, how many, where and at what rate.

Our Talent Management strategy is to continue to work with translation companies in-market for our external languages; however, with a far deeper level of engagement. We expect a window into our partners’ processes and workflows, capacity management and sourcing strategies and access at the individual translator level.

Broadening our supply chain approach, we now engage directly with language talents themselves: individuals with specific skills and expertise, consumer aficionados of the products, services and brands for which we translate. In markets where we experience a finite qualified supply for our needs, we are investing in putting our own “boots on the ground” – Welocalize ambassadors growing our own communities. Another important element of our Talent Management strategy is Resource Brokerage with SLVs in-market to avail of their market knowledge beyond the usual sources, thus extending our reach.

Talent Management means big changes for what you previously called the Global Vendor Management team. Our Talent Managers are strategic thinkers focused on specific language markets, which can identify supply chain and macroeconomic trends to source and develop supply accordingly and in line with the profiles defined by our Language Program Architects.

These efforts are supported by Talent Finders who will deploy social media channels to attract and on-board matching talent for our clients’ needs, faster and more efficiently. The creation of Supply Chain Lead and Community Manager positions in top markets (see Brazil and Russia) will augment our reach and enable us to develop alternative models in markets where demand outstrips qualified supply.

Finally, investment in the technology platform to support Talent Management has been identified as one of the “big bets” for Welocalize in 2014.  It is our future and how Welocalize ensures our clients always get the right people for the right language solutions.

We are confident that the adjustments we have made to the model and the increased collaboration between client-focused Language Program Architects embedded in the Business Units, and Talent Managers targeting the best fit resources in the markets we service is the right one to support business growth and profitability for Welocalize.

Technically Speaking: XLIFF, Agile, XML, the cloud, CMS, TMS and the Evolving Localization Supply Chain

Following the recent localization industry events LocLeaders Forum and Localization World in Silicon Valley, Derek Coffey, SVP of Technology and Development at Welocalize, shared his viewpoint about the future of the technology powering the localization supply chain.

derek coffeyNot so long ago, we all struggled with moving files around the localization supply chain.

Different formats and closed systems made it difficult to agree on word counts and rely on round-trip files back to the client.  Our industry recognized the issues and technology and tools developers started to focus on cross platform support and interoperability.  XLIFF (and the soon to arrive XLIFF 2.0) have become a defacto standard for almost all translation management systems (TMS) and translation technologies (the late adopters know who they are).

So, as one problem is addressed, another rears its head.  Agile development, software in the cloud, XML authoring and the move to Content Management System (CMS) and TMS have created more change in our industry. We have all moved away from the large projects to a transactional environment with many small jobs coming through daily, hourly.

At Welocalize, we have had to retool our administrative systems to reflect this change. Our project accounting and management systems now connect directly to our own TMS (GlobalSight) and to many of our client’s systems, creating the project and tracking the financials alongside the TMS workflow.

Over the last 12 months, I have had the opportunity to work with some of our supply chain vendors and see what this has meant for them. Without exception, they all have to track and record each piece of work within their own systems: monitor their own financials, issue PO’s – all the usual project administrative stuff. What I have also seen streams of work where the project admin has overtaken the actual translation in terms of cost and effort.  PM’s spending more time keying data than managing workflows, Translators spending more time updating log sheets than actually translating.  When a translation job has only five words in it, keying in PO details is going to take longer than the translation.

So what do we do to fix this?

At Welocalize, we have created a set of web services that allow our supply chain to connect directly into our project management and accounting systems. With the web service in place, instead of receiving a work assignment through an email, vendors now see it directly in their own system. When they start work on it in their own system, we see it changing in our systems.  Across our supply chain, this has the potential to eliminate 1,000’s of project management hours and create the efficiencies we need to support this new type of work. This approach is fundamental to Welocalize’s Operational Excellence (OpEx) strategy.

At the recent Localization World, I had the opportunity to discuss our plans with two of the leading off-the-shelf project management systems in the market – Plunet and XTRF.  Both organizations have clients within our supply chain and both are working on creating a web services connector to support this easy movement of project data back and forth.

This is going to have a huge impact on the Welocalize supply chain – but I wonder if we could get together as an industry and create a standard web service?


Read more about Welocalize OpEx here.

How did TripAdvisor remove waste and unnecessary workflows, create convenience and value added tasks? Click here to find out how we reduced TripAdvisors workflow from 23 to 5 steps.

You can read more insights from LocLeaders Forum Silicon Valley and Localization World 2013 by visiting


Key Elements to Successful Localization Vendor Management

by Lyn Carroll, Senior Director of Global Vendor Management at Welocalize

Time for SuccessI recently spoke at the annual ATC Conference 2013. My presentation was based on how to promote productive relations with sub-contractors. I spoke with a lot of people involved in globalization and localization and they kept asking me: “What are the key elements to successful vendor management on such a global scale?”

Here’s what I think is most important in successful localization vendor management:

  • Be aware that it is a symbiotic relationship. Success for translation vendors = success for Welocalize = success for clients.
  • Embrace and build collaborative solutions for evolving market requirements. Content is increasing in volume and variety and SLAs are tighter. Social media and user intimacy mean clients are now seeking to translate content that is previously stayed monolingual, such as user generated content (UGC), blogs and other real-time media content types. That means rapid distribution, shorter shelf life and a unit rate that reflects the return on this mass content. Our approach is to work together with our vendors to craft the resourcing solutions and build language programs that can deliver on the evolving range of requirements.
  • Evolution or Extinction. Welocalize has a responsibility to its vendor supply chain to keep them apprised of trends and market-shifts, and support their adaption of new processes, technologies and mind-sets to keep pace and get ahead. Our cautionary tale is that in the past year, three Welocalize vendors who have failed to evolve to the changing market demands have gone out of business. They produced good quality but could not change their work practices quickly enough to reduce their cost base and scale profitably.

We get many vendors wanting to work with us so I’m also often asked: “What does Welocalize do differently to keep the worldwide vendor network happy and part of our global team?”

  • We help our vendors drive out waste: System interoperability and connectors eliminate touch-points so vendors can focus their time and effort on translation, not file processing and data entry.
  • We believe in vendor motivation: Training in PEMT, quality automation and sharing experiences and lessons learned in our internal translation teams.
  • We emphasize communication and community: Welocalize runs regular vendor summits, demos and workshops, all involving key Welocalize and vendor representatives. Vendor take part in the LocLeader forums with our clients so everyone can understand the challenges faced. We also run Developer Days where vendor techies get direct access to our development team for joint innovation initiatives.
  • Trust: We are honest and transparent with our vendors, encouraging and participating in an “open kimono” approach. We share openly with our vendors and expect the same from them.

To view my presentation, click here.

Welocalize Presents at Annual Association of Translation Companies Conference in London September 26

FREDERICK, MD – September 13, 2013 – Welocalize, leader in innovative translation and localization solutions, will be sharing best practices for localization vendor management with the featured presentation, “Promoting Productive Relations with Sub-Contractors and Integrating them with the Home-Team” at this year’s ATC Conference, taking place in London on September 26, 2013.

Lyn CarrollLyn Carroll will be delivering the presentation at this year’s conference. Lyn, who has worked with Welocalize for more than a decade, leads a worldwide team with responsibility for the company’s external supply chain. Her presentation is scheduled to take place on day one of the annual conference at 3:30PM BST.

The Association of Translation Companies (ATC) is the oldest professional group representing the interests of translation companies and serving the needs of translation purchasers around the world. The annual conference, themed “Evolution Not Revolution” is an important event in the localization industry calendar and will be attended by localization professionals from all over the world.

“I am pleased to speak at the ATC conference this year, which focuses on the complexities and changing relationships facing language service providers today,” said Lyn Carroll, senior director of global vendor management. “Clients demand faster turnarounds, lower prices and outstanding customer service while LSPs must respond with new and innovative ways to address the quality, time to market and cost challenges. My presentation focuses on how to foster valuable relationships with the supply chain and how Welocalize works to integrate every translation vendor in the global Welocalize Team so that we can meet our client’s needs.”

For additional information about the conference, visit

About Welocalize – Welocalize offers integrated translation services and products to support the need for on-demand translation. We provide globalization consulting, translation, localization, testing solutions, and enterprise translation management tools that are optimized to be able to deliver on-demand translation in over 120 languages. With over 600 employees worldwide, Welocalize maintains offices in the United States, UK, Germany, Ireland, Japan and China. Please visit for more information.

has anyone seen rip van winkle?

One fine autumn day in New York’s Catskill Mountains Rip Van Winkle shared in what was a bit too much liquor. It was offered in a seemingly innocuous way by a group of silent, bearded men playing nine-pins in a hollow along the mountain path. Making himself comfortable under a broad shade tree Rip soon dozed off. When he awoke after what seemed like a short nap – his beard had grown below his knees and the world had completely changed.

Have you seen any similar long-bearded, Rip Van Winkle types wandering the floors of Localization World? I could swear I saw him quietly manning a vendor booth or two with a neglected gaze!

Yes, it would not be too hard to wake up one day in this industry and see that the standard practices of the past no longer applied to the work of the day. For just as in the Rip Van Winkle parable, what has fundamentally changed in our industry is time itself.

Where has the time gone? Oh to pine for the days of localization projects measured in months, but anything measured in months now seems as outdated as Y2K. Regardless of location, language or culture – we expect everything from basic information to entertainment “now”.

Any content, any language, any device, anywhere in the world instantly is the rule of the day. There is enormous pressure on the “Clients” in our industry to compete at this level globally, however many historical, cumbersome and walled-garden “Vendor” offerings are simply not up to the task. There has been ample discussion on the topic, but who is really doing something differently? Well here is a Welocalize example of something very different.

In a recent three-month period for one of our clients Welocalize delivered:

· Over 19 million translated words

· Over 36,000 projects

· Average project size of approximately 500 words

· Average project duration of 48 hours

· Average quality score of 98%

This is continuous localization or what some call “on-demand translation” at its most challenging. Delivering small chunks of 500 words or less at large scale, high speed and high quality requires a new way of thinking in our industry. There has been a lot of discussion across our industry about “translation in the cloud”, “crowdsourcing” and “agile localization”. These are valid concepts but in and among themselves only buzzwords. Looking at the challenge from a broader perspective what is needed is a holistic supply solution that can deliver at scale through open collaboration and extensible automation. Clients, language service providers and translators must all be able to connect seamlessly and automate three key business processes:

1. Project accounting

2. Project management

3. Workflow creation and management

A “walled garden” approach does not address this challenge effectively. This is our philosophy at Welocalize – doing things differently leads to something extraordinary – and it is my vision to revolutionize the industry around innovations that support continuous localization or “on-demand translation”.

This is an open call for those in the industry who share the same vision to join Welocalize in open collaboration to re-shape the way translation services are performed and delivered across our supply chain. We are actively connecting MT tools, CAT tools and TMS tools to create an innovative and automated supply chain. Give us a call if you would like to participate.


welocalize continues to lead open

Welocalize has been championing open collaboration for many years now. We feel that interoperability across the translation supply chain is key to gaining efficiency and predictable scalability. Translation word rates have reached their lower limits putting even more pressure on reducing total cost through automation of logistics and administration across the supply chain. Here are some of the things we have been working on lately.

Translation Services API in collaboration with TAUS: We need to be able to do more than pass common files across the supply chain. We need to be able to directly connect different translation support systems and tools. Most interoperability efforts for translation processes have focused on file formats. This made sense when systems were not interdependent. In today’s environment, where services are increasingly hosted in the cloud, web APIs offer the ability to simplify the process while allowing a complex task to be broken down into several small and simple requests.

Collaboration on the open source OmegaT translation memory tool: We have been developing the OmegaT tool to run MT productivity tests for several of our key accounts. Our objective is to develop additional functionality as a MT productivity evaluation tool and a platform to gather other MT metrics (confidence scoring, automation scores, MT vs. fuzzy matches, error type analysis and correction submission). We are also working on integrating the OmegaT editing tool as a translation/post-editing workbench connected to GlobalSight.

LocLeaders Forum: we have been hosting LocLeaders Forums with our clients and vendors for several years now, and they have proved to be very worthwhile for all attending. Our next Forum is October 17th in Seattle. Please join us!




welocalize launches webpage dedicated to machine translation

Frederick, MD USA – September 6th, 2012 Welocalize announced today the launch of a new page of their website devoted to the Welocalize Expert Machine Translation (weMT) services that they have been offering to clients.

Machine Translation is a productivity tool that is an essential part of the global content supply chain. It reduces the time to market for standard and agile localization processes, delivers On-Demand localization services and lowers the overall cost of localization projects. Translation Automation industry expert Olga Beregovaya leads the weMT team.

“The time for MT is right now,“ says Beregovaya. “The speed and nature of today’s content is driving the urgency and demand for translation automation that can be used commercially.”

To see the weMT page and read more about Welocalize’s Machine Translation process, please visit:

Olga Beregovaya will be speaking at the TAUS User Conference in Seattle USA, 15th – 16th October 2012. Her session is titled, “Translation Productivity with Post-edited Enterprise-Optimized Machine Translation.” For more information visit:

About Welocalize

Welocalize offers integrated translation services and products to support the need for on-demand translation. We provide globalization consulting, translation, localization, testing solutions, and enterprise translation management tools that are optimized to be able to deliver on-demand translation in over 120 languages. With over 600 employees worldwide, Welocalize maintains offices in the United States, UK, Germany, Ireland, Japan and China. Please visit for more information.

globalsight open source marks 3rd

It’s hard to believe three years has gone by since we launched GlobalSight as an open source product. Time flies when you are having fun, and we have had a lot of great experiences with GlobalSight. The open source nature of the product has helped us to improve efficiency across our supply chain through open collaboration and interoperability – even with competitor’s products such as SDL Passolo. The open source nature of GlobalSight has also lead to it becoming “one of the most deployed TMSes in the market”, per a recent Common Sense Advisory blog post. I have included the blog post below.

I want to congratulate our GlobalSight development team and say thank you to the GlobalSight community (over 5,300 strong!) We remain committed to advancing the GlobalSight feature set and expanding our community through open collaboration and interoperability.



welocalize joins center for next generation

The Centre for Next Generation Localisation (CNGL) is a dynamic Academia-Industry partnership with over 100 researchers developing novel technologies addressing the key localization challenges of volume, access and personalization.

I am very excited to have Welocalize become an Industry Partner with the CNGL. It is an organization whose Mission is “to revolutionize localization via breakthroughs in automation, composition and integration”, and this is exactly in line with our goals at Welocalize. We are looking at ways to revolutionize the way localization services are performed and delivered across the translation supply chain.

Specifically, we will be working together with the CNGL on the interoperability challenge in the translation supply chain. Our goal is to create a working demonstration of standard data exchange across a content management system, connected to a translation management system, connected to a data cloud, a machine translation engine and a translators workbench.

The era of the walled garden is over. New, open ways of performing and delivering translation are emerging, and we plan to work closely with the CNGL to lead beneficial change for all.



the changing localization industry tide

We recently celebrated Thanksgiving here in America, and Welocalize surely has much to be thankful for this year.

Riverside Partners has invested $34 million to support our expansion plans

We now have an outstanding team located in the United Kingdom through our merger with Lloyd International Translations (LIT)

Q3 marked another great quarter for Welocalize with sales increasing 32% through September over the same period in 2009

GlobalSight now powers translation matching for the 2.7 billion word TAUS TM super-cloud

Not only is the Riverside investment a great vote of confidence in Welocalize, it is a great vote of confidence in our industry. While many industries around the world are still struggling from the recession, we are fortunate to be in an industry that is growing at a double-digit rate! The credit for this great news goes to our staff, clients and translation partners all around the world.

The changes happening in our industry are equally exciting. The quality process is becoming more community oriented; there is a strong groundswell for openness and technology interoperability, and collaboration across competitors is growing in order to best serve client needs. On top of all of that, content on the internet is doubling every 18 months. Someone is going to have to translate the ever increasing volumes of this content – which means amazing opportunity for all of us!

I want to thank our clients, partners and staff for all that we have achieved this year, but we have even more great things to come! My vision for the future is one where our products and services enable any content, on any device, in any language – at any time. The “always-on” world in which we live is requiring “on-demand translation” in order to keep up with the increased pace and volume of content demanded by end-users the world over. I believe our industry is still coming up short in creating an easy-to-use multilingual end-user experience, and we want to revolutionize the way translation is performed and delivered. I see the revolution primarily being fought at two points in our supply chain which I call the first mile and the last mile.

The “first mile” revolution in our supply chain is at the point of connecting with translators. We need to make it easier for translators to be an integrated, productive and profitable part of our supply chain. I don’t think we will be able to keep pace with the changes in the world until we bridge this first mile gap in our supply chain. We need to make it easier and cheaper for translators to deliver quality work on time. Translators should be able to select an inexpensive or even free tool of their choice and have it easily connect to any other tool in the supply chain. Translators should be able to openly collaborate on a shared platform – even across competing multi-language vendors. We need to enable translators to be more efficient and more profitable. Otherwise, the number of high-quality translators in our supply chain will decline.

There is also a revolution happening in the last mile of our supply chain. I describe the last mile as the connection to actual end-users of the translated content. The same lack of interoperability in the first mile of our supply chain limits our connectivity in the last mile to end-users. Community technologies are bringing buyers and sellers ever closer together in other industries and improving the user experience. However, in our industry, the traditional translation quality/review process rarely includes end-users. Instead, the process is limited to a closed loop of linguistic review by additional linguists. Yes, this step is necessary, but until we know the true value perception of end users it is hard to determine the appropriate budget for this step by language. This closed loop of translation QA is being perpetuated by what I call the SDL “walled garden.” Until we can create open and seamless connections at both ends of our supply chain through open APIs and standard data exchange protocols, we will not achieve the necessary interoperability to improve time, cost and quality.

I describe our current supply chain as a series of black boxes of service providers and tools that are disconnected from each other. I think our industry has reached a state of maturity where it is imperative to open and connect the boxes and create a better user experience for each constituency in the chain. The result will be time, cost and quality improvements, and all boats will rise on the changing industry tide.


riverside invests $34 million in welocalize

I am very happy to report that Riverside Partners, a prominent Private Equity firm based in Boston, has invested $34 million in Welocalize to support our exciting growth plans. Not only is this a great vote of confidence in Welocalize, it is a great vote of confidence in our industry. While many industries around the world are still struggling from the recession, we are fortunate to be in an industry that is growing at a double-digit rate! The credit for this great news goes to our clients, staff and translation partners all around the world.

The changes happening in our industry are equally exciting. The quality process is becoming more community oriented; there is a strong groundswell for openness and technology interoperability, and collaboration across competitors is growing in order to best serve client needs. On top of all of that, content on the internet is doubling every 18 months. Someone is going to have to translate the ever increasing volumes of this content – which means amazing opportunity for all of us.

My vision is for Welocalize to support its clients by enabling any content, on any device, in any language – anywhere in the world. We plan to use the Riverside investment to support this vision. Specifically, we will invest in our 4-Pillars:

Quality: expanding our QA staff and investing in the acquisition of quality oriented translation providers around the world

Customer Service: expanding both our staff and our locations worldwide to increase in-time-zone responsiveness and personal touch

Innovation: investing in innovative products across the translation supply chain in order to positively transform the user experience for translators, service providers and clients

Teamwork: investing in the expansion, training and support of our worldwide staff

I want to thank our clients, staff and worldwide translation partners for helping to make this exciting development happen.


welocalize merges with lloyd international translations (LIT)

Welocalize expands global presence in the United Kingdom and continental Europe

Frederick, Maryland USA – November 23, 2010 – Welocalize, Inc., a leading provider of integrated globalization services, announced today that they will merge with Lloyd International Translations (LIT), a leading provider in technical translation services located in Tarporley, United Kingdom. This merger represents a pooling of the expertise between the two companies which will further expand Welocalize’s formidable globalization chain of knowledge, talent and technology.

LIT’s translation experience spans an extensive portfolio of projects, languages, technology and media across major vertical markets, including automation, automotive, electronics, electrical and mechanical engineering, financial services, healthcare and life sciences, information technology, process manufacturing and telecommunications. With an extensive and proven network of highly experienced technical translators, LIT has built a successful business in the translation of material requiring a high degree of specialized knowledge.

“I am really proud of the strong technical translation company that we have built and about my team’s achievements. Welocalize will enable the company and the team to grow to even greater heights, benefiting our clients with an increased global presence and access to first class technology,” explains Mike Lloyd, CEO of Lloyd International Translations.

Welocalize and LIT have proven teams of talented and experienced employees with strong customer relationships. The progress both companies have made in implementing new customer-centric project management models helps ensure the smooth and efficient integration of the two commercial operations. LIT brings key advantages to Welocalize through its focus and specialization in technical translation and its strength in the European market. Welocalize, with its broadening globalization services, is the engine for consistent, sustainable growth – driven in part by its next-generation supply chain management and technology.

“I’m excited about the addition of LIT, which will enhance and extend our globalization services,” says Welocalize CEO Smith Yewell. “We continue to create a strong, global company built for sustainable growth and success. The combined company will benefit from a larger network of expertise, a broader portfolio of services and expanded presence in key international markets, particularly in high-growth emerging markets.”

About Lloyd International Translations (LIT)

Lloyd International Translations (LIT) helps companies to achieve global success by providing first-class translation and localization services. LIT has been providing first class technical translation services since 1989, delivering high-quality translation solutions – translation of technical manuals, marketing communications and training documents, software localization and website localization. LIT uses an extensive and proven network of highly experienced mother-tongue technical translators, all with vast knowledge of their industry and an appreciation of the cultural conventions and linguistic trends of the target country, audience and market.

About Welocalize

Welocalize offers integrated globalization services and products for the fluid and rapid deployment of enterprise content and applications to international markets. We provide globalization consulting, translation, localization, testing solutions and enterprise translation management tools that are optimized to be able to deliver on-demand translation in over 100 languages.

Our clients include Autodesk, Inc.; Canon; Cisco Systems; Computer Associates; IBM; Microsoft; Sun and Symantec. With over 400 employees worldwide, Welocalize maintains 9 offices in the United States, Germany, Ireland, Japan and China . Please visit for more information.

the welocalize vs. SDL debate

I want to thank Keith Mills, the CTO at SDL, for participating in the debate. Keith is a sharp guy and great CTO. SDL is lucky to have him. I also want to thank Jaap Van der Meer for hosting and moderating the debate.

I hope Keith enjoyed the debate as much as I. Our contrasting viewpoints were very interesting and thought provoking, and we also had some points in common! Kirti Vashee has written an interesting summary of the debate in his blog.

Let me begin with the views we had in common. We both agreed on the changes happening in the marketplace. The volume of content is growing; the complexity of rich-media is growing; the number of languages requested by clients is growing; clients are demanding ever-faster delivery cycles, and machine translation is creating growth opportunities for all rather than cannibalizing them. I described my “vision” for addressing these challenges, and Keith described his “practical” ideas for doing the same. It was interesting to me that our answers were characterized as “practical” vs. “visionary”, because I believe both are necessary to solve any challenge. A vision describes the shape of things to come, and a mission describes things to be done within the context of the vision in a “practical” sense. Yes, we have a vision at Welocalize, but we are also on a mission to move beyond optimization of the traditional translation supply chain towards truly collaborative innovation.

My vision for the future is one where our products and services enable any content, on any device, in any language – at any time. The “always-on” world in which we live is requiring “on-demand translation” in order to keep up with the increased pace and volume of content demanded by end-users the world over. I believe our industry is still coming up short in creating an easy-to-use multilingual end-user experience, and I believe that a lack of interoperability has created critical breaks in our translation supply chain at two major points which I call the first and last mile.

This interoperability concept is where my views and Keith’s began to diverge, primarily because of our different business models. I described SDL’s business model as a “walled garden”, and the Welocalize business model as an open, interoperable supply chain.

SDL currently owns the first mile in our supply chain. I used a railroad analogy during the debate to describe SDL’s brilliant purchase of Trados. Trados is still the preferred tool of translators and with Trados on the majority of translator’s desktops, SDL effectively owns the railroad tracks into those translators and is able to levy a “tax” on the words transported on the tracks in the form of licensing fees. Absent the purchase of Trados licenses, APIs and/or SDL professional services, there is subsequently no way to interoperate with the station at the end of the tracks (the translator’s workbench). In addition, because translators are typically isolated in a “desktop workbench” world rather than a networked “community”, knowledge is not efficiently shared and quality suffers.

I don’t think we will be able to keep pace with the changes in the world until we bridge this first mile gap in our supply chain. We need to make it easier and cheaper for translators to deliver quality work on time. Translators should be able to select an inexpensive or even free tool of their choice and have it easily connect to any other tool in the supply chain. Translators should be able to openly collaborate on a shared platform – even across competing multilanguage vendors. We need to enable translators to be more efficient and more profitable. Otherwise, the number of high-quality translators in our supply chain will decline.

Interoperability is also limited by the SDL walled garden in the first mile connections between content management systems and various translation management systems. Once again, absent the purchase of SDL licenses, APIs and/or professional services, there is no way to connect the systems and enable efficient interoperability. Both client and vendor should each be able to choose their preferred translation management system and content management system, and those systems should be able to pass data back and forth. A large amount of time and money is lost because there is currently no easy way to link these systems.

However, three companies are endeavoring to change this fact. Welocalize, Andra AG and Kilgray are currently collaborating within the context of the Interoperability Manifesto to enable data exchange across tools and will open source the results. This is in addition to the connections being created between open source content management systems, GlobalSight and the Open TM2 workbench from IBM. A seamless data round trip across tools is the goal, and these reference implementations are demonstrating how it is possible.

The last mile in our supply chain is also broken. The same lack of interoperability in the first mile of our supply chain limits our connectivity in the last mile to end-users. Community technologies are bringing buyers and sellers ever closer together and improving the user experience. However, the traditional translation quality/review process rarely includes end-users. Instead, the process is limited to a closed loop of linguistic review by additional linguists.

This closed loop of translation QA is being perpetuated by the walled garden. Until we can create open and seamless connections from end-users into the translation systems that we use, we will not be able to optimize our supply chain to the needs of the end-users.

During the debate, I described our supply chain as a series of black boxes that are disconnected from each other. I think our industry has reached a state of maturity where it is imperative to open the boxes and create a better user experience for each constituency in the chain. The result will be “practical” time, cost and quality improvements, and all boats will rise on the changing industry tide.


on-demand translation

I want to thank all of our clients, staff and partners very much, because Welocalize had its best quarter ever in Q2 2010! In addition, Welocalize reached an interesting milestone recently. The majority of our work, currently 52% and growing rapidly, is now what we call on-demand translation.

We categorize the work we do for our clients in two ways: on-demand and traditional. Traditional localization we describe as the classic, project-based work that our industry is most accustomed to seeing. This type of work is driven by release cycles of varying lengths usually measured in months. Once a project is completed, we wait for the next release, translate what has changed and close the project.

Our on-demand segment is quite different. What was once a process of opening and closing a project has now become opening an always-on pipe between ourselves and our customer; what was once issuing a purchase order has now become billing against an open PO for the quarter or year; and what was once a release cycle of months is now measured in days or even hours. This open pipe and open PO create wide ranging challenges in reporting and configuring the supply chain. Load balancing, production accounting across the supply chain and quality are a few of the most immediate.

The shift to on-demand translation is being driven by the amount and the form of new content being produced. If our customer’s products are always-on and available on any device, anywhere in the world, at any time of day, in any language – naturally our service must change to meet the same requirements. This shift has been going on gradually for quite some time. Project automation with point solutions is steadily being replaced by process automation with enterprise solutions. This type of shift is common in industries as they scale. Vertical integration, supply chain automation, just-in-time delivery – advances and best practices in these areas drive competition in both manufacturing and service industries alike, and the trend is accelerating rapidly in our industry.

In order to keep pace, a Translation Management System such as GlobalSight becomes critical. However, the system alone is not enough. Interoperability, extensibility and standard data exchange across systems in the supply chain becomes essential in order to achieve the necessary reporting requirements and on-demand velocity.

The increase in this velocity is amazing. Welocalize grew 24% through June of 2010 with our on-demand segment growing at annual pace of 133% since 2007. Our GlobalSight community has grown to over 4,000 members, and we have plans to double our GlobalSight development budget. The combination of our GlobalSight “pipe” and our InSight business intelligence engine is driving our ability to continually increase velocity and be the on-demand Translation leader. We have some exciting new announcements around our development efforts still to come in 2010, so please stay tuned!


welocalize and IBM partner on open-

When I buy a product at Walmart it is scanned at the check-out counter. At that moment, the entire supply chain it took to produce that product is alerted; another product is moved into the assembly line, and the new product is on the shelf the next day. This is an enormous logistical challenge, and Walmart achieves success through very sophisticated automation systems and standard supply chain integration. Walmart is able to achieve such a high level of supply chain automation and integration, because very early in their history they convinced their suppliers to standardize the hand-offs in the supply chain around the most optimal way to produce what a customer wants, in the format they want, where they want it and at the best possible price. I am beginning to see clients in our industry requiring their translation vendors to do the very same thing.

Collaboration, integration, standardization and cooperation are all the hot buzzwords today. Why? Because clients are realizing that vendor silos are limiting their ability to achieve enterprise-wide objectives around time, cost and quality.

The Walmart supply chain is one built to support the movement of products, but what does the same set of challenges look like when it is a movement of digital information?

The translation industry is reliant upon a digital supply chain. We move words around, and the consumers of these words expect the latest and greatest instantly on the device of their choice in a simple and easy way. We can thank cloud computing, the iPhone, Google, Twitter and Facebook in large part for creating this new level of expectation.

This new expectation has a massive impact on our translation supply chain. The age of the “translation project” is waning and new age of the “translation utility” is waxing. Translation as a utility is a concept describing an always-on, on-demand, streaming translation service. Machine translation (MT) might come to mind first, but I see MT as just another important productivity tool in the translation supply chain. It is the configuration and integration of the supply chain tools and vendors to achieve “translation as a utility” which is the next frontier, where the biggest challenge lies and where the real value is created. Perhaps a Walmart of words or a FedEx of words will emerge?

Supply chain automation requires standard inputs and outputs. Otherwise, the systems and hand-offs between various vendors in the chain breakdown. The translation industry is suffering from this problem. The supply chain has not kept pace with the rapidly growing need for translation as a utility. Interoperability, extensibility and flexibility across systems and tools is currently limited. But this is beginning to change.

IBM announced today the formation of a partnership to work towards solving these challenges. In partnership with LISA (Localization Industry Standards Association), Welocalize, Cisco, and Linux Solution Group (LiSoG), IBM will offer an open source version of IBM’s TranslationManager/2 (TM2) to be called OpenTM2.

“There is a recognized and growing need for standards in the localization industry. However, despite our best intentions, standards themselves can often be vague and open to multiple interpretations. What is needed are reference implementations and reference platforms that serve as concrete and unambiguous models in support of the standard.” acknowledged Bill Sullivan, IBM Globalization Executive. Mr. Sullivan suggests, “Freelance translators are the backbone of the localization industry. These translators have longed for free and open translation tools to increase their productivity. Our expectation is that by providing OpenTM2 in the open source environment we can enlist the aid of this army of dedicated users to bring OpenTM2 even closer to the realization of a flexible open platform to mature data exchange standards our industry desperately needs.” Please see Kirti Vashee’s blog for interesting read on this topic of standards.

IBM, Welocalize and the other partners are working to make this open platform a reality. Our first reference implementation will be a standard integration between a content management system (Joomla), a translation management system (GlobalSight) and a translators workbench (Open TM2). The Localization Industry Standards Association (LISA) plans to document and publicize the standard data exchange format to be utilized in the reference implementation, and these standard data exchange protocols will be expanded to include additional implementations until a standard, extensible and interoperable eco-system is formed. It is an ambitious goal, but market forces are driving the change, and I believe we will see the change through.



what has stayed the same, and what has

The fundamental business drivers in our industry have not changed much – time, cost and quality still rule the day.

The following elements are changing so fast it is hard to keep up with them: connectivity, collaboration and community.

So how do we keep up with the changes and what impact do they have on our business

Connectivity and Time

Let’s look at the relationships between old and new and start with connectivity and time. Time cycles are constantly being compressed. Why? Because time to market is a competitive advantage. Increased connectivity has only heightened the importance of time to market. Most of us are connected at virtually all times of day in all places, and we have come to expect to have instant access to what we want, when we want it, in the way we want it on any device of our choice at any time. Information, entertainment and applications are all moving to the cloud, ready on demand. This has enormous implications on our translation supply chain.

If we look at our supply chain historically, first there was a translation project methodology, then there was a simultaneous-ship methodology and now what is required is a simultaneous streaming methodology. Connectivity and time cycles are moving in inverse directions. In order to keep up, translation must become an always on, on-demand utility.

Quality and Community

What is the relationship between quality and community? This is where it gets very interesting. Quality is a sometimes objective, most often subjective assessment in 2 general stages. Stage 1: you have no familiarity with the product or service, so you must rely upon references. Stage 2: the quality assessment is based upon your actual experience. was an early leader in tying quality to the community. Like many people, I check what the community thinks about a product on the Amazon site before I buy it. The larger the community of ratings, the more confident I become in a Stage 1 assessment. In a Stage 2 assessment, if I am a happy buyer, I am also happy to rate the product as a member of the community. The cycle becomes self-perpetuating, self-reinforcing and very powerful. The opinion of the crowd drives buying behavior.

Interestingly, although rating translations is part of our industry’s standard process, very little of this dynamic community element is deployed. Most often, ratings are limited to one linguist’s opinion of another linguists work. Although this is an important step, it misses the most important person of all, the user/buyer. What does the “community” really think of our translations and how should that impact our decisions/process/budget?

Cost and Collaboration

Collaboration enables members of a team to leverage each other’s work in order to increase productivity and drive down cost. Translation memory (TM) was probably the first collaboration tool in our industry, so let’s look at its progress. First, there was the desktop TM tool, then there was the server TM tool, and now the next logical step is the cloud-based TM. The TAUS TDA initiative shows real promise in this area. Words and their subsequent translation pricing is a commodity, so why not devise a way to leverage that commodity for maximum benefit? Does sharing translated words reduce competitive advantage? In certain cases, yes. But if both the source and translated text are publically available on your website, you can be sure someone is already crawling your site and building a corpus of your translated content. The TAUS TDA initiative offers third party, non-profit impartiality to govern, manage and leverage the publically available content that is already being shared by the crawlers.

The more we collaborate – the more we reduce cost. It is a brave new world out there.