By Matt Gaitan, Welocalize Customer Success Manager, West Coast USA
At Welocalize LocLeaders Forums, the magic happens when the audience contributes and openly participates in the discussions. Part of the attraction of taking part in one our LocLeaders events is the opportunity to hear perspectives from industry experts as well as meeting like-minded professionals.
LocLeaders continues to be one of the leading event series in our industry and the recent 2017 forum in Silicon Valley did not disappoint. There were many features that stood out for me and resonated with the day-to-day conversations I have with clients and colleagues.
ONE: Localizing the User Experience Discussion
Our CEO, Smith Yewell, hosted an excellent talk at the beginning of the day on looking at localization from a totally new perspective. He referred to the term ‘localizing the user experience’. Both service providers and clients need to place a magnifying glass on how their content flows from inception until it reaches the internal or external customer. Gone are the days when a marketing manager should demand a marketing slick to be translated into Spanish within two business days when it took three months to finish the English version. Companies need to be more proactive and less reactive with their content workflows. There is simply a lack of localization understanding and people typically look at the act of translation itself, focusing on the linguistic aspects. It is in everyone’s interest to keep the user experience at the forefront when it comes to the evolution of content. Users speak different languages but they also interact with products and services in different ways, depending on age, culture, religion and other socio-demographic factors. Localization must look at the overall experience in the context of the user.
TWO: Looking at Fixed and Variable Costs
Another discussion point that stood out for me was the need to investigate, understand and compare fixed costs against variable costs in terms of budgeting for localization programs. In many cases, companies will own fixed costs that can be made variable by off-loading the work to a language service provider (LSP). Alternatively, the same analyses can be made to create a stronger justification to turn a variable cost into a fixed cost. Functional and linguistic testing services are a good example of this. Both services deeply impact the perception that the end user has on a company’s product or service, regardless of language or country. Rather than hire full-time testers as fixed costs, companies can look to LSPs to own localization testing. The company can then decide how long those testing services are needed on a service by service or product by product basis. This decision can be based on the expected revenue increase of dispatching any new local service
or product. This is one of many examples of how benefits can be derived from leveraging the power of variable costs in a localization program.
THREE: Great Networking Opportunities
A lot of the positive feedback from LocLeaders attendees focused on the connections people made. People enjoy networking with their peers. It helps reaffirm that the challenges they face within their own localization programs are common and shared. Through networking and open conversation in a trusted environment, LocLeaders enables attendees to realize they are not alone. I’ve heard one participant liken LocLeaders Forums to therapy sessions, where you can be honest, open and get genuine advice and value through connecting with peers. The sessions are intimate enough to allow extroverts and introverts alike to speak up and help drive the discussions.
We will continue to develop and expand the Welocalize LocLeaders program to ensure anyone attending has a unique experience that adds great value, both individually and as a team.
Based in Portland, Oregon, Matt Gaitan is a Customer Success Manager at Welocalize