Welocalize Recap of GALA 2014 Istanbul

GALA IstanbulThe annual Globalization and Localization Association (GALA) Conference took place March 23-26 in the city of Istanbul. Known as a global city, Istanbul has a fast growing economy, with a population reaching near twenty million inhabitants and above all it is a place full of charm and vitality. The conference was hosted in the Hilton Hotel with a terrace that has a spectacular view to the Bosporus strait.

Participants of GALA 2014 Istanbul started the day looking at the sun rising in the confluence between Europe and Asia, another reminder of our global omnipresence. After that it was all business, as the conference had a packed agenda of topics including globalization, emerging markets, language technologies — all concentrated in two main days.

Gala 2014 Istanbul KeynoteThe conference started with a keynote speech given by Fikret Orman, President of the Beşiktaş football club. This football club, created at the beginning of last century, is a clear example of a global organization with 18 different branches and almost two thousand players and twenty million fans spread across the world. He detailed his experience in managing such a far reaching cultural enterprise.

One of the most significant topics spoken during the event was the subject of the Old Languages, which focused on issues and challenges encountered when localizing into rare and emerging languages. There were great insights on how to approach translation and localization of languages that, for instance, have no written standards (no standards for orthography, grammar or even vocabulary).

Another typical challenge when localizing into this group of older and traditional languages is technology, as some of the resources who have the linguistic knowledge to perform the translation, might not own a computer and have limited access to the Internet. They might not have heard of concepts like translation memories or glossaries. There was quite a bit of discussion about Africa and Central Asia, two of the areas that are experiencing an economic expansion and an increase request into localization of some of their languages.

On the technology side, the focus of one of the tracks was on machine translation (MT) and post-editing. The conversations regarding this topic are becoming more sophisticated with an emphasis on quality estimation and return on investment and with an increased number of language providers adopting this technology. Also, some clients like Hewlett-Packard in this case are using this technology as a primary step to enter new territories. The context of these conversations aligns to Welocalize’s work with clients to maximize scale, productivity and quality through MT and post-editing, based on the use of content and expected business objectives.  As we know, not all content is created equal.

In all, this conference provided a good set up to create new business acquaintances through GALA’s Speed Networking event and to see face-to-face colleagues from different partner companies. It was great to participate and be a sponsor of this event.

Laura Casanellas

Machine Translation and CAT tools Program Manager at Welocalize, laura.casanellas@welocalize.com

Experiencing GALA 2014 Fleamarket Ferry