06/11/2013 Leave a comment
The Localization Unconference entered into it’s 5th year running last May 31st, and we were there to share ideas, pains and solutions in the realm of localization. The event took place at the Salesforce offices in San Mateo, California, and the crew was skewed a bit towards technology companies but by no means did this deter a lot of companies from attending.
If you haven’t been to an event like this before, the Localization Unconference is a special breed of event and feels a lot more like a meetup or hacker event than a conference, and that is exactly its point. The day start with people listing topic ideas on whiteboards and the crowd voting for the ones they want to discuss throughout the day.
The mantra for the day was: no selling, no slide presentations, just lively discussions of the topics defined by the audience.
It was great to see known faces and make new acquaintances, and see how the sessions covered a wide breadth topics, from technology to project and process management, from very specific current localization challenges to the future of the localization industry.
Below are our 5 key lessons learned from the conversations, debates and discussions.
5. Localization is not an island
Localization teams may feel put aside by other teams at times, and other departments might treat translations as a black box, but in reality localization is closely involved with key stakeholders in product, marketing, legal and all business units where content is created, and at all levels, from content creation to higher management. It takes more than just the localization manager to make it all work. This is why it is essential to build trust, confidence and strong relationships with the other stakeholders.
4. Build your business case
Use diplomacy, business reasoning, to negotiate what you want within the organization. Build your business case using metrics not only about how much you spend in translations, but also on how much international revenue is generated thanks to the work of the localization team – change the perception some people have of localization being mainly a cost center, and help other teams understand how translations and the overall work of the localization team help unlock global revenue opportunities.
3. And continue building it
It’s time for localization managers to step up to the plate and show off more how the localization work positively impacts the bottom line of a company. Entering new markets successfully and maintaining market share in existing markets require an efficient localization process, and a team of experts who can successfully define and drive it. This process has a proven return on investment (ROI) if you take the time to understand the big picture of global strategy. If you can bring long term solutions to the table, you will be able to affect change.
2. Leverage your vendor’s expertise – and stay independent
Your language service provider should be your partner when building the best possible process and defining the best technology solutions for your needs. That said, you are the one who knows best how your process looks today, and where you want to take it. Make the decisions today that will allow you to execute on your vision, independently of which provider you work with.
Find technologies that are flexible, offer APIs to connect with your current and future content management systems, that give you the ability to host your own translation memory. In short, define processes and use technologies that help you grow while staying independent from external players.
1. Keep collaborating and sharing your experience with your colleagues
The unconference provided a great opportunity to give and receive advice, to share challenges and talk about possible solutions, to strengthen the relationship with other localization experts. It’s been a great journey for this industry so far, and with the improvement of technology, thought leadership and the will to share experiences within the global community, we will change the world – one million words at a time.
Thank you to sponsors at Salesforce.com! A message from the organization leader,
“Another really fun and informative Unconference! Thanks and bravo to Teresa and rest of Salesforce.com hosting team, to maestro Scott and to whole group for great discussions. #locunconf”