There’s a lot to take in when there’s a whole day’s worth of presentations and panel discussions at any conference. But Smartcat took it to a whole new level with 12 hours of continuous streaming for LocFromHome II on September 9. This time we somehow managed to fit in 13 presentations and five panel discussions.

If you were one of the crazy people to watch the whole thing in one sitting, well, kudos to you! I know many of you couldn’t catch all the sessions live due to time zone differences, previous commitments, and, well, life, so we thought you’d appreciate us sharing the main takeaways with you here. But because you know we loved LocFromHome, we want you to hear it straight from our discerning attendees, all of whom are connected to the language industry in some way.

Read on to get first-hand accounts for each LocFromHome II session.

1. Trials and tribulations of translating in the game industry — Taylor Mathews, CEO at Mugen Creations

Tatiana Ryabinina, Localization Strategy & Management Consultant at failedtranslation.com:

A truly insightful presentation not only for game localisation specialists. Taylor illustrated how translating auxiliary content for a very small audience that remains behind the scenes can be critical for business success and is worth the investment. The success story of Mugen Creations is a valid reason for localisation sponsors to reconsider the ways they calculate ROI and allocate resources.

Caloã de Sá Gouvêa, Business Development Manager, Translation Back Office:

Translation is a living organism! Taylor said that based on his experience with Activision. I agree with that 100%, and I think that sometimes it is hard for the end client to understand that, but when they do, the ones that benefit the most are the end users.

Watch Taylor Mathews’ session replay here.

2. Data-driven decision making for Globalization Strategy and Operations — Robert O'Keefe, Senior Program Manager at Citrix

Tina Zucko, Managing Director at Eurotranslate:

Robert O’Keefe makes a few good points, which drive home the realization which is not essentially new to any of us, but is, in fact, something that we need to be reminded of: any decisions we make do not stand on their own, isolated from the contexts of environment and time. All the figures and calculations, all the data we have — everything is in its base, but also everything we know, everything we experienced, encountered, all our resources, internal and external, and previous projects — they all play the part in making every single decision, and this type of “data” is unique to each and every one of us, thus making it an invaluable asset of our businesses.

Watch Robert O’Keefe’s session replay here.

3. Panel discussion — Machine translation quality: Quantifying the unquantifiable

Katarzyna Alekoglu, Master’s student in Multilingual Specialised Translation (TSM) at the University of Lille:

Kirill Soloviev from ContentQuo said something that actually cleared up a few things for me: “the ultimate measure of quality in translation […] is: does the translation achieve the impact for which it has been commissioned?” While MT can be a fantastic cost-effective option for translation buyers, quality control appears to be an increasingly game-changing factor. In my opinion, the best practice to achieve this quality can be, essentially, combining the effectiveness of MT and the efficiency provided by a translator.

Nicolás M. Martín Fontana, Sales and Vendor Manager at Comunica.dk - Translations:

I understand the need and demand of clients and Language Service Providers to lower costs and increase productivity. However, I think the crazy race that MT is generating is dividing the spirit of translators and small LSPs. Pavel Doronin said “historically people do not trust machine translation”.

I believe that some in desperation (economically) or because they are more adaptable are taking MTEP jobs and others are totally against it. Also currently, MT has still difficulties in certain types of texts like creative non-repetitive ones. As Guanghan (Luna) Liu said “vendors give us very good feedback, and point out the impractical things to improve the whole system”.

Watch the panel discussion replay here.

4. How to find your identity as an LSP? — Nir Sabato, Head of Strategy at OneHourTranslation

William Spalding, Creative Producer & Event Manager at Spalding, LLC:

I really appreciated the “secret sauce” Nir shared about One Hour Translation defining their brand identity. His three points of first, listening to customers, second, identifying what niche-need customers were coming to them for, and third, investing in, building upon and expanding that niche, provided a great initial framework that can be used by organizations or teams to identify what differentiates them from their competitors.

Kelsey Frick, Senior Account Manager at Integro Languages:

As a small agency, we’ve known how important it is to create a niche in the translation industry, but Nir’s presentation refreshed us with new ideas and strategies that we can implement to take us to the next level. It’s all about finding our own ’secret sauce’ to bring it all together.

My main takeaway is the idea of really listening to your clients and identifying what are the types of services they’re asking you for. This is so important because it shows you there is already a market for it, and you’re solving a problem that needs solving. From there, it gets easier to find your identity and specialise.

Luke Hoge, Director of Enterprise Solutions at inWhatLanguage:

Nir explained, with real-world examples, why an LSP can’t be all things to all people; that it is better to find where you are uniquely useful in the industry and expand upon that.

Watch Nir Sabato’s session replay here.

5. Selling without selling — Javi Diaz, Global Brand Champion at Acclaro

Elżbieta Dubois, Translator and Localization Specialist at edIT Translations:

Javi Diaz impressed me with his perspective on selling. He demonstrated (with huge and infectious amounts of enthusiasm!) how important it is to be authentic in your story and stop talking about yourself. It really works when you communicate with clients.

Sanja Popovac, Enterprise Account Manager at YYZ Translations:

Javi’s presentation treated all attendees with a cup of different, positive and insightful perspective filled with energy that immediately takes you away to his adventurous and successful business journey and one would instantly like to have a ticket to join.

William Spalding, Creative Producer & Event Manager at Spalding, LLC:

Javi takes sales to a new level, and a human one at that. I loved that he defined traits of positivity, humanization, and compassion as key components to being a brand champion. His approach really falls into connecting with customers on a personal level and becoming their friends. Understanding their problems and offering a solution.

Watch Javi Diaz’s session replay here.

6. The traps of Continuous Localization — Semir Mehadzic, Product Manager at Infobip

Elena McDonnell, Language Specialist at Welocalize:

I really enjoyed Semir’s presentation, it was one of my favorites (though there were a few other incredibly good ones). An eloquent presenter, Semir gave his listeners a comprehensive and insightful overview of the continuous integration and continuous delivery processes and their implications for the localization industry, as well as the so-called traps.

Çağıl Zehni, English-to-Turkish Translator:

My takeaway from this presentation is that everyone involved in the localization process has to work practically, creatively, and fast. To do that, we need the right tools to create and use big TM files, an online environment to allow us to work collectively (it should be as simple as possible). We as linguists generally focus on the language quality, translation, or varied nuances in texts, but we should look beyond.

Semir said that the translation sector is not ready for the localization, so I think if we want to build and develop this sector as linguists, we should be braver and use cutting-edge technology.

Watch Semir Mehadzic’s session replay here.

7. My dream TMS tool: A checklist I wish I had 10 years ago — Anna Iokhimovich, Head of Localization at Paxful

Irene Onorino, Division Manager at Metafrasi:

One key takeaway I had from Anna’s session is that, depending on your role in the translation industry, you want to search for a TMS tool providing specific features that best suit your needs, instead of bending your requirements to the features offered by a given system. Among Anna’s main factors to keep in mind when picking the right TMS tool, I personally value overall visibility and simplified management of tasks, so that I can keep track of project status and progress easily and identify potential issues ahead of time.

Juliet Margaret Macan, Vice President at Asling:

Anna talks about the supreme importance of context, and being able to ask questions and receive prompt answers, which I agree with, but this clashes with the PM, who finds it hard to deal with questions when handling 20 or 30 translators working on the same material in different languages. Here, as in other cases, it is helpful to enable Project Communication between translators and reviewers in a project, supervised by the PM. So many of the tricky aspects can be discussed and resolved between the translators, but the PM can monitor and pass questions onto the client where necessary, and inform all the translators simultaneously of the replies.

Gerhard Radstake, Freelance Copywriter & Translator:

This was my 1st #LocFromHome event and had no idea what to expect other than information about being a freelance translator. My takeaway is that even a good tool like Smartcat can still be improved with many more options. Not just for translation but also workflow tools like scheduling, timekeeping, invoicing and reporting. Currently I have created my own system from task submission to invoicing and all steps in between which saves me a lot of time doing the necessary but boring and, in the past, time-consuming administration.

Watch Anna Iokhimovich’s session replay here.

8. Panel discussion — “Selling” localization within your own company

Karolina Kałbukowska, Localization Project Specialist at AirHelp LTD:

From a standpoint of a localization project manager in a company which is not an LSP, but rather is in need of localization of their own products, I thought “‘Selling’ localization within your own company” was an interesting take on the matter! I specifically recalled that Semir made a comment that resonated with me: “Other departments are actually our clients, and that’s how we should view them.” This is a very important take on this in-company perspective that I had to adjust to when I first joined the localization department.

Luis Carlos Herrera Ramirez, SEO & Translator at Rock Content:

This localization panel discussion confirmed what I have always thought: UX, translation and localization are part of the same continuum.

Watch the panel discussion replay here.

9. Evolving tools for language service companies and departments: Is a TMS enough? — Bridget Hylak, Senior Consultant at TongueTek Language Consulting

Dora Shewach, Marketing Transcreation & SEO Specialist:

The TMS acronym is outdated and we need so much more for the work we do, especially when working with other media. In her session, Bridget suggested a Multilingual Project Management System or, in the case of localization, a GBMS — Global Brand Management System. The technology offered by traditional TMSs was not designed to localize marketing content. It will be interesting to see how the market evolves in this regard, especially in terms of additional functionalities like web analytics.

Betty Galiano, Owner and President at Ocean Translations:

I loved Bridget’s presentation, it was lively, inspirational, enlightening. Having great linguists or great tools is not enough, we definitely need training and certifications! But what blew my mind was the Transloc Toolbox!

Watch Bridget Hylak’s session replay here.

10. Self-actualization for Language Service Providers — Don DePalma, CEO at CSA Research

Tatiana Ryabinina, Localization Strategy & Management Consultant at failedtranslation.com:

My personal favourite is Don DePalma’s presentation that confirmed my own thinking. It left me (and I hope everyone else) with one clear takeaway that is easy to refer to because of the parallel Don drew between Maslow’s framework and the LSP landscape.

Julio Garcia, Senior Project Manager at Rosario Traducciones y Servicios:

I was thrilled about the analogy described by Don DePalma on Maslow’s Pyramid to illustrate what self-actualization means to an LSP, how to go from the base to the top to become a global content strategist.

Ann (Shih-Ying) Chen, Business Development Manager APAC at One Hour Translation:

It’s very clever to apply Maslow to the LSP matrix. The theory is easy to understand, so LSPs can immediately relate to their own company’s business maturity. LSPs can shape their business model in a more practical way with Maslow’s adaptation.

Watch Don DePalma’s session replay here.

11. Panel discussion — Vendor management is now talent management

Elena Vivaldi, Freelance Interpreter & Translator:

It was extremely interesting to hear from vendor management experts. As any other freelance translator, I often wonder what could make me a perfect match for LSPs and what is the key to a successful business relationship. It turns out: quality and consistency. What does that mean? On-time deliveries, timely communication and accurate work. This is very encouraging because it’s something that even a newbie can provide from day one. Make sure you can be someone they can count on!

Enzo Ferron, Business Development Manager at TTS NORDIKA:

Straight to the point, the panel was great! We rarely have the chance to know what the vendor managers are thinking, or even to get to know them in a relaxed chat, so this is a very much appreciated window that Diego Cresceri opened for us.

I think that this panel was just a bit unbalanced (Welocalize is a big firm, and the other ones are rather small-sized), so the insights were quite extreme. Nevertheless, they managed to paint a scene of LSPs nowadays, big companies that are known worldwide and lots of local target sized ones.

Something that caught my attention was the insight Nora Zilahy mentioned about thinking vendor management as a sales position — that was new for me, and it makes sense. You need the best resources, quality, good price rates, and a long-term relationship.

Watch the panel discussion replay here.

12. Panel discussion — No source attached: When translators decide to become (copy)writers

Eman Abdo, English-to-Arabic translator:

I got some amazing advice about writing good content: searching for the problems that translators and clients face and trying to present effective solutions for them by posting about them. Also, using forums like Quora to find the questions people have and then answering them.

I also learned that it’s highly recommended for translators to understand that content creation is really useful as the future of translation and localization depends on creativity, so translators should adapt and be dynamic as much as possible.

Dot Roberts, German-and-Dutch-to-English translator:

This panel discussion gave me more of an insight into the skills needed for content writing and provided some great tips, such as creating authentic content and writing in a conversational tone.

Watch the panel discussion replay here.

13. Maintaining the Slack voice and tone at scale — Anca Greve, Senior Localization Manager at Slack

Nadine Ackerman, Senior Localization Specialist at Datto, Inc.:

Since I work in software localization and we use Slack as our main office communication, I attended Anca Greve’s presentation to learn more about their workflow processes. Her presentation quickly became one of my favorites of the day and really made me think. Why had we never thought about incorporating Slack more into our localization processes? And I had never even looked at the workflow builder or considered incorporating Jira or other tools with it. Needless to say, our department will be exploring some new ideas thanks to Anca’s presentation.

Karina Barbosa dos Santos, Freelance Translator and Proofreader:

Anca’s presentation was amazing! Impressive speaker, I’ve learned more about Slack’s localization solutions – which work so well for so many languages. Also, it is great to know that Slack cares about enabling production of quality content to help professionals and companies all over the world.

Mirela Oprina, English-and-French-to-Romanian Translator:

I really enjoyed Anca’s diplomatic answer about which languages are currently supported by Slack, and whether it would be localized in any other languages. Because it clarified once more my questions as a “small” language translator. Although “it’s nice to have a product in your language” and to expand in all languages, the decision to enter a market and localize a product depends on various factors. It’s not a one-person call, but it’s about internal collaboration.

Watch Anca Greve’s session replay here.

14. Beyond technology: How continuous localization makes your organization faster, stronger, better — Igor Afanasyev, Senior Product Manager at Smartcat

Sharon Divis, Software QA Test Specialist:

As a software QA test specialist, I appreciate the discussion concerning the evolution from waterfall to continuous localization (CL) methods described by Igor Afanasyev. This insight will help me write localization test strategies and test plans to fit earlier in the Software Development Life Cycle.

Evolving to CL means releasing new features in multiple target languages often and quickly, with teams working in parallel. CL also handles the constant creation of new content efficiently. All these things help localization achieve high quality from the start!

Watch Igor Afanasyev’s session replay here.

15. How to sell your language business without losing your shirt — Michael Klinger, CEO at Language Transactions

Meylin Wang, Corporate Sales and Business Development Specialist at Saylon:

Michael Klinger’s presentation was highly informative from how to evaluate the reasons for selling a business to determining a realistic price for it. He says “What is the value of your business? And it’s not how much money you need to retire.” Every business owner who wants to sell their business without taking a financial bath should watch it!

Watch Michael Klinger’s session replay here.

16. Panel discussion — Translation education and industry: bridging the gap

Elżbieta Dubois, Translator and Localization Specialist at edIT Translations:

I enjoyed this panel discussion, especially Diego Cresceri’s point about the graduates’ lack of preparation for the business side and the market needs. If you want to be successful as an independent translator and service provider, these business skills are just as important as your language skills.

Kevin McQuire, CEO at Atlas Language Services, Inc.:

I am so happy to see discussions such as this and the fact that LocFromHome address this pressing issue was very much needed. The ALC Bridge program and many others are vital to the continued growth of our industry. Simply put, we need to ensure that we have continuous talent that we are recruiting for our industry and we need a way to combine the needs of the students, academia, and employers. So happy to see this being discussed this year at LocFromHome!

Watch the panel discussion replay here.

17. Niche markets and specialization as a strategy for growth — Renato Beninatto, CEO at Nimdzi

Paula Pellacani, Business Development Manager at The Typesetter:

My key takeaway from Renato Beninatto’s session is how specialization tends to happen in a serendipitous way and the fact there is no right or wrong way to define a niche strategy. We just have to make sure we understand buyer behavior and follow the lead of our clients: by speaking their language and addressing their specific needs we have a way to escape from the commoditization. “At the end of the day, a niche strategy is a way to focus our efforts on something that adds more value to us.”

Eva Dinušová, Vendor Manager at LEXIKA:

Renato Beninatto pointed out that in order to grow, companies should look for a niche — in specialization, services, languages or technology. He showed some slides with facts, figures and rankings of the top 100 companies in the world (according to Nimdzi), e.g. the top specializations of these companies were life sciences, legal, finance and patents. Top services were — not that surprisingly — translation and localization. The highlight for me was towards the end when he talked about the importance of knowing your client and understanding how people buy before actually selling services to them.

Julio Garcia, Senior Project Manager at Rosario Traducciones y Servicios:

My takeaway is the need to carve out your niche in the industry and make this a differentiator of the services you offer. Your structure will depend on how you define such niche, as this will, in a way, optimize your processes to add value to your customers.

Watch Renato Beninatto’s session replay here.

18. Comfort is the enemy of growth — David Utrilla, CEO at U.S. Translation Company

Silvia Baldi, Freelance English-and-French-to-Italian Translator:

What I really appreciated about David Utrilla’s session was that he stressed the importance of planning ahead for future challenges — not necessarily negative ones like the current situation, but also positive developments such as a sudden growth in your business. Having a forward-looking mentality is what makes a difference between a business that will survive and thrive in challenging times, and one that will be forced out of the market. David suggests planning regular team meetings to address potential challenges. I believe that such practice should be adopted also by solopreneurs and freelancers, not only monitoring market updates but also actively taking action to make sure our business is “crisis-proof”.

Mariana Ciocca Alves Passos, English-to-Portuguese Translator at Meditopia:

David Utrilla’s insight that success is not the goal, it’s a journey (painful at times) can really change how we see our business! Also, he gave great examples to illustrate the importance of being early adopters of new models and technologies. As Igor said, his presentation can be applied to anything!

Watch David Utrilla’s session replay here.

The global takeaway

What would be the single, all-encompassing takeaway from this second LocFromHome with "Localization as a living organism" as the focus? We think it’s connection.

Whether we’re talking about Jira and Smartcat API integrations, making decisions based on concrete data, selling by nurturing real relationships, transitioning from translation to copywriting, bridging the gap between education and industry, matching LSP strengths to niche markets, or setting up continuous localization workflows, the common theme is how it’s all interconnected.

And in the spirit of it all coming together, let’s finish off with a global takeaway from Carlos Vicente Delgado, Translator and Proofreader at Traduce Language Academy:

From advice for LSPs on how to stay tuned into a more valuable role (Don DePalma), to understanding how people buy (Renato Beninatto), to the comprehensive must-have features for a TMS tool (Anna Iokhimovich), the second edition of LocFromHome delivered aplenty for us linguists, localizers, managers, and entrepreneurs alike.

The event is a display of tech-savviness, content moderation expertise, and most importantly, it promotes a healthy environment for our industry. In the dawn of agile and global, the folks at Smartcat are a role model to copy: dynamic, readily accessible, passionate, and scoring on human relations, befitting Javi Diaz’s path to becoming a brand champion.

Thanks, Carlos, and thanks to everyone who joined us — we couldn’t have done it without you.

So, see you at the next #LocFromHome? ?