Stronger by sharing: Key quotes from the 3rd #LocFromHome

Fun fact: More than 100,000 words were said at the latest #LocFromHome conference. Trying to summarize them in one article is pointless, so we just picked our favorite quotes and grouped them into thematic categories. And if you want to get into details, you can watch all the presentations and panels in recording on the conference page.

So, here we go!

On industry transformation

“When everything is up for change, the markets with the least to replace and the least legacy systems will move faster — think Southeast Asia, Africa, the Middle East.” —Anne-Maj van der Meer, TAUS

“We have been leveraging more and more social media as part of our conversation with the universe, as many of us have been doing for many years. Now we have shifted that conversation from being a localization approach to really being original content creation.” — Patrick Nunes, Rotary International

We have shifted that conversation from being a localization approach to really being original content creation.”

“It's a great opportunity to think and make changes. It's a great opportunity for entrepreneurs, who can leverage on their best quality, which is that they can take risks. So what I invite you to do is to dare and pivot whenever you believe it's time to do things differently.” — Marc Jonckers, Speed2Scale

On getting through the pandemic

“If we keep emergency response forever in global languages such as English, French, Spanish and so on, if we cannot communicate with local communities and households in their own language, we are not going to address any pandemic.” — Dr. Gaya M Gamhewage, World Health Organization

If we cannot communicate with local communities and households in their own language, we are not going to address any pandemic

“Even when the crisis is not man-made, it can also be a human rights crisis, when government response is characterized by discrimination, neglect, obstruction of aid, etc. So we focused on providing support to people affected by the pandemic to let them know what their human rights were and how they could help them.” — Lucio Bagnulo, Amnesty International

“The pandemic came with a whole new terminology, which is something that takes some time to work on and to agree on. But with emergencies you have to deliver so fast that terminology is always a bit left aside, so you have to come back to that later to weed out the inconsistencies.” — Barbara Scottu, Oxfam

“As we have seen with the pandemic, our industry is basically impervious to crises. The numbers that we see trickling in prove that it has been growing, and has grown more than the [economy] as a whole.” — Renato Beninatto, Nimdzi Insights

On machine translation

“[When training your custom MT engine,] it is safe to start training from 12,000 to 15,000 segments, but it is even more about your corpus quality. Your translation memories should be clean and consistent in order to improve the quality of the output.” — Natalia Kurysheva, Agilent

“This augmentation [of humans by machines] will not replace linguists, but will instead make them more valuable by letting them focus on interesting and rewarding tasks.” — Dr. Don DePalma, CSA Research

Augmentation won’t replace linguists but will make them more valuable by letting them focus on interesting and rewarding tasks.”

“We human translators need to up our game. We need to focus on niche markets, we can use machine translation as a way to boost productivity in certain instances, and we can provide value-added services.” — Tess Whitty, Marketing Tips for Translators

On communities

“It’s important to choose wisely what groups are going to provide you with the right information and maybe even learn to choose what you actually need.” — Simon Akhrameev, Successful Freelance Translators

“Other industries aren’t necessarily aware of how localization works and there is a lot of work that still needs to be done in connecting different industries. Whether it’s GitHub or Stack Overflow, there’s a lot of ways that localization can get involved in those communities.” — Loie Favre, Alconost

Other industries aren’t necessarily aware of how localization works and there is a lot of work to be done in connecting [to them].”

“Community, as I understand it, is bringing together like-minded people and growing together in all aspects, an experience of learning from each other not on a broadcasted, but on a peer-to-peer basis.” — Jan Hinrichs, Beluga & LocLunch

“In 2020, people from other regions that weren’t able to visit real offline events started to communicate online. This is some kind of huge growth and huge opportunity, and I really believe that it will keep growing.” — Irina Rybnikova, Women in Localization & Positive Technologies

On explaining localization to your customers

“Localization is far more than translation. I think a lot of the people [reading] this know that, but that doesn't mean that a lot of the startups sprouting out these days do.” — Nika Allahverdi, Nimdzi

“I have found too many times that the ruler that the customers use [to measure quality] is different from the ruler that we’re using. So one of the first things I do is make sure we’re normalizing that ruler, so that when we report a 4.5 we mean the same thing as the customer.” — Daniel Gray, One Hour Translation

“It’s important for us to continue pushing and emphasizing how important it is to think about localization ahead of time and stop thinking of it as an operational downstream element.” — Denisse Kreeger, Riot Games

It’s important for us to continue pushing to stop thinking of localization as an operational downstream element.”

“The approach that I try to take now when I want to talk about localization is to focus on the business side of it. It’s really easy to get into the technology side and the processes — but, to elevate localization as a whole, I think it’s really important to keep the big picture in mind.” — Kristy Sakai, Supertext

“One type of customer adjustment we do in terms of quality measurement is the sampling rate. We have a certain sampling rate to guarantee the quality of our ‘factory,’ so to speak, but if a client requires a higher level of sampling, we facilitate this.” — Daniel Italiaander, One Hour Translation

… and within your team

“They say everything begins with the family. In following this same logic, [in localization] everything begins with the team. So unless we’re all on the same page inside our little or not-so-little family, it’s really hard to bring our vision outside the company.” — Natalia Yatsenko, Playrix

“We see [localization teams] coming in and saying, ‘Hey, I’m currently only generating expenses for the company. If I can generate some revenue for the company, my budget will increase.’” — Miloš Milovanović, TAUS

“Proactive culturalization is when you work with developers at the very beginning and throughout the development process to try and find content that is interesting not only for people all over the world but also to the players [whose culture] it represents.” — Lloyd Morin, Playrix

“I highly encourage you as localization leaders to think of your own team brand within the company. Sit down and brainstorm the value proposition of your team. Ideate within the group. Solidify your mission and vision.” — Iti Sahai, Procore

I highly encourage you as localization leaders to think of your own team brand within the company.”

“We would meet [with the CFO] at the end of each year to look at our ROI numbers and reach out to the countries that were struggling to understand what they needed in order to be more successful from a localization standpoint.” — Carrie Fischer, Subway

“We also have a series of articles about different cultural aspects and issues that our team of localization experts writes about things that represent their culture in different ways. [This way they] share knowledge with people who might not be familiar with them and create more discussion and exchange.” — Laura Linares, Playrix

On managing localization in-house

“It’s always taken for granted that we need localization, because it will enable us to enter new markets and blah blah blah. But what do you really mean by it? What is localization? What are we really achieving with it? What are we heading towards? And at what cost?” — Tatiana Ryabinina, Grow-thru

“Initially, localization can look chaotic. But when you get to know the company, prepare a plan, implement a translation management system, draw up linguistic assets, find reliable language experts – then you’ll be ready to handle localization in an efficient way. This monster will not be as scary as it seemed in the beginning.” — Dawid Dorynek, Airhelp

Once you prepare and implement a plan for localization, this monster will not be as scary as it seemed.”

“It’s all about learning to use your [in-house team] in a clever way so that you don’t duplicate effort or carry out the effort that vendors are very well positioned to carry out.” — Esther Curiel, Indeed

“Linguists who work in-house get exposure differently than freelance linguists, in the sense that they get organizational exposure to the different cross-functional working groups they might be collaborating with.” — William Spalding, Spotify

On choosing what and how to localize

“The first important factor when approaching localization is the proficiency in English in the market you want to penetrate. Some countries feel more comfortable with English than others, so an approach will be different if we want something for Sweden, where people have a super-high level of English, or here in Spain [where they don’t].” — Miguel Sepulveda, King

“It’s important to consider cultural differences and content style. For some content types you may want to go for transcreation or even directly create them regionally. For others localization will suffice, while for yet others it will be okay to use neural machine translation.” — Carmen Aviles, Agilent

For some content types you may want to go for transcreation, for others localization will suffice, while yet others will be okay with just neural machine translation.”

“If we talk about startups, who don’t have lots of budgets, we have to look at what’s effective and what needs to be done rather than doing everything. So you need to categorize it into functions like marketing, legal support, product — with product probably coming first.” — Yuka Nakasone, Intento

On social responsibility

“We have something we call ‘choice time’ — a block of four hours every single day during which employees can do anything that they need to, whether it’s taking care of others or themselves, like doing grocery shopping or going to the gym.” — Hristina Racheva, Skyscanner

“One focus area we have is the importance of writing in plain language to make sure that people can understand content. We don’t need to write in big words like we were trained to do at a university. We need to keep communication as simple and effective as possible.” — Stella Paris, Translators without Borders

“I see that as an obligation for us to actually train young people who come from the university. We mentor, coach, support, and help them, and we tell them how important it is to become a good translator and to make the effort.” — Isabelle Weiss, Alpha CRC

I see that as an obligation for us to mentor, coach, support, and help [budding translators], and to tell them how important it is to make the effort.”

Great words to end this almanac! What about you? What was your favorite quote or video? Let us know in the community thread, and—

Pre-register for the next #LocFromHome already today!

Vova Zakharov
Vova Zakharov Smartcat’s former editor-in-chief, Vova loves g̶l̶o̶b̶e̶t̶r̶o̶t̶t̶i̶n̶g̶ staying at home with his family, playing some good old metalcore, and talking to self-aware robots.