Global Expansion Committee – 2018 Update

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Women In Localization has been expanding globally for the past few years and  going global Is methodically curated by a Committee. Women in Localization’s Global Expansion committee is chaired this year by Michele Smith, W.L. Board Member. Executive Director Kristin Gutierrez is responsible for partnering with Geo Managers Cecilia Maldonado for the North Americas, Miyuki Mori for APAC, and Maria Kania-Tasak for EMEA. Also serving on the committee is Valeria Barbero who manages Geo Chapter Content, Kate Kovtun as Social Media Lead and Maria Jesus de Arriba Diaz as Chapter Committee Assistant.

Our committee would like to share what we have worked on during the first half of 2018 and what we are planning for the remainder of the year.

We have multiple strategies for 2018: Launch four Chapters, increase communication with our local members, incorporate new GDPR laws, launch our new branding, prepare for our non-profit status, and support every existing chapter with questions, major events, training, and conference representation. WOW!

We felt energetic during Q1 and achieved our first goal to expand to four new sites.  Our first presence in Eastern Europe was with W.L. Poland. We expanded to APAC by opening our second chapter in China with W.L. Beijing and then our chapter in Singapore. We also opened our fourth U.S. chapter in Utah. This brings W.L. to 16 chapters around the world!

Since the beginning of Women in Localization there has been a lot of interest  in opening chapters, so we created a waitlist for new chapters. Based on this list, we carefully evalute where to go next. After all, that’s our expertise!

We methodically set up all chapters for success and make sure support and tools are in place prior to launching. Since we overachieved in Q1, our plan is to continue partnering with potential chapters and start launching new chapters in Q1 of  2019.

If you are interested in starting a local W.L. chapter please apply through our website and we will get back to you toward the end of 2018 during our evaluation period.

2018 also acknowledges Women in Localization’s 10th Anniversary! Our worldwide chapters are hosting celebrations that will culminate in an international celebration in Silicon Valley on October 5th, 2018 (please look out for details on our website and social media channels).

In addition, W.L. has been represented at many industry conferences in 2018: GALA in Boston, LocWorld Tokyo, and LocWorld Warsaw, and we are actively planning for LocWorld Seattle in October.

2018 has been an incredible year for  Women in Localization. We could not be prouder or more thankful for our amazing chapters. Their efforts have been exceptional and the Global Expansion Committee will continue to support them like the pros they are!




The Lowdown on Translation Crowdsourcing: Overview and Benefits for Volunteers

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Back in 2008, Facebook asked its users to help translate its then unlocalized site into other languages – within a year of launching this project, Facebook was available in 16 languages. Following Facebook’s success with translation crowdsourcing, other companies and organizations started to adopt the idea of utilizing volunteer translators for their localization needs. The rest is history, with more success stories or failed efforts.

Because volunteers donate their translations without getting paid, many tend to assume that translation crowdsourcing is cost-free to implement; however, this is far from the truth. The engineering cost of building and managing a proprietary translation platform on which volunteers can work is a hefty expense, especially when they include features like WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get, aka in-context review). In fact, this expense is often the same as or bigger than hiring professional translators or a vendor to translate your content.

Another assumption about translation crowdsourcing is that translation quality would be inferior to that of using a language services provider or (paid) professional translators. However, sometimes multilingual volunteer users are better translators than professional ones depending on the industry or products that are being localized. Take gaming, for example. When newly released video games are sequels to previous releases, it is vital to the user experience that not only the storylines from the previous games continue and are coherent, but also use consistent terminology and names of key characters or places. Gamers often complain about bad translations they find while playing, so much to the point they share their own translations on community forums and make pleas to the developer. So in this case, it does not matter whether a professional translator has 10+ experience; if the experience is in the wrong field like legal or medical, then can we really assume that they will be just as good at translating game scripts? The developer is probably much better off with a passionate user of the game who also happens to be bilingual for delivering the best user experience for the target locale. And it’s the passionate users who are more likely donate their free time and knowledge to contribute as a volunteer translator.

Other methods and strategies to improve translation quality of volunteers include the following: a tier-system among the volunteers and very good reference materials for volunteers. For example, TED and Coursera “promote” highly involved, experienced and skilled volunteers to language coordinators for management of a specific language community of volunteers. Language coordinators can accept or reject a volunteer’s translations after reviewing them to see if they are error-free and follow the provided reference materials like style guides and glossaries. This checks-and-balances procedure of a tier-system allows additional review process to ensure higher quality of the volunteer translations.

If not free and involves the risk of potential quality issues, then why do companies still explore the option of translation crowdsourcing? The obvious and most important benefit of translation crowdsourcing is faster turnaround time; with volunteers working around the clock, a company can deliver localized content within days as opposed to months. Some enter new markets with languages they haven’t considered localizing into before because volunteers willingly take the first initiative to do so. And these benefits are well-worth the engineering cost for many companies and organizations wanting to expand their global presence and user base. Then what are the benefits for the volunteers? And since we are Women in Localization, how can women benefit from contributing to community localization as a volunteer?

Job seekers sigh when they spot the phrase “X years of experience required” – sound familiar? For many, it’s not such an easy task to break into an industry and start building “X years of experience” when so few are willing to give you the first chance. Not exclusive to translation, volunteering can be a great way to start your career, whether you are a young professional wanting to gain experience, an experienced professional venturing into a new industry, or a stay-at-home mother wanting to continue professional development on her own schedule. In fact, one of my very first professional experiences as a translator began with volunteering, not too long after graduating from college: TED’s Open Translation Project. It was the perfect opportunity for me to not only hone my translation skills and build experience, but also associate myself with a cool, big-name organization like TED. Translating for TED quickly turned into a new, paid freelancing opportunity at Amara Subtitles, which gave me an edge over other candidates when interviewing for my next job. Accumulated volunteering experience for a same organization can also lead to other opportunities. Many organizations turn dedicated and experienced volunteers into full-time or permanent positions; through these roles, volunteers can take on great responsibilities and duties, including but not limited to project management and vendor management, that will provide further professional development and serve as a stepping stone to more opportunities.

Volunteering can also yield to great networking opportunities, especially if the platform harnesses a good online community and network of volunteers, through which they can give and receive mentoring and support. Going back to TED as an example, every year few chosen volunteer translators with hefty contributions get a complimentary invitation to attend a TED talk, which can cost thousands of dollars per attendee. TED also hosts a Translator Workshop and Summit every now and then, inviting volunteer translators to attend for discussions and networking, another amazing professional development opportunity.

So whether you are new to the world of localization or an experienced professional, try out community localization for yourself! You never know what other exciting roads it will lead you to, perhaps your best one yet.



Women in Localization, “Déu n’hi do”

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By Anna N Schlegel, Chair and co-Founder, Women in Localization

“Déu n’hi do” is a Catalan expression I have never been able to translate to another language, but it means something along the lines of “OMG”, “You are achieving a lot”, Catalans use it to express admiration, or to confirm that “Wow, this is quite a bit”. This applies to Women in Localization. Large magnitude.

When I asked our teams for a progress recap to prepare for our mid-year Board review, I had to take a moment to sit down to embrace the width, depth, and speed of this organization. You have to take this in and celebrate it. The number of programs coming our way is long and innovative, it is professional, it is an orchestra. We are not a small group of friends anymore, we are no longer just a few sites and chapters. We are a powerful engine, a global tribe, a role model, a group with 4500 plus members that grows daily, with presence across all continents, we are in publications of “How to”, we have partnerships with every single major globalization outfit, and we have at least 2 other non-profit organizations now modeling themselves against our structure, we are asked to speak and share our innovation, we offer 4 panels a year across 16 chapters, that is a lot of innovation. It is a phenomenon, it is a think tank. I am so incredibly proud of every decision we have made along the way to get us to where we are.

2018 is a big year for us, this is the year when we will be granted our non-profit status. So much to line up for this, calls, forms, paralegals, new learnings, bylaws! Silvia Avary, co-founder of Women in Localization has been leading that effort with Mimi Hills and Dr. Duaine Pryor, two of our Board Advisors.

2018 marks our 10th anniversary – so many people have helped us along the way. In this decade, we have had Board Members, Chairs, Sponsors, Corporations letting us crash at their offices, and now, in our new 2018 structure, Board Advisors, Executive Directors, dedicated Committees and even an Office of the Chair. Where do we start to thank everyone? How do we thank our members who keep coming, who are raising their hands at each event to volunteer. Our 16 Chapter Leaders and their local leadership teams! So many people to thank. I see a global party coming up…

Our Global Expansion team is an incredible Committee led by Michele Smith and Kristin Hansen that paces our growth. These ladies know how to go global, with their teams we have just opened our 2nd Chapter in China, and Chapters in Warsaw, Singapore and Utah! The wait list…is long!

Equally impressive is the Marketing Committee led by Liesl Leary and Erica Haims, who are about to launch a rebranded website that will make your day! And the newly launched Education Committee with Loy Searle and Martyna Pakula creating a much anticipated Localization Knowledge Base and Mentoring Program. And Sonia Oliveira and Jill Goldsberry, expanding our partnerships, just led the flawless execution of LocWorld Tokyo and are finalizing all the last touches for LocWorld Warsaw.

Fadwa Asaad, Fabiano Cid, Allison McDougall and Silvia Avary are the fabulous committee leading the newly Sponsorship Program and planning our 10th Anniversary party. That party looks better and better by the week. And the incredible support of my dear friend, co-founder and Secretary Eva Klaudinyova.

And finally, I wanted to share that we have launched The Office of the Chair, with key roles such as our new CTO, Vilma Campos, our new Chief Compliance Officer Monica Bajaj, and Senior Talent Director Bridget O’Brien – all supporting me in making foundational decisions.

How did we get to be this big, this lucky, and this significant with almost no funds? It is the people. It is the people we surround ourselves with. I think we “hire” well. I think it is our values, I think it is our structure, I think it is giving ourselves the opportunity and permission to lead and show up as leaders. Together, we are making it happen. It is also all of you reading this piece, the friends of Women in Localization that we’ve made along the way. We thank you for your trust, your support and contribution as we grow with enthusiasm!

I hope I was able to give this Catalan expression some justice: Déu n’hi do!

Anna N Schlegel



LocWorld37 Warsaw

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Women in Localization @LocWorld37 Warsaw

Women in Localization (W.L.) is looking forward to LocWorld37 June 6-8, 2018 in Warsaw, Poland. LocWorld is a great venue to not only connect with Localization Professionals but also connect with Women in Localization members from all over the world. Here is what we can look forward to at this upcoming conference.

Connecting with W.L. at LocWorld37 is easy. We will have a booth at the event where you can learn about our organization. You can also have lunch with fellow members at dedicated tables every day during the conference.

Our very own Geo Manager for EMEA, Maria Kania from will be presenting three sessions at this event. “I’ve been asked to co-present at an all day long pre-conference session Hacking the Localization Thinking into Startups alongside Daniel Goldschmidt from LocWorld and Oleksandr Pysaryuk from Achievers. We will focus on providing localization strategy advice to any smaller or bigger, fast-growing startups in order to help them enter or plan to expand further into new local markets,” she said.

“I will also have the privilege to speak with Miguel Sepulveda from on a topic that we are both very passionate about CQ – Cultural Intelligence. We will talk about how in our localization industry especially high CQ is of utmost importance to effectively manage international teams, interact with multicultural client stakeholders and work efficiently as global LSPs. We will share some exciting research and personal stories.”

W.L.’s new Poland chapter will be at the event. Anna Pietruszka is the Chapter manager and she is also a Board member at Summa Linguae. She will be presenting on Is a Merger Right for Me? “At least 20 Women who belong to our chapter will be present at the conference and we are planning a networking breakfast for W.L. members,” she said.

Another notable W.L. Member via Barcelona Spain, Yuka Ghesquière Nakasone, Globalization and Localization Director at Beabloo will be one of the hosts of the Process Innovation Challenge (PIC). She spoke to W.L. about what to expect at the event.

“I am participating in creating and delivering the Process Innovation Challenge (PIC) at all three editions of LocWorld this year as one of the advisory board members (a.k.a. Process Dragons). PIC is a fun way to showcase and share new ideas, Columbus’ eggs and out-of-the-box thinking in our industry in a fast-paced contest format over two days. If you love languages and technology, I am pretty sure you will love this session,” she said.

“We’ve just finished reviewing the submissions. Some entries are really intriguing, so I am looking forward to seeing the presentations and asking questions. Also, I am looking forward to meeting like-minded innovators in our industry!”

“We launched the call for papers for PIC Warsaw through Women in Localization as well. This may be the reason why we had some great entries from women localizers this time. I think this event can help encourage female innovators to show up and share their ideas for the industry. I would love to see a woman winning a PIC in the future. So, if you have any innovations, a unique way of solving old problems or a way to tackle new challenges, please let us know.”

Other notable members who will be participating in the event: Annette Lawlor, Teresa Marshall, Janette Stewart, Diana Ballard, Olga Beregovaya, Margaret Ann Dowling, Inger Larsen, and Valeria Nanni.

This is promising to be another great event for W.L. members. We look forward to meeting you in Warsaw and seeing you at our next stop at LocWorld38 in Seattle this autumn.
For more information on LocWorld37, please visit:


Miyuki Mori

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This impressive group of Women in Localization met at LocWorld Tokyo earlier this month. Miyuki Mori, the APAC Geo-Manager for Women in Localization, helped coordinate the group’s activities and supported and contributed to the organization of LocWorld. In the interview she tells us about herself, about her new role and about LocWord and localization in the crucial Asian markets. Well done Miyuki, you did an amazing job!





1. What is your name and what do you do?

My name is Miyuki Mori.  I am a freelance marketing and business consultant in the localization industry in Japan.

2.What is your role in Women in Localization?

I have been part of the Japanese Chapter of Women in Localization from the very start and from this year I am Geo Manager of the APAC region.

3. Localization in Asia is growing very fast and I can see that, thanks to you and the other competent and dedicated Women in Localization, our presence there is really taking shape. What is your plan as Geo-Manager for APAC in the next year or so?

2018 will be a year of growth for Women In Localization in Asia.  We have a new chapter in Beijing that just launched in April and the Singapore Chapter is opening in May.  With the two openings, we will have a presence in Japan, Korea, China (Beijing & Shanghai), and Singapore. Also, the chapters are planning not just to meet within respective chapters, but going out to industry events to present and network.  My main goal is to support each chapter in these new types of activities.

4. LocWorld Tokyo has just finished and I know you were there. How was it?

With 250 attendees, the event was very active in discussion, presentations, and networking. Half of the attendees were from Japan and others from all over the world, Asia, Americas, and Europe.

5. Was there interest in Women in Localization and what were people asking you? What are their expectations from our organization?

The Women in Localization table was very successful, always filled with people gathering and chatting. Some people didn’t know about us, but  a lot of people already knew our organization and were delighted to find us at LocWorld. Moreover, several members of our organization were at the conference, women from Japan, the US, Singapore, Shanghai, Catalunya, and Argentina.

6. What came out of LocWorld in terms of possible new trends in our industry? Anything in particular that you found striking or unexpected?

The most popular sessions were the ones about the developing technologies in our industry. Google with AI (Artificial Intelligence). Also, the global trends and how to best utilize MT (Machine Translation). And sales, of course, is always  one of the most common topics throughout LocWorld.

7. Localization for Asia, in particularly for Japan, is notoriously challenging and Women in Localization had a great panel discussion about this issue in LocWorld Silicon Valley. Was this a dominant theme in Tokyo as well? What were the main tracks and presentations about?

The characteristics of Women in Localization is that we have everyone in a localization process chain, from client marketing, LSP, to freelance translators as well as experts on  standardization and MT. We all have different perspectives. The purpose of our panel was to share our learning and also discuss other perspectives that the audience is interested in.

8. Machine translation is moving fast in some areas of specialization and in some languages, but not in all. How is the state of the art in Asian languages? Did anything new emerge from LocWorld?

MT is moving fast in Asia just like any other part of the world and the discussions at LocWorld were that in pretty much every language, MT has areas of business where it can be easily applied and some other areas that are more challenging. In the discussion around MT at LocWorld, what emerged is that there should be a good understanding between LSP and client on the quality vs cost/time.

9. Now tell us something about the Women in Localization chapters in Asia. We recently opened the Beijing Chapter. How are they doing and what are the chapters planning in terms of events this year?

The Beijing team has been invited to present and to panel at China Translator Professional Forum and the team took this opportunity to share the news of the opening of the chapter.  There will be two more events scheduled for 2018, details TBD.

There will be another chapter opening in Singapore in May.  Please look for our press release.

10. In Silicon Valley and US in general it is a time of change for women. It seems like companies are more receptive of women’s needs and wants and they have started putting in place some structures to avoid discrimination in career and pay. Is something similar going on in Asia and Japan too? How is the situation in this part of the world?

I can only talk about Japan on this – not for all of Asia. Japan has not been a women-friendly country and still now, according to OECD and other global reports, it has not changed significantly.  However, in the localization industry there are women who have been empowered and are in important management positions. Hopefully, this trend will continue and I am sure that Women in Localization can contribute a lot to the progress in this area.

11. What are you looking ahead for in your career and your new role with Women in Localization? What does your 2018 look like?

Working as APAC manager has given me a lot of opportunities to work in a truly global environment and I enjoy it so much.  This is my first year and I have learned a lot, next I am planning to have someone work with me so that we share the knowledge and we successfully grow our chapter.  

12. What is the best bit of advice you can recall in your career that you think is worth passing on?

Start small and don’t forget the little details even after the project has grown bigger.  The details will make the success.






Latest News

Women in Localization Announce New Singapore Chapter

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W.L. Singapore Chapter Launch Announcement

MOUNTAIN VIEW, California, USA, April 30, 2018 / Women in Localization(W.L.), the leading professional organization for women in the localization industry, is delighted to announce the launch of their newest Chapter in Singapore. This will also be W.L.’s 16th Chapter. This is a well-known global trade region and key for W.L.’s expansion in APAC.

The Singapore chapter will be led by Indre Bates who is the Vendor Manager for Autodesk. Indre was inspired to develop a network for localization professionals in the country when she found out that this can be achieved with the support of Women in Localization’s well-established global process.

Indre states, “Finding a circle of like-minded professionals from the localization industry is something that I’ve been passionate about since beginning my career in localization. After researching, I realized that no forums of this nature existed in Singapore. Singapore may be small; however, it is recognized as a major hub for multinational companies operating in APAC and has a highly active start-up scene in South-East Asia. With this comes opportunities for people involved in localization. Upon first coming to understand Women in Localization, I immediately felt that we needed something similar in Singapore that could provide suitable opportunities for support, inspiration, and networking. I am so grateful and excited for the opportunity to bring this amazing group to the Little Red Dot known as Singapore.”

W.L.’s APAC Geo Manager, Miyuki Mori adds, “I am delighted to have our next chapter be Singapore, hub of Asia. Business in Asia is continuously growing, and so is the localization industry by de facto. To keep up with this trend, we have presence in Beijing, Shanghai, Korea, Japan, and now Singapore. I am sure that the Women in Localization Singapore will add knowledge, and networking opportunities to the localization industry overall. Congratulations to Indre and the chapter team!”

Michele Smith, W.L. Board Member leading the Global Expansion and Chapter Committee comments on the expansion efforts: “Our roadmap expands systematically with an incredible and proven framework and strength, supported by talented, local leaders. We look forward to our continued expansion roadmap as Women in Localization is in high demand around the globe, and our formula is a powerful catalyst to create leaders and forums in our field.”

The Singapore chapter’s inaugural event is expected to be held on May 24, 2018 in Singapore. For info on the event: Click Here. 

About Women in Localization
Women in Localization (W.L.) was founded in 2008 by Silvia Avary-Silveira, Eva Klaudinyova and Anna N. Schlegel, and is the leading professional organization for women in the localization industry with over 4,000 members globally. Its mission is to foster a global community for the advancement of women and the localization industry. It aims to provide an open, collaborative forum where women can share expertise and experience and help each other move forward in their careers. Started in the San Francisco Bay Area, W.L. has expanded its membership to include women across the globe, encouraging members to meet in other local geographies.

To learn more, visit or You can also follow W.L. on Facebook and Twitter.

Media Contact:
Liesl Leary
Women in Localization
Phone: (415) 203-7179


Selling Localization Services into the Life Sciences Market

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As a Business Development Manager in the Localization industry, what do you need to know and how do you approach the task of selling your company’s services into the broad field of life sciences? At first glance, particularly for a new recruit to the industry or to the field of sales, the paths to take to achieve some level of success could seem at best daunting and challenging, at worst complicated and difficult to know where to start.

With almost twenty years in the localization industry, the last ten of which focusing on the life sciences market, I do remember those initial fears, and subsequent successes after a little encouragement to get started. I wanted to share with you some tips and guidelines for how to get started or develop your skillset.

Understanding the life sciences market

If your role in our industry is to sell, no-one is going to expect to you be an outright expert in the field you are targeting (unless you previously worked for a life sciences company). A little knowledge and a lot of appreciation and genuine interest in your target subject will go a long way. Taking the time to read up on your prospect’s company is a given, before any contact is made. Have you taken the time to read up on your prospect, the individual you wish to contact?

Let’s take a step back for a moment. How do you know if the company is a suitable one for targeting a potential sale? The answer to that lies partly in whether your company could deliver the services they may need, how much they need them and are willing to pay for them. Assuming you have deduced whether the company itself is a suitable prospect for your business, how much do you understand about what they do? Do you need to research them in some depth? Do you need to confirm some of the terminology they use to describe their business and products’ functionality? This can be one of the more daunting aspects of targeting life sciences companies, if you don’t have a background in the field yourself. All that medical and pharmaceutical jargon, their processes, the regulatory side, how the products work… mind-boggling, right?

Matching your company’s services and experience to prospective clients

This sounds obvious, but how much success do you think you may have targeting one company in pharmacy, compared to another in diagnostics, when your business’s track record is 80% pharma and CRO-related? That’s not to say a new market type should be avoided; one success in a new field could lead to many more of course.

But if you are about to get started selling in these fields, why not make it a little easier on yourself? A proven track record in a specific field will have a far bigger impact on your prospect than listing all the “great and wonderful things” your company can offer.  Because everyone offers that. Letting them know in brief terms that you do understand the short turnaround times required by pharmaceutical companies, the regulatory requirements, QRD template specifications and so forth will credit you in their eyes, as someone worth talking to further. The prospect is not interested in what you do, they are interested in what they do. They have some challenges and they will want to know that you understand these and if you are able to help them. If you can help them to do their job more easily, at less cost and better than someone else, then they may just be willing to talk to you.

A few pointers include:

  • Showing them you understand the language demands of QRD templates and other such requirements for pharmaceutical companies who must have their documentation approved by the European regulatory bodies
  • Proving your company has successfully helped similar companies with tight deadlines for multi-language projects
  • Offering to have translation teams available to work over the weekend if necessary, as some 5-day windows for translation may fall over these days of the week
  • Demonstrating the presence of in-house training for production teams who work on pharmacy-related projects
  • Having contacts at regulatory consultancies and experts in the fields linked to product approval and registration, which may help your potential new client

So, what about your prospect?

How do you find and make the first contact with that key person who could open all sorts of interesting doors for you? Research on the company is one thing; research on the person you want to speak with is just as important. I am not suggesting professional stalking by any means – there are lines not to be crossed! The plethora of social media tools available out there, free to use and open to anyone, provide as much information as each individual is prepared to give away. Being able to see their job title, previous work history, contacts they know. None of this information was easily available ten years ago when I first started selling. It is how you use it that is important, and perhaps more so, how not to over-use it.

Do they know people you know? Bingo if so, a “warm introduction” is on the cards. That does not necessarily lead to an immediate positive outcome business-wise, but it’s a good place to start. A phrase I keep in mind at all times with new prospects is “friends first”. It means to have a genuine appreciation of the other person and a genuine interest in what they do. Knowing a little about what is going on at their company, news items, mergers and acquisitions, new people at C-Level, and how their competitors fare, is always valuable knowledge to have to hand.

Tips for succeeding at selling language services into the life sciences market:

  • Aim to match your company’s expertise with your target clients’ business for a more positive outcome.
  • Use social media respectfully, with consideration of others’ rights to return an invitation to connect or not.
  • Tailor your messages to potential new clients, so they see you are genuinely interested in helping them, rather than winning a sale.
  • Know your subjects. Appreciation of another’s business will go a long way to build trust and confidence.
  • Regularly read publications and online resources for the industry, and join forums specific to markets you are targeting.
  • Keep up to date with industry developments, events, trade shows and conferences. Events companies are a good reference point for further investigation, such as Digital Health World Congress, BioPartner, European Biotechnology.
  • Have your company references in similar fields available to use; they will demonstrate you know what you are doing if and when they award you the business.
  • Make a long-term friend of your new client. It will reap rewards for them and for you, if you always put them first.




Diversity in Localization: Entertainment Localization

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Loy Searle is a Board Member and VP of Women in Localization and has worked in the localization industry for 20+ years. Loy has led content and globalization teams at JD Edwards, Mincom, Google, and Intuit. Most recently, Loy served as VP of Localization Operations at Deluxe Entertainment Services Group in Burbank, California.

I connected with Loy to talk about her recent experience in entertainment localization, to learn more about this part of the industry, and to see how it’s different from technical or traditional localization.

What attracted you to moving to Los Angeles and working at Deluxe?

I’m a movie lover and one of those people who sit and watch the credits roll by wondering what all of those people do. I was curious about the people who work in the entertainment localization space.  While I had exposure to subtitling at Google, the focus was more technical. Making a move to Deluxe was a great opportunity to learn about a different side of the business and try something new.

I knew localization subtitling and dubbing was going on in the movie industry, but in my 20+ years in the localization industry, I never ran into these people at conferences or industry events. Entertainment localization is such a separate community from the rest of the localization industry, which includes many domains including software, IT, retail, medical, manufacturing, and marketing content from Fortune 500 clients. The entertainment localization professionals rarely present or share in our localization industry events.

What did you enjoy about working at Deluxe?

I loved learning about this part of the localization industry – it was a lot of fun. Deluxe provides great training in entertainment localization and the post-production industry. Working there allows for foundational skills to grow and progress in the industry, and the subject matter was compelling and fun.  

I landed in this space just as it is starting to see an interesting transition. They have more work than anyone can do and a tremendous backlog because of the mammoth size of streaming content available now across multiple platforms.

How is entertainment localization different than technical localization?

People who work in entertainment localization look at the localization industry differently, and as a result the mindset is different than technical or traditional localization.  They view themselves as post-production, and localization is just a component of this work.

For example, even the relationship with source content is different. In traditional localization, the content team is our upstream partner, which in a handful of companies is optimized and tightly integrated with localization. There is great synergy in pulling these departments together since there is a co-dependency in our work, even though one team writes the content and the other team does the language work. Yet these functions are still often separate teams in traditional localization.

In entertainment localization, the content and localization teams are much more integrated and have a tighter relationship. Their work starts with creating the English source. The client rarely provides the English source that dubbing, subtitling, closed captions and audio descriptions require. This means an editor will watch a movie several times to capture all the text and action accurately. English content source is where the process begins in entertainment. This is because English deliverables are also part of the process (for example, for closed captioning and audio descriptions) and localization can seem like too narrow of a focus. Entertainment doesn’t just focus on the other language or locale deliverables, but the source as well.  

Source creation is very much part of the entertainment industry localization process and starts further upstream versus traditional localization where we are handed the final English content for localization. This is one of many reasons why the entertainment side of our industry sees itself differently.  

There are also some components that transcend traditional localization. For example, entertainment localization teams must do specialized video graphics work, which goes beyond transcreation. An example is the opening credits of Fantastic Beasts and where to Find Them, where the letters turn into creatures. The “F” might turn into a dragon or another creature. This letter and graphic must change based on whether it fits with the translation, what is culturally appropriate, and a new graphic video may need to be created that is unique to each language.

How are technology or tools used in entertainment localization?

In Silicon Valley, localization leads heavily with technical solutions, automating to scale, and efficiencies. CAT tools, machine translation, TMS and CMS systems and other tech supports this work.

Entertainment localization is just starting to build innovative technology. One reason the demand for innovation and CAT tools has lagged is because entertainment vendors do not expect to repeatedly translate the same content as the traditional industry does for marketing, UI, or help systems. For example, a scene in a movie might be reused as a flashback in a later film, but post-production doesn’t plan for this since it’s unknown if the scene will be reused. In comparison, the automation that grew out of traditional localization was premised on the certainty that most content (such as help and UI) will be updated regularly so automation must solve for this.   

How does voice over or dubbing fit into the picture?

Dubbing and voice-over work for localized entertainment (films, TV, streaming, etc.) is more complicated than marketing videos. A marketing video may use a voice talent once and then a different voice talent on subsequent videos.

For films, TV, or streaming content, the dubbing voices are considered artistic talent – like actors – and you need the same voice to play Tom Cruise in all movies for consistency. Voice talent actors and most dubbing studios are also unionized which is very different than using a linguist at a recording studio for a one-off marketing video. Schedules, strikes, and studio availability add a unique complexity to this work.  

What kinds of roles exist in entertainment localization?

People who work in entertainment localization see themselves as part of the post-production world; not technical localization. Consequently, even the jobs that get posted don’t use the same terminology. When traditional localization companies post a job description, entertainment localization people don’t recognize what they do in that role. Similarly, technical localization people don’t see themselves in entertainment localization job descriptions. The leadership, technical, and program management recruiting pools are largely different.

One similarity in both industries is relationships. In entertainment localization, when people are looking for new opportunities, they know the company they’re applying to. Similarly, when hiring managers are reviewing resumes, they know the companies where the candidate worked and feel they can trust the candidate’s skills and experience. Traditional localization does the same thing, but we also have a very strong support network, for example, specific recruiters, conferences, and technology like TMS systems and CAT tools that focus exclusively in the localization space.

Over the years, traditional localization organizations have worked to help build standards and share best-practices. This means the traditional industry typically has service providers, technology providers, and customers. I didn’t find a rich technology sector in entertainment – instead the customers and the service providers have their own internal solutions. In both industry sectors, people bounce from different companies and back and forth from clients to vendors.   

If someone is interested in working in entertainment localization, what advice do you have for them?

Linguistic talent would face the same challenges as technical localization. It takes time to build expertise and terminology in your domain, and experience is key, whether you are working on IT translations, medical, marketing, or children’s cartoons and songs. The first step would be to try to get added to vendor databases, start getting translation work and being assessed. If your work meets quality expectations, then you will get more work. For production or operational positions, learning post-production skills such as subtitling, editorial, or dubbing would be key.

Entertainment localization tends not to recruit from the localization world, instead they focus on film or entertainment education and students studying film production. If traditional localization people want to get a position, they should consider adding post-production film courses to their education plan.  

Where do you see entertainment localization headed?

The entertainment localization industry tends not to think tech first, they think relationship first. Because of this, there is a subtle disconnect between the two industry sectors.  Technology is important in both – but in traditional localization – tech leads. This subtle difference means problems are solved differently in the two spaces. Traditional localization automates wherever possible and leverages people where automation fails. Entertainment leverages people and supports with automation.  

I think we’re entering an interesting nexus because the customers that are driving much of the growth in the entertainment space, such as Netflix, Apple, Amazon and Google, are in their heart tech companies. These companies view themselves as tech companies first and are now stretching into entertainment. Most of these companies have two localization departments, one for traditional localization and one for post-production. Each team has different people and processes, working in different locations (Silicon Valley versus Los Angeles) with different technology. As long as getting content out is the priority for these companies, the two-team system will remain.

However, I think there will soon come a time when entertainment localization also becomes a commodity and these companies will want to better manage their cost structure and find efficiencies. When this happens, they will ask – why do I have two teams doing this work? What’s so different? I would expect these companies to consider merging the two localization departments just as we have seen happen for UI, Marketing, and Content over the last 20+ years.   

When the merging starts, interesting things will happen. I believe technology will become a higher priority within entertainment localization, which will really benefit from richer automation and data. An engineering mindset drives traditional localization. This mindset craves work to be standardized, systematized, and efficient, which is a bit at odds with the creative responsiveness in entertainment localization. The traditional localization industry has always been a unique marriage between the technical and the creative.

I think it’s an interesting time to be in either sector as the lines start to blur and we see more cross-pollinating between the two sectors. For young folks looking at career options – don’t forget to also look south to LA at post-production jobs – you may be surprised to see localization roles hiding there.    

Overall, I think entertainment localization is a very cool space and we should be trying to shake hands better across the industry.


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Going to LocWorld36? Join us for “Let’s Talk Japanese Again”

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If it’s Japan, it’s covering pressing issues in the Japanese language.

At LocWorld36 in Tokyo, April 3rd-5th, Women in Localization will be well represented at the Let’s Talk About Japanese Again in Japan session. Four prominent members of Women in Localization Japan Chapter will raise, debate, clarify and illuminate key issues in the Japanese language localization process.

For the seasoned Japanese localizer, the hands-on project manager, the business developer or the linguistically curious, the four panelists will talk about handling a localization project from A to Z in one of the most challenging languages to manage. The session includes a bonus for business developers: How success in Japan is defined from an international perspective.

If you would like to meet members of the Japanese Chapter of Women in Localization and discuss specific issues for the Japanese language, please stop by our booth or join us for lunch!

WHAT: Let’s Talk Japanese Again in Japan

WHEN: April 4th, 2018, 1:45 – 2:30 pm

WHERE: Soara


Yukako Ueda – Global Content Management at NetApp and Founder of the Women in Localization Japan Chapter 

Yukako launched the Japan Chapter of Women in Localization in 2015. She is the team lead for global content management at NetApp and oversees the localization of marketing and products for 15 countries. She is also constantly spearheading internal and external discussions on improving localization processes and oversees machine translation implementation from the linguistic point of view.

“On behalf of my fellow Women in Localization Japan chapter members, we are excited to have the opportunity to participate in the upcoming LocWorld held in Japan. We originally had the honor of presenting this session at LocWorld35 in Silicon Valley last October. I am looking forward to sharing this panel discussion with our colleagues at the Tokyo conference.”

Miyuki Mori – Field Marketing Manager at MarkLogic and APAC Geo Manager Women in Localization

Miyuki has 20 years of experience in localization having worked as an independent consultant in marketing and business process. Her area of expertise encompasses business marketing strategy and planning, localization for marketing, change management, process reengineering and operational excellence.

“I am so happy to have LocWorld in Tokyo and be able to participate in the panel discussion as Women in Localization Japan. Tokyo will host the Olympics and Paralympics in 2020 and the importance of communication is becoming stronger than ever before. Looking forward to meeting everyone in our session and at our booth.”

Yoko Chiba – Director at TOIN Corporation and Assistant Chapter Manager Women in Localization

Yoko has 20 years of experience in localization and has served the industry as operations manager, project manager, engagement manager and consultant.

“I’m thrilled to have such an amazing international event here in Tokyo! More and more cultural and linguistic diversity would be necessary across the world, and LocWorld and Women in Localization could be bridges for cross-cultural communication. You can experience and learn so much not only from the language industry but also how to create a better and happier society from the conference. Looking forward to meeting with everyone in Tokyo!”

Mai Sawamura – Regional Vice President Project Management Office APAC at SDL and Assistant Chapter Manager Women in Localization

Mai is the fourth panelist and also has 20 years of experience in localization and is now an expert in machine translation for Asian to Asian language pairs and Asian to English language pairs. 

The panel will be moderated by Aki Ito, CEO and Chief Consultant for the LocalizationGuy.