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.



Challenges and opportunities: How do you support complex medical clients?

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If you are a business development manager for a localization company, focussed on winning new life sciences clients, what level of expertise and knowledge do you think is important to possess when talking to a new prospective buyer of your services? If you are a project manager in this field, how much knowledge is enough in order to take good care of a client, to ensure they receive the deliverables they are expecting? Admittedly, working on projects or winning deals with companies in this market can be more challenging than others, as there is so much information to take into account. You need to know your stuff, but are not expected to be an expert; just have sufficient knowledge, resources and experience at your fingertips to do the job well. Building a network of good contacts who can offer specialist advice is also advantageous. Some of the challenges below could be ones you have come across in the past, or may face in the future, so I hope they will resonate with you. Rest assured you are not alone in those tricky “client-management moments”!

In-Vitro Diagnostics and the Regulations

Presently in vitro diagnostics and medical devices are subject to the following directives: Medical Device Directive (MDD), In Vitro Diagnostic Medical Devices Directive (IVDD), and Active Implantable Medical Device Directive (AIMD). May 2017 saw the publication of the new EU medical device and in vitro diagnostic medical device regulations, which will affect device manufacturers as well as any organization that is offering services and therefore forming part of the supply chain. So translation companies need to be aware and take note! They must also demonstrate a genuine interest, as it affects their clients, so it is wise to keep up with industry activities and developments. Translation clients will need to prepare and plan ahead to ensure they remain compliant and therefore may need assistance in updating texts in each of the languages they work in. As a project manager or account manager, are you being proactive in asking your clients if they will need to update texts, product packaging and labelling, IFU’s (Instructions for Use) and user guides? Aside from giving them full support, there may be opportunities for bringing in further revenue due to these changes. Being proactive can reap rewards as well as supporting your clients in a positive way.

Contract Research Organizations

Many interesting and challenging points will arise when working with a CRO (Contract Research Organization) or bidding to win a contract with one of these companies. They will often be looking to outsource translation projects on behalf of one or more of their pharmaceutical clients, and will be responsible for evaluating and selecting the most suitable resources to do the job and do it well. They will ask you many probing questions to filter out those who make the shortlist, such as:

  • how you manage risk
  • what percentage of your revenue comes from life sciences and of that, what comes specifically from pharma and other CRO’s
  • how you ensure clinical terminology consistency and scientific accuracy
  • how your quality management systems are structured
  • version control of documentation
  • file security
  • resources’ specialization
  • what your biggest challenges are at the moment and in the foreseeable future

Of vital importance to a CRO is your demonstrating knowledge and a proven track record in the language demands of documents such as QRD (Quality Review of Documents) templates for pharmaceutical companies, who must have everything approved by the European regulatory bodies. Once you are working with a CRO, you may find it challenging when faced with queries that require answers from the end client, but your contact is in between you and them. Messages can get filtered or delayed, when time is of the essence and you need to complete your work on time. In-house training programs for production staff are a must for anyone looking to work on CRO or pharmaceutical clients’ projects. There are to be no mistakes made or questions asked that could appear to give the impression that not enough knowledge is there to do the work well. Senior production managers must ensure all staff is up to date with the relevant knowledge and resources, such as that from the European Medicines Agency which offers information on clinical data, EU clinical trials register and recent news.

Pharmaceutical clients and their specialized needs

Dealing direct with pharmaceutical clients has its rewards and its challenges in equal measure. On the up side, once you are working with a client, and delivering translation work that is up to scratch and of high quality, your client is unlikely to switch vendors and risk training up a new set of resources. Pharma companies can spend big when they have a requirement, and often need their documentation in 24 languages, which multiplies the workload more than other types of medical organizations who may only work in a few. On the reverse of that, they are the most demanding of life sciences clients, and rightly so, with their huge investments into research and development, often racing to secure a patent for a product before a competitor. They need to rely 100% on their translation partner to deliver on time and to a high standard. Certainly worth the effort I would venture.

To sum up, and based on my experience selling into these markets for over ten years, I would conclude that working with clients and looking to win new business is challenging but very rewarding. Life sciences clients are, generally speaking, loyal to their translation partners, as a sharing of knowledge and product development is present and the two parties grow together with the experience. On the challenging side, trying to win business from a company who already works with another translation agency can be more than a little tricky! When you win your new clients, work hard to keep them by staying up to date with all their news and industry developments, as well as delivering the quality they expect plus a little bit more. You can’t go too far wrong.





Game On: Two Women Smashing Gaming Localization Stereotypes

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While roughly half of all online gamers are women (42% in 2015), there is a widespread belief that the gaming industry is unwelcome to women. Only one in five game developers is a woman and female gamers have faced online or in-game sexism, hostility, harassment and even death threats, the worst example being 2014’s Gamergate controversy. Gender stereotypes persist, such as the belief that girls can’t play as well as men or play “stupid” games like role playing or interpersonal relationship games. Additionally, anatomy used in female game characters can tend to be male-focused (for example, think 1990s Lara Croft).

I recently met two women, Michelle Zhao and Karin Skoog, who are changing perceptions about women in gaming, demonstrating gaming is a viable and enjoyable career and paving the way for future generations of women interested in this industry.

Michelle Zhao Director Global Publishing LAI Global Game Services


Karin Skoog Independant Game Developer & Freelance Game Design Consultant

In her 20s, Michelle dreamed about making the world a better place as an interpreter for the United Nations. She enrolled at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS) at Monterey intending to study translation and interpretation. While there, Michelle discovered MIIS had a Translation and Localization Management track, and with Silicon Valley only one hour away, tech and localization project management became her new focus.

In 2012 Michelle accepted a position at gaming company LAI Global Gaming Services as a Chinese Team Leader.

“As I started in the game industry as a localization professional, I developed a good foundation for understanding the details of well-designed game content and how a game can be produced with a global mindset in preparation for being published in 40+ languages,” Michelle said.

Karin’s entrepreneurial spirit and fascination with the business world guided her to an MBA after completing a Comparative Literature degree. It was during the MBA that Karin realized that video games could be a career option.

“Because of my interest in games, I geared many of my MBA projects toward the video game industry, such as conducting a financial analysis on Nintendo. I also created a feasibility analysis and high-level design for a Nintendo-themed amusement park,” Karin said. “That was a blast to create!” After a graduate career fair, Karin accepted her first job in video game localization at LAI Global Gaming Services.

Founded in San Mateo, California in 1993, LAI Global Game Services started out as a localization provider for the video game industry, and later expanded to video game marketing and global publishing. Over the years, LAI released a long list of titles such as Perfect World, SuperHot, and Solitaire, progressing from console to PC to mobile gaming. LAI is now publishing mobile game titles under their own name.

Gaming Localization – A Unique Set of Obstacles

Karin and Michelle soon found that gaming localization presented its own set of challenges. “There are many struggles localizing narratives,” Michelle said. “Not all jokes or puns can be translated. Sometimes stories are based on history or religion, or other cultural or political elements, which are not viewed the same way in different parts of the world. There are also adaptations for audio and video, and monetization and gamer experience expectations can vary across markets.”

Karin and Michelle participated in the development of Game Market Analyzer, a free iOS app that helps game developers and publishers easily assess the ROI of localizing their game for global markets. “This app helps indie developers to increase their ROI in the global market by leveraging industry intelligence data and metrics to benefit international publishing for the global game community,” Michelle said.

At LAI, Michelle manages indie game publishing, business development, as well as key localization accounts, sometimes into as many 40+ languages. Karin served as a marketing specialist, focusing on business development and marketing.

“I frequently spoke with developers and publishers about LAI’s services, gave presentations about game localization at global conferences, and learned SEO keywords related to global game markets to push LAI to the front page of search engines,” Karin said. “With game marketing, you don’t need to go as deep into how the product can benefit a company as with B2B marketing and why it should be used for business operations. Purchases have more of an emotional component, such as the customer finding the story interesting or liking another game in a similar genre. It’s more about ‘Here’s an awesome new game you’ll enjoy, and here’s why you should add it to your library!’”

Karin also served as a native English editor for game localization projects. “I edited game text that was translated by someone with limited English, which required quite a bit of creativity. My first challenge was recreating the text so it made sense in English, and then reworking it so it sounded good in English,” Karin said. “Game localization requires strong creative writing skills for this reason!”

Michelle shared some photos of her 2017 visit to ChinaJoy, a Digital Entertainment Expo & Conference, held in Shanghai in 2017

In 2014, Karin joined Voltage Entertainment as a Game Producer/Game Designer. Voltage was localizing their Japanese games into English and starting to create original content for the West, so they needed someone with localization and gaming experience to drive this effort. With another Game Producer, Karin was responsible for creating an entire gaming world, including characters, plotlines, and character specs. She designed game mechanics and created composition outlines for key art pieces and characters so remote artists could produce their commissioned pieces. Adhering to certain Japanese conventions, such not showing a character’s eyes, was also required for some titles.

“The idea was that players could see themselves more in the role of the main character when the eyes weren’t showing,” Karin said. “This was my first experience leading artists in game development, and I had very minimal art skills at the time, so I learned a lot on the job.”

The Value of Industry Outreach

In addition to their day jobs, Michelle and Karin are very involved in industry outreach. In 2016 Karin co-founded Golden Moose Collective, a small group of independent game developers, each working on their own projects. The collective allows Karin to travel the world while creating her own games. Since 2016, her journeys have taken her to Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand and Cambodia. Karin is currently working on a jungle adventure simulation game called In the Heart of Borneo, which is based on her recent travels in Malaysia.

“An awesome part of being an independent game developer and freelance localization game design consultant is that you can be location independent,” Karin said. “My typical day varies depending on location, but for the most part my daily schedule is to wake up early, and either do creative writing or go to the gym. I have breakfast, commute to work – currently a 15-minute walk to a coworking space, sometimes in between a lot of activity at the nearby temple during Balinese holidays! I sometimes pick up lunch from a street stand, answer emails, check my task list, estimate how long it will take to complete tasks, and work a full day according to my list. I may do a little more writing in the evening, relax with a book or game, or do some marketing work. I currently reserve at least one full day a week for client/consulting work so I can dedicate my full attention to it.”

Karin sees the sights at Angkor Wat, Cambodia

In 2015, Michelle organized Global Game Day, a part of industry event Mobile Gaming USA. In December 2017 she presented at Game Quality Forum. “I was invited as a panelist on the first day for ‘Panel Discussion: Where in the World?,” Michelle said. “This event brought together video game professionals, such as Producers, QA, Content Management, and Localization, to discuss topics that they have encountered and present their solutions.”

Michelle’s 2017 trip to China included visiting clients in Beijing

Michelle has also lectured on game localization at the University of Maryland, MIIS and Bingham Young University, and been a guest speaker in Beijing and Dalian, China. “I really enjoyed interacting with curious and bright minds. When they are asking questions or giving feedback, it always felt like another chance for me to revisit my understanding of game localization.”

Karin’s most rewarding experience has been getting involved in Malaysia’s game development scene in Kota Kinabalu, on the island of Borneo. Karin and a Golden Moose Collective colleague attended weekly meetups, presented their experiences to indie developers, and participated in a game jam. They also taught an Intro to Unity3D workshop. A cross-platform game engine, Unityis primarily used to develop both two- and three-dimensional video games and simulations for computers, consoles and mobile devices.

“It was very fulfilling to teach a group of people new to Unity and see them experiment with the things they learned,” Karin said. “I plan to do more events like it in the future as I want to promote game development education, especially in areas that don’t already have programs available.” While traveling, the Golden Moose Collective team enjoys meeting fellow game developers in different countries to exchange ideas, give talksand do workshops.

Despite working with games all day, Michelle and Karin continue to enjoy games in their free time. Both like that puzzle games challenge them mentally, and narrative games transport them to other worlds, similar to books or movies. Michelle’s favorite platform game is Super Mario. She also likes open-world adventure games like Horizon:Zero Dawnand MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) games that she plays with friends, like Arenaof Valor. Before bed or when just waking up, Michelle plays casual or strategy games like Clash Royale, Rage of Kings, and Mind Mould. Karin prefers strategy, simulation, puzzle, narrative-driven, action and RPG (role playing games). Some of her favorites are Civilization,The Witness, Braid,Stephen’s Sausage Roll, What Remains of Edith Finch, Firewatch, Gorogoa, The Long Dark, Democracyand older Final Fantasygames (VI-X).

Due to emerging technologies such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AG), and mixed reality, gaming is expected to grow from a $90 Billion industry to $130 Billion by 2020. As a result, demand for gaming localization worldwide will also increase. “As the Western markets become more saturated and crowded, game developers will have to consider global markets if they want to ‘stay in the game’ so to speak,” Karin said. Expectations are thatthe largest growth marketwill be the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), which is currently growing at a rate of 25% year-over-year. This is in comparison to Latin America’s 13.9% growth, Asia Pacific’s 9.2% growth, Western Europe’s 4.8% growth and North America’s 4% growth.

Breaking into a Gaming Career

For those interested in a career in game development or gaming localization, the field requires passion and an interest in constant learning and problem solving.

“I enjoy working with creative and talented people who are so passionate about what they are doing. I also enjoy solving puzzles when different challenges come my way,” Michelle said. However, she feels one of the biggest challenges for game localization professionals is how to educate and communicate with developers, who may not be aware of or experienced with cultural differences.

Karin agrees. “I’d say the biggest challenge is getting more developers to realize quality localization is important, and that it’s not enough to use fan localization or Google Translate. I’d say this is slowly getting better, but there’s still a long way to go,” Karin said.

To get started in gaming, Karin recommends novice game developers download and learn Unity.

“Make the smallest game you can make, put it on a website (a portfolio) and continue to build that portfolio, with other small games from Meetups, game jams, personal projects.”

FutureGames, a two-year, hands-on game development program in Stockholm, Sweden that Karin attended also prepares students for careers in game design or game programming. During her first week, Karin and her fellow students learned the basics of a game engine, split into groups and had to make a game in two weeks. Karin firmly believes that one of the biggest advantages of FutureGames is the strong student placement rate after graduation, estimated to be close to 80%.

Joining professional groups, such as the IGDA chapter on Game Writing, groups involved with game localization, and volunteering at local game conferences can also help when first starting out.

Despite the negative reports about the gaming industry, both Michelle and Karin wouldn’t change a thing about their career paths. Karin relishes the freedom that a gaming career allows.

“Gaming is an empowering industry where you are only constrained by what you thinkyou’re capable of, and your own imagination. With independent game development in particular, I like that I am in control of my own destiny. I have the freedom to shape my own work and create the things that interest me the most.” For example, with her new game In the Heart of Borneo, Karin is gaining experience programming for a systems-driven game, something she didn’t previously know how to do.

Although Karin concedes that game development tends to be more male dominated and there are fewer women overall in game AI and independent development (she also previously worked as an AI & Game Designer for Avalanche Studios’ theHunter: Call of the Wild), she’s encountered a fair number of female programmers, artists, designers and producers.

“The video game industry is an extremely welcoming place overall. When it all comes down to it, we’re all interested in seeing more good games enter the marketplace. More developers mean a greater chance we can discover new ways of interacting with games and promoting games as an artform,” Karin said. “The industry is bigger than the movie industry and continues to grow as gamers globally gain more access to PCs and mobile devices. If you’re interested in video games and languages, I can’t think of a better fit than game localization.”

Michelle agrees. “I have encountered some awesome female producers, artists, localization and community managers in the gaming industry. They are super cool! Everyone has such interesting tastes on games and culture. I am always fascinated by how creative and talented people are in the gaming industry.”

Michelle will be starting her summer with a new and exciting opportunity in Houston, Texas working for entertainment company Six Foot. Michelle will be contributing her expertise in localization, internationalization, PR and marketing starting with Six Foot’s Dreadnoughttitle for Console and PC. “There will be lots of super legendary people from the gaming industry there,” she said. “I’m thrilled to be joining their team!”



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!


Miyuki Mori

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.







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.




An Interview with Erica Haims Executive Director of W.L. Marketing Committee

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Years ago, at the San Francisco Localization Unconference, I met a cheerful, bright woman who told me that everybody seemed to be talking about localization in a way that did not resonate with her line of work. And yet she was working in localization! That was my first meeting with Erica Haims and we have been friends ever since.

Erica Haims is an expert in marketing globalization and participates in many panels and discussions on the engineering and systems world, too. She is, a globalization pro.  Marketing Localization continues to be very present within digital transformation efforts, where data is king, global data takes the lead.

I met Erica again at Women in Localization events this time, as the Executive Director of the Marketing Committee for Women in Localization. She is, a marketing pro.  Immensely talented and passionate, she is in charge of the execution of our marketing strategy, while running her own consultancy company and being the mom of the sweetest dog ever. But let’s hear it from her!


  • What is your name and what is your role in Women in Localization?


My name is Erica Haims and I am the Executive Director of the Marketing Committee.


  • Where did you grow up and where do you live now?


I grew up in Long Island, NY and I currently live in San Francisco, California, in the United States.


  • I know you have a strong background in Marketing Globalization. Do you want to tell us more about that?


I was working in content production. My position evolved into Localization because I saw a need to fill in the gaps in communication as it traveled the globe. I was managing content and there was a need to make sure that messaging did not get lost in the production process. I raised my hand, and in the process I learned marketing globalization.


  • Marketing and digital marketing in particular is an area in our industry that keeps pressing hard, what are your thoughts here?


It was and it is very exciting. Localization is the adaptation of content and has a very wide scope from software to product user interface to marketing content. Communicating the value of a company is crucial. The Point of View of a company, its imperatives, the message, the context, you have to set all that up. Digital is the place to be. In your phone, your tablet, changing topics every 8 seconds. If it is not in my language, I don’t read it.


  • You have worked a lot with images, videos, voice over, etc. I see that many campaigns and websites are relying on visuals more and more. This makes our work more challenging and more beautiful because we have to localize all that.


For sure. The customer, no matter where they live is demanding to be marketed to. It’s referred to now as the GLOCAL model. I believe in up front c-level planning and lifetime partnership. Localization professionals need context and time in order to advise and execute appropriately. The stronger the partnership is, the smoother and more successful the outcome.


  • Right now you are taking care of the marketing for Women in Localization. What attracted you to this volunteer position?


I love working with people all over the globe and promoting this great industry that is growing and evolving.


  • Volunteering with Women in Localization has been a very nice experience for me and I know it is the same for you. How do you envision our “brand”?


We are a strong network that has about 4,000 women who support and inspire each other. We are a force.


  • You have been working really hard on the new website for Women in Localization. What is your goal for this launch?


We are going to launch our new branding with our new website. Our goal is to share with the world who we are and have a place for our members.


  • From a marketing perspective, how do you make sure that our brand, our values and our personality shows up on the website?


We have an incredible team that is focused on that effort. The team is made up of W.L. members from all over the world. The Board has our values mapped, we then transfer those values to all committees. We know what to say, we have our phrases, our lines, our focus. We spend time training our team.


  • These are exciting times for our industry and for women. Lots of global growth and many opportunities for women. What do you see down the road for Women in Localization?


We have talented committees that have exciting things in the works. New chapters have joined our family this year. Also, W.L. will be at most of the major industry events such as GALA and the upcoming LocWorlds.



  • Yes, I saw that there is a lot of networking going on with the other organizations in the industry. It is a great opportunity for us to join forces and become a trusted voice in the industry.


We are a trusted voice. There is a lot of work and dedication that is happening on daily basis by all of our volunteers to make this happen. We partner with GALA, we partner with The Localization Institute and LocWorld, we partner with CSA.


  • What is the funniest thing that ever happened to you in localization?


They are usually funny long after the fact. I want all projects to be successful. Sometimes you can laugh about the mistakes after you fix them. With marketing messaging, you have to be very careful to keep the meaning intact.