Growth Pains – How Nordic Food Start-Ups Shape their Products for New Markets

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Project Design Bites Team; Floris van der Marel (left), Prof. Tua Björklund, Ville Kukko-Liedes and Maria Mikkonen.

Traditions in the food and beverage industry can be traced back hundreds of years, but unlike the common perception might suggest, long traditions are not stopping innovation. As Tua Björklund and her colleagues from Aalto Design Factory pointed out in their “Design Bites” study, there are many lessons we could learn from food start-ups.

“The main motivation for our study was to accumulate knowledge so that we could educate and better train product development professionals and support product development and innovation in the food industry.”  Tua Björklund, 2018

According to Tua, storytelling and the use of social media was much more present in this study in comparison to earlier studies that were conducted among tech start-ups. Another major difference was in product testing. While tech start-ups seem to focus strongly on the end user, large investors and partners, food start-ups were very actively participating in co-creation with various communities and design partners such as design houses (e.g. IvanaHelsinki), showrooms, bartenders and restaurants. What the tech and food industry have in common is the importance of professional networks. Outside experts are often brought in to both groups to solve design problems such as creating a unique payment system or better miscible food mass.

Warrior Coffee partnered with Finnish Design House IvanaHelsinki to create a packaging “with some attitude!”. Copyright Warrior Coffee.

Food start-ups that identify themselves as “premium brands” perceived design as one of the cornerstones of their business, and therefore design challenges such as packaging were approached with extra caution and attention. In summary, standing out and conveying quality were two topics identified as the fundamental challenges.

Internationalization introduced surprising communication and design obstacles. For example, differing associations with terms like organic or wild and local consumers’ limited knowledge about an ingredient presented challenges and so demanded clearer communication. As a result, some companies added additional labelling or went as far as renaming their business for international markets.

3 Kaveria (English; 3 Friends) decided to rename the brand, add the word “ice cream” to the labelling and open separate Instagram accounts for Swedish and German markets.

When it comes to understanding local customers and the market, approaches varied greatly. Some companies relied on personal networking and test campaigns, where others relied on local partners. Several companies also used airports and airlines as global brand ambassadors to spread Finnish/Nordic/Arctic branded products to new markets or received support from local brand ambassadors and government networks (e.g. Food from Finland). Effective use of social media not only increased brand awareness but also yielded valuable leads from the B2B sector.

Participant companies found valuable B2B leads from abroad through social media.

In summary, understanding foreign markets and adjusting current products to different regions and cultures were identified as key challenges for internationalization. Targeted marketing (vs. organic pull), entering Asian markets and making a cultural impact were most commonly mentioned opportunities amongst the sample group.

One interesting notion from this study is the often-cited lack of targeted support, accelerator programs and other knowledge sharing networks. An enlightened reader could draw the conclusion that the food start-ups have been trying to create accelerator type cooperation themselves, but there is still plenty of room for development. Who will sign up for creating the very first Nordic Food Tech accelerator? I hope we will hear the news soon.

For more information contact the Design Bites team



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Loy Searle

MOUNTAIN VIEW, California, USA, January 22, 2019. Women in Localization (W.L.), the leading professional organization for women in the localization industry, is proud to announce Loy Searle has accepted the role of President effective January 1, 2019. Searle previously held the position of Vice President and will continue serving as a Board Member and sponsoring Education and Mentoring.

Searle said, “I love being part of this organization. I think we bring value to women in our industry and this requires a contribution of love and effort from all of us. It can mean each of us serves in different ways and that our contribution may change over time. For me, giving back means stepping into the role of President this year.”

Other leadership changes for 2019 include the creation of two new Board-level roles and new members joining the organization’s leadership team. Cecilia Maldonado will become Director, Chapters and Global Growth, Allison McDougall will return to the Board as Director, Membership and Monica Bajaj will join as Director, Technology. Liesl Leary will serve as 2019 Vice President while maintaining her role as Director, Marketing.

2018 President and Women in Localization co-founder Anna Schlegel takes on a new role in the organization as Director, Office of the Chair. Schlegel said, “Loy worked side-by-side with me during 2018 and I could not be more thrilled to pass the baton to her. It was by design for the Vice-President to be my successor. Presidents take a 1-year term and Loy has been training hard for this role, as well as being a long time Board veteran. She is a strategic thinker, a phenomenal globalizer and expert in large team building who has the full confidence and support of the Board.”

After experiencing rapid expansion in 2018, Women in Localization will focus on strategically managing its growth in 2019. One area of emphasis will be to ensure that the needs of the organization’s global members are being met.

Searle said, “There is a bit of ‘special sauce’ to us as an organization, which has a lot to do with how each Chapter has worked to engage their local members and built community. Our challenge as a broader organization is to protect and nurture this while identifying repeatable actions that Chapters can share and benefit from, even if the members in different geographies have never met.”

As a volunteer organization, Women in Localization emphasizes succession planning and will continue to mentor new leaders to drive the organization’s goals. The focus remains strongly on encouraging new talent who can one day take on a leadership position and help the organization mature.

“Our members donate their time and effort,” Searle said. “What’s great about this is that we can provide a place for women to grow their skills and leadership as they volunteer. What’s challenging about this is ensuring that each Board member and executive is thinking about who can step up next to ensure continuity and succession. Some of the roles take a lot of time, so rotation has to be part of a healthy volunteer organization strategy.”

Searle’s plans for 2019 include strengthening Women in Localization’s foundations to prepare for continued growth. Areas of targeted emphasis will be Membership, Programs and an anticipated launch of six new global chapters.

2019 will also bring an emphasis on Women in Localization’s purpose and values, which include Support, Empowerment, Commitment and Belonging.

“We will continue to strive to lead like we would like to be led, to support each other as we would like to be supported and to provide a place where women can lead, feel supported and know they belong,” Searle said. “I know we can continue to accomplish great things together!”



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 5,000 members worldwide. 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  You can also follow W.L. on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.


Media Contact:

Liesl Leary

Women in Localization

Phone: (415) 203-7179



SOURCE Women in Localization

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Website Localization into Russian: Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

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Website localization can be very challenging in general, and localization into Russian presents its own special set of challenges, starting with the Cyrillic alphabet and ending with different preferences and expectations of Russian speakers.

These challenges can be broken into 2 categories: design and content.

Both of them can be overcome with a little planning…

…and readiness to accept that 1:1 design and copy transfer into Russian will not work.

Design: Wrangle your calls to action back into their containers, change cascading style sheets settings because Chicago Manual of Style headline formatting does not apply to Russian…
…and then deal with the three different plural forms and make sure all of the copy uses the right level of formality

Plan for character count explosion (although German is much, much worse…)

According to Wikipedia, the longest Russian word is merely 35 letters, as opposed to German’s 80-word Donaudampfschifffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswer monstrosity.

Nevertheless, be prepared to see menu items, pop-up window copy, calls to action, copy in visual assets, especially diagrams, and footer links explode in front of your very eyes… unless you plan for text expansion, or, for assets that do not accommodate text expansion, discuss strategies to work within a set character count in advance.

I once had a client who suggested that instead of reworking a brochure to hit the character count, the copy should be handed over to the designer as is.

Don’t be that client.

The copy won’t fit anyway.

Prepare to adapt to the quirks of Russian language

While you do not need to be aware of all the intricacies of the Russian language, of which there are many, the following quirks will affect your website’s usability, if ignored:

  • Cyrillic Script
    Make sure the Latin font you are using on your website will have a corresponding Cyrillic font. Otherwise, any text in English (or any other text with Latin characters) will stick out like a sore thumb.
  • Dates and Numbers
    You’ll want to avoid confusion and make sure that the Russian-speaking visitors will not be befuddled by Month/Date/Year form.
    Same applies to numbers.
    If you have set up “variable + s” for all values over 1… know that Russian has three different forms of plural endings.
    If you do not have a lot of numbers on your website, you might decide to keep it simple and have everything done manually.
    e-Commerce websites or app localizers might be better off implementing rules for plurals in Russian.
    Vitalii Kuznetsov explains how to do so by using Stringsdict in iOS in this Medium article.
  • Formal and Informal Forms of Address
    Don’t mix them up, especially by going from informal to formal. It’s like unfriending someone on Facebook, except on a website.
  • Different Formatting for Headlines
    Nothing screams “This website is translated from English” more than Capitalization of Every Word in a Headline or a Call to Action That is Also Capitalized Like This. Given that Russian users often are concerned about landing on a “not official” website, giving an impression of a “Dear Sir/ Madam” email with randomly capitalized nouns on a website level might not be a good idea.


Content: Content audit… and customer research
(because this is where stellar messages come from)

Do a pre-localization content audit, so that you don’t forget any of your non-text assets

It is possible that you’ll decide that an infographic, a product demo, or even a short interview with your CEO are not a must-have for your localized website. And that’s fine.

But if you do feel that a client testimonial, an explainer video, or a diagram showing some Very Convincing Data needs to be preserved on your localized website — do not forget to have them localized.

Otherwise, instead of supporting your point, they will be creating unnecessary friction and reminding that this website is “just” a translation.

More content audit: do all of the references in your website copy make sense to the Russian readers?

Are all elements of your website copy relevant to the Russian customers?

Paris equals fashion all over the world.

The Game of Thrones memes and quotes have infiltrated the Russian internet (possibly because the Russians really get that the winter is coming).

But do not assume that references to the coastal beauty of North Bend, Oregon, will strike a chord.

Same goes for testimonials and other forms of social proof: they are much more likely to work if a testimonial is provided by “people like us”, such as Auntie Masha in Moscow region (not Aunt Sue in North Bend).

Research: do you know what Russian buyers care about?

The web is dark and full of terrors, and even more so if you are a Russian internet user.

This is why many native Russian websites have more trust-building elements than one might expect.

If you are only entering the Russian market, you might need to move your big red “Buy now!” button below the fold and let your localized website visitors get to know you better, as well as prove that they can trust you – before they are ready to convert.

Embarking on an into-Russian localization adventure:
over to you

As you can see, localization into Russian can be a long and arduous journey.

But I believe that with proper planning and careful execution, you’ll be able to overcome most of these challenges and present your company or product in the best possible light in the eyes of your Russian target audience.

And if you discover that it is hard to immediately get all of the small details right and adapt your big ideas for the Russian market — two Russian proverbs sum it all up perfectly: “The first pancake always comes out in a lump” and “Patience and labor will overcome everything”.

Ekaterina Howard started translating from English and German into Russian in 2006, but her interest in creating impactful marketing copy led her to focus on copy adaptation and localization. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and find out more on her website,



New Skills For Translators

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In our globalized, hyper-connected world, the role of translators has certainly become crucial but also increasingly complex. As professional linguists, our task no longer consists of “simply” reproducing a source text into a target language; now more than ever, we are required to be multi-skilled to meet the challenges of global communication in a fast-paced, tech-driven environment. In this short article, I will try to outline new skills that translators should consider enhancing in order to be competitive on the market. These views are based on my freelance and in-house experience over the last eight years.

Internationalization and localization

These are definitely the must-have skills for translators who want to play an active role in the digital tech age. Linguists working in this field have the chance to truly act as consultants for developers and product managers to help design digital products that can effortlessly go global.

Transcreation and copywriting

These two words are not new to the language industry but have become essential to meet companies’ needs in an increasingly globalized market. To stand out from the crowd, each company speaks a specific and personalized brand language that must be originally shaped (and not only reproduced!) in all target languages.

CAT tools and Global Content Management Systems

The use and knowledge of these tools is often a prerequisite to work with LSPs and sometimes also with direct clients. Most of them certainly require an investment in terms of license purchase and training, but the benefits are invaluable: improved productivity, user-friendly interfaces and lots of useful features, not to mention that, if you become an expert user, you could also consider enriching your business by offering training and consultancy services focused on these technologies.

Semantic SEO

Nowadays visibility in search engine results is a primary focus for most organizations and translators can play a key role to achieve it. How? For each target country, linguists are the ones who can identify the most suitable keywords and metadata for website content in order to increase traffic and brand awareness.

Social media

If you imagine translators as solitary workers in front a PC, you could not be more wrong. The language industry community is becoming more and more active on social media. You should therefore consider creating an account in order not to miss relevant information and events (training, webinars, useful documentation, etc.) and, who knows, also to gain advanced social media skills to be leveraged for your own business.

Machine translation and post-editing

Despite the resistance of many linguists, it is undeniable that machine translation and post-editing have been trend topics in the language industry over the last few years. This is why a fair understanding of the associated processes and best practices is recommended even if you currently do not work on these kinds of projects.

Getting started

If you are unsure where to begin to get training on these subjects, relax: lots of resources are now available either for free or at an affordable cost.

As for my experience, I was able to get a lot of information from global LSPs that I work for. Don’t forget you are a valuable resource to them, so it is in their best interest to provide you with all the tools to help you perform your tasks in the best possible conditions. Also, some LSPs and industry associations regularly organize very informative webinars freely available to everyone: for instance, I am currently following two webinar series held by Vistatec and Elia, the European Language Industry Association.

If you have some budget for a comprehensive certification recognized both in the industry and by universities, you could go for the Global Digital Marketing and Localization Certification, an online training offered by University of North Carolina Wilmington and Localization Institute. For me, this course was very useful to connect to all the bits of information I had gathered about content marketing, social media, search engines and SEO from a multilingual perspective.

As for lower-budget solutions, there are quite a lot of resources as well.  For example, if you are looking for training on localization and internationalization best practices, I recently started the Localization Essentials free course presented on the Udacity platform by localization experts from Google.  Also, I found several interesting courses available on the LinkedIn Learning platform, for which you have a free-month trial with reasonable fees afterwards.

Finally, do not hesitate to look around you: I am sure there are a lot of events in your area – like the ones hosted by Women in Localization – which are an invaluable source of training and networking opportunities. Where can you find them? On social media, of course!

This is only an overview of all the opportunities you have to expand your skills as a translator. Sure, they come along with some challenges, but if you take them on, you can be sure of being an active part of the great transformation of our time. Please feel free to reach out to suggest new ideas and provide feedback based on your experience!

Susanna Fiorini
Past Chapter Events

Marketing localization panel: Four industry experts share their unique perspectives

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At the annual Women in Localization holiday event for the Silicon Valley chapter, we gathered at Box to hear a panel of four industry experts discuss marketing localization from different perspectives.

The panel was hosted by Erica Haims, international marketing expert at Haims Consulting and Women in Localization Executive Director of the Marketing Committee, and featured Liesl Leary, Head of Global Content Marketing at SDL and CMO of Women in Localization, Aki Shelton, Creative director at SY Partners, leading some of the most exciting worldwide campaigns, and Claire Tsai, Global Expansion Manager at Cloudflare. You can read more about these amazing women here.

(Skip to the 8:30 minute mark for the start of the panel)

Special thanks to Jee Yi and Box for hosting the event!

Personal & Professional Wisdom

My Journey into the World of Globalization and Localization

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Things started happening in October 2017 when I was a Director of Engineering at Perforce Software. I was given an opportunity to take the lead to drive and implement the localization of our core products and documentation to improve our footprint in the APAC market. Being in engineering and building products is one thing, but localization had never been a part of my expertise or domain, and I had no idea where to start, what to expect, and how to reach the goal of building a localized product. Quite overwhelming!

But as it turned out, the timing was perfect because I had just started volunteering as the Chief Compliance Officer with Women in Localization. In the middle of this chaos, I realized that I was surrounded with countless experts from the localization industry who could help me understand this process and put me on the right track.

Author: Monica Bajaj

During this journey, I learned several impactful lessons about the power of Localization and Globalization:

  • Localization is sometimes confused with translation. In fact, there is a big difference between both. Localization is a process of making sure that a product or the document/content is easily adaptable for a specific location or market. Translation means converting from one language to another. Translation is just one phase of localization.
  • Localization is not just mere translation. It is about refining or constructing the content, thus meeting the cultural and business needs for each locale. This, in turn, helps improve customer satisfaction. It also helps increase the customer base and the overall revenue in the globalized market. Due to localization, cultural barriers are lowered, which in turn helps to scale the customer base.
  • Software localization comprises several content types: Localizing content, product manuals, logging messages, error messages, training material, online help, graphics, formatting, regulations, etc.
  • Internationalization of software must be an integrated part of the product lifecycle from the initial stages of software development so that there are no language issues once localization gets underway.
  • Choosing a localization vendor is extremely crucial to the success of getting your product localized. Software localization is very important for your organization if you want your product to be usable and accessible in new markets. You want to make sure that your LSP (Language Service Provider) is staffed fully, has the right talent and can deliver high-quality localized software on time and within budget. When the timelines become aggressive, they should also be able to scale the teams at their end and handle the functional quality assurance around localization.
  • The localization process needs preparation and oversight. While you work with translation vendors and monitor the costs associated with the translation, it is equally important to verify the content from an engineering point of view, seeking the help of a linguist. Using the right tools, streamlining the localization and translation process and revalidating is extremely important for the success of a localized product.

Fast forward one year, and we now have the tools, people, and processes in place to deliver quality localized products on schedule (or even ahead of it). What an achievement! But this journey would not have been successful without these three key people who came along with me in making this story successful:

  • Anna Schlegel, Head of Globalization, NetApp, Founder and President Women in Localization
  • Edith Bendermacher, Senior Manager, Globalization and Localization, NetApp
  • Jeanne Wiegelmann-Alfandary, Documentation Lead, Perforce

Jeanne Wiegelmann-Alfandary

We all connected, got educated and helped in getting this program implemented.  I consider this a great example of women empowerment. As a member of Women in Localization, we are living through our values and mottos to make this world better in terms of giving back, mentoring, sharing expertise and, at the end, delivering world-class products.

Women that Rock

Localization at Mayo Clinic Means Putting the Patient’s Needs First

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If you are a Fortune 500 company, your reasons for investing in localization often include expanding and growing your global sales. But if you are Mayo Clinic, the #1 ranked hospital in the United States according to U.S. News & World Report, your primary objective for localization is to ensure the needs of the patient come first.

Gianna Martella, Senior Editor for the Global Business Solutions Unit at Mayo Clinic, said Mayo Clinic fulfills this goal by providing accurate and actionable health information for patients.

With its full website in English, Spanish and Arabic, and microsites in Simplified Chinese and Portuguese, Mayo Clinic’s briefs about medical procedures, symptoms, conditions, diagnosis, treatments, and definitions of medical terminology, offer patients easy to understand and actionable health information. In addition, documentation like forms, instructions and applications have also been translated for patients with limited or no command of English.

“We know that much of the medical content available through the Internet can be less than accurate, and some of it is written in such a way as to be alarming,” said Martella. “We aim to offer the lay person access to trusted health information in languages other than English, believing that informed patients and consumers tend to make better decisions, which results in better outcomes.”

Possessing advanced degrees in languages, translation, and literature, Martella worked for many years as a freelance translator, certified court interpreter and owner of her own small translation business. With this extensive experience, Martella said that her position as a Senior Editor was a logical progression in her career. “While the term ‘localization’ was fairly new to me, the idea of adapting local cultural concepts and regionalisms when translating content was not new.”

“Because we want to reach as many people worldwide as we can, we are using a very neutral version of the languages into which we translate,” Martella said. “We stay away from slang and from regionalisms. Since the content from our group has been written in a warm and conversational tone, in Spanish we use the informal form of the second grammatical person. However, we avoid that if culturally inappropriate.”

While Mayo Clinic strives to translate and adapt content for as many people as possible, there are several obstacles that must be overcome when localizing their specialized content.

“One of our challenges is to ensure that the quality and accuracy of our English content is mirrored in the translations, and this can be challenging when you are a large organization with campuses across several states,” Martella said. “Another challenge is the time needed to update translations after the English originals have been revised. While we would like for our audience to be able to access the updated translations immediately, there are several quality and accuracy checks required before the content is ready in other languages.”

Martella’s localization wish list includes incorporating technology into Mayo Clinic’s translation program. “Mayo Clinic is a non-profit, so ‘unlimited budget’ is not in my vocabulary,” said Martella. “That said, I wish for affordable machine translation capabilities that are provably and reliably accurate to assist – but not replace – our human translators, who are essential to producing trusted health information in other languages.”

In her role as Senior Editor, Martella interacts with people in several different groups at Mayo, such as Content Syndication, Office of Patient Education, and Language Services, an office where translators and interpreters provide linguistic services directly to patients. “There are many things I like about my job with Mayo Clinic,” Martella said. “My job is very interesting, I get to learn something every day and I work with some very dedicated individuals.”

Martella feels that Mayo Clinic continues to be successful in its primary goal of putting patient needs first. “I believe it is very important that Mayo is working on localizing our content because of its value to the users,” Martella said. “It is also a wonderful opportunity for me, because Mayo as an institution recognizes the value of translations that are accurate and well done.”


Demystifying Global E-commerce

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On October 4th 2018 Capita Translation and Interpreting (Capita TI) kindly sponsored and hosted our W.L. UK Quarter Three event in their beautiful new offices in central London. The topic was global e-commerce, from the viewpoint of our three fabulous guest speakers, presented in a relaxed and informal environment where we could meet fellow women (and men) in the localization industry. Here’s how the evening unfolded.

As with previous Women in Localization events, we kicked off with some drinks and nibbles and a chance to network and mingle. After introducing our sponsor and learning about Capita TI’s extensive range of services, our Chapter Manager Inger Larsen explained the background and purpose of Women in Localization. We’re here to support women and help them progress their localization careers. This event is just one of the many ways in which we hope to achieve our goal. And the topic global e-commerce was chosen from our Facebook poll where we asked you what areas you’d like us to focus on.

Our first speaker on the topic was Laura Pearmain. Laura is a Solutions Architect at Capita TI. She gathers customer localisation requirements and recommends different technologies to meet them, and contributes to efficiency improvements across the business. Laura gave us great insights into the nuts and bolts of global e-commerce. Beginning with explaining what it is, she went into detail on how it works – and how to ‘get it right’. Localization is key – customers want to buy in their own language. But there are various ways (and technologies) to make sure the local language content is served up quickly and accurately. You should think about how much local adaptation or additional content you may want to add, as this will impact your CMS selection – and how you’re going to get the local content in and out for localization. Technology is crucial for achieving both speed and consistent quality.

Having got to grips with the localization agency side of things, it was time to hear from Rachel Ball. Rachel is the Translations Manager (EMEA) for Ralph Lauren but had previously worked at a translation agency. We were keen to hear about her transition to the client-side challenges of global e-commerce. Handling high volume and repetition, while remaining accurate, excellent and true to the brand were some of Rachel’s daily challenges. As well as planning upstream and being mindful of hard (seasonal) deadlines that were often squeezed with localization being the last stage in the process. Ralph Lauren’s goal is to be ‘omnichannel’, providing customers with a seamless experience from online to offline; desktop, mobile, phone or real store. Localized content has to therefore be scalable, consistent and resonate on all channels – for each and every customer.

Last but not least, Semra van der Linden (a Product Manager on Expedia’s Market Expansion program) took the stage and told us a little about Expedia’s approach to getting e-commerce off the ground in non-traditional emerging markets, including the Middle East and Latin America. Agreeing completely with our previous two speakers, regarding not only the processes and people involved, but also the value of localizing e-commerce content, Semra also spoke about the very real (and commercial) need for speed. Locally nuanced language and content are the ‘holy grail’ but Expedia will launch with MVP (minimum viable product), scrutinise performance, measure ROI and then evolve the product offering and localization in line with local requirements. Good advice to agencies when proposing solutions to clients – listen to their commercial objectives and tailor a solution that will grow with your client’s ambitions and tactics.

After opening up the floor to questions from the audience, we brought the speaker section of the evening to a close and continued to mingle and chat over drinks and nibbles. People started to head off at around half nine, brimming with new ideas for global e-commerce and delighted with the new contacts they’d made.

Our next Women in Localization event is going to be in the New Year and the topic is Machine Translation. Drop us an email if you’d like us to keep you up-to-date with the details. Looking forward to seeing you there!



Women in Localization 10th Anniversary Gala an Opportunity to Give Back

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SUNNYVALE, California, USA, November 13, 2018. Women in Localization (W.L.), the leading professional organization for women in the localization industry, is thrilled to announce their 10th Anniversary as an organization dedicated to supporting Women in Localization. They celebrated their anniversary by giving back to Translators Without Borders and inspirational wisdom from Silicon Valley leaders, Anna Yen and Lisa Stone.

Members and supporters of Women in Localization gathered the evening of Friday, October 5, 2018 to celebrate the organization’s 10th Anniversary at Fairview Crystal Springs in Burlingame, CA. The gala event marked a decade since Women in Localization was founded to provide women and their allies in the localization industry with opportunities for networking, education, career advancement, mentoring and recognition.

In addition to marking the milestone anniversary, the event was an opportunity for Women in Localization to give back through a fundraiser for Translators Without Borders.  Thanks to generous support from members and generous corporate sponsors, including Gold Sponsor Moravia, Women in Localization surpassed their target donation goal of $4,000 by 25%, presenting a check for $5,025 to Translators Without Borders Board Member Iris Orriss during the event.

The fundraising check is presented to Iris Orriss (R) by Silvia Avary-Silveira (L) and Fadwa Asaad (center).

“A phenomenal amount was raised, and unrestricted donations like these are the lifeblood of what we do,” said Rosie Marteau, Development Senior Officer at Translators Without Borders. “The generous support from Women in Localization provides us with vital core funding that supports many of our ongoing initiatives around the world. Furthermore, this unrestricted funding helps us develop innovative language solutions for humanitarian response and development.”

Through their shared bond with translators and linguists, the collaboration between Women in Localization and Translators Without Borders is a perfect match. In June Silvia Avary-Silveira, CFO and Co-Founder of Women in Localization, contacted Translators Without Borders to suggest working together on a fundraiser. “Many of the members of Women in Localization are friends, donors, and allies of our work at Translators Without Borders,” said Marteau. “Of course, we naturally jumped at the chance to support Women in Localization’s fundraising efforts. We felt touched by the initiative and Silvia’s kind words about her belief in our work.”

“When we were planning our event, we decided early on to do a fundraising campaign to benefit a non-profit organization of our liking,” said Avary-Silveira. “So, when Fadwa Assad, our Executive Director of Sponsorships, suggested Translators Without Borders as our beneficiary, our board voted yes unanimously. It just made so much sense.”

While the funds will support many activities, portions are earmarked for Translators Without Borders’ Language Equality Initiative called Gamayun. This cross-industry project aims to improve fairer access to language technology and ensure the progress of machine translation benefits all people, not just those who speak and use the Internet in “commercially viable” languages.

“We are developing voice and text machine translation for marginalized languages, and making these available for use in humanitarian contexts, such as apps to help refugees access local information as they move,” said Marteau. “Ultimately the goal is for people in need to be able to communicate their own needs proactively, which will dramatically shift humanitarian communications.”

The evening’s festivities kicked off with a cocktail reception, followed by a formal sit-down dinner and discussion between distinguished entrepreneurs and longtime friends Anna Yen and Lisa Stone.

Loy Searle (far R), Women in Localization Vice President, hosted a panel with keynote speakers Lisa Stone (L) and Anna Yen (center) where they shared their wisdom and experience.

While Yen’s diminutive stature gives her male co-workers an initial impression of vulnerability, they soon discover that she is a force of nature not to be underestimated. Thanks to her strong character and no-nonsense communication style, Yen quickly earns their respect. “I work best with powerful men and it’s because I treat them like my brother,” Yen said. “I’m honest and always share my opinions, and it’s helped me to get what I want.”

Reflecting on their long careers in tech, Yen and Stone provided insight on how they achieved success in Silicon Valley. Both agreed that networking and mentorship are critical factors to success, and women should strive to always be learning and reach outside their comfort zones to embrace new challenges.

As a global organization, the celebration extended around the world to Women in Localization’s many international Chapters. Chapters in Argentina, the Netherlands, Barcelona, Singapore, Japan and the Pacific Northwest discovered a perfect mix of local speakers and delicious food worked well to mark the occasion. The Beijing Chapter had double the reason to celebrate, marking both the 10th Anniversary and the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival at the same event. The Polish Chapter live streamed the gala event, watching the revelry unfold in real time. And, finally, to continue the festivities as long as possible, the Pacific Northwest Chapter extended the celebrations two more weeks by inviting LocWorld38 attendees to a networking get-together in Seattle.

The Women in Localization Board of Directors extends their many thanks to the committee members who worked hard on the festive event, including Silvia Avary-Silveira, Fadwa Asaad, Erica Haims, Fabiano Cid, Sabine Rioufol, Magdalena Enea, Sheena Makhecha and Tanya Badeka.

“Our 10th anniversary, our new status as a non-profit organization, further global expansion, we are not only leaders in our industry, but we are leading the equality game in our profession,” said Schlegel as she welcomed the gala attendees. “Here’s to the next 10 years!”

Women in Localization Argentina Chapter celebrating the organization’s 10th Anniversary.

W.L. President Anna Schlegel Reflects on 2018 and the Secret Sauce for 2019

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As the year is quickly moving toward its end, I wanted to give insight on how Women in Localization rolled this year. As President of the 2018 Board, I observe and pay a lot of attention as our Members, Board, Committees, Partners, Sponsors and Advisors drive leadership in our globalization profession. I try to read the tea leaves while also keeping quiet and listening.

I recently sat down all alone – a rare occurrence! – with a cup of coffee, no kids, no noise, to make a list and reflect on what we accomplished this year. The list grew kilometric in just a few minutes. Once you pull it all together, it is to be celebrated and bow – I bow to the list! How did we get this focused, this purposeful and show so many results? Why do we want to belong and lead our industry so much?

In our list of accomplishments, I had an “aha!” moment. Holy smokes, this year alone we drove 64 innovation sessions. 64. Sis quatre. Six-four localization innovation sessions. The carefully planned events, led by local Chapters, discuss all aspects of globalization: technology, platforms, quality, vendor management, mentoring, innovation, and engineering, but they were also celebrating our women, with discussions on how to manage it all. We all know the answer to that one…run for the hills!

We continue our strategy to let more and new faces try leadership through our organization. Our Board sponsored 15 Committees this year. That translates into 15 new leaders who formed Committees to lead our business, to drive our goals, to cross collaborate and to take care of our ever-evolving organization. Dynamic as a noun explodes here.  Some of those Committees have nearly a dozen people on them. The Committees are led by Executive Directors who are charged with leading their area and developing solutions for the organization. Some of these Committees have been around longer than others. For example, Marketing and Chapters are more established and help guide new Committees as they ramp up. We are also kicking off two new Committees, one for Mentorship and another for Global Growth. We are also thinking of starting a Committee for metrics… You see? We don’t rest. There are too many dots to connect and a plethora of incredibly capable women to lead. The Board connects all those dots to empower and train in leadership. Sometimes we get it right, sometimes we get it wrong. But it is our values and ability to collaborate that gives us the framework to lead and steer our organization.

With 2019 right around the corner, we are now in succession planning mode. Who are the next leaders, do we move some chairs around?

We just celebrated our 10th year anniversary and became a non-profit. We launched Chapters in Singapore, Poland, Utah and Beijing. We opened an Office of the Chair that mimics all supporting key roles of a large organization. We participated in every single industry event with our awesome partners GALA, and Slator, and LocWorld.

Our focus for 2019 will be all about our Members. Get ready for that, as well as much more training for Members, and more opportunity to participate in our leadership fabric. And of course, as good globalizers…more Chapters!

I will announce a new President come January 1st and I am so excited to see new leaders shine through. If you are interested in an open position let us know. We are here to mentor, sponsor and help you with your localization dreams!


Anna N Schlegel

President, Women in Localization