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


Personal & Professional Wisdom

If I Knew Then What I Know Now: Career Advice from Localization Industry Veterans

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Blog Author Lara-Ashleigh Pieterse
Blog Author Lara-Ashleigh Pieterse

Starting out in a career can come with many challenges. The localization industry is no different. As you get through your first three months, then six months, then one year, things start to get easier and you learn that you can face the challenges that are thrown at you. For those of you that have been in the industry for a while, take a minute to think about the obstacles that you have overcome in your career. If you could go back and give your younger self advice, what would you say?

We interviewed four women in the localization industry to find out what lessons they have learned, what they would do differently, and what advice they would give to those who are just starting out.

Anna N. Schlegel is the co-founder of Women in Localization and has over 25 years of experience in the industry. She is Vice President, Global Portfolio Lifecycle Management at NetApp and is a well-respected leader in the globalization community.

Anna N. Schlegel
Anna N. Schlegel

For Anna, learning how to communicate effectively was essential to building her career. “Take executive communication classes,” said Anna, “and train yourself to say what you need to say in as few words as possible.”

Anna’s advice for those who are just starting out?

Be careful who you partner with. Not only at work and in business but also in your life. “Some people are just not nice, and that’s that. It took me many years to realize that some people don’t play well with others. Leave your Manager if he/she is not nice – there are many awesome managers out there.”

No one will promote you, you must promote yourself. “You have to prove that you are already at the next level. Do this by studying, learning new concepts, attending networking sessions, and getting enough sleep!”

Monica Bajaj has been in the industry for almost 20 years and currently is Director of Engineering at Ultimate Software. She serves on the board of Women in Localization as a Chief Compliance Officer for Technology, GDPR, and Security initiatives.

Monica Bajaj
Monica Bajaj

What does Monica suggest for others starting out in the industry?

Work smart and not just work hard. “During my first job in leadership, I used to work at least 18 hours every day trying to constantly prove myself. This took away my time from my family and caused an imbalance. Looking back, I realize that it’s not worth it at all. Over the years, I have learned that work keeps changing but family is one thing that is constant. Had I known this before, I would have had more balance and more time with my family. Luckily, it lasted only for a year and I learned it sooner rather than later.”

Be fearless. “Use your fear as your fuel so that you can get out of your comfort zone and not worry about what others might think. Always stand up and speak up so that everyone understands how you need to be treated. As Oprah Winfrey says, ‘Think like a queen, a queen is not afraid to fail.’ Lessons from failures are opportunities.”

Ask questions and don’t assume anything.“Communication is the secret sauce of clarity. When in doubt don’t hesitate to ask questions. This will create transparency and help everyone to be on the same page.”

Katrin Drescher,leading the Women in Localization Ireland Chapter, has over 18 years of experience in the industry. She has served in many different roles from program management to people management and is now Director of Globalization at Tenable.

Katrin Drescher
Katrin Drescher

Here is Katrin’s advice for localization industry newbies:

Assume positively.“Over the years I have learned to trust that nearlyeveryone has good intentions, even though it may sometimes not come across that way. Listen, seek to understand, re-think your approach, and help to find common ground when you encounter resistance vs. fighting opinions which often leads to dead ends. If you don’t get further taking this approach, let it go and re-orientate for your own sake and sanity. There are enough people and organizations out there who want to work together doing good.”

Speak up, get out of your comfort zone.“I deliberately do things regularly that I feel a bit uncomfortable with – like speaking at events or addressing people in the organization whom I don’t know or happen to be more senior with a direct question. Trust your good intent and your inner voice and simply dive in, without pondering too long if it’s the right or wrong thing to do. More often than not the reaction will be positive.”

Explore your options, shape your role.“Think of the industry as a springboard to many different career possibilities. A lot of people think of becoming a project manager, translator/linguist, or language manager, but today roles blend more and more and can be a hybrid across disciplines like language, marketing, sales, engineering, or research. Look for what’s needed around you and propose a role description that would help the company achieve its goals – and go for it!”

Finally, we have Cecilia Maldonado. Based in Argentina where, 20 years ago, there was no localization industry at all, Cecilia broke new ground and has worn many different hats in the process, from translator to event organizer. Cecilia co-founded, managed, and merged language service companies, co-founded the first language industry association in Argentina, and has over 20 years of experience in the localization industry.

Cecilia Maldonado
Cecilia Maldonado

Here is what Cecilia has to say to those starting out:

Passion, professionalism, and hard work. “Passion and hard work take you places, and professionalism helps maintain your credibility over time. Together with visibility, these are key to personal and professional growth.”

 Take the time to learn and be trained. “If I had the chance to do anything different, I’d start my career in a translation company or something similar instead of having to learn everything I know the hard way, but I had no choice back in Argentina in 1999.”

Be nice to people. “Respect people’s differences and opinions and always do what you think is right. If you can stand proud after 20 yearsof networking and participating in the industry, then you’ve done things right.”

Although we can’t go back in time, we can certainly learn from our mistakes and share our knowledge and experiences with others. In this industry the possibilities are endless, so be fearless, go into the unknown, and help pave the way for others wanting to follow.

Seeking guidance in the localization industry or want to pass on your wisdom and empower others? Consider joining the Women in Localization Mentor Matchmaking Program.




Women in Localization Announces New India Chapter

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Women in Localization (W.L.), the leading professional organization for women in the localization industry, is delighted to announce the launch of a new Chapter in India. This will be W.L.’s twenty-first (21st) Chapter and first Chapter in India, expanding W.L.’s global reach into 15 unique countries.

Leading the Women in Localization India (WLIN) Chapter is Anjali Misra, Engineering Program Manager at NetApp. She is joined by five localization industry veterans: Vidya Ramachandran, Senior Program Manager at Adobe, Madhu Sundaramurthy, Operations Head and Innovation Hub Manager at Summa Linguae Technologies, Sarita Desai, Localization Consultant, Vibha Malhotra, Software Quality Engineering Manager at Adobe, and Geeta Tuteja, Senior Lead Software Engineer Globalization at Adobe.

“We are very excited to start a Chapter in India. This was a long-awaited moment,” said Anjali Misra, India Chapter Manager. “India is a hub for language diversity and technology, both crucial aspects in localization.”

The Chapter plans to host events in Bangalore, beginning with their inaugural event from 4:00 – 6:00 pm (IST) on July 12, 2019 at Adobe India Pvt. Ltd. The event will introduce the leadership team and offer networking opportunities.

Interested parties are encouraged to register for the event on the India Chapter’s sign up page or join the Women in Localization Facebook group. Event registration will open in the next couple weeks.

The India Chapter can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

“There are a good number of women all around India involved or interested in the localization industry and keen on being part of the community,” said Misra. “We will be hosting interesting events where together we can share ideas, knowledge and best practices. Together as a community we can reach greater heights.”

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 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 You can also follow W.L. on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter.


Women in Localization Announces Sponsorship Agreement with RWS Moravia

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MOUNTAIN VIEW, California, USA, June 24, 2019. Women in Localization (W.L.), the leading professional organization for women in the localization industry, is excited to announce RWS Moravia as a gold-level sponsor.

Women in Localization started offering Annual Sponsorship Packages in 2019, and RWS Moravia quickly jumped at the opportunity to help support the organization’s mission to foster a global community for the advancement of women in the localization industry.

RWS Moravia is a globalization solutions provider enabling companies in IT, retail, ecommerce, life sciences, legal, financial, manufacturing and travel and hospitality industries to enter global markets with high-quality multilingual products and services. RWS Moravia’s solutions include translation, localization, testing, content creation, language quality, machine translation implementations, technology consulting and global digital marketing services. Its parent company, RWS, is headquartered in the UK with over 2,500 employees worldwide, and is ranked the fifth largest language service provider (LSP) for 2018 by Common Sense Advisory (CSA).

“RWS Moravians have been active in Women in Localization for years now and recently decided to support further and be a Gold Sponsor,” said Pavel Soukenik, RWS Moravia Chief Client Acquisition Officer. “We’re committed to the organization because we believe in the power of diversity and the importance of women’s contributions to the industry. The industry as a whole is made better because of women’s knowledge and expertise in localization.”

“RWS Moravia’s continued support for Women in Localization is remarkable! They were our Gold Sponsor last year for W.L.’s 10thAnniversary Gala event in the Bay Area, they sponsored events held by local chapters around the world, and now they are our Gold Sponsor again. We couldn’t be more grateful for their support,” said Silvia Avary-Silveira, Women in Localization Co-Founder and CFO.

Support from Women in Localization’s sponsors will enable the non-profit to grow its infrastructure and global footprint, with funds going towards technology improvements, participation in industry events and educational activities.

“We so appreciate our sponsor RWS Moravia for their support of Women in Localization,” said Loy Searle, Women in Localization President. “We are able to do what we do because our industry sponsors support us! Thank you!”

If your organization would be interested in supporting Women in Localization, please contact us or check out our sponsorship page. Donations made to W.L. in the U.S. are tax deductible.

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 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 You can also follow W.L. on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.


Industry Trends & Innovation

Go-to-Market Strategies in Europe: How Nordic Companies Take on the Dutch Market

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Petra Wullings is responsible for bringing several top tier tech companies from the Nordics to the European market. Originally from Finland, and now located in the Amsterdam area, Petra is the CEO and founder of TradeMill, a Go-to-Market consulting firm that uses unique techniques to scale up businesses. Over the past two years she has worked with an increasing number of clients from clean tech, the circular economy and digital services sectors, which seem to be some of the fastest growing industries in the Nordics.

Petra Wullings serves her clients in Finnish, Dutch and English.

As for the best part of her work, Petra describes the feeling: “When we see that all of the effort we have done for our client is appreciated, yielding results and bringing them further on the market.”

“One of the most common mistakes, despite your industry or company size, is to expect that the foreign market works the same way as your home market,” Petra commented.

Petra stressed that at first sight the new market might look very similar to the home market (even between various European markets), but the deeper you dig, the more you discover reasons to customize your market approach. Too often localization is also understood merely as translation work.

“We notice that companies who are open, ready to change and adapt are the ones who have the best and fastest chance to break through and get access to the business,”Petra said.

According to Petra, having a product that solves the problem of a potential customer in a new market (problem-solution fit) is not nearly enough. In her projects, Petra is aiming for the full circle that includes product-market-fit and business-model-fit.

“In order to be attractive, your solution should actually generate value for the client (product-market fit). But not even this is enough, the company also needs to understand the way to bring the product to the local market and how the clients want to do business with your company (business model fit),” Petra said.

Local consultants team up with designing the client’s market entry strategy process.

Petra predicts a successful entry to the market for those who manage to discover and break through all the three layers. Furthermore, Petra names customer service as the key differentiator between competitors. Therefore, succeeding in a new market requires understanding of the client’s entire value chain.

“Services should not be designed for the client, but for the client’s client,” Petra said.

Smaller businesses might have more limited resources, but Petra still advises SMBs to include locals on the team from the beginning and to hire or buy resources when necessary. Different sets of skills will be needed in different phases of market entry, and therefore it is wise to hire a (small) team of individuals or freelancers on a project basis. It is also possible, to minimize risks, to purchase market entry support services without hiring immediately. Some quick research conducted by a native speaking market expert might end up saving a lot of valuable time and resources later on.

Legal aspects of localization should be also considered. Registering your business, opening an office and establishing all the necessary legal documents can be a challenge for companies without a local network and cultural understanding. But this doesn’t hinder market research and prospecting efforts.

According to Petra, market research studies can be launched and meetings with prospective clients can be set even if the legal entity is still under construction. However, sometimes it is good to understand the market and its needs before setting up the legal entity. It could be that there’s no need for your solution on the market.

“Failing fast is also a result and can save you a lot of resources and time,” said Petra.

As a final thought, I asked Petra to give a pro-Dutch-market-entry-tip to a start-up friend over a cup of coffee (orgezellig kopje koffie — in Dutch).

“Look for support from locals, respect their advice, ask for and listen to feedback. Learn from it and be ready to adopt your product, service and your way of doing business, if necessary,” Petra said.

These canals were built to accommodate the busy merchant life during the hype of the Dutch East India Company and tulip mania.

Women in Localization Announces New Colorado and Texas Chapters

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MOUNTAIN VIEW, California, USA, June 6, 2019. Women in Localization (W.L.) the leading professional organization for women in the localization industry, is delighted to announce the launch of new Chapters in Texas and Colorado. Texas and Colorado will be W.L.’s nineteenth (19th) and twentieth (20th) Chapters and the first Chapters in these states.

Leading the Women in Localization Texas (WLTX) Chapter is 26-year localization industry veteran and owner and CEO of MasterWord, Mila Golovine. The WLTX leadership team will include Eva Ratti, Manager of Localization at Inspired eLearning, Natalia Noland, Translation and Interpretation Program Coordinator at Houston Community College, Leigh Turgut, Senior Quality Assurance Specialist at TransPerfect, Yuri Hayasaka, Project Manager at SDL, Olga Daggs, Manager of T&L Services at MasterWord and Jessica Rathke, Managing Director of L10N Sales & Marketing.

“Women in Localization has enabled me to get to know and learn from professionals in our industry whom I would not have otherwise met, and now we have this opportunity in Texas,” said Texas Chapter Advisor Jessica Rathke.

The Texas Chapter’s inaugural event will take place from 6:30pm-8pm June 13, 2019 in downtown Austin at the General Assembly offices (WeWork location). The event is sponsored by General Assembly and MasterWord and will feature a panel presentation and general overview of Women in Localization.

Registration for the Texas Chapter event is open on Eventbrite and the Texas Chapter can be found on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

“This event is a unique opportunity for women who work in localization in Texas to connect with their peers, mentors and industry leaders,” said Texas Chapter Mentorship Manager Natalia Noland.

Leading the Women in Localization Colorado (WLCO) Chapter is Suzanne Frank, Vice President of Global Enablement at Vistatec. The leadership team will also include Elizabeth Senouci, Director of Business Development at XTM, Glenda Leung, Ph.D., Localization Strategist at SDL, Rose Morrissey, Program Manager at and Andrea Ulrich, LRS Team Lead at Vistatec.

“The pent-up demand for a Colorado Chapter has been overwhelming,” said Chapter Manager Suzanne Frank. “Our initial membership is more than 45 members.”

Plans are in place to host events in Boulder, Denver and Golden, Colorado, in order to include as many participants as possible.

The Colorado Chapter’s inaugural event will be 6:30pm-9pm on June 27, 2019, at the Omni Interlocken Hotel & Resort in Broomfield, Colorado. The event will feature Michal Lebowitsch Dayan, head of International Content Operations at Gaia, presenting “A Global Paradigm Shift, Challenges. Choices. Solutions”.

Interested parties are encouraged to register for the event on the Colorado Eventbrite page or join the Women in Localization Colorado Chapter LinkedIn group. Event registration is currently underway.

“We are thrilled at the opportunity to have a Women in Localization Colorado Chapter,” said Frank. “The localization community here in the Denver-Boulder-Golden area is large and continuing to grow. Having the opportunity to gather, learn and network will strengthen us and take our local localization community to the next level.”

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 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 You can also follow W.L. on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter.

Personal & Professional Wisdom

How to Build a Successful Localization Internship Program

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As the school year draws to a close, we head into summer internship season. While more and more companies are offering localization internships, for some busy teams, it can be a challenge to invest in training someone who will only be around temporarily. With the right balance, internships can truly be win-win, so we asked for some tips from someone whose company has built a successful internship program over three decades: Stephan Lins, CEO of MediaLocate.

MediaLocate’s home base is in beautiful Pacific Grove, California, ten minutes away from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS), which is well-known for both its translation and interpretation programs, as well as its growing localization management program. This proximity has allowed MediaLocate to build a longstanding relationship with MIIS and its students that dates back to when the company was founded in 1988; many a MIIS graduate, including Women in Localization co-founder Eva Klaudinyova, has launched their career at MediaLocate.

Below, Stephan shares his top tips for hosting an intern and the skills interns bring to the table.

Can you share a bit about the current program and how it has evolved over the years?

Initially our internships were designed purely for linguistic QA purposes to cover some of the major languages the company offered in-house. The program had 10-15 interns with varying schedules based on ongoing project and language needs. However, as the company matured it outgrew the program’s scale, bandwidth and flexibility and linguistic QA functions are mostly outsourced to in-country contractors.

Today, while we still utilize interns for some basic linguistic review functions, now there are fewer interns (usually between 4-7) and the program has become more complex, with a key focus on project management and use of translation tools. We also have internships in localization engineering and audio/video localization.

One thing to note: MediaLocate interns typically work part-time year-round and full-time in the summer and on school breaks. Most interns stay with the company for at least six months and some internships last for over a year.

Helen Jung

What kind of localization knowledge do students have before beginning the internship?

That really depends whether they are first or second year students at MIIS. Most second year students have had a good amount of exposure to CAT tools and localization processes. Some students are also on a dual degree track, like Localization Project Management and Translation & Interpretation, and already have terrific language skills.

First year students typically don’t have a lot of localization exposure/knowledge, but they do have the advantage of time, meaning MediaLocate can provide more specific training over a longer period on the use of particular tools or programs, so that when they do graduate, they have a more rounded/expanded knowledge portfolio.

One important thing to note is that MIIS students are not typical interns. They are graduate students who usually have had several years of related job experience. The re-classification of MIIS’ localization program as a STEM degree is a testament to the caliber of graduates produced at MIIS.

Isabella Sun

You’ve helped countless students launch their careers – do you have any advice for building a win-win internship program?

In the past, MediaLocate staff have taught various courses at MIIS, and the company also hosts some localization tools for students to use. While there are a fair number of repetitive support functions, we do try to also incorporate a variety of interesting and challenging localization tasks to give interns some real-world, practical exposure.

We definitely try to make all interns feel like they are part of a team and not just “little helpers”. They take part in production and company meetings and are fully in tune with how the company operates as a whole. In order to keep the internship dynamic year after year, we either hold Q&A sessions at MIIS or host a group of incoming students for an orientation at MediaLocate.

Wei Wu

What do interns go on to do after they graduate?

It is exciting and rewarding to see our interns move into successful localization careers. While I don’t have definitive statistics for all MIIS students, I would say that there is about a 50-50 split of students who go to work for language service providers (LSPs) versus client side localization programs. “Our graduates” can be found in nearly all major LSPs, and in many of the world’s most recognizable companies like Apple, Google, Netflix, Pinterest, Salesforce, etc.

Some of them have grown into leadership positions at MediaLocate and a few of the very brave eventually start their own independent careers or companies… and sometimes they even start impactful industry organizations like Women in Localization (Eva Klaudinyova: 2 year intern, 5 year employee).

Kayla Muñoz

What are your top three tips for someone hosting an intern for the first time?

Structure. Direction, schedule, and purpose are very important. All interns go through an HR orientation and several basic training sessions, including on our ISO quality standards. They have a scheduled routine, are assigned to a lead project manager and get ongoing 1-2-1 mentorship, with the goal of eventual self-reliance and independence, rather than a daily punch list.

Flexibility. Interns are students first, employees second. We understand and recognize the challenges of balancing the demands of grad school and work. We provide a great deal of flexibility in their weekly work schedule and offer remote working options when needed.

Fun. Since it can initially seem a bit overwhelming to be “thrown” into the real world of localization, we first try to break the ice and make interns feel like they are part of the team. We either have the new “rookie group” stand up together and sing at a company meeting or have them participate in our traditional burrito eating challenge.  (Very few have ever finished the “Super Grande”). We acknowledge every single birthday in the company, celebrate many special events and have frequent company lunches, usually with cake… lots of cake!

Stephan, thank you so much for sharing your insights with Women in Localization!

Personal & Professional Wisdom

Tips for Delivering High Quality Subtitles

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Being a professional subtitler for three yearsI have learned a lot from my mistakes and mentors. Here are a few tricks of the trade that help improve the quality of subtitles. Although these examples are in Hindi, the tips are helpful for subtitling in general.

Do Not Translate

A big no in the subtitling world is when one translates names. This is only acceptable when a proper translation exists, or the client has provided as such. A few months ago, I came across this issue while watching a Bollywood Movie on Netflix, Fanney Khan. In this, the lead actress has a dog by the name of “Ustad”. For those of us who know Hindi or Urdu, we know that the literal translation for “Ustad” is master. However, this doesn’t mean that one can translate the name to this. If we do, the subtitles would look somewhat like this: “Master, come here!” instead of “Ustad, come here!”. This minute translation changed the entire tone of the dialogue and sounded absurd.

Besides this, one should be willing to listen to the correct pronunciations of proper nouns before transliterating them. One may have to hear it time and again as the same word may be pronounced differently in different accents. But one must choose the correct way it was pronounced in the show/movie that one is working on.


Grammatical errors often mess up dialogues. Hence, we need to take care that nothing goes amiss in number, gender, tense, etc. I often come across words incorrectly translated like “यह” (this) is translated as “ये”(these).  Same is true for “वह”(that) and “वो”(those). These might seem like minor errors and may not be noticeable while speaking, but they are clearly noticed in subtitles as they end up changing the structure of the subtitle.


In Hindi, we do not end a sentence with a period, but instead we use a “Puranviram”. “Puran”means absolute and “viram”means stop. It looks like this “।”. Commas are known as “Alpviram”, or short stops. One rule in Hindi is that we do not use a comma before “and”. Many people are unaware of this and they end up writing commas where they are not needed, which disrupts the flow of the dialogue and adds an extra character that might exceed the characters per second allowed.


Numbers from 1 to 10 are always spelled out. Don’t forget to spell out any number that begins a sentence. If there are more than two numbers in a dialogue, one can skip the rule of spelling them out as it might lead to a violation of reading speed. Big numbers with billion, million need to be converted to crores or lac to make it easier for the Indian audience to comprehend. One million = ten lac, one billion = ten crore.

Measurements and Dates

In subtitling, units of measurement must be localized and calculated accordingly. The audience will find it hard to understand if we state the distances in miles or yards, and use gallons instead of liters, or pounds in place of kilograms. The reason being that India uses the metric system of measurement and not the FPS system. For example, a newborn weighing six pounds might mean a very healthy baby for someone who doesn’t know that one kilogram equals 2.2 pounds. So, the subtitler must convert it into kilograms.

The same holds true for dates. In India, dd-mm-yy is the predominant form of numeric date usage. The month-day-year is never used in India. So, a subtitler should translate April 14, 2019 as 14 अप्रैल, 2019.

Watch the Video While Subtitling

This is really important. Never think that you can subtitle a video by just listening to the dialogue or looking at the template provided. So many times, one comes across subtitles that are different from what is shown on screen. One such instance for me was watching Satyagrahaon Netflix. The subtitle shows, “Peel the cabbage,” while you can see there’s a cauliflower lying on the counter. And we never peel it, it is meant to be grated. In the next scene, as the woman serves breakfast on the dining table, the subtitles for her father-in-law say, “What kind of paranthas (a kind of Indian flatbread with stuffing inside)  are we having?” The woman replies,”Cabbage.”And if you are an Indian, you would know people mostly eat cauliflower paranthas and not cabbage paranthas. Such subtitling errors leave a bad taste for sure.

One might feel that these are just minor issues. How do they matter? But that’s not true. I will share my personal experience with you. I translated a TED Talk by Valerie Kaur, in which she talks about being inspired by her grandpa. There was no other context provided, so I had translated grandpa as “दादाजी”(Dadaji, paternal grandpa). A couple of weeks later, I received a note of thanks on FB from the speaker’s mother. I felt so proud that someone had indeed referred to my subtitles while watching the talk. It gave me a sense of fulfilment.

And then, I received another message from her, in which she mentioned that the speaker was talking about her maternal grandfather, hence grandpa should have been translated as “नानाजी” (Nanaji). And she asked me to correct the translation, as her folks back home had watched the subtitled talk and were not happy about the credit being given to “Dadaji”. I approached the TED translate team and we got it corrected. Mission accomplished!

A subtitler who understands the lifestyle, etiquette, and the idiomatic and cultural nuances of the target language will surely deliver quality work. At the same time, one has to be willing to research if something new comes up. And above all, one should always keep in mind that quality is all that matters.


Women in Localization Announce New Eastern Canada Chapter

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MOUNTAIN VIEW, California, USA, May 8, 2019. Women in Localization (W.L.), the leading professional organization for women in the localization industry, is delighted to announce the launch of a new Chapter in Eastern Canada. This will be W.L.’s eighteenth (18th) Chapter, expanding their global reach into fourteen (14) unique countries.

Leading the Women in Localization Eastern Canada (WLEC) Chapter as Chapter Manager is Catherine Christaki. Catherine is the Co-Founder of Lingua Greca Translations and the lead Greek translator for Apple’s software and help content. The leadership team will also include Kathrin Bussmann, Ph.D., International Marketing Consultant, Head of Verbaccino and Producer of the Worldly Marketer Podcast; Giulia Greco, Content and Localization Manager at Shopify; Tanya Sapty, Founder of Circa Translations; and Lisa Carter, President and Creative Director at Intralingo Inc.

“I’ve been a huge fan of W.L. since its founding and I’d get serious FoMO (envy, too) whenever I saw posts about its events all over the world,” said WLEC’s Chapter and Membership Manager, Catherine Christaki. “Finally, a dream has come true with our new W.L. Chapter, the first in Canada, an officially bilingual and multicultural country. The number of people involved or interested in the localization industry in Canada is astounding and yet we only get very few chances to attend localization events locally. WLEC is here to remedy that. I look forward to the awesome networking and mentoring events we have planned, to inspiring the younger generations of localizers and to supporting our great industry.”

Events will be held in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal to include as many women as possible, starting with the inaugural event on June 5, 2019 at the Shopify offices in Toronto. The June 5thevent will introduce W.L. and WLEC’s Chapter leadership, followed by informal networking over snacks.

“I couldn’t be more excited to have Shopify, a Canadian tech leader heavily invested in localization, hosting and sponsoring our first event in their beautiful offices in downtown Toronto,” said WLEC’s Events Manager Giulia Greco.

Interested parties are encouraged to sign up for W.L. on their sign up page and contact the WLEC Leadership Team directly at Event registration will open in the next few days via Eventbrite.

You can also connect with W.L.’s Eastern Canada Chapter on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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 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 You can also follow W.L. on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter.

Personal & Professional Wisdom

Women of Silicon Roundabout – Women Leading Technology – Women of Inspiration

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Are you attending the tech event of the year – Women of Silicon Roundabout – in London this June? If not, and you’re looking to progress your career, keep up to date with what’s happening in the industry, or simply want to hear some inspiring leaders share their thoughts and wisdom, you need to book your ticket!

I will be a first time visitor to this event and wanted to find out more about what we can expect from the industry and what opportunities it offers women looking into and beyond the next decade. Rather than do a little research, book my place and simply turn up on the day, I wanted to know about the speakers we would be listening to and what we might learn. I was keen to find out how they have worked through careers to their current positions and whether they would be willing to share some insights ahead of the event. Three of the panel kindly agreed to contribute and share their experiences, presented below, as a selection of their most valuable tips and food for thought. (You may want to seek them out at the event if they have inspired you!)

Thank you for your contributions Fiona Hathorn, Managing Director at Women on Boards UK; Lesley Reeve, COO and Director of Customer Success at FISCAL Technologies; and Stacey O’Connor, Project Manager, Team Lead and Account Principal at Adobe.

  1. What were the main reasons you decided to speak at the Women in Technology event this year?

Fiona:It is vital for women to learn and understand how to sell themselves into the boardroom. Planting seeds is my main goal in speaking at this event.

Lesley:I attended the event last year and was so impressed with its purpose, the speakers and the agenda. I met some wonderful fellow attendees and we all shared lots of insights. The whole experience was inspirational and memorable. I relished the idea of having an impact on attendees as I had had. If I can inspire one person, then I would be rewarding my own values.

Stacey:I attended the conference in 2018 and took a lot of inspiration from the women who presented; I enjoyed the format and forum of people. I am enthusiastic to encourage women into my industry who aren’t sure whether they have the right background or experience.

  1. Will you be devising the structure of your talk and its subject matter yourself?

Fiona:I will base it on what I feel I can offer the audience, in the position I hold at Women on Boards; valuable information unique to the knowledge and experience I can offer others.

Lesley:The event’s proposed topics cover many subjects I would love to speak about. However, my talk will be something I resonate well with, advice that I can share that will make a big impact on the audience.

Stacey:I chose to do a 30-minute talk from the proposed list of topics shared by the event organisers – I have selected four topics whereby I feel I have something to contribute.

  1. As an introduction, what can you tell us about your role within your company, and how you reached your current position?

Fiona:I launched Women on Boards in the UK in 2012 with the goal of helping others. Since we started, we have helped over 1,500 women get onto a board and supported many more women, and some men, applying for Board roles from preparing a board-ready CV to interview preparation and networking.

Lesley:My title (which is used often to satisfy the needs of business behaviour not me!) is one thing, my role is another. I am an Executive Director and Shareholder of FISCAL Technologies and have been since the beginning. I have always been in customer facing roles in one guise or another, sales, product and of course the combined functions I spearhead today: Customer Success, Service Delivery and People & Culture.

Stacey:My current role in consulting professional services is to focus on delivering high quality work to ensure the client is successful, create satisfying customer relationships, and work with them on their strategic direction.

  1. What were valuable lessons learned on your way up the career ladder?

Fiona:I learned that strong communication skills are essential to effectiveness throughout your career, not just in the boardroom. Those that understand influence and engagement constantly think about how to gain the advantage. Those who are women and effective in a male-dominated world understand influence, and understanding influence is vital.

Lesley:EVERYONE has an opinion – it does not make them right! Be bold, be courageous, live your values and sack your boss if you cannot grow. Know what you want and stick with it. As long as you have your health and your family, there really is nothing to lose.

Stacey: I’ve learned a lot about wading through ambiguity and complexity to get to clear next succinct steps. Openness and transparency establish good relationships.  How to stay calm in situations that can get tough, although this is a constant stretch, as responsibilities grow.


  1. In terms of remaining focused and enthusiastic about your daily activities at work, how do you keep your role and career development fresh and engaging?

Fiona:The satisfaction I experience from the work we do at Women on Boards, supporting so many women on their way into board level positions, is extremely rewarding.

Lesley:Every day I look at the team around me who give their time and effort to do great things and create such value; it is my duty as a leader to inspire them, develop their careers, to ensure they are engaged and satisfied. I find ways to replenish my energy and bring new ideas to be credible in their eyes.

Stacey:I ask for challenging engagements. Being surrounded by marketing experts and talented consultants means I’m constantly absorbing knowledge and new ways of doing things. I aim to go on relevant courses from time to time and am currently studying a two-year MBA course.

  1. What are the top three things that keep you motivated at work?

Fiona:Helping others, recognition for this support, and hearing the positive results that come from our efforts. Helping women to understand what they want out of life, particularly at a young age, is extremely important and this type of guidance we provide keeps me motivated every day.

Lesley:People. There are no other things.

Stacey:An understanding manager or management team that you can trust. Getting along with colleagues. I’m lucky to work in a friendly atmosphere where we all work hard and rely on each other.  Doing work that feels new.

  1. How much importance do you place on developing healthy relationships with your colleagues and does it have a direct impact on your work?

Fiona:Mentoring is a key area that needs to grow and develop for women in particular. Until more women are in these senior roles, other women within organizations will not be able to enjoy the benefits from mentoring support that men have always had access to. Understanding how to engage men on this aspect is paramount.

Lesley:(1) your colleagues are your spokesmen when you are not in the office. So, think about what they will say about you when your Managing Director or CEO asks them if you deserve that promotion. (2) When you suffer a crisis, you are under pressure and you need help, you can’t start shouting “but we are a team” if you haven’t developed it.

Stacey:I am genuinely interested in people so my natural tendency is to want to get to know people. In my view, colleagues have to rely on each other to get jobs done for the client so it’s good practice to be respectful and diffuse conflicting situations.

  1. For those readers, men and women, who are career driven and who aspire to progress to more senior roles in their professional lives, what would be the best piece of advice you could offer?

Fiona:Women must have a career plan, even though it is likely to change. Understand who are the influencers at your company and get to know the management – your voice will be heard. A mentoring program within an organization that champions achievements, helps develop communication, and teaches people how to understand the landscape of their company is a highly valuable asset any organization can develop and achieve.

Lesley:My advice would be to stay curious, solve problems that nobody else wants to, find your own “spokesperson” and always make choices using your values.

Stacey:There are a lot more experienced people out there than myself… so for me, I ensure that I know what being happy and healthy means to me, and I stick to my own radar & moral compass.

Personal & Professional Wisdom

Time Zones, Languages and Cultures: Creating a Successful and Productive Remote Localization Team

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According to a study referenced in Scott Mautz’s article in Incmagazine called A 2-Year Stanford Study Shows the Astonishing Productivity Boost of Working From Home, remote workers are more productive and find it easier to concentrate when they work from a “private office” at home.

Still, a lot of biases remain around remote employees who work from home, even though in localization it fairly common to work with teams distributed around the globe.

Fortunately, many online resources from global companies like Trello and Zapier offer useful tips and best practices. We have also reached out to localization specialists with an invitation to share their proven tips on how to work effectively in a remote team.

Read their advice below.

Importance of remote work options for women (and not only)

According to the blog Balance For Better: How Flexibility Can Even the Scales For Good by Werk, “[the] traditional 9-5 workday is holding too many people back, and women are hit the hardest”.

This is supported by a Fast Company article by Sarah Sutton Fell called How Remote Workplaces Benefit Women, which estimates that “women make up 42% of the leadership at remote companies, compared with 14.2% in S&P 500 companies”.

The challenges women face in the traditional workplace are reflected in this quote from Inger Larsen, who spoke at a 2018 Women in Localization UK event focused on remote work:

        “Who is it that the schools contact most often when your children are sick and need picking up during the day? The mother or the father? A show of hands at the event showed an overwhelming majority of women.

        – Inger Larsen, Founder and MD Larsen Globalization Recruitment

A writeup of the event can be found on the Larsen Globalization Recruitment blog.

WL UK panel on remote work, May 31 2018. Photo Credit: Women in Localization UK

Elizabeth Butters also published a writeup of the event on LinkedIn, where she stresses an important point: while women are the group most obviously in need of a more flexible work arrangement, other groups of employees would benefit from it as well. In the case of millennials, they have even come to expect it.

According to some experts, the future of work is tied to increased hours and/or location flexibility, instead of focusing exclusively on “office work” vs “remote work” – thank you to Nika Allahverdi for posting the link to this fascinating interview in the Localization Insider group on Facebook.

Making remote teams work: tips and resources for localization industry

Communicating effectively: processes and technology

One of the frequently mentioned issues of working with a remote team is communication: juggling time zones and the need to keep everyone up to date on goals and projects, even when there is little work time overlap.

This challenge exists outside of the localization industry, as well:

        “One tiny question becomes an email, which hopefully gets responded to, or an excavation of shared files trying to sort out the answer. So much easier to have project-tracking software that allows someone to tick a box when a job is complete, and links to a shared working document.”

        – Lindsey Vontz from 99designs, How to Work With a Global Distributed Team

Swati Narwal recommends creating repositories of reference materials to make collaboration and communication easier:

        “We have workspaces to share documents and ways of working.”

        – Swati Narwal, Localization Program Manager at IKEA Group

Trello’s guide on remote work offers suggestions to help ensure that nothing gets lost during team meetings:

        “Establish a process, structure, and agenda around meetings and updates so everyone can follow along no matter their location. Assign a meeting lead and scribe to ensure key decisions are captured in writing … Keep important information accessible for everyone: log side chat decisions, record video meetings, and always take notes to share in public spaces”

        – Lauren Moon, The Best Advice For Remote Work Success From 10 Global Teams [Free Guide]

For ongoing communication, using an online app enabling exchange of quick messages, such as Slack, is often recommended. This is what Tanja Falkner has to say about the curse of overflowing inbox:

        “One more thing that comes to mind is a good communication tool like Slack or Skype. I find ongoing communication to be really important. It needs to be fast and easy without having a heart attack when looking at your inbox 😉 “

        – Tanja Falkner, Growth Marketing Manager, Wordbee

Seongji Kim offers a tip on scheduling your emails the smart way:

        “I also schedule my emails to be sent right before the recipient’s day starts. Utilize any work hour overlap as much as you can!”

        – Seongji Kim, Localization Manager, Enuma

If finding a good time to communicate with remote team members is a challenge because there just isn’t enough time overlap between working times, this piece of advice from Megan Berry may help:

        “Make sure each person has multiple tasks on their plate and is clear on their priorities. Sometimes when working remote, you get stuck on one task because you need to ask someone else about it and they are asleep because of time zone differences or are focused on something else. This is totally fine as long as everyone has a next task to turn to while waiting on feedback from someone else.”

        – Megan Berry, The Complete Guide to Working On A Remote Team

Building company culture for a remote team

Another frequently mentioned challenge for remote workers is establishment of a company culture, from mutual trust to camaraderie and serendipitous communications leading to new breakthroughs.

The WL UK event writeup by Elizabeth Butters also mentions the issue of trust:

        Being open-minded with staff, trusting them to do their job and providing training/support where it’s needed helps set the foundations for a successful work relationship.

        Elizabeth Butters, Business Development Manager at XTM international

This point is repeated in multiple online resources about building an efficient remote team, including in this post published on Zapier by Wade Foster called How to Build Culture in a Remote Team:

        “Remote teams have to trust their teammates. There is simply no way around it. The beauty of trusting your teammates is that often times your teammates reward you. Most people genuinely want to do a good job. In a remote team there aren’t any silly rules about having your butts in a seat during certain hours of the day. This means at the end of the week you either have something to show for your week or not. This means you trust that your teammates are getting something done. But also your teammates trust you. To earn that trust you want to make sure you have something to show for your work each week. “

        – Wade Foster

Both Swati Nawal and Seongji Kim point out the importance of building connections with team members:

        “Nothing can replace that personal connection. And then you continue with video calls, chats, emails, time to time saying hello and asking how is everyone doing.

        “Sharing something that is relevant for them. I have monthly meetings where I have things to share as well as encourage others to participate as well.”

        – Swati Narwal, Localization Program Manager at IKEA Group

        “Try to jump on a call as much as you can: seeing face to face definitely helps to build connection!”

        – Seongji Kim, Localization Manager, Enuma

Work-related team communications do not have to be restricted to status updates:

        “Often team members ask each other for inspiration where they have a string or a term they struggle with. I love this type of cooperation in the form of brainstorming as it is always very productive.

        We have a FB group as well, where we share best practices, ideas on how to approach some tasks, strategies on team management, basically anything that happens in the project.”

        – Małgorzata Kopyra, CJO ANAGRAM

As far as stronger interpersonal connections go, this Harvard Business Review article by Erica Dhawan and Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic called How to Collaborate Effectively If Your Team Is Remote suggests several different ways to help team members create stronger bonds:

        “Create intentional space for celebration: Old school birthday cakes are still important for remote teams. Creating virtual spaces and rituals for celebrations and socializing can strengthen relationships and lay the foundation for future collaboration. Find ways to shorten the affinity distance. One company we worked with celebrated new talent by creating a personal emoji for each employee who had been there for six months. You can find your own unique way to create team spaces for social connection. How you do it is less important than whether you do.”

        – Erica Dhawan and Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic

Another tip for creating a stronger employee culture is planning for social interaction:

        “Remoties like to chat and hang out, too! And don’t forget, they’re sitting in a quiet home office or co-working space all day so they’re presumably even more agreeable to socializing.

        “Because communication is more intentional at remote companies, it can be helpful to set up some pre-planned time for socializing. Allotting specific times in the week for folks to get on a video call and not talk about work can help supplant the ‘watercooler‘ conversations that happen in real life.”

        – Lauren Moon, 6 Rules To Live By When You Work In An Office But Have Remote Team Members

Małgorzata Kopyra, however, reminds us that nothing can beat meeting your teammates in real life:

        “We have a separate FB group for our Polish team and at least some of us try to attend annual conference for translators held in Poland each September. We also attend some online trainings together. The client we work for as an international team organizes regular annual one-week summits for all LLs and senior translators so now, after 6 years on the project we mostly know each other personally. We also have a special Messenger group to share things outside of summit time.”

        – Małgorzata Kopyra, CJO ANAGRAM

Working with team members with different cultural backgrounds

Even teams with strong interpersonal connections and a vibrant company culture might struggle with intercultural differences. This is especially relevant for localization industry.

While remote teams may share a similar background, it is important to realize that information might be perceived differently by a recipient – and plan accordingly:

        “You need to find best ways for you as a team to speak the same language. Say and be understood the same way.”

        – Kaili Kleemeier, 11 things about remote working that I learnt the hard way

Tanja Falkner once again stresses the importance of a human connection:

        “We have team members all over the world and in my opinion one of the most important things to deal with cultural differences is to have regular team video calls – by regular I mean at least once a week.

        Oftentimes misunderstandings occur in writing but usually they are pretty easy to figure out when talking to a person. It also helps to get to know and understand each other better. Gaining awareness of the differences is the first step in making sure they don’t cause any issues.”

        – Tanja Falkner, Growth Marketing Manager, Wordbee

Snjezana Petrovic recommends the following book to become a better manager of a multicultural team, or to become a better team member:

        “Best book I‘ve read and that helped me tremendously: The Culture Map by Erin Meyer.”

        – Snjezana Petrovic, Localization Program Manager at NetApp

Working in a remote localization team or managing one? Please share your tips with us!

We would love this article to become a starting point for a more detailed discussion on managing remote teams and working as a remote team member in localization.

Please share your comments and tips below, or reach out to Ekaterina Howard at, if you’d like to be featured in a full article.

Ekaterina Howard is a bilingual copywriter focusing on website and email copy and content. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.