Conversations on Localization: Exploring Now and Looking Ahead

Industry Trends & Innovation

With more customer interactions moving online, a lot of important discussions are happening in the localization industry. Companies are looking to optimize their localization programs and scale their efforts to match demand, and many are wondering how to take the next step.

At this year’s Ascend event hosted by Lilt, we are bringing together women from across the localization industry. We want to open up discussion around the importance of managing for success, the value of innovation and technology, and the future of building global experiences. While there are many important conversations to be had, here are a few key highlights from this year’s events and a glimpse of what you can expect to learn at our upcoming Ascend 2021 conference.

Exploring the State of Localization

At the beginning of 2021, Lilt released a comprehensive survey to gather information about the current state of the localization industry, its challenges and opportunities, and what the future might hold. The results of this survey were published in the State of Localization 2021 Report with answers from over 900 professionals involved in the localization industry worldwide.

To dive into the details of the report, we partnered with Women in Localization to host a roundtable discussion webinar with three women who have been working in the industry for years: Paula Shannon (Chief Evangelist at Lilt), Denisse Kreeger (Head of Global Localization Productions at Riot Games), and Jennifer Vela Valido (Localization Vendor Manager at Expedia Group).

While the metrics from the report were a foundation for the conversation, the panelists spoke more about their experiences. They detailed the importance of measuring localization success (and how to do it), the challenges they’ve faced throughout their careers, and why it’s critical to prove the value of your work.

One way that Denisse does this is with the help of data. By focusing on the untapped areas where localization can provide value, it’s easier to prove its worth.

“When I would do presentations [on localization], I used to mention that about 5% of the world’s population is an English native speaker,” Denisse said. “That really shakes people up, because a lot of the products that we tend to work on are focused on that English experience, when in reality, you’re creating something that isn’t keeping in mind a global mindset.”

To hear more from Denisse, Jennifer, and Paula, watch the webinar recording here.

Building Strategic Importance and Empowerment

Building a localization program and establishing it as an important business function requires time, effort, and active management.

A repeated hurdle that localization professionals encounter is being able to secure a budget, prioritizing localization resources, and ultimately proving the ROI of localization. In our recent State of Localization 2021 Report, nearly 85% of respondents believe that localization has an impact on company revenue, but only 49% believe that localization is viewed as a strategic company priority. Given this disconnect, we believe now is the time for localization leaders to advocate for a seat at the strategic table to reinforce the importance and impact that localization can have on an organization.

At last year’s Ascend 2020, we hosted an all-women discussion where we heard from women working in localization about the challenges they face, the important steps to take to overcome those hurdles, and how to empower women to succeed now and in the future. This year, we’re building on that conversation by showcasing a women-led panel on how to quantify value and lead localization to a more strategic role within an organization. Localization teams should be more than just a shared service, a theme that this panel of women will explore.

This panel, along with a speaker lineup that features women leaders across product, marketing, design, user experience, localization, and more, will provide attendees with real world experience from the current and future leaders of the localization industry.

What is the Future of Localization?

One question that many in the localization community are constantly asking revolves around the future of the industry. There is no doubt that a large part of the world’s content isn’t available to people who don’t speak English, a problem that has been exacerbated by the global pandemic.

But the world has also become more connected than ever before, and it’s now easier to interact with companies digitally. As a result, companies need to provide a global experience that all users, regardless of language or locale, can consume equally. Ultimately, localization is expected to play a large role in the growth of this global experience. Without it, customers globally will experience fragmented journeys that force them to look for alternatives to the products and services your company offers.

Join us at Ascend 2021 to hear from experts on these topics and more. Join conversations with thousands of localization professionals from across the globe to learn best practices, strategies, and future expectations for 2022 and beyond.