New Webinar: Integrating i18n Expertise with Your Development Team

When working with outside internationalization experts to facilitate the global release of your software products, you’ll be faced with a key challenge: how to best collaborate in a way that drives efficient global releases, while also transferring knowledge to your internal development team.

In Lingoport’s upcoming October 30th webinar, “Integrating i18n Expertise with Your Development Team,” we’ll feature Gene Miller, Sr. Director of Software Development at a leading medical and veterinary products and technology company. Gene’s team has been working with Lingoport’s services to internationalize its Veterinary Practice SaaS application.

Like many managers, Gene wanted his team to be a part of the i18n effort, gaining i18n knowledge through the process. At the same time, he also needed to balance his resources with budget, availability, and other concurrent development efforts.

During the webinar, we’ll discuss the initial challenges in finding the right balance, as well as lessons learned and successes achieved.

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Agenda Highlights

  • Formulating a plan
  • Assigning work responsibilities
  • Cadence of meetings
  • Project risks
  • Gaining team buy-in
  • How the work gets done
  • Localization in parallel
  • Success stories

Date/Time

  • Date: October 30, 2018
  • Time: 9am PDT | 12pm EDT | 18:00 CEST
  • Duration: 30 minutes (plus audience Q&A)

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Does i18n Have an Optimal Sequence?

Suppose you begin the long and complex task of internationalizing your software, only to discover a fundamental flaw in your i18n framework. What if your language files aren’t compatible with the translation vendor? What if the chief architect has identified a key software component for replacement? What if your approach isn’t compatible with each of the locales you wish to target? Overlooking the optimal sequence of i18n, or missing critical components altogether, can lead to significant, and costly, mistakes.

I18n Communication, Planning and Architecture

Large companies with multiple development teams operate within a paradox. The development teams operate independently to ensure fast delivery of product enhancements, but that same independence often results in a lack of communication or big picture design of the system itself. The first step in any i18n project is to communicate with the teams and examine both the long and short terms plans of all aspects of the product.

It’s surprisingly common for long term architectural plans to be overlooked in the i18n process. For example, a company may have a solid framework using RequireJS, and the development team moves forward using the integrated RequireJS framework for i18n. But just a few years later, support for the RequireJS framework stagnates, and the architects find themselves in the unfortunate position of needing to upgrade not only their RequireJS component, but their entire i18n framework that uses it. Following the optimal sequence of i18n would have solved this problem.

Do you write documentation? Small, agile teams often do very little in this regard, preferring instead to focus on manageable enhancements that can easily be documented with a short paragraph. But i18n of a large software product is a different beast, and requires detailed planning and documentation. And with that documentation comes a listing of the components that need to be refactored, what changes are needed with each refactor, and the sequence of refactors needed to ensure a seamless implementation in that agile environment.

Looking beyond design, are there specific refactors in an i18n project that should happen before others? The short answer is yes. Once a proper design has been determined, it’s still critical that upgrading of certain components takes place before others. Failure to do so can lead to lost time as developers wait for dependent projects to complete, redundant passes through code as interfaces are upgraded haphazardly, and bugs in the app when code does not interface properly throughout the entire i18n process.

String Externalization and Concatenation

First, let’s talk strings. Supposed Jeff was given the task of externalizing the strings in the app. With the string externalization framework in place, this would simply be a matter of replacing each string with a call to the string framework. On the surface, the task seems pretty easy: if you see a string, externalize it! But Jeff and his superiors didn’t consider the optimal sequence of i18n, and they overlooked a critical prerequisite: concatenations. So, Jeff continued on his merry way, refactoring strings like this:

   var text = “The ” + fieldName + ” field is required.”;

   and turning them into this:

   key.the = “The “;

   key.fieldisrequired = ” field is required.”;

   var text = GetString(key.the) + fieldName + GetString(key.fieldisrequired);

It wasn’t until much later that they discovered sentence structure plays a key role in localization, and concatenations should therefore be refactored to use insertion points prior to the strings being externalized. Using Jeff’s incorrect refactor, the phrase

   “The Name field is required.”

   could not be properly translated into Spanish since the word “field” (campo in Spanish) switches to the left side of the inserted “Name” (Nombre in Spanish):

   “El campo Nombre es obligatorio.”

   Even further, translators have difficulty translating partial sentences. What does “The” refer to? Will it refer to a masculine or feminine noun? A more proper refactor would therefore have been:

   key.thefieldisrequired = “The {0} field is required.”;

   var text = String.Format(key.thefieldisrequired, fieldName);

By using the refactored concatenation, the Spanish translation can adjust for the revised sentence structure:

   key.thefieldisrequired = “El campo {0} es obligatorio.”;

   var text = String.Format(key.thefieldisrequired, fieldName);

I18n and the Database

Next, let’s talk database. Suppose Sally’s project was to refactor addresses in the app, allowing storage of additional address lines and adding a country. On the surface, the project seemed pretty easy. The db administrator had already added a Countries table for reference, plus added 2 additional address columns to the client database. Sally thought everything was good to go.

But after adding the new address fields and running a test, she discovered that Japanese characters weren’t being properly stored in the database. After a great deal of debugging, she discovered the address columns were VARCHAR and couldn’t store Unicode characters! She spent the next few hours putting in a request to the database admin to upgrade the address columns to NVARCHAR, and waited patiently for the database to be upgraded.

But Sally’s next problem quickly arose. The ZipCode column was only 10 characters long, and she realized that international Postal Codes could be significantly longer than that. So again, she put in a request for a database change, and again she waited patiently for the upgrade.

Sally’s problems, however, were not over. As she continued her i18n of addresses, she discovered that some countries have “States” and others have “Provinces”. The Countries table they’d originally created had no knowledge of this distinction, but clearly one needed to be made. So again, Sally put in a request to the db administrator to add a new column to the Countries table, and waited patiently for the upgrade.

One of the greatest inefficiencies in software development is improper planning. By ignoring the optimal sequence of i18n, Sally and the db administrator had to go back and forth multiple times, upgrading the database piecemeal and slowing the i18n process considerably. The proper sequence should have been: Complete Address Design > Complete Database Refactor > Complete Code Refactor.

Synchronizing i18n Processes

Finally, let’s talk synchronization. The I18n Team at Widgets R Us had a number of front-end and back-end modules that needed refactoring, and they began merging their front-end upgrades first. All seemed fine, until customers began reporting program exceptions in various areas throughout the app. A crisis was underway.

As it turned out, the I18n Team had refactored the dates sent to the server to be in ISO format (YYYY-MM-DD). And while they had tested many of the adjaxPostSync calls, there were still a number of untested interfaces where the server was expecting a localized MM/DD/YYYY format, and the app was crashing with the unexpected data.

Improper synchronization in the i18n process can lead to program errors, and unhappy customers. In the case of Widgets R Us, the server interfaces either should have been refactored first to allow the use of both ISO and localized dates, or the client and server modules should have been upgraded together.

Does i18n have an optimal sequence? Every app is unique in its requirements, but the answer is definitely “yes”. Communication amongst all development teams is paramount, extensive planning and design is critical, and the sequence of implementation is vital. Failing to follow the optimal sequence of i18n can lead to time consuming, and costly, mistakes. Don’t let it happen to you.

Localization Resource File Best Practices – White Paper

One important requirement to successfully delivering continuously internationalized and localized software is to consistently use standard formatting of resource files that will be translated. Though this seems a mundane detail, the minute you consider having a localization engineer clean up files for translation processing, you lose time and money, and you possibly cause errors that could break your localized versions.

There’s absolutely no benefit to doing it wrong, and everything to gain from doing it right. Yet, we see errors here, we think, from lack of understanding, or mistaken approaches. Lingoport Resource Manager (LRM) checks for and enumerates resource file integrity issues when files are created and passed through the system, whether to or from the translator/vendor.

This white paper describes the benefits and best practices for localization resource file creation and formatting. Whether you use our Lingoport Suite software or not, following best practices will help your teams leverage the benefits of locale frameworks and will help you work more seamlessly with localization providers.

You can download the Localization Resource File Best Practices white paper by filling out the form below, and a link will then be emailed to you.

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Interview with Agile Expert Rachel Weston Rowell

Markets outside a company’s home country often represent some of the greatest opportunities for growth. Interestingly, agile development, with its focus on targeted scope, just-in time delivery, and frequent product updates has a difference cadence than traditional L10n, QA, and i18n review, which could take weeks or months per release.

Interested in resolving this disconnect and applying agile principles to the software i18n and L10n process for more seamless global releases? Join Lingoport’s Adam Asnes with special guest, agile expert Rachel Weston Rowell of Weston Rowell Consulting, in our upcoming September 26th webinar, Creating a Happy Path for Agile Localization, to learn more!

In this webinar, you’ll not only uncover how to align practices across functional areas to maximize value delivery to your customers, but also key practices to transition into agile delivery practices, not to mention success patterns regarding i18n and L10n. Learn to address concerns of development and how to enable QA to support markets outside of the US, and so much more.

View i18n Webinar Recording

Eager for Rachel’s insights prior to the webinar? Say no more! Check out our insider interview with Rachel below, providing you with a sneak peek into the types of agile development insights you’ll uncover during the webinar.

Lingoport

Hi, Rachel, can you introduce yourself to our readers?

Rachel Rowell

Hi, I’m Rachel. I am an executive team coach. My background is in agile practice. So, about 11 years ago I joined a company called Rally Software, and I became an agile coach where I traveled around the country teaching people about agile practice.

After a few years of doing that, I moved into a role where I ran the professional services organization at Rally Software, and in that role I gained a lot of empathy for what it means to be an executive at a software company. From there, I moved into another role where I did a bunch of experimental work taking agile and lean concepts and figuring out how to move them up and out into the business.

So, if we took them from the space of R&D in IT world and sort of applied them to other parts of the business, or even to running a whole business, what would that mean? That’s really lead me to the work I do today, which is, as I said, coaching executive teams. I work primarily with post-startup companies, and help those organizations figure out how to add the right amount of discipline so that they can scale and grow up, and be successful, but hold onto the startup cultures that they love, and really become healthy companies…

Lingoport

Excellent… What would you say is the number one or the top few challenges that you consistently run into for the clients that you work with, helping them to transform into an agile organization?

Rachel Rowell

I’d say the number one problem that every company has is too much work in process, too much width.

It’s just a kind of ubiquitous problem that we start more work than we can finish, and it eventually floods the system, like cars on a freeway, and we end up with a parking lot where no work gets done unless we put a siren on it, and push it down the road, then that’s how work gets done. We make things an emergency, and that’s the only way to get them out of the system.

So, agile practices are designed to help create systems that limit work in process. They do it in different ways, depending on which agile practices you use, but they’re all designed to help with that problem.

I think that the number two problem that I run into, especially because I work with senior leadership teams, is that the balance between strategic work, which I would call working on the business – like how are we going to be a different business, how are we going to improve – and the time we spend working in the business, which is meeting existing commitments, it’s hard to balance that in an effective way without some very intentional approaches. So, that’s another big challenge I see for companies as they grow is, you know, “How do we make space to improve our business while at the same time doing all the work we need to do to stay in business?”

I think at more of a team level it’s just generalized teams, whether they’re executive teams or not, I think that one of the challenges I see is that it’s just in our nature, I think that without some sort of agreement about how we behave and some structures that support that, that we go off and kind of do our own thing, and we’re not naturally inclined to take information and learning and share it with others in a collaborative way. Not because we don’t want to, but just because it’s hard.

So, figuring out how to help people communicate more, be more transparent, be more collaborative is another big challenge I see.

Happy-Path-Teaser

Lingoport

How do you help organizations align practices across functional areas?

Rachel Rowell

I think there’s kind of two steps that businesses should take. The first [addresses] the part of the business that does strategy formulation, and so by that I mean actually having a regular cadence and taking time. Typically, executives are the leaders of this, and we sit down and say, “What is our strategy? What do we want to do? What is the focused way to achieve that?” Because, we can’t be everything to everybody, we can’t do everything.

I always tell people, “A healthy business has a supply and demand mismatch. Your customers will always want more from you than you have a capacity to deliver. That’s a good problem, because that means we have a healthy business. It means we have growth potential, but it’s a hard problem, because it means we can’t do everything.

So, when we design our strategies we’ve got to take this into account. We have to focus. We can only do so many things, and that’s also part of that managing whip, right? Managing work in process, that the leadership sets the tone. These are the two most important, or three most important things, and then the next step is that you then have to deploy it.

I think a lot of companies get stuck in this space where, the executives built a great strategy, but it gets stuck in the C-suite. Nobody else ever knows about it, and then they’re like, “Why isn’t this being executed?”

So, you have to have a really disciplined, well-defined, and continuous process of deploying that strategy and making sure their people understand what it is, and understand what their role is in delivering it, and understand how it’s going to be measured, and then continuously checking back in and saying, “How are we doing?”, “How are we progressing?”,  and “Are we getting the results we expected?”

I tell executives that they need to treat strategy like a hypothesis. They don’t know exactly what the right thing is to do for the business. If we knew, we wouldn’t call it a strategy; we would just do it, right? But, then we’re like, “We have a strategy, and it’s an idea,” and so then everything we do related to the strategy is an experiment, and we hope that we’re right. We’re smart. We think that we’re right, but we should expect that sometimes we’re wrong.

So, you’ve got to have a continuous activity of saying, “Well, we did this thing, what happened? What were the results?” Then, you have to adjust given those results, because it’s not always going to be what you thought it was, and I think a lot of times companies, they’re like, “Here’s the strategy,” and then they’re like, “Go,” and then a year later they’re like, “Wait, what happened? Why didn’t things turn out the way that we thought they would?”

Happy-Path-Teaser-2

Lingoport

Are there any recent examples that you can share of taking a company that had never done agile, had never implemented agile practices before, and seeing it through to fruition where it was very successful?

Rachel Rowell

So, from just a very high, you know 50,000 foot view, the way I approach transformation is that first you want to sort of assess where you are today, and so in your example, the assessment is, “We don’t use agile practice. We either were using a more traditional approach like waterfall, or more likely, if you’re a smaller company, you don’t have any process at all. You’re just in kind of chaos mode, and just working on whatever the loudest thing is at that time, and trying to get it done.

Then so, with agile practice, what I like to do is start with some education, because people have a lot of ideas about what agile is, or they’ve been in a company that they thought was doing agile before, you know? So, there’s inconsistent language, and inconsistent understanding, and so I like to baseline that, and kind of get everybody on the same page. Like, when we say this, this is what we mean, and when we say this, this is what we mean.

We run some education, and that includes leadership. Leadership has to know the same stuff, because agile isn’t just about IT or about engineering, although I think a lot of people start with that assumption. It’s a whole business change, and so the executive team needs to understand it and understand what their role is in that.

So, educating people and getting them some baseline understanding, and then it’s immediately, as soon as possible, turning that education into practice, right? And, getting them going, getting them using the ideas, because it’s only when we start using them that we have the really good questions, right? Like, oh, you taught me this, and now I tried it, and here’s what’s hard, and so how do I do it?

…I think, the nice thing about agile practice is that it’s cyclical, right? You just, you run, whether you’re running sprints, or iterations, or whatever you want to call them, you’re running these cycles of about two weeks, and it gives you this really fast learning environment, where you’re like, “Try it for two weeks,” and I was like, “What happened? Oh my gosh, this worked, that didn’t work,” and then you get to tune the system with really high frequency, and I think that makes the system work faster.

My approach is get them going, get them practicing it, and then to answer the questions, and help them tune, and continue to guide them along their path. Then, I think along the way, you start to see where are the areas of greatest friction. As a coach, that’s my number one thing I’m always looking for is friction. I’m like, “Where are we rubbing against each other in the business, or where are we stuck in the business, and what do we need to do to smooth that out so that the work can flow again?

…Each business is a little different, but there’re pretty common patterns like, “We don’t have a product roadmap, so we’re having a hard time prioritizing the work, because we don’t know where we’re going in the long term,” or you know, “There’s not enough support for product owners, so they’re struggling to kind of get the information they need for the team,” or, “We don’t have a good definition of done, and so, we’re inconsistent about our technical standards, and that’s causing us to have problems at integration points.”

So, looking for those things and then bringing some practices to bear that help smooth that out, and then you just keep looking for the next thing. Then, my goal is to teach them how to identify the friction so that they can then start addressing it themselves, right?

Like, “Let me show you guys where I see this friction. Let me talk to you about what we might do about that. Now, next time, you tell me where the friction is, and what do you think you want to do about it?”

Because, that’s the way they get better, and from what it looks like from the outside is that you go from this kind of frozen system. What I always tell people is like, you can tell you have too much work in process, and that your system is full of friction when everybody’s working as hard as they can and nothing is getting done, right?

It’s not, “Nothing’s coming out of the system, and it’s not because we’re all just sitting around drinking lattes. We are working hard, and we are just frustrated in our inability to get to done,” and so what you start seeing is that the work starts to even out, and more, and more things are getting done, and so, you know, employee satisfaction increases, and customer satisfaction increases, and we just start to feel more successful, and we’re working the same. We’re not working harder, because I think we were already working hard, right?

So, we’re working the same amount, but we’re working so much smarter, and what we’re doing is adding so much more value, and so that just makes us more satisfied, because, as humans, we like to see our efforts go towards good results.

View i18n Webinar Recording

Fearlessly Leading Global Expansion [Webinar Transcription]

Today’s economy is increasingly borderless. Global transformation and expansion have become a key driver to company growth. Many industries, however, are not accounting for differences in business practices, culture, and language as they branch outward to different regions and countries.

With this background, check out Lingoport’s interview of Anna Schlegel, Head of Globalization at NetApp and Co-Founder and President of the Board of Women in Localization (4,000+ members), exploring smarter ways to go global and enable your brand to connect more deeply with local users. 

In this webinar recording, you’ll not only uncover what you need for a successful software globalization effort, but also key strategies for effective communication involving global teams, including everyone from executive management to remote team members around the world. Learn to avoid common mistakes and pitfalls that besiege many companies, and so much more. 

View i18n Webinar Recording

Interested in reading the transcription instead of watching the webinar? Say no more! Check out excerpts from the webinar below.

Excerpt 1: “A True Veteran of Internationalization Localization” [00:00:00-00:10:24]

Adam Asnes

We’re fearlessly leading global expansion, a behind-the-scenes discussion with Anna Schlegel and her strategies for global transformation at NetApp. [We’re] very pleased to have Anna with us.

She does… just a fabulous job of escalating localization from a checkmark in many organizations, and a reactive activity, to a true strategy for moving forward, and changing the company’s global footprint.

So, a little bit about Anna. Anna, if you could just say hello, people will hear your voice.

Anna Schlegel

Hello everybody.

Adam Asnes

All right, good, good. Anna’s a true veteran of internationalization and localization. She has 20 years of experience in the industry in many different roles, at a lot of big companies you’ve heard of. She also authored the book, Truly Global: The Theory and Practice of Bringing Your Company to International Markets, and cofounded the 4,000 plus member association, Women in Localization.

A little bit about both: Anna’s book is short and to the point…it’s like a mini cheat sheet of everything she’s learned and concisely put together. So, I do invite you to go and get the book afterward.

Right, let’s get to the questions. The format of this webinar is I’m gonna ask a question, Anna’s gonna answer it and we’ll proceed. Each one of my slides has one to three questions. We’ll probably move ahead regularly, and then at the end, if you could submit your questions or even submit your questions during the webinar, I will take those questions at the end… we’re targeting to finish around half to the hour, whatever your timezone is, and then go into our Q&A period, which usually lasts about 10-15 minutes depending on how active.

So, we’re depending upon you to participate in that last section.

Right, Anna, let’s look at a now and then, kind of like a before and after. Can you describe for us the globalization perspective you see currently at NetApp compared to years ago?

Anna Schlegel

The globalization perspective of years ago… it’s night and day. The reason why I took the job is because I was the head of globalization at VMware at that time, and somebody…[asked] me, “You know what NetApp is?” I’m quite familiar with it, and I looked at the website… they wanted a French website, and I saw some Spanish on the French website…

[So I said,] “I’m taking the job.”

…[back then] there was very little thought on how NetApp was presenting itself or positioning itself globally. And today, it’s a sophisticated machine – one of the best teams in the world… it’s the dream, but it’s taken a long, long, long, long time. It’s night and day [from when I started there].

Adam Asnes

Anyway…so one of my favorite terms you have in your book is “Geo Alignment.” What do you mean by Geo Alignment?

Anna Schlegel

Geo Alignment is a term that we created in my team very quickly… 10 years ago.

So one of the first things that I noticed was… the headquarters. NetApp is a US company, thousands of employees… [I asked] “where are these thousands of employees? Who is driving the agenda here?” And I saw that most of the employees were in the United States, most of the employees driving the larger goals for the company were based in Sunnyvale at headquarters.

I did a mapping of…those goals that are coming about…themes or brand or marketing or product, [and asked] “How do they make it to the offices in Israel? Or the offices in Russia? Or the offices in Korea? How is that connection made?”

And I saw that it was broken at many stages.

And so we’re like, well, we have a Geo Alignment problem. We have a headquarter-to-country problem. And we started mapping how much information can you offer from an enterprise to the actual doers in the country offices, and we created a program we call Geo Alignment… we hired Geo Aligners. And so that right there made the localization team a globalization strategy team.

We opened so much business, we removed so many barriers, and then we tailored the amount of information that somebody at a small office would get, at a medium-sized office would get, or a large office would get.

You can’t treat every country the same; you have to treat them differently. There’s different team sizes; there’s different goals; some products do not resonate in a particular market; some products are encrypted; some products are not allowed; some products haven’t taken off.

When you map all of this, you run business really fast… you stop wasting your time in explaining things that do not resonate or are not relevant in the field. This is the concept of Geo Alignment.

Excerpt 2: “We hear everything. Everything.” [00:10:24-00:24:13]

Adam Asnes

Alright, very good. Moving ahead, what are the roles of key personnel on your team?

Anna Schlegel

We started with being a localization team, we moved to being a globalization team, and then we moved to being the global strategy for NetApp.

And so when you think about that, when you say, “I’m gonna form the global strategy for the company,” you don’t need project managers; you need strategies… and you need metrics people, and you need to dip into trends and analyses, and market trends, and country plans, and country managers…

And we don’t forget the fact that we are the translators, and we are the reviewers, and we are the internationalization engineers, and we are the machine translation experts. So, we have all those roles.

We have a small team of strategists. They’re the ones that look at the country plans for the country that we care about the most… they open up those country plans and they look at what are the products that these country managers want to sell, and that’s what we go and work on.

We have all the typical, traditional roles, from a product lead that does all the product globalization, where we do the internationalization of the product; the localization of the product; the technical publication… that’s one team. We do have a head of localization that: she manages the localization operation… [and] the large millions of volume that we pass as well.

We do have content strategists, because we are very concerned and very passionate about the health of content. [They ask,] “How was it authored? Are the taxonomies proper? “Is the search engine grabbing the right key words?”

So we participate a lot in content strategies. We… [also] have an operations team: we have a chief of staff that has a small team that does communications, that does all the invoicing, all the vendor relationship, all the QVR’s; and then we have a futurist… a globalization architect that roams around the country looking at…the data cloud services, data services bit. [This team asks,] “How are we going to be delivering our product: via the cloud, or more of the traditional storage security systems there?”

So those are some of the main leads. The other thing that we do that has been the best thing we’ve done in a long time is we united the globalization team with the content strategy team for the company – so now I’m very lucky to run globalization and content strategy. And once you have content strategy, you can influence… [the] content that we write…[the] types of content that we write…we influence that.

View i18n Webinar Recording

Adam Asnes

Very good. So you’re proactive, not just reactively translating. Alright, very good. I’m gonna keep moving along: we could stay on this subject a long time.

How do you garner market information?

Anna Schlegel

We do a few things. So we read… papers, we open country plans, and we run anything that the company does to stay close to their customer…we’re there.

So if [for example] there’s a major… customer conference,… we have a booth there; we talk; we do surveys; we get a lot of responses through that process… [whether] online or in person, we are always there.

We’re constantly grabbing what the market needs, what the customer needs, and we rely a lot on the country managers. It’s that Geo Alignment…

Adam Asnes

That’s no shortage of work, to get worldwide opinion flowing towards you. That’s pretty cool.

Anna Schlegel

Yeah, it is very well organized, so there’s a process for that. It’s not that I pick up the phone whenever I feel like it, [like] “Hey, how’s it going in France?” No, we have the right team… we create small tiger teams that we call Champion teams that gather market information for every single department that we support.

Adam Asnes

Alright, very good. I’m gonna move on to the next slide which is a pretty loaded single question, right?

Let’s talk about the stakeholders at NetApp, and the objections you hear, and how you work with then.

Anna Schlegel

The objections I hear come from…up and down the chain, so it comes from the highest executives to individual contributors that are working at a project level. And the list is very long: there is no money; there is no mandate; how do you know; who are you; what’s your title; how long have you been at NetApp; people understand English in Japan; I don’t have money; my boss has never said anything about this; what is internationalization; or we are in other countries?

We hear everything. Everything.

So the way to confront these objections is: we are so well prepared. We’re so well prepared with the analysis and the data, and I don’t let just anybody represent the team. I mean we have very specific people in my team that go and fight those battles, and we preload and we train and we prepare…

Adam Asnes

Right. Well, I do wanna emphasize that in our position, we have seen that it’s one thing when a company has a commercial product… it’s sometimes a little easier to get a localization program in place. But when a product is technical, like NetApp products are, one of the pushbacks that we see in a lot of customers is, “We don’t have to translate because all of our customers speak English because they have to.” What would you say to that as a sample objection?

Anna Schlegel

Sure. So we have the data on English tolerance for our product type. We have a lot of competitive analysis also, so we know what are the equivalent products to ours. And we know if they’ve been globalized or not. We talk a lot with the channel also, so channel partners in Japan, China. We are a vendor. We are a vendor to major organizations like the Chinese government…

…So, we know the English tolerance, we know in what situations that’s true and what situations it’s not true, so we’re very careful… We study what products we need to globalize and what products we don’t need to globalize.

Again, we are in the data storage business… we need to be very careful with language tolerance. We are dealing with highly trained engineers around the world. But it’s very different if you’re dealing with a business in Beijing than if you’re trying to sell something into a remote province of a third tier, fourth tier city, you do need to be localized.

And to that point, we just globalize the product, period. Because it’s just gonna reach a much larger pool of people…

Adam Asnes

Okay. So make sure the product is internationalized and you’re ready and, go ahead.

Anna Schlegel

Yeah, I mean product internationalization is just the most basic thing you have to do, so that’s number one. And then you do a study of language tolerance for your product, and then you pick your countries. And it’s very different, you need to have a language map for all these departments you’re supporting. It’s not the same language; it doesn’t have to be the same language.

Excerpt 3: “Luck Meets the Well Prepared”- [00:24:57-00:34:25]

Anna Schlegel

How do we target countries? So, we target countries by understanding their companies, so we are very well aligned with the general managers for APAC, for EMEA, for the Americas. And then we all have specific budgets, so you put your eggs in several areas and not in other places, right? So again, we target the country differently, we target the countries through a reciprocal process of annual grading plan, where we know exactly what are the countries where we’re gonna globalize for what languages.

The second question, “what local data do you measure for executive and stakeholder review” – so we have this mapping because we serve 14 departments and each department tackles different languages…we line up to 14 executives, and so we’re constantly presenting this to the 14 groups through these little champion teams or tiger teams that I was explaining before.

And so we talk about the good, the bad, the average, the opportunity, and that’s how we keep tracks with the executives.

Adam Asnes

Very good… now we get into helping people: the general attributes. What are some of the key personnel attributes you look for on your globalization team?

Anna Schlegel

Do you know the word “Grit”? Grit, G-R-I-T? That’s what we’re looking for. So it, it’s tough, right? I mean, we are in the Silicon Valley where many, many companies are offshoring, outsourcing, looking for lower cost solutions. And we, I think the globalization team were in 20 or 22 different countries. So the key attribute is patience, is continuous learning, is shake it out, don’t be afraid, you know, step up, lead.

We make everybody lead a major program or project, so we spend a lot of time training on how to lead something that they have in their head that will go to our mission. So trainable. I’m very passionate and very on top of some specific things, so people that don’t shy away from very open conversation; we do a lot of candor, we do a lot of, how are we gonna talk to each other, so we do a lot of values training also.

Teamwork. People that can work really well in a team, is very important-

Adam Asnes

Good. This is really great. I wrote down patience, continuous learning, shake it up, trainable, passionate, open conversations, values teamwork. Very good.

So looking back on your career, what might you have done a little differently knowing what you know now?

Anna Schlegel

I remember when I started, I was always the pain in the butt in the meetings, saying, well, “You haven’t thought about localization.” And I know that I used to be the pain in the room, like, “Well this doesn’t look like this is globalized or internationalized, or why haven’t you done this, or you don’t know better,” I used to be a bit of a smartass person years ago, and I don’t think that helped me.

What I learned was it was much better to listen and then go and ask after the meeting, or tackle this very difficult conversation, ’cause they’re usually about somebody wasn’t thinking in the proper, or somebody doesn’t know what they don’t know. So going after the meeting, maybe, to ask about globalization plans and sitting one-on-one, rather than putting people and evidence in big large rooms, because I think I made a lot of people feel very uncomfortable.

But that’s something I learned, and then, so having these more strategic conversations outside of the major forums is better, is much better. That way you create the relationship with the person to say, “Hey, you know, do you understand what localization is, what we do? Have you ever thought about how this will resonate in Korea?” You know, that.

View i18n Webinar Recording

Adam Asnes

Okay, very good. And any particular advice? I mean you’ve got this incredible machine going, but there’s people on this call that don’t, necessarily, and are just getting started. What advice might you give to people starting out in globalization leadership?

Anna Schlegel

So number one, be very patient. When I started at NetApp, I was one person. You need to be very patient, you need to be very brave; very brave. The way I went from one person to many is I decided to come up with the 12th session task force, I called it a task force, and I went to grab different people from different teams, I’m like, would you help me figure this globalization thing out?

…I would say ask your vendors for help, to strategize. You can have your vendors if you’re on your own or it’s a very small team, you can put a vendor day, you can put a globalization day, your vendors will help you. Even if you’re on your own.

There are people out there who can help you look bigger or amplify what you want to do. The other thing I would say: Join forums… If you don’t belong to a forum, you should join one, because you’re gonna find the people like the way I found Adam, right?

And so you start creating these networks, and Adam is who taught me about internationalization, so you need to network. Networking would be something very important.

And the other thing I would say if you’re a localization manager just with a band of one or two or three is to start creating some sort of awareness, so maybe you create a monthly newsletter or a quarterly newsletter. There’s so much information out there, that you can start parsing that out or mailing that out through the company as a subscription model and see who would be interested.

So thinking, what are the things that you can do, when you start moving those engines, things start to happen. Luck meets the well prepared, so sitting alone and just sending products to the localization vendor is not healthy if you wanna move from localization to globalization.

Adam Asnes

“Luck meets the well prepared”- very good.

Excerpt 4: Q/A Session [00:34:29-00:44:28]

Adam Asnes

Alright, so we’re into the QA part of our presentation. We have a couple of questions already, which is great, which I’ll read off, and we’ll continue on…

Our first question here is from Gary: what are the top three questions you ask a new product team or business unit?

Anna Schlegel

A new product team, I ask who’s the development manager, who’s the release manager, and who’s the executive.

And then you have a conversation with them, and some of the first questions can be, “Have you ever thought of going global?” Many, many times, the product teams are formed by excellent developers or QA leads that have done this in other companies, maybe they’re not doing this in your company, so one of the questions would be, “Did you do this at IBM? Did you do this at VMware?” One of the questions I ask is “Where did you work before?”

But you want to find the right people, and you want to start having the conversation. Some other way of looking at this is, can I look at the business requirements? Because many, many times, the product managers are working through business requirements, and so you need- it’s almost like pulling a thread of like, who didn’t put the right business requirement for the product to go global? Maybe it was product marketing, or there’s so many disconnects, again, that Geo Alignment of doing the detective work of who didn’t put the right requirements, why did they think that placing this product in Japan is not a good idea?

It might be because it is not a good idea, but you need to find out if the product is in the country manager’s plan.

And so that’s why you wanna prepare before you go to these product teams, just say like, “Hey, have you realized that there is a lot of action around this particular product in China, or in Japan, or in Italy, wherever.”

Adam Asnes

Really good. Alright, I should move us on to the next question, we have quite a few here: Jack…said globalization is going through growing pains…What is your take on this?

Anna Schlegel

It’s very true! So for example, Jack, I travel a lot to China, so many, many Chinese companies are trying to [go] global and they don’t know how to, so that would be one thing. The other thing that I would say is many are looking for US companies to help them with joint ventures or EM partnerships to get in to a particular country like the states. You have a lot of nationalistic spirit popping through, a lot of countries tightening borders, and so that’s part of what he’s talking about: entering countries is very complicated. You have the government in between, they might wanna tax you higher, they might wanna put impediments into the global trade compliance; I mean, there’s so many issues around global trade compliance, and you constantly need to be looking at new tax laws. Is it worth it to put a product in a country that’s gonna give you low revenue?

So that’s why you need to be very, very careful into where you’re putting your product. What are the countries, and you need your legal teams, and you need your global trade compliance teams lined up. Just localizing to localize is not a good strategy any more.

Adam Asnes

Right. Gotcha.

What do you say are your current biggest challenges when it comes to the way forward with globalization in the near future?

Anna Schlegel

The rapid growth of data, the way that artificial intelligence is offering very quick response back into vertical access. So how are we gonna be able to keep up with the decision making process of, data’s coming in very quickly through artificial intelligence where you used to have dozens of analysts trying to figure a particular problem, you can figure it out in seconds with something like IBM Watson.

So how are you able to react to that is gonna be the advantage of any company. And so how fast you can globalize that, how fast can you put it on digital, you know the digital transformation, the access to data and information, that is, I think, the next frontier here.

Adam Asnes

Alright, so I’m gonna call it good here; we’re at the end of our time. Thank you very much, Anna, this was really a special webinar for me to hear this strategic view. I think this is really a beautiful thing, because we work with a lot of companies around the world, and they are really struggling to get where you are now.

So clearly you’ve had a vision for this that you’ve realized, but there’s as you’ve said, luck meets the well prepared, you’ve really done your work over the years. It hasn’t been instant. And I think that comes through. Again, everybody, if you don’t have it, go and buy a copy of Truly Global; it’s well worth the read, and find some people to network with and mentor and help you, whether you’re on top of the world or just getting into it, there’s always a place for that…

Again, thank you Anna, and to everyone who joined us, thank you for joining us; the recording will be available shortly, it usually just takes us a few days, and you’ll get a notice about it.

Take care everyone!

Anna Schlegel

And thank you, Adam! Thank you.

Adam Asnes

Alright, bye bye!

Anna Schlegel

Bye bye everybody.

Technology for Better Global Collaboration

 

September Webinar: Creating a Happy Path for Agile Localization

Applying Agile Practices for Continuous i18n & Localization

We’re going to have a special guest for our September webinar who doesn’t come from a localization background. Rachel Weston Rowell is a well known agile development coach with a busy practice. She’s focused on helping companies improve their agile processes and continuous development. I’m excited about the fresh perspectives she’ll be sharing with you during the webinar.

Rachel and I have already had a meeting in our Lingoport office, and it ran much longer than planned because the conversation was so impactful. We talked about iterations when things go right and when contingencies are needed. I’ll add that Rachel is entertaining and witty.

I invite you to register for this webinar and join me for another conversation. 

View i18n Webinar Recording

I wrote this post earlier (using the happy path theme) based on that meeting I had with Rachel: https://lingoport.com/happy-path-for-i18n-and-l10n-in-agile-development/.

-Adam Asnes

The State of the Internationalization & Localization Industry [Webinar Transcription]

Globalization is becoming an integral part of how business gets done. So naturally, there’s been lots of talk of continuous globalization in software development. However, there’s a clear gap between what people say about the current state of continuous globalization, and where people would ideally like their organizations to be.

Lingoport wanted to uncover the reality and so launched The State of Continuous Internationalization and Localization Survey to identify the actual state of the industry.

Watch Lingoport’s Adam Asnes and Nimdzi’s Renato Beninatto webinar recording, sharing insights from the survey results on where the future is taking us.

In this recording you’ll not only uncover the leading globalization opportunities in the market today, but also effective approaches to leading globalization at a growing enterprise, the ideal role of globalization vendor partners, and much more.

View Webinar Recording

Interested in reading the transcription instead of watching the webinar? No problem, we’ve got you covered. Check out excerpts from the webinar below.

Excerpt 1: Introduction [00:00:00 – 10:00:00]

Adam Asnes: 

This is Adam Asnes at Lingoport… with Renato Beninatto. We’re going to be discussing a survey that we gave, briefly, and then we will also be getting into ten questions with Renato. I’ll be making all introductions and going through this.

…Renato Beninatto has really had quite a career within the industry and it’s very exciting. He’s been on the executive teams; [like] many of you … of many large localization companies. He’s run his own localization company, he’s been a consultant in the industry, he’s been a marketing executive, he’s been a sales executive… [Renato] specializes in making companies successful in global markets, and in starting businesses that span across boards.

…So, we had this survey in December and January of this year to look and find out, what is the state of continuous globalization? There’s been lots of talk of continuous globalization, and honestly there’s a gap between what people say about the current vision of continuous globalization, and where people would like to be. And we wanted to really focus on that in our survey, to understand that.

[We found there]… is a very commonly reported disconnect with developers, management, and localization teams. There is a leadership recognition issue of getting management to understand, and perhaps a leadership gap within the localization industry itself… Very clearly there were budget woes reported in terms of getting enough money to do what people wanted to do…

So, there’s kind of good news and bad news. The bad news is there’s a long way to go, the good news is people are really interested in going there.

Alright now, on to our live guest. I don’t want to short change Renato with time. Renato!

Excerpt 2: Localization and Company Success Predictors [00:10:00-00:20:00]

Renato Beninatto:

Hi!

Adam Asnes:

Hi! Alright, very good. Tell us about your latest venture, Nimdzi. What is it, who are you serving, and how are you helping? That’s a big single question.

Renato Beninatto:

Yeah, well then I’ll keep it short. We are doing market research and analysis in this space. It’s my second venture in this area. I started a company called Common Sense Advisory, that some of you know, and… after going through ten years away from this space, I thought that there was room for a new look at how you share information and you gather information about the space.

The work that you did, the kind of survey that you did, is a fantastic job and actually I went through the analysis that was done, and I’m not surprised. I mean, one of the conclusions that you can take from the study that you have is that there’s a lot of room for growth, improvement, and development. The thing that has changed is that, with the proliferation of technologies and the changes in processes that have happened, you have created more confusion and decision making becomes harder. So, there is a role for independent consultants, independent analysts in this space to help organizations run and make decisions that are not only based on marketing materials from the suppliers…

So, I wrote this book, The General Theory of the Translation Company, which looks at how LSP’s provide their services and how they create value for the clients. The key, the central theme of the book is the value creation: what are the activities inside an organization that create value for the final client? It’s a book that is designed for everybody in the industry. If buyers, publishers, end users of translation optimization want to understand how the process works, they have that formally there. If translators who are at the other end of the process want to know how the sausage factory works, that’s what the book provides.

So, we work mostly with end clients, providing them guidance and helping their decision process.

Adam Asnes:

[Is there] a common theme in localization [that] involves justifying the business case to upper management?

Renato Beninatto:

The answer is no… the reality is that unless the organization, the upper management as you call [it], has decided to go global and have an international presence, making the case and building it from the bottom up is still very hard. And there is one reason for that: it’s that translation and localization are afterthoughts. They are really something that is seldom designed into the product or the service, and usually the person… and we have organizations here at different levels of experience and maturity. But in a traditional organization, somebody is picked.

I like to tell this story. When I was a tax consultant at Arthur Anderson in one of my first jobs in my career, very early on, my boss came to me one day and asked, Renato, how do you come to work? I said, I take the bus. Good, [he said], you’re a transportation expert. Maybe localization people in the industry aren’t just people that speak a foreign language; they are part of the organization and they take upon themselves this initiative to build a globalization practice in their organization, or somebody tells them, oh because you speak a foreign language, you are the expert in this space.

Adam Asnes:

What are some of the success predictors for companies entering new markets?

Renato Beninatto:

Okay, this is an interesting conversation point. Everybody wants to have a secret recipe of how do I become successful going into a new market. And this is case by case, product by product. It’s very different if you are a consumer product [or] if you are an enterprise product and there are many facets to that process. But, some things that all successful companies have in common is, first, they literally speak the language of the local market. Having a local partner or a local consultant or somebody that gives you local insights about the country that you’re trying to enter will always give you an advantage, [even] for the silliest things…

One of the studies that we have done recently is about global payments: getting paid in different markets is an issue for almost every company. How do people prefer to pay for goods and services. A credit card is not as widespread outside of the United States as it is in the United States. So even though eCommerce is present everywhere, if you’re in China, if you’re going to China and you don’t have an Alipay, you’re probably not going to be successful in selling your product online. So a partnership with a local expert or a local insider is always good. Another predictor is using research, understanding what is the landscape in the market, if there are products that are similar to yours and how do you stack against those products. This is also an important thing. We’re going to talk later about the risk of copycats and things like that.

Excerpt 3: Localization Opportunities and Globalization Initiatives [00:20:00-00:32:00]

Adam Asnes:

What are some of the leading localization opportunities that you are hearing about?

Renato Beninatto:

[The] market of language services is pervasive. Every human activity, every business activity in the world requires some sort of translation or localization. People prefer to consume their products in their local language. That’s an axiom, it goes without saying. So the opportunities that are growing have to do with areas of the economy that have growth because translation and localization is not an end activity in itself, it follows other business activities and it’s a consequential activity, not an end activity. So I would say the areas that you would see this in the performance of the LSPs in certain verticals, there are certain areas that have much higher growth than others. So if you look at things like entertainment, gaming, multi-media, and regulated industries like life sciences, the financial sector, now there is a big boom… These regulated areas are huge opportunities for growth. This is where growth is happening.

The localization industry doesn’t grow in a uniform way. It grows at different speeds in different markets at different times. So if you look at, for example, eCommerce, that’s a segment that is pretty much stagnant and it’s very prone to automation. So there is an increasing volume of it but not necessarily an increasing revenue in that area. So I would say all the big areas where you see manufacturing in other areas that is not taking off, it’s essentially a stagnant market. If you look at the cost of goods in the economy, they tend to be flat or actually going down. And that reflects in the expenditure that companies have for their translations and localizations. So I think that the leading areas are the ones related to entertainment. I like to call one of the big shocks that we have in the last two years in the language business is the Netflix affect. The fact that Netflix decided overnight to go into 100 countries and you started to have a shortage of translators for video subtitling and dubbing in 26 languages that they started using. Look where the economy is going and the growing companies in the space, and this is where opportunity lies.

Adam Asnes:

I’m gonna add that we’ve seen an uptick in companies engaging with us and our software not in the U.S., writing software in their own, for instance, Chinese – all their strings are in Chinese, but now they’re looking to reach other markets which aren’t just the U.S. So we’re seeing it go the other way.

Renato Beninatto:

Absolutely… I actually go frequently to China, I love that country, and I love the market. I was there recently in October of last year with a friend, and she was saying that she thought that the West was more advanced than Asia and when she arrived in Shanghai said, “Oh my god, I’m living in the future. This is the future.” China in many aspects is much, much ahead of the United States and even Europe in many, many areas. But the thing about China is that the Chinese large organizations, Ali Baba, Baidu, and companies like that, they still have so much room for growth in their local market that they are not necessarily focusing on growing into the international markets. Their international expansion is very small compared to the giants here in the United States and Europe. When they decide to go internationally, then we’re going to see a really, really big uptake in this business. Tell your kids to learn Chinese!

View Webinar Recording

Adam Asnes:

All right. Are companies taking global user experience for granted or are they understanding it’s not only about translating?

Renato Beninatto:

It’s very hard to answer a question that starts with “are companies” because companies are very different. What I can say is that user experience has been a topic that has gained traction in the last, I don’t know, eight, nine, 10 years. Mostly because of the development of mobile technologies. So user experience, it used to be an after thought and it’s become really an important part of software design and development. Companies… [generally] have a chief user experience officer and are really looking at how customers interact with their technology. But the key element driving this is the mobile revolution. As they say, the future is mobile, the future is Android, IOS has a very small percentage of the market besides the North Atlantic area. In the case of mobile, text comes less important and it’s all about motions and minimal viable content. You can say a lot more with a button then you would say with words.

I think that it’s become very important but that depends a lot of the maturity of the company that depends a lot on how the relationship goes. One of the things that I would say is that user experience is very, very different in [inaudible 00:27:19] markets. If you look at Japan, China, and Holland for example, you can launch a product in Holland or in Scandinavia in English and you wouldn’t notice much loss in opportunity there. But if you go to China where more than 90 percent … It’s a mono legal country, more than 90 percent of the country doesn’t speak English. You need to have a unique experience there. You need to understand that everything goes through WeChat, everything goes through search environment, Baidu and Ali Baba and all those big environments there. If you go to Japan, most of the world uses WhatsApp, China uses WeChat, Japan uses Line and Korea also uses Line. These are … Business environments that are not even taken into consideration in many cases… It’s not only about translating, it’s definitely understanding how people consume information in the local markets and what are the platforms that they prefer and your user experience needs to match that experience.

Adam Asnes:

…If you were leading globalization at an enterprise that is expanding it’s globalization emphasis, what sort of initiatives would you consider?

Renato Beninatto:

First of all, I would be aware of the copycat effect. If you launch a business or a product in the United States, you don’t have the privilege of having a captive market and waiting until your product is mature to go to other markets. There are businesses in Europe, a company Rocket Internet and plenty of businesses in Asia whose business model is essentially “Look what is going on in the United States, what new products are taking off, let’s copy that model and launch it here locally and create our brand before this American brand comes over”. And this is a real threat. This is something that you need to be aware of. If you don’t globalize from the beginning, if you don’t launch your product locally, you will suffer from the copycat effect.

The other initiative that companies should consider involves diversity – having diverse leadership and input from executive level staff from different areas of the world. They say one of the sins of diversity is that a diverse group is smarter than a smart group because diversity brings different insights and brings different outlooks on things. And I think that GE and Cisco have led with initiatives like this where they have appointed chief globalization officers from different countries, living in different countries to participate at board level and top management levels in their companies. So these are the things that if you really want to, there is a big different between being a multi-national company, being an international company, and being a global company. If you really want to be global, you have to act as a global company.

Excerpt 4: Globalization Vendors and Vendor Services [00:32:00-00:42:30]

Adam Asnes:

What is the ideal role of globalization vendor partners?

Renato Beninatto:

I think that what a globalization partner, and partner is the key word here, the biggest value that a partner gives to a client is allowing their buyer to have a good night’s sleep. The role of the globalization vendor is to deal with everything that is transactional, that is operational, that is procedural, and let the client representative, their direct contact on the client’s side deal with strategic and internal elements of the globalization process. Today, there are very mature suppliers that can handle all the needs of a big organization. One of the trends that I’ve seen in the last four, five years is for the very mature companies, the top companies in the world, they have realized that the traditional approach of working with two, three, four vendors at the same time and splitting work among them by language or by volume was actually creating a backlash. And companies are moving more to a single-sourcing model because the vendors are financially stable, and organizationally mature enough to be ready to deliver all the activities related to globalization as an outsource service.

So at a very high end, the size of internal departments is shrinking, and more is being outsourced just as in other areas that are not core competencies in organizations… like customer support and first level support. Things that can be outsourced are outsourced so that companies can focus on the things that really generate revenue for them. So the ideal role of a good globalization partner is not to surprise their clients, is to give them, like I said, a good night’s sleep and take all the monkeys off their shoulders so that they can focus on things and grow internally as executives in the organization.

Adam Asnes:

You’ve acknowledged that Translation Memory is old technology at this point. What do you see as up and coming?

Renato Beninatto:

Okay, it’s so funny that about 10 years ago I said that Translation Memory in five years, Translation Memory was going to become free or irrelevant. And I think that we’re there. You have tools online, you have Omega T, which is open source, you have MateCat, another open source tool. You can even use Google Translator Tool Kit as a free translation memory tool that anybody can use in the market. The big topic in our industry is neuro machine translation but I don’t think that that is the most relevant thing from a localization process point of view. What is up and coming are solutions similar to what Lingoport provides, and there are other providers in the marketplace that do that. What is up and coming and what differentiates companies is the ability to integrate with any other tool that affects the localization process.

The technology today, as always, the role of technology is to automate repetitive manual tasks. You will hear people saying, “Well, but when will this stop?”. It will never stop because every automation creates a new process and that new process after a few months or years is ready for being automated also. And I’ve been seeing this happen over and over and over again. So Translation Memory today is a feature. It’s something that is there. I wouldn’t be surprised if in a few more years Translation Memory is not even mentioned, [or] taken for granted. I think it’s old and what is up and coming is processed more than language processing.

Adam Asnes:

There’s been an emphasis on TMS and CAT tools being synonymous with technology in our industry. I always look at that and say this requires expertise on the part of the customer. When should customers actually consider such technologies versus vendor services?

Renato Beninatto:

I think that this is a great question, Adam, because this talks to the total cost of ownership aspect… how many companies and many of the participants in this webinar are certainly still working on Idiom platforms. Idiom was a decision that was made 15, 20 years ago. This was implemented, it was integrated, it’s part of the development process, and it’s very hard to break away from that. I see in the engagements that I have with clients that many of them are trying to get out of that technology that was developed in, I don’t know, Windows XP environment or Vista. I don’t know what it was, to something that is more agile and flexible. Because all the other technologies are changing.

Like I said before, I think that the winning companies and the winning technologies moving forward will be the ones that can easily integrate into processes. It’s this API economy concept that allows organizations on the go to switch technologies easily based on their ease of integration with other tools.

We need to be realistic and understand that globalization technology is not a top priority for any CIO. They are not going to stop selecting an ERP system or a content management system for the whole enterprise because it doesn’t have localization features. It’s always going to be an afterthought. And the few times when that happens it’s a long process and takes a long time.

I personally believe that because I am a service kind of person and I believe more in service than technology because technology will change. I mean, the technology that we will be using and talking about 10 years from now has nothing to do with the technologies that we’re dealing with today. I mean, Google didn’t exist 15 years ago when we were working in translation and localization, and today it’s an integral part of anything that we do… it’s better to select in an enterprise environment, to select a vendor that can solve the localization problem to the client as a black box. What is the technology that they use in the background doesn’t really matter as long as the process is transparent? I know that you have a solution at Lingoport and there are many suppliers in the industry that have this solution that detects changes in the source content and triggers a localization process when the change happens. And that automation based on machine learning and monitoring will win over time.

So if I had to choose what technology or TMS … and the point is and it’s part of your question, very seldom people consider that to make a decision based on the technology will require somebody to manage and to be trained and to be involved in that technology on a regular basis. So this is more staff, this is more people to manage when you really want to have this process as automated and as carefree as possible.

I like to say as long as we have control of your content and you manage the transition. It’s like they say, you have to talk about divorce before you get married. If you secure that you can move and change vendors seamlessly from the beginning of your relationship, you will be safe engaging in a relationship with a stable supplier.

…If I were going to buy a localization today, I would buy it as a service, not as a product.

Excerpt 5: Business Models and The Voice Experience [00:43:00-56:17]

Adam Asnes:

How do you see using technology to connect all developers, marketing teams, localization teams, in country offices and even vendors in globalization teamwork?

Renato Beninatto:

I think that that’s the role of technology in our space. That’s really the value that technology brings. It’s essentially automating processes in making it seamless inside the organization. A global organization will be working in 10 different time zones and you cannot have a single point of failure in an individual in one location. [If] that person is not there to send the email… everything will be delayed.

Like you mentioned in your survey, the majority of companies are… not working in an automated way. So I think that using good technology, using cloud-based solutions that integrate all the different functions that are involved in localization is the way to go. Talk to the people that are doing that kind of stuff because ultimately, what you want … and this would be my last comment. I think that the trend that we want to see is for companies to move from managing activities to managing exceptions.

Once everything that is repetitive is automated, you start being responsible only for looking at the thing that didn’t work. You only look at the things that are outside of the traditional process. Tasks that are repetitive and predictable, they can totally be automated. Your span of control and your capacity of managing automated processes increases significantly because you only work at that flashing red light or yellow light, “Hey, we have a problem here. We have somebody that hasn’t picked up this project in half an hour. Maybe we need a human to interfere here.” And you take away the traditional. There are some areas that are very prone to this type of automation like vendor management, like content detection, and things like that.

Adam Asnes:

Right. Right. Right… All right. So I’m going to open this up for questions from the audiences… I’m going to start with our friend, Alexander. Both of us know him very well.

All right. In software development and continuous delivery, it just doesn’t make sense both for the buyer and for the provider to pay the fixed per-word rate for translating only a handful of words at every spread. How will translations earn money and add value in the future? What do you think about the per-word rates versus per-hourly rates of flat fees and minimum fees?

View Webinar Recording

Renato Beninatto:

This is a business negotiation discussion. The per-word rate is a very simple traditional way that we have been using in this space. And at the end of the day, everybody’s going to convert that to a certain metric and to define, oh, is this good enough or not enough for me.

The reality is that per word, per hour, per minute, per comma, per paragraph, per line as in German, these are ways to measure effort. I’ve seen multiple attempts and models to solve this discussion. I think there is a right way. There is the way that to negotiate and whatever you negotiate that is accepted by the parties is a good deal. The moment it starts being a good deal, you will start seeing a decrease in the performance and it’s time to negotiate again. I think that in the sprint and agile model a per-hour rate or a weekly metric you decide to use to pay for the availability of the resources is fair.

Adam Asnes:

All right, other questions here. You mentioned single sourcing. That seems like both a sales challenge for vendors to break in in large companies as well as a vulnerability on the vendor side because if the vendor is wrapped around say two or three customers that end up making up most of their company business, that actually destabilizes those vendors a little bit. What do you have to say about that situation?

Renato Beninatto:

So I’ve been involved in three situations where clients have moved from multiple vendors to single vendors. And the points that are raised are fair but they’re no different and maybe even easier than to… three or four different vendors. Now, some organization will have eight vendors but they will single source certain areas of the business. So one company will give all the consumer products to one vendor and all the enterprise products to other vendors. Another company will have three or four divisions and they will work with two vendors and split the process because these are divisions that have different processes and different ways to address the problem.

Definitely and what we have seen is that the risk, there is a risk, but it’s lower than having to handle [multiple vendors]. So, in one of the organizations that I was involved, the internal organization had over 100 employees in the localization department. And after the single sourcing decision, this group went down to five people because all those other 95 functions were handled by the single vendor that was doing that. So that single sourcing approach makes the vendor become like a department of the client.

There’s always risks, and you have to evaluate what they are, but you need to have a certain level of maturity from the vendor and the buyer, also.

Adam Asnes:

All right. I have a question here. [As a] leading opportunity, you mentioned the voice experience. What are the challenges that you see or how you think it can affect the industry?

Renato Beninatto:

The voice space is very interesting because that’s the hardest one to automate. There are attempts and there is a lot of pretty good artificial voice that’s available in the market but for the entertainment market, it’s still the artistic element is the one that is hardest to automate. So some companies in this space, the ones that are working with the film distributors, with Netflix, with Disney, Pixar and so on, they are actually investing in this high margin niche of voiceovers. Because of this, they believe are the ones that are going to be the last frontier in automation, that the content can be machine translated but the interpretation needs to be human. That’s another dimension that you can look at as part of the opportunity. It’s a kind of a protection from automation.

The State of Continuous i18n & L10n Survey Results

InContext QA Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Boulder, CO August 8, 2018 – Lingoport has released new software, InContext QA 1.0.

InContext QA dramatically simplifies Linguistic Quality Assurance (LQA), so that localization of software can be edited directly on application pages and easily managed by linguistic reviewers and localization teams, disrupting tedious and time-consuming traditional LQA processes.

InContext QA top benefits:

  • Saves time, going from weeks to hours for LQA reviews and updates
  • Eases use, with edits directly on application pages in context
  • Engages in-country stakeholders for better quality
  • Makes LQA concurrent with sprints and releases
  • Integrates with source control and Translation Management Systems

While localization is important for gaining success in global markets, translation of software presents unique difficulties. Translation is highly contextual to any application’s focused market and users. What’s more, reviewing translations in software using traditional methods is a messy, slow and tedious process. InContext now makes the entire process easy and direct.

With InContext QA, reviewers can see the application running in their browser and make changes immediately, directly interacting with the page and the underlying software files. Those changes can be reviewed and approved within the application. Once approved, the system automatically updates the files, while also working nicely with translation memory or management systems.

Traditional industry practice is for the reviewer to go through translation lists and software screens that are applicable to a current feature release or localization product. When LQA reviewers saw an issue, they would make a screenshot, mark the error and file a bug report with the suggested translation. Those reports would be reviewed and approved, then a developer would have to locate the files where the linguistic changes needed to be made, based on the screenshot as a visual clue of where to look – often not obvious. The developer would update the files and the product build. Then the application updates would need to be verified. Those steps are time-consuming and expensive. Traditional LQA can’t remain concurrent with the pace of agile development, and linguistic quality and therefore global opportunities suffer.

InContext streamlines a formerly onerous process, taking what is often ten or more steps down to two simple and immediate actions (change and approve).

InContext QA relies on the use of Lingoport Resource Manager, a component of Lingoport Suite, for continuous internationalization (i18n) and localization (L10n). InContext QA supports software using a wide range of programming languages and their respective resource file types, including JavaScript, Java, C# and more. You can watch a video of InContext QA in action here

“Linguistic QA used to be an obstacle to globalized software maturation. Now it can be easy and fast. Localization processes need to match the speed of softhttps/lingoport.com/5-minute-incontext-qa-demo/ware feature releases,” said Adam Asnes, Lingoport’s CEO. “If you want your products to move beyond global early adoption, pay attention to the quality of internationalization (i18n) and localization (L10n). Delight worldwide users with each new update, just like you do in your home markets.”

Learn more about InContext QA and the Lingoport Suite

About Lingoport:

Lingoport provides software and professional services that enable globally focused companies to create and maintain software that works elegantly in every language and locale.

The Lingoport Suite includes Globalyzer, Resource Manager, and InContext QA. Working together, these products continuously monitor, fix, collaborate and manage both internationalization and localization in each software sprint and release.

www.lingoport.com

Contact: Matthew Deragisch, mderagisch@lingoport.com

Lingoport, Inc.

3180 Sterling Cir #201

Boulder, CO 80301 USA

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5 Minute InContext QA Demo

InContext QA is the fastest and easiest solution to perform and manage Linguistic QA of localized applications. It only takes five minutes to demonstrate the entire process.

How much faster would your localization review process be with InContext QA?

InContext QA keeps localization reviewers focused on page that customers will see, rather than translation lists and screenshots. Remove the dependence on iterative bug fixing, tracking down files for corrections and updating. Make it easy for QA teams, localization vendors and in-country stakeholders to provide translation input that’s quickly managed and approved. There are no proxies or proprietary libraries to limit your development. Yet it can work in conjunction with your translation memories, TMS and localization vendor portals.

InContext QA makes linguistic updates so fast and simple, that they can be part of every sprint, rather than going to backlog purgatory. Making globalization quality easy with InContext QA supports success for every locale.

Please contact us to learn more.

A Better Approach to Internationalizing and Localizing Software

Adapting software so that it supports multiple languages and locale formats is not trivial and it is important to your global success. A localized User Interface can have a positive impact on your customers’ satisfaction with your product. The globalization requirements span your software architecture and ongoing development practices. It is important to create ongoing processes so that internationalization (i18n) and localization (L10n) can be easily integrated into your sprints and releases.

Why Software Localization is Valuable

Companies that are looking to grow globally find that fully localized software is one of the key elements to sustained growth. You may gain some initial traction without localization, but if you want to move beyond early adopters and be more competitive, the localization process is an essential step. The localized software is easier to use and helps build long-term customer satisfaction. In addition, companies that invest in i18n and L10n often find they are at a competitive advantage in international markets which helps maintain pricing power.

But before you can effectively localize, you must internationalize your software to enable multilingual capabilities. This includes:

  • Adding locale frameworks
  • Externalizing strings
  • Refactoring string concatenations
  • Replacing locale-limiting programmatic functions/methods and patterns
  • Database internationalization
  • Managing potential 3rd party product issues

Getting Started

Internationalizing your existing application may seem daunting but the effort is typically rewarded with increased revenues. There’s a reason many companies underestimate the effort required to internationalize software. Many good programmers don’t have experience with internationalization and are therefore unfamiliar with best practices. They may regard i18n as a simple string externalization exercise – which of course is not the case. To complicate matters, without tools to keep the development teams on track, it is inevitable that i18n technical debt will creep into new features. Below are some tips and suggestions to help make your internationalization and localization efforts efficient, effective, and successful.

1. Dedicated Team

It’s not uncommon for some companies to start internationalization efforts with only one or two developers. Within a few months, they are pulled from i18n and put onto a “higher priority” project and sometime later replaced with different developers. This inconsistent approach almost always fails. After a year or more and significant resources expended, the project is still not complete, and the opportunity cost only continues to rise.

Creating a dedicated project team is the most important step in ensuring your internationalization effort will be successful. Using third-party contractors to lead the effort, combined with some of your own development resources, is one way to make sure the team persists even when internal resources are diverted. This approach has the advantage of allowing multiple internal developers to participate in the i18n process, rapidly improving the learning and socialization of internationalization techniques.

2. Software Architecture

Before diving into externalizing strings, it is important to first look at the software requirements and architecture. Is Unicode required? String externalization in the user interface is obvious, but are strings also passed through and processed in your software back end? How will you support locale selection within your application’s various programming languages? How will locale be selected and is there a fallback? What changes will need to be made within your database? Are there third-party libraries that need to be considered? Like many programming tasks, getting the approach correct up front will save many hours of wasted time doing rework. Are you choosing to use established methods for locale support or creating your own (we don’t suggest the latter)? Using standard resource file types and conventions will make automation of the translation process much easier.

3. Finding i18n Bugs

One of the more challenging aspects of internationalizing existing software is finding all of the i18n issues. Within thousands or even millions of lines of code, these can be difficult to identify and resolve. Fortunately, there are static analysis tools available, like Lingoport’s Globalyzer, to make the task of finding and fixing i18n bugs faster and easier. It is also important to put in place a method to quickly check new source code as it is being written so that internationalization becomes part of the agile process rather than addressed later in backlogs when it will cost much more in time and hassle. When developers can quickly scan their work from their IDE to find i18n issues, they are much more likely to fix the issues as they are writing the software.

4. Automation

The very nature of agile development involves rapid new feature development. For localization, this means many relatively small localization changes, performed more frequently. Traditional approaches to software localization involve many manual steps to perform a localization update. The process of finding and enumerating new strings from resource files in repositories, sending them out for translation, and returning the translations to the repo, can be tedious and error-prone. When changes are made to the source string, sequencing of the returned translations is almost always an issue. In addition, errors in the source files are multiplied across all of the locales during translation so it is important to validate the formatting prior to sending the files for translation. The good news is that this entire process can be automated so that no one needs to take on the role of “file nanny”, shuttling files back and forth to translation. For example, Lingoport’s Resource Manager handles these tasks using continuous integration along with an automated connection to your localization company or translation management system.

5. Selecting a Translation Partner

Language Service Providers (LSPs), also known as translation agencies, provide professional translation services including software and app localization.

Selecting a translation agency that has experience in and an understanding of software and app localization is key for ensuring your localized product is well received in new language markets.

Here are some things to look out for when evaluating translation agencies:

  1. Will the localization process be synced with your development process and does it fit seamlessly into your existing workflow?
  2. Do they offer integrated technology solutions to provide continuous translation and streamlining string hand-offs?
  3. Are they providing a veteran team of in-country linguists and industry tools to deliver quality translations that meet your deadlines and budget?
  4. Are they a full-service agency that can be called upon throughout the enterprise with professional translation services that include website, documentation, video and marketing content translation?
  5. Do they provide an optional Quality Assurance (QA) step that includes efficient, in-context validation of language and formatting to ensure your product looks and functions as intended?

When selecting an LSP, you are outsourcing a set of specialized and time-sensitive tasks that are closely coupled to your creative and development process. Quality should be a priority at each step in the process, from project set up through quality assurance. Working with a localization partner who can navigate both cultural and technological challenges will not only take your product across borders but also help it succeed across language markets.

The unique challenges of software demand dedicated effort to internationalization and localization. The proper tools and partnerships are required to meet your agile development workflow. Lingoport and Acclaro provide the expertise and solutions to help you meet your worldwide market goals.

Acclaro

 

Acclaro is a strategic partner of Lingoport.