An Interview About Improving L10n Quality in an Agile Environment with Jim Compton

As part of Lingoport and RWS Moravia’s webinar recording, A Proactive Approach to Global Release Quality, we interviewed Jim Compton, Technology Partnerships Manager at RWS to get some quick insights into the state of localization, building quality into each step of the process in alignment with sprints, and other topics he discusses in the webinar.


View i18n Webinar Recording


Lingoport: Since the start of your career in the mid-90s, what have been the most significant changes to the localization industry over the years?

Jim Compton: Back when I started, the idea of content was pretty different. It was created, first of all, uni-directionally, so it would be created by a single entity and then deployed out into the world. There was a single direction of content creator and content customer. That’s really changed. The people who are consuming content are also creating content now, and I think that’s created altogether more pressure to be agile.

Previously, you might be able to plan with your product, releasing software documentation and help, let’s say as a package. You might say, “Oh, we’re going to release in Q2 of this year, and then we’ll release our localized version sometime after that.” Industry changes have made that a not very competitive or viable way of doing business anymore. You have to be in a state of constantly releasing and iterating.

That, of course, has put pressure on the concept of the localization project, this idea where you can wait for the customer to be done with what they’re building, and then start a localization project with a defined end date. That’s totally been displaced with this model where things are constantly being created and revised and need ongoing localization support.


Lingport: For a company new to localization and aligning with sprints … what is the top advice that you would give them?

Jim Compton: Quality is a layer; it’s not a step. If you have mistakes upstream in a process, those mistakes will end up compounding throughout the process, and if you’re waiting until the end of the process to identify them, it becomes exponentially more expensive and time consuming to correct them. In turn, you’re increasing your cycle time past the expectations of an agile production cycle.

So, the idea of trying to prevent the problems upstream, becomes really paramount. There are different ways that you can do this, but the practice of internationalization is really consistent with this idea. Make sure that before you go from a phase of development or authoring the software into the next big step of localization, you proactively take measures to prevent potential upstream errors.

Treating quality like a layer instead of a step means if you think of it like a layer, you actually add quality control in every step of the process.


Lingoport: Looking into the crystal ball, what new developments do you see in store for the localization industry in the coming two years?

Jim Compton: I think the big technological shift that I’m seeing right now is a change from the concept of localization to the idea of global content management. Instead of content being created with one market in mind and then adapting it to make it work in other languages, cultures, etc., you create content that is meant to be global from the start.

This, I believe, is fundamentally different than the current localization paradigm. The people who are designing/creating the global product must embrace localization best practices, rather than just viewing it as a next step activity

Another big shift is the definition of what content is. In the past, content was primarily considered something you read, however content now goes far beyond text, and even includes things such as voice data. I think the word content is evolving to mean data, and part of the value of the localization industry won’t be just providing translations but will be to provide global data.

Why is that useful? Data is the thing that can be applied to make intelligent decisions about big picture things like, “Should we double down in this market?” “Is what we’re doing in this market working for us?” “Do we need to do something else?” Having that data available when someone is managing their global content program will help them create content that’s likely to have the highest positive business impact.


Ready to learn more? Check out the webinar recording!


  • Date: June 13, 2019
  • Time: 9AM Pacific, Noon Eastern, 18:00 CEST
  • Duration: 40 minutes, plus audience Q&A


View i18n Webinar Recording


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