Women Driving in the Language Industry

 

The majority of professionals within the language industry are women. Yet all too often, women don’t seek or aren’t given a spotlight for the essential work and dynamic personalities they bring to the profession.

This March, in honor of Women’s History Month, MultiLingual wants to highlight the many women who make the language industry such an innovative, creative, empathetic, and exciting environment. Working together with industry partners, we compiled a list of women whose peers agree are shaping the profession through their knowledge, skill, experience, and personality. We then reached out to the nominated women themselves, asking them to share details about their career and perspectives on gender in the workplace. In addition, we requested that they choose another woman they admire and share some thoughts about them.

Thanks to their participation, we’re able to share dozens of individual stories, each one full of its own twists, turns, and viewpoints. The language industry is supported by women from all over the globe. For some, their path into the profession was almost accidental, the result of the right opportunity at the right time. For others, it was the culmination of a lifelong ambition. Regardless, their personal story informs their vision of what the language industry is and what it might become.

Undoubtedly, this list includes only a fraction of the women who deserve to have their voices and careers spotlighted. But we hope this feature serves as a tribute to not just the women included, but every woman whose hard work and individualism shapes and propels localization and translation.

If there’s one thing we took away from this project, it’s that we’re fortunate to work in an environment that allows so many brilliant, capable, and talented women to thrive.

There’s little doubt that 2022 will be a year of tremendous growth thanks to their efforts. And as long as they’re around, we can rest assured that regardless of how the work evolves, there won’t ever be a dull moment.

 

Yulia Akhulkova

Head of Translation Department, International Translation & Informatics Ltd.
Contributing Writer, Nimdzi Insights

I graduated from Moscow University of Electronic Engineering as a software engineer.
During my university years, I worked as a freelance translator (IT domain) and a consecutive interpreter at events (starting from Semi Expo 2006, then moving on to exhibitions in Moscow’s Crocus Expo.)

Since 2010, I’ve worked in professional localization combining strategic, control, and marketing functions. And since 2011, I’ve worked in a Russian LSP: ITI.
An invited speaker at industry events, I’m also a professional community localizer admin on Telegram and co-host a Russian webcast about game localization. Finally, I contribute to Nimdzi’s research around language technology.

In our industry, I never felt disadvantaged or oppressed by being a woman. Probably, it has something to do with me coming from a family of Soviet engineers and being educated as an engineer accordingly. That means, in our family, the questions of “man vs. woman” were never relevant. Intellect and intelligence were valued above all.
Of course, the world has changed, and nowadays looks are often more important than brains. However, I do believe that in the language industry and our vivid international community, if you’re clever enough, you’ll be treated with respect regardless of your sex. Professionally, I am kind of a geek first and a lady second!
Most of all, I love being able to simply walk and truly enjoy traveling the world! And yes, I do love taking pictures of my travels across the globe. Preferably, on a 35 mm camera.

  BY IRINA RYBNIKOVA  

I watched her on the internet for several years. Then I invited her to join a project and did not regret it for a minute. I always say that she is an excellent moderator because she keeps the speakers focused on the topic of the discussion and does not allow them to digress — experts share with her the most interesting professional moments. And she also has enough passion and energy to lead several professional channels in Telegram and on YouTube. She’s also a co-founder of the most popular chat about localization in Russia (Localizer)! She definitely contributes to the professional growth of the entire localization community. By subscribing to her Instagram, you will definitely enrich your world with new books and music from dark folk through jazz funk to prog rock.

 

 

Silvia Avary

Head of Localization, Rivian

Growing up, I knew I loved two things: animals and traveling. My love for animals led me to veterinary medicine, then a clinic, which wasn’t for me. After getting a job at a pet food company, I traveled Brazil talking about the nutritional benefits of our kibbles. It was a blast, but young and curious, I came to America in an immersion language program. A marketing certificate landed me a job in a startup as a marketing localization coordinator. And just like that, I entered the localization world, fell in love, and never looked back.

Going back to school was never a decision I regretted. Over the years, I went back many times. I got certificates in Marketing, Localization, and Global Marketing. I did grad school and received an MBA, which led to better opportunities. I took advantage of learning courses my employers provided, such as leadership training, presentation skills, coaching, and more. Learning has been a big part of my life — one I still enjoy today.
Along the way, I met some amazing people, people that believe in me, mentor me and helped me grow in my career. I probably wouldn’t have arrived here without their guidance and trust. When I co-founded Women in Localization with Anna Schlegel and Eva Klaudinyova, we wanted to create a forum for women to come together, network, and learn. Women in Localization is so much more than that today, and after all these years volunteering there, meeting incredible people, learning from them, I want, more than anything, to continue to give back, to mentor and inspire others to find their passion and advance their careers. I want other women to know that we are strong, but it doesn’t mean we cannot show any vulnerability. It’s OK to say, “I don’t know,” or ask for help. Asking for help shows confidence and builds trust. We can always learn from one another.

  BY OLGA BEREGOVAYA  

Having met Silvia in different forums and circumstances across many years, I was always impressed with both how willing she is to share her knowledge and expertise and how interested and open she is to learning. I’ve followed her journey leading localization teams across several organizations and always observed the same trend towards innovation and reinvention in the localization program — driven by her expertise, encouragement of outside-the-box thinking, and communication with suppliers. Let’s not forget Silvia’s achievements as a founder and leader of Women in Localization — I have been a living witness and event speaker as the organization grew from the small local Silicon Valley presence to where it is now. That’s largely thanks to the dedication, efforts, and commitment of the founders (with all due respect to the leaders and volunteers). Love those occasional, always-fun happy hour chats!

 

 

Olga Beregovaya

VP of AI Innovation, Welocalize

Unlike many people with perhaps more exciting stories, I entered the language industry after attending a school that specialized in foreign languages, taking translation and interpretation jobs through high school, getting two advanced degrees in linguistics and doing a bit of linguistic theory teaching after grad school. So the path could not have been any more obvious and straightforward, as I was never trained to do anything else. I started with building lexicons, then rules for rule-based MT systems, then built my skills in MT systems development. From there, I delved into NLP development and deployment, dev team management, and broader language technology. As the language technology evolved, I began managing complex larger-scale ML and AI projects, and now I drive AI vision for Welocalize, one of the world’s super agencies.

Being a woman in the language industry is a fascinating learning experience. As a young Russian woman, a degree in linguistics was somehow an obvious choice. I remember the female-male ratio in class was something like eight to two. Progressing into my career, I entered the field of language technology a couple years after grad school, and the landscape changed dramatically. I would often be one of the very few women in the room. Seeing more women enter the industry and broaden their skill sets and career potential has been amazing. Mentoring the modern student population about the opportunities in language technology and services has been my pleasure, and it’s something I believe is vital.

  BY ANNA SCHLEGEL  

There are so many wonderful women to write about, but I have to go with Olga Beregovaya. Olga was the Head of PROMT in San Francisco when I became the General Manager for Acclaro for the West Coast in 2008. I could hear her speak in Russian and English and about machine translation across the hall because our offices were on the same floor. She was the future! I had played with TM2MT at Cisco at that point, and Olga became this wealth of knowledge. Frankly, she’s also a great, relatable friend as a fellow immigrant, LSP leader, traveler, and linguistics enthusiast. She was our very first guest of honor to speak at Women in Localization. We have always been in touch, and I recently had the luck to spend time with her in Mexico. She is a sister, a leader, and probably one of the smartest people I know. So lucky to know her!

 

 

Alessandra Binazzi

Chief Consultant, Alessandra Binazzi Consulting

I’ve been involved in globalization and international expansion my entire career. I started my professional journey at Dragon Systems, developers of pioneer speech recognition software, still leading in the field today. The product was intrinsically tied to language, the core models and technology of the product being language specific. Every part of the company was tied to language and international markets. It was the greatest induction in the field of globalization and localization.

In the next leg of my journey, I focused on international sales and marketing. Although I wasn’t directly involved in localization, this phase of my career was a training ground to work with organizations’ international offices and partners. I honed my skills of advocating for international users and influencing upper management on the importance and impact of a structured international strategy.

For the past several years with the growth of digital content, I’ve had the fortune of returning to my globalization roots, building and scaling globalization functions for organizations in a variety of industries. I’m thrilled and excited to be a woman leader in the language industry at a time of great innovation, growth, and opportunity for current and prospective language professionals.

Our field is already filled with leading women at all levels of organizations. Localization is ahead of the curve when it comes to women representation compared to many other sectors. As a woman in the language industry, I want to make sure we are inclusive and ensure that women continue to soar and lead in provider, client, and nonprofit organizations. Globalization and localization can serve as a great example and a source of inspiration for other fields, where women face more barriers to equal opportunity and access to positions of leadership. We must promote an industry where women have always and will always play a key role in development and success.

  BY ALLISON FERCH  

I’ve worked with Alessandra Binazzi in her capacity as a volunteer for GALA, where she’s been highly engaged for several years. Of all her impressive traits and skills, her adaptability and flexibility impress me the most. Professionally, she’s moved fluidly between industries as diverse as sports betting, personal wellness, and retail furniture. And those jobs took her from the Caribbean to Boston and back to her home country, Italy. Alex once told me that she could fit all her and her daughter’s belongings into four large suitcases. I was astounded! But that fact demonstrates her values. She’s adaptable, adventurous, intentional, and unburdened by unimportant clutter. Alex has given her time and talents as a volunteer not only to GALA, but to several worthy industry organizations. Despite being an incredibly busy single parent, with every legitimate reason not to do so, she still gives, and gives abundantly. Her influence is present in so many industry programs, events, and organizations. I’m delighted I’ve had the chance to get to know her and to work with her.

 

 

Michele Carlson

Localization Marketing Manager, Apple

I’m a localization leader with over 20 years of experience in the industry, currently leading marketing localization for Apple Media Products at Apple. Actively involved in Women in Localization as the board sponsor for Chapters and Global Growth, I also led global expansion as the Director of Global Expansion as well as the Silicon Valley Chapter Manager. Previously, I served as the Globalization Director at SurveyMonkey (now Momentive), where I spearheaded localization and international growth from the ground up. I was also the Director of Localization for Sony Computer Entertainment America, where I led the PlayStation localization team to deliver PS4. Before Sony, I spent eight years at Yahoo!, where I held various positions including the Director of Localization. I hold a BA in International Relations from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management.

Being a leader as a woman in the localization industry over the years has been a great pleasure. Campaigning women leadership is a passion for me. I’ve had the opportunity to learn from some of the best mentors in the industry, and in turn I’ve done my best to mentor women around the globe to rise up in their careers, stake a stand, and move up the career ladder. It’s been an amazing experience and a privilege to work with women from cultures all over the globe. Women helping and championing each other plays an important role in our future as leaders in this community of professionals.

  BY IRINA RYBNIKOVA  

Michele is a great professional. I had a chance to volunteer in Women in Localization together with her. She was the one who communicated with new Chapters and helped them join the community. She does it perfectly — in a supportive, calm way. She literally leads newbies by the hand along this path. And she has a great sense of people — those whom she brought into this community can be sure, they are real pros and leaders both from hard and soft skills points of view.

 

 

Anu Carnegie-Brown

Managing Director, Sandberg Translation

In the past 25 years, I contributed to the growth of three Nordic LSPs from modest start-ups to streamlined organizations, working in numerous production roles as well as in vendor management, sales, and marketing. At Sandberg, I lead and coach the company’s management team and nurture links with our major stakeholders. I’m passionate about building Sandberg’s unique brand and developing innovative ways for the translation industry partners to work together.

I volunteered at the UK Institute of Translation and Interpreting as a corporate member in a committee that guides and supports translators and interpreters in their CPD efforts and was mentor for Women in Localization and a founding member of the Elia Exchange initiative.

Serving on the Advisory Board of The University of Surrey Centre for Translation Studies in the UK was one of the highlights of my collaboration with academia. In 2013, I created an “Introduction to the Translation Industry” course for the University of Helsinki and inspired an entire team of industry peers to teach it with me annually in Finland. Impacting the pipeline that supplies human resources for our industry is one of my key interests.

The language industry has a female-dominated workforce, and in my experience talent is recognized all the way to the top – irrespective of gender. But even in our industry, the attributes of women leaders may not be valued equally with those of men. Confidence can still be more esteemed than competence, and you tend to rise in a company only to the level of conflict you can handle.

  BY RAISA MCNAB  

What I admire about Anu’s leadership is that she always thinks before she acts when it comes to business. She never makes a business decision without considering the dynamics behind it. She never steps on a podium to talk about the industry without understanding who the audience is and what they expect. She never stops trying to understand and to analyze how the decisions she takes and the work she puts in reflect on her business, her people, and the wider industry. Apart from being a successful company manager, Anu inspires me with her boundless initiative in driving the language services industry forward, from Elia workshops to EU Commission round tables, via a dozen or so universities.

 

Ady Coulibaly

Operations Manager, Bolingo

Having graduated from the Pan African University Translation, Interpreting, and Intercultural Programmes (PAUTRAIN), I joined the language services industry as a conference interpreter (French and English). During the early stages of my career as a language professional, I felt the need to combine my work as a conference interpreter with human rights and went on to study for an MPhil in Human Rights and Democratization in Africa at the Center for Human Rights, University of Pretoria. Since then, I worked as a consultant interpreter with several regional institutions including the African Union Commission for meetings on the rights of women, children, and the vulnerable.

I currently lead the operations of Bolingo, a Regional Multiple Language Services Provider (RMLSP) based in Accra, Ghana. It’s been an amazing experience with regards to learning and interacting with other professionals in the industry.

I am inspired and driven by the desire to see the language service industry in Africa thrive and become recognized within the global language industry landscape. As such, I count myself fortunate to play a role in the industry first as an African, and second as an African woman. Most especially, being featured in the 2021 Nimdzi Localization Influencer Watchlist was a pleasant surprise. But it’s also an indication that although African language professionals and LSPs should better promote industry growth, it will become a reality through our commitment to be involved.

  BY ALLISON MCDOUGALL  

I had the pleasure of meeting Ady late last year. I’m in awe of her work to raise the profile of the industry in Africa. I love how she engages the local community of linguists and gives them a platform to shine.

 

Kate Edwards

CEO, Geogrify. CXO and co-founder, SetJetters

I’m a geographer and CEO and principal consultant of Geogrify, a consultancy which pioneered content culturalization, as well as the CXO and co-founder of SetJetters. I’m also the former Executive Director of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA; 2012-2017) and the Global Game Jam (2019-2022). A writer, corporate strategist, and adviser for several companies and nonprofits, I consulted on many game and non-game projects for BioWare, Google, Amazon, Facebook, LEGO, and many other companies following 13 years at Microsoft. I’m also the founder and former chair of the IGDA’s Localization Special Interest Group, the co-organizer of the former Game Localization Summit at GDC and a columnist for MultiLingual magazine since 2005. Fortune magazine named me one of the “10 most powerful women” in the game industry in 2013, and in 2014, I was named by GamesIndustry.biz one of their six People of the Year. Besides being awarded by several events for my advocacy work in the global game industry, I was most recently honored with the Ambassador Award at the Game Developers Choice Awards at GDC 2020. I was also profiled in the December 2018 publication Women in Gaming: 100 Professionals of Play. In August 2021, I was included in the Forbes’ “50 Over 50” Vision List as one of 50 veteran women selected from a wide variety of industries, and in September 2021 was inducted into the Women in Games Hall of Fame.

On the whole I don’t see myself as necessarily working in the language industry, because the culturalization work that I’ve been doing for so long is so much broader than language. For my clients, my purpose is to maximize the global reach of their content — so that all the amazing work they’ve done can be enjoyed and experienced by as many people as possible. For the recipients, it’s really about striving to respect who they are — their unique worldviews and their cultural expectations — and provide them with an experience that will be positive and enriching. For both companies and individuals living in the media-rich world, the content we create, post, and/or share essentially defines who we are in the eyes of people beyond our immediate social circle. It’s been my passion to help companies and people be more mindful of that dynamic, and recognize the importance of the content we create and/or embrace.

  BY BELÉN AGULLÓ GARCÍA  

Kate Edwards has always been an inspiration to me. She’s one of the first women having a leading role in the gaming industry, one of the most male-dominated industries out there. She’s always advocating for other people’s rights and was one of the first authors to write and speak about game culturalization, one of the pillars of the game localization industry. It’s always a pleasure to see her speaking at any event — her passion for game culturalization is contagious. Thank you, Kate, for being a role model for many of us.

 

Allison Ferch

Executive Director, GALA

My introduction to the language industry was in 2010 when I joined GALA as a part-time events coordinator. They kept giving me more and more responsibility, and 12 years later I find myself at the helm of the world’s greatest language industry association. I’ve never actually worked for a language industry company, but my position at GALA gives me a crow’s nest perspective on the tides and currents at play in our professional environment. As the executive, I have to anticipate and consider what all the changes mean for GALA and for our members. It’s a fascinating — and challenging — place to be.

To succeed in the language industry, you must have a mindset that is open, growth-oriented, respectful, and ambitious. Virtually all of the women I have met professionally embody this mindset. It’s empowering to be among so many smart and capable women, and it’s been a delight to work in an industry with strong women role models and leaders. I count myself as lucky that I don’t have to deal daily with discrimination and instead find an encouraging, welcoming, and supportive professional community.

  BY ALESSANDRA BINAZZI  

I have such great respect for Allison French. As the Executive Director of GALA, she has provided leadership and guidance for so many in the language industry. She’s an inclusive leader with great empathy, who fosters a global community that is diverse, curious, and collaborative. Allison has built an all-woman team of highly competent and productive professionals, dedicated to the membership of language professionals and to the promotion of industry in the broader business community. She steered the nonprofit organization through the two pandemic years and came out on top, looking at a bright future. Allison is the consummate athlete and many of her sports values translate into her professionalism and leadership style. Allison is dedicated, loyal, focused, a team player, and has a healthy dose of competitiveness. Her latest endeavors are swimming Alki beach in Seattle on Christmas Eve and swimming across Puget Sound.

 

Carrie Fischer

Manager of Globalization Services, Subway

Like many of us, localization was a happy accident that became a full-time gig. Starting in the early ’90s, I began my localization career by observing, learning, and then forging my own way by creating localization strategies for the companies I worked for. Twenty-eight years and four jobs later, I am an expert in helping companies go global and finding ways to help global companies with their global expansion strategies. I provide globalization services, which can vary depending on the company’s needs. I’ve delivered internationalization best practices to development/technology teams, put together language labs for QE teams to test products, been a centralized function for buying and distributing VM software, and helped departments figure out content strategies for localization, among other things.

Being a woman in this industry means giving back to the industry and organizations that have given me so much. Being a mentor, meeting with people who need help, offering my expertise when asked are all part of the system that I choose to call home. I wouldn’t be here without the localization industry’s support and the people within it.

  BY MARINA GRACEN-FARRELL  

Carrie is a notable localization leader with so much experience in many areas. Her knowledge enhances everyone she works with. I can’t think of any role she has not touched in localization. And being so active in Women in Localization’s leadership, she constantly and generously gives back to her peers and students alike. Carrie’s ease speaking about localization topics (and generosity on stage) makes her one of the best to share a panel with!

 

 

Jill Goldsberry

Global Strategic Account Director, Lionbridge

I’m a Global Strategic Account Director for Lionbridge Technologies, LLC. Accountable for overall account ownership, developing executive relationships, and growing incremental revenue while ensuring highest levels of customer satisfaction, I’m passionate about understanding my clients’ organizational goals and objectives and align closely with them to achieve desired results. I recently completed the Global Digital Marketing and Localization Certification (GDMLC) Program, BoardSource certificate of NonProfit Board Education and am a distinguished graduate of Purdue University. Likewise, I serve as the Global Partnerships and Events Board Sponsor for Women in Localization. Based in Foster City, California, I have 20-plus years of localization, media, and marketing experience across multiple verticals.

First and foremost, I am delighted to be part of such a strong group of women changing the world every single day. Growing up in a farm town in Indiana without a stoplight, I dreamed of traveling, took classes on culture and language, and hoped that someday I would get a chance to visit these places and meet the people there. It took a few years, but I did get that chance. Throughout my career, my biggest happiness has been meeting and getting to know colleagues, clients, and others from different countries, cultures, and backgrounds. It’s what makes my heart tick and inspires me to always be learning.

  BY SILVIA AVARY  

I am lucky enough to be surrounded by so many talented and inspiring women throughout my career. I especially enjoy working alongside them while volunteering for Women in Localization. One amazing leader I have the pleasure to work with on a regular basis is Jill Goldsberry. Over the years, I have watched Jill’s role at Women in Localization grow and with that, her confidence. Jill is a strong leader who inspires her peers and her team. She has accomplished amazing things for W.L. by creating strong partnerships with other organizations. Seeing Jill’s dedication to Women in Localization’s cause, the number of hours she puts into it, and all the women she has helped through this amazing organization has been truly inspirational.

 

Marina Gracen-Farrell

Localization Consultant and Senior Content Manager, Pearson

Having served on both the LSP side and buyer side of the localization industry, I have hands-on experience supporting strategic globalization initiatives and have always felt it important to freely share knowledge from my many domain areas of expertise. I’ve inspired colleagues in countless roles as guide and advocate, to open eyes and illustrate the tremendous potential of global markets. Lately, I’ve been motivated to make a difference through creating imagery, interview videos, and newsletter articles to explain localization and highlight some of the fascinating lives of localization and translation peers.

I feel it’s important to amplify and support female colleagues and be an outstanding role model, however that fits those who seek it. To me, diversity, equity, and inclusion goals are a natural extension of global diversity, especially when considering global clients. Furthermore, I feel we need to add generations representation to DEI boilerplate goals; because in my eyes, generations work best together.

  BY CARRIE FISCHER  

Marina impresses me because she makes a huge effort to support students who are learning about the localization industry, writes her own content to help people navigate the confusing world of localization, hosts webinars that include localization industry people solely for the purpose of getting them together to discuss trends, what they’re doing on the weekend, and their favorite foods. We worked together on a few projects, and her desire to help people comes through every time we collaborate. She put together a list of free resources to help anyone and everyone become more knowledgeable in the localization industry. She is an asset to our industry and deserves to be recognized as such.

 

Sarah Hickey

VP of Research, Nimdzi Insights

I have always been a language nerd, and to this day, there are few things that make me happier than finding a like-minded person to geek out with about linguistics, culture, etymology, and all that jazz. While still in college, I began my career as a radio journalist in Germany. After moving to Ireland, I first transitioned into literary translation and eventually did my M.A in Conference Interpreting. This is where I first dipped my toes into the deep, deep waters of interpreting research. Not long after, I joined Nimdzi Insights as the dedicated interpreting researcher. Today, I am Nimdzi’s VP of Research, leading the company’s flagship products, such as the Nimdzi 100 — our global market analysis and ranking of the largest LSPs. You may have also seen and heard me on various Nimdzi live streams and our C-Suite HotSeat show, where we interview C-level executives from the language industry in cooperation with MultiLingual TV.

I consider myself a feminist, in the sense that I believe in equality for all genders. While the language industry has a high concentration of women, the top positions are still mostly filled by men. To achieve true equality, I think it is important that women and men are (at least roughly) equally represented on all levels of society. Whether that is in families, in public offices, or in leadership positions in businesses. To make this goal a reality, it is essential that the voices and different perspectives of women are heard and valued, and that women support women. As a woman in the language industry, I feel lucky to have met many strong and inspiring women, who are happy to share their knowledge and expertise with other women and help each other succeed. I am honored to be included in the same list as some of them, and if I can help to advance the position of women in the industry even just a little, I am a happy person.

  BY LUCIE SÉGUIN   

Sarah Hickey is a rock star in the language sector. She has a rich background in linguistics and in her current role as Chief Researcher at Nimdzi Insights. She helps stakeholders all around the world by providing neutral and valuable insights and perspectives. She balances her personal and professional life very well and is a model other women can look up to.

 

Nataly Kelly

VP of Localization, Hubspot

I started in the language industry as a telephone interpreter for Spanish at AT&T Language Line, then did freelance translation work and eventually became a court-certified interpreter for the US state courts. I co-founded a company, started doing market research and consulting work, then moved to another language service provider running product development. Then I moved into market research full-time, becoming Chief Research Officer at an industry research firm. First building a partner channel, I later ran marketing at a SaaS company in the TMS space. I then moved to HubSpot where I’ve worked for seven years in marketing, international operations, and now localization. Along the way, I wrote two books and a blog, Borntobeglobal.com

I’m the proud mom of two young daughters, and for me to be a working mom in the language industry is a major honor. The language industry has historically had higher representation from women than many other aligned industries like software. I’m very grateful for that, because I had plenty of women role models around me and above me at nearly every point in my career in the language industry, and many were working moms. Most of the women I looked up to as leaders and mentors were not only women, but women of color, immigrant women, and women with foreign accents in English. I didn’t pay much attention to gender representation until I moved into software, where disparities were more obvious. What’s special about the language industry to me is not only our gender diversity, but that the women you see in this industry also represent tremendous diversity when it comes to culture, religion, and so on. This has given me many great examples of how women from around the world integrate work and family life and achieve balance. We have so many amazing women in this industry from so many diverse backgrounds that it makes me very proud to be a part of it!

  BY ANNE-MARIE COLLIANDER LIND  

What is there to say about Nataly Kelly that has not already been said? An iconic woman, so knowledgeable, and truly understanding the impact of languages across the world. I had the privilege to work with Nataly at CSA Research, and the first thing that struck me, besides her amazing ginger hair, was her genuine interest in everything related to languages. And then her writing skills, her ability to turn any clumsy written draft for a research project into a wonderful, magical, factual, and interesting article and always with the highest readability. No wonder she has been recruited to some of the most prominent positions in our industry! I believe though, her being a linguist, not only by education but more importantly by heart, has added an indisputable layer of humbleness and authenticity to everything that she does. My most profound memory was when we teamed up at the European Commission in Brussels, invited there to present a study. It was a big moment in both of our careers, and after the session we were both very tired. Almost euphorically, we went to the flag stands and wrapped ourselves in a flag of choice. Guess what country’s flag she chose?

 

Eva Klaudinyova

Assistant Professor of Localization Practice, Middlebury Institute of International Studies

I’m a senior, experienced localization expert and consultant with a deep understanding of globalization on an enterprise level, including leadership, strategy, as well as building and managing virtual teams and different localization operations and execution models in fast-paced, ever-changing environments. A part of the localization industry since 2000, I first managed localization programs on the supplier side (Medialocate), later leading localization teams and implementing new globalization strategies in companies like VeriSign, VMware, and Apple.

A professional educator, public speaker, coach, and mentor, I’m currently an Assistant Professor of Localization Practice at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, imparting my knowledge to graduate students of Translation and Localization Management. My localization expertise focuses on leadership, operations management, process and solution design, program management, quality management, and supplier management.

I’m multilingual and hold a Master’s degree in Foreign Language Teaching from Slovakia, as well as a Master’s degree in Translation from the Middlebury Institute. And I’m a co-founder, board member, and secretary of Women in Localization.

Having spent most of my career working for some of the biggest IT companies in Silicon Valley, surrounded mostly by male executives, I had to accept many things as par for the course: the prevalence of male managers despite the majority of the industry being women, little or no female representation in the highest levels of the companies, the wage gap, the expectation for women to prove their expertise and ability to lead every single day, the prescribed ways a female employee should behave, communicate, and manage. The journey was difficult, but in most companies, I managed to find friends and allies who believed in me, trusted me to lead, opened new opportunities, and supported me. Having gone through this journey both with and without allies, Silvia, Anna, and I wanted to make sure that all women had the opportunity to find others who would help them through the challenges of their own careers. Women in Localization, which I consider one of my biggest accomplishments, was born from the need to create a community of women and their allies, and to advance the cause of women in the localization industry.

  BY CECILIA MALDONADO  

I have known Eva Klaudinyova for more than 15 years since we are both active developers and promoters of the translation and localization industry. As an organizer of industry training events, I have invited Eva Klaudinyova to be a speaker on a variety of topics, and she always delivered top-notch content. She is an industry expert, which is evidenced by the many times she has been invited to speak at international conferences to share her knowledge. Despite her very successful localization career and reputation in the industry, Eva has decided to leave the corporate world and dedicate her time and energy to teaching the next generation of localizers. I see this step as a continuation of her long-standing support, mentorship, and training that she has contributed to the industry for the past 20 years through her mentoring, Women in Localization volunteer work, and conference presentations. Eva Klaudinyova is not only a co-founder of Women in Localization but an indispensable part of our W.L. leadership team. She’s been very supportive in my role as president, and my experience has been super positive thanks to her guidance.

 

Cecilia Maldonado

Director of Strategic Accounts, Latamways, President of Women in Localization

My name is Cecilia Maldonado, and I am the Director of Strategic Accounts at Latamways, a women-owned, ISO-certified translation company in Argentina. After graduating from a five-year university degree in Translation at the National University of Córdoba in Argentina in 1999, I started my own company. With more than 20-plus years in the localization industry, my experience includes co-founding, managing, and merging language service companies as well as co-founding the first language industry association in Argentina: Translated in Argentina. During said time, I’ve volunteered with different international organizations and have organized more than 30 training events in Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Brazil, Ireland, Peru, and the United States.

Since January 2021, I have been the President and Board Chair of Women in Localization (W.L.), a certified nonprofit organization that works to foster a global community for the advancement of women.

I grew up with a mother who was a housewife frustrated over giving up her dreams for a family. She never entered the workforce and raised me and my two sisters with the constant reminder that we needed to become financially independent. And that’s what we did.

In my 20s, bold but inexperienced, it was hard to feel my male counterparts or even potential clients saw me as a business person. I have hundreds of stories, especially in Argentina, where after having a “business” conversation, the “prospect” started texting me to invite me to lunch. It’s harder for women to put themselves out there. We are always being held to higher standards, and not every woman wants to deal with it.

Women are systematically placed on an uneven play field, face gender stereotypes, and considered weaker. Gender assumptions are always tied to stereotypes underlying individual cultures, families, and environments and may always influence behavior. But in my opinion, everyone is unique and has different traits, regardless of their gender.

As a woman in this industry, I feel honored to represent Women in Localization (W.L.), an organization with more than 5,000 members worldwide, 500 volunteers across nine programs, and 27 chapters in the Americas, Europe, and APAC.

W.L. works for the advancement of women in our industry by focusing on creating a community whose culture is based on support, empowerment, commitment, and belonging.
I am especially proud to encourage women who believe these roles are only for those with big titles, in the corporate world or from Silicon Valley. Helping people believe in themselves and push for more is one of my drives.

  BY EVA KLAUDINYOVA  

“Ceci” has experienced a remarkable professional journey in her 20-plus years: She co-founded two women-owned language services companies, co-founded the first industry association in her country, played a leading role in Think Latin America, and organized more than 30 events. She volunteered with Women in Localization in various roles and is now president. She is also a member of the Association of Certified Translators of the Province of Cordoba, the Globalization and Localization Association (GALA), and the Association of Language Companies (ALC). Few women have played a more active role in the localization industry. I will never forget the Think Latin America conference we both helped organize in Buzios, Brazil. It was the first time I got to know Ceci and found that she can make friends with anyone, talk to anyone about anything, loves to dance and drink wine, and only wears the latest shoes.

 

Allison McDougall

Executive VP, G3 Translate

Get ready to go back in time! I entered the industry as a French-to-English translator working for an agricultural research company in France. Through this experience, I learned that I wanted to be closer to the business: market expansion strategies, evaluation, and entry. I appreciate localization’s power to enable this and how the world’s most successful companies can link global content to customer engagement and revenue growth.

Since then, I’ve had the honor to work with top-five LSPs, building client relationships, teams, and innovative solutions around the world. Another highlight is my affiliation with Women in Localization, where I have served as Global President, a board member, and an advisor for several years.

My current focus is helping companies ensure inclusivity and equity in medical and health information.

Being a woman in this industry represents a fabulous opportunity to help rethink and re-shape outdated stereotypes and narratives. With fewer women pursuing careers in B2B sales, it’s also a wonderful chance to demonstrate the flexibility, creativity, and income potential that a sales role in this industry can provide.

  BY JILL GOLDSBERRY  

Allison McDougall was one of my mentors when I entered the language industry in 2012. Both of us worked for Lionbridge, and she shared her story with me, which inspired me from day one. Additionally, we learned we were both Midwesterners; the rest was history. Observing Allison’s work ethic, honesty, and best practices for success assisted me in achieving my goals and helped me navigate the unknowns as an industry newcomer. Fast forward six years later, she was a mentor to me when I accepted the Women in Localization Program Director for Partnerships and Events.

 

Raisa McNab

CEO, UK Association of Translation Companies

My dream job growing up was to become a translator, but after gaining an MA in Translation with Finnish, English, and French, I got side-tracked, and then sucked in by the wider language services industry. For over a decade, I worked through pretty much every single other role in a language service company: project management, recruitment and training, vendor management, tech development, quality management, and business development. At Sandberg in the UK, with an amazing team of colleagues, I saw the company grow from 15 people when I first joined in 2003 as a project coordinator to 125 when I left as a senior manager.

Today, I’m CEO at the UK’s Association of Translation Companies, spanning boundaries across the industry and our stakeholders in the business community, associations, academia, and the public sector. I represent the ATC’s 215 member companies and lead the ATC’s business support, collaboration, and best practice initiatives and activities. I also co-direct ATC Certification, an industry-specialized ISO certification body, and have been involved in the development of ISO standards for the language services industry for many years. My other geeky specializations include language-services data protection, and I act as the EUATC’s GDPR representative, working towards common guidelines.

I feel fortunate that our industry is so equal in terms of gender representation, all the way from junior roles to CEO level. The opportunities in my career have come through passion, dedication, and hard work, and I have always felt my skills and knowledge mattered more than my gender. I see this as the starting point to explore what we can do together to further promote equality and diversity in the industry, not just for women but for everyone, from ethnic minorities to the LGBTQ+ community.

  BY OLGA BLASCO  

I will never forget when I met Raisa at the ATC conference in Cardiff in September 2018, where I was invited as keynote speaker with the topic “The Human-Machine Playoff.” Even though I knew Jesper Sandberg for many years and had been introduced to several people in his STP team, I never crossed paths with Raisa. Before the conference, we had the opportunity to chat online, and she gave me insights on the areas of interest to touch upon during the keynote, plus likely questions from the audience. It impressed me how clued in she was on the future of industry technology and the role that LSP companies and organizations like ATC would have in this equation. Raisa spoke as someone with enormous experience in the field and a vision for the future. Then it was announced she would take on the ATC CEO role. When she took the stage with her beaming smile, I realized that her energy and enthusiasm would be transformative for ATC. I believe that Raisa has definitely proved herself in this regard.

 

Yuka Nakasone

Chief Strategist of International Growth, Global Bridge

My adventure started when I was 18 years old. A quiet yet rebellious non-conformist in nature, I chose to go to Spain after graduating from a university in Tokyo with a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish Studies. I started to work in the localization industry by mere chance. While I was in a summer school in a university in Boston in the mid ’90s, I found a “Japanese Localization Specialist” job with a full sponsorship for H1-B visa, and eventually a Green Card, in a mid-size MLV called International Communications in Framingham, Massachusetts. The summer school told me what I “achieved” was remarkable and unusual: getting a job with a visa sponsorship in just three weeks. I felt destiny! Since then, I have been in a love/hate relationship with the industry like many of us. When I moved to Spain at the end of ’90s, I seriously considered a professional divorce, but in vain. I ended up settling in Spain as a freelance translator, then working for clients who need internal localization professionals. I truly enjoy the atmosphere of growth and expansion in the industry now. I also promote innovation and drive professional and personal development in the industry, serving businesses that need our expertise.

Female and male stereotypes don’t serve us too much, but languages are perceived as a female domain. At the university education level, there are more female students than male students in general. In this environment, the top-LSP leadership stats are quite shocking. I know it’s not about quantity but quality as well, and I appreciate some great female industry leaders, but this quantity imbalance needs to be addressed. Being a woman and promoting and supporting an “innovation” movement in the industry means a lot to me. First of all, I can show that technology is not just for boys but girls, and anything beyond, as well. Also, it is an honor to identify a brilliant, innovative industry mind and hold the space for them to showcase their talent. Within the industry, I would love to enroll as many defenders for that corner of the industry as I can.

  BY IRINA RYBNIKOVA  

First time I met Yuka was at Translation Forum Russia in 2019. We started to talk one evening and continued for several hours. The first impression may deceive you — inside this petite woman hides a huge professional strength. She knows everything and everyone in the language and l10n industry. And she can motivate you toward something really great! As she does for me for all those years as my industry colleague and close friend.
Regardless of which part of the world she is now in, be that Boston or Barcelona or anywhere else, she brings a bit of Japanese culture with her, from homemade Japanese dishes to fantastic presentations on Japanese cultural and business nuances.

By the way, do you know that any localization expert visiting Barcelona undergoes a pro-detector checkup while visiting Yuka?

 

Vera Richards

President of Language Services, Akorbi

I started working in the language industry as an ESL teacher and a culture immersion coach in 2000 while also working as a translator and interpreter. I worked on the client side on natural language processing tools and then joined Moravia in 2007. At Moravia I had held various positions and for 5 years there I was in a role of a Program Director managing one of the company’s largest clients’ portfolio. For the past 4 years, I held a role of a Vice President and President of Language Services at Akorbi. My expertise is localization program and team building. I have a passion for delivering solutions for human connections and empathy towards the ones working on and benefiting from the solution.

I found my home in the language industry early on in my life. Communication and listening is something women do very well, and to be able to facilitate and play a role in the cross-cultural connections means the world to me. When I started working in localization, it was predominantly a man’s world. In the last decade, I have seen a big shift and more and more women leaders have emerged. This, in my opinion, has a lot to do with the emphasis given to the needs of the end users of the products we are localizing and to the audiences which want to understand and be understood. I feel proud and honored to be a part of this movement and to work alongside the language-industry professionals to make the world a tighter community.

  BY CLAUDIA MIRZA  

Vera is a shining example of a dedicated and passionate professional. She gives her all to the industry and is always looking for ways to empower those around her. I admire her operational skills and the devotion she has earned from all her team members. She is leading the way in the localization industry through technology and creating innovative solutions to meet any client need. Vera is very well respected both at Akorbi and within the industry. On a personal level, Vera and I share a passion for the outdoors and travel. She is a loving mother, friend, and colleague, and I’m honored to be able to partner with her every day.

 

Irina Rybnikova

Head of Department, Positive Technologies

Once I graduated from the university, my friend asked me to join a project as translator group manager and coordinator, and we localized Star Office from Sun company. It was a life-changing decision — I have spent more than 20 years in the documentation and localization industry working in multilingual international IT companies (Kaspersky Lab, Yandex). I have had the opportunity to enjoy multiple positions, starting from technical writer, translator, and localization engineer, through documentation and localization manager, head of project management team, head of the technology group, up to head of the localization department, and currently head of the User Assistance Department at Positive Technologies.

Even though my professional interests are always focused on technology, as a person I believe that it’s all about people. That’s why I invest my time in volunteering projects, connected with people development. I’m an acting Ambassador of LocLunch Moscow. I’m also a career mentor in the Mentor in Tech program.

I organize various professional events (Positive Tools Battles, MT workshops, UX-writing meetups, etc.) regularly. Sometimes there is no time for various other activities like sleep, but it’s a good challenge for work-life balance skill. And I still enjoy our industry!

Despite the fact that there are more women working in our industry, we are still faced with stereotypical decision-making, and sometimes with restrictions that we build ourselves, which is especially true in top positions. I believe we need to change it: support and teach each other, show successful career scenarios, highlight companies where real growth is possible, help others celebrate and connect successes, share experience, and connect good people. Sometimes even the simple phrase, “You are doing amazing things,” gives them wings. In the end, it brings both the rise of real professionals and the success of the entire industry.

I love traveling, mostly visiting my friends all over the world, and driving. I love simple crafting and cooking. That’s why some of my industry friends have some gifts from me, like crazy orange crochet pillows, wooden New Year toys, or even delights which I make from fruits and berries from my family garden.

  BY YULIA AKHULKOVA  

Irina Rybnikova is from Russia and not very active on LinkedIn (as Linkedin is still banned here). That is why Russians normally don’t have that many followers on LI. This, however, didn’t prevent her from becoming a regional leader of a famous international association as well as the ambassador of the biggest LocLunch so far: LocLunch Moscow.
Irina is an active organizer and participant of various free initiatives, mentoring young women specialists being just one example. She actively promotes the language industry, and is herself a real pro in doc&loc. She once organized a CAT-tool battle in Moscow, the techniques and ideas from which were quoted and replicated by other industry influencers. By the way, she loves cats of all kinds and possesses mascots of CAT providers and localization partners, which sometimes results in a real mascot competition.

 

Anna Schlegel

VP of Product, International and Globalization, Procore Technologies

I’m a German philologist by the Universitat de Barcelona and Humbolt Universitaet von Berlin. Starting in the language industry by opening my internationalization and translation agencies in San Francisco in the early ’90s, I’ve led the first globalization teams at Cisco, Xerox, VeriSign, NetApp, and Procore Technologies to expand the companies’ footprint into the world. I’ve been an executive for the past decade leading Content Strategy, Digital Transformation, Engineering Workflows, Global Data Infrastructure, Technical Documentation, Training, and Globalization teams. My expertise is to increase the companies’ revenues coming in from outside of the US. I sit on three private boards and have co-founded three nonprofits including Women in Localization in 2008.

For me, being a woman in the industry means 70-plus trade secrets, one internationalization AI/ML patent, and the pleasure to work with, learn from, train, promote, and connect thousands of people through my work or nonprofits. I think I can say that I have influenced the industry a fair amount, something I would not have said a few years back. But now I’m super proud. It gives me so much pleasure to see people I train leading new organizations! In 2017, I published “Truly Global” which became an immediate best seller. The awards have been many, the interviews, the panels, the daily mentoring — it has become my life, literally. I am in love with languages and speak Catalan, English, and French daily, plus the occasional German. I love Italian and Portuguese, I studied Swahili, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew — you get the gist!

  BY YUKA NAKASONE  

Can you imagine the language industry without Anna Schlegel? I honestly can’t. Like many of you who are reading this, her passion for her land, languages, diversity, gender equality, community, leadership, technology, and innovation has been my inspiration and a beacon in the dark. Even my career might not have been the same without her book “Truly Global.” It was the “text book” that helped me to serve my clients. I bought a bunch of them and kept them at my desk. When I saw somebody who seemed interested in or open for conversation, I picked up a copy and either gave it away or lent it. That is my tool, not only to learn, but also to evangelize and promote our work as a globalization team to people outside the industry. All these are my experiences of her without knowing her in person, talking to her directly, or working together to this day. I am honored, though, to have an opportunity to work with her for a congress and put a period to this situation. I am so looking forward to driving digitization, innovation and globalization in her new vertical, the architecture and construction industry, starting this spring!

 

Belén Agulló García

VP of Learning and Lead Media Researcher, Nimdzi Insights

Starting my language-industry career in the game localization vertical, I worked as a PM, training specialist, marketing strategist and copywriter, translation manager, and quality and innovation director in several LSPs. Currently, I contribute to Nimdzi Insights as a researcher specializing in media localization and as the director of the eLearning program. I also work as a Key Account Manager specializing in gaming companies at memoQ. I also co-edited the book Mujeres en la traducción audiovisual. Perspectivas desde el mundo académico y el profesional. I’ve worked hard throughout my life, but still it is a privilege to be where I am today. It’s important to share this privilege and support others to thrive in our industry. That’s why education is one of my passions. One of the biggest satisfactions in my professional life is to see my students start new positions and have a career in our industry. That’s the most rewarding feeling.
  I once played in an amateur roller derby team and flew in a paraglider.

 

Olga Blasco

CIO, Orbital14

I started as a linguist but quickly pursued a journey of client solutions, achievement, and team building around the world. After 20 years in leadership positions at Lionbridge and Welocalize, I have been a growth strategist, mentor, and social entrepreneur since 2016. Always motivated by helping others while embracing fun and creativity, I’ve found my “ikigai” in M&A, technology and innovation, and women empowerment projects. Being a woman in the language industry means joining a large global community that, in many instances, sustains the business worldwide. Fortunately, the number of women in the driving seats has been increasing in the last few years. I believe that women are agents of their future, and throughout my career I have made the point to lead by example every day. I live and work for women empowerment every day: in a language industry with a majority of female talent, with my business partners and teams in different countries who are mostly women, and also helping women entrepreneurs develop a growth mindset, embrace risk and opportunity, and build resilience through strong communities. I will continue to work to ensure that women put themselves forward and have their voices heard.
Fun fact: I have a passion for music and dance, hold a music degree, and have been active as a teacher and performer for many years.

 

Danielle Meder

Director of Organizational Quality and Partner Support, Uphealth Inc.

Interpreting is heavily dominated by female interpreters, but leadership, especially executive leadership, is male dominated and not always by those with interpreting experience. I have moved into more senior leadership roles within large language-access companies, and I see it as my responsibility to likewise make room for other women. My goal is to see more women in executive leadership positions and sitting at the table as leaders in product development, strategic planning, and sales.
Fun fact: I take weekly Italian lessons and have for many years!

 

Rachel Carruthers

Head of Internationalization & Localization, Canva

At its core, localization is about representation and inclusion. As a woman in the tech sector, feeling represented and seen in a historically male-dominated environment has often felt like an uphill battle. It’s probably for this reason that my work in the language industry feels so personal — I see it as an opportunity to raise awareness and visibility for groups in our society that are sometimes marginalized, even if unintentionally. By working to expand my peers’ and colleagues’ global perspectives through localization education, I hope to help uncover their unconscious biases (we all have them!) and work towards a world view that is inclusive of everyone — no matter who they are, where they’re from, what their gender identity is, or even what language they speak.
Fun fact: Dumplings are my favorite food in the world. I’d eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if I could.

 

Anne-Marie Colliander Lind

Business Consultant and CEO, Inkrease Consulting AB

Growing up, I was jealous of children younger than myself who were fluent in Spanish. My mother comforted me, stating I spoke fluent Swedish. But that was useless when trying to make friends at a secluded island in the Balearics. My mother is a smart woman, an artist and entrepreneur, who taught me and my brother that anything is possible if you only put your heart into it. Her values made me an independent woman. They say that the language industry is dominated by women, at least by number. I’m proud to be part of it because it’s a people business. Sweden is one of the most gender-equal societies, so maybe I’m biased, but my gender was never an obstacle, or the key to my career. I credit that to my abilities and hard work, not just to being a woman. I’m humble to the fact that other countries are different, and I’m respectful to the many initiatives to empower women. Kudos to MultiLingual.
Fun fact: I think many know that I’m a world traveler, food nerd, champagne lover, passionate downhill skier, and horseback rider. What people might not know is that I love knitting.

 

Wada’a Fahel 

Director of Marketing Localization, Zendesk

Prior to Zendesk, I spent eight years at Harley-Davidson Motor Company, where I led the Global Localization division, establishing the Localization capability from the ground up. My team’s scope spanned 96 markets, 42 languages, and extended into every facet of the H-D operations across global markets. When I joined the industry about 16 years ago, localization was perceived as an act of translation, and TMs were the crown jewel of our tech stack. Since then, services, technology, and partner networks have evolved exponentially. That growth required a shift in mindset and a leader’s ability to balance opposite qualities: be decisive but flexible, strategic but not afraid of getting into the weeds, firm but empathetic, process-oriented but creative. That’s why you see more and more women joining our industry. We can balance opposite qualities, handle shifting sands, and navigate tough environments where labeling could be prevalent. I would certainly like to see more women at an executive level though.
Fun fact: I’ve never met anyone with the same name.

 

Winnie Heh

Career Advisor, Middlebury Institute of International Studies

  BY NATALY KELLY  

Winnie Heh was one of my very first role models when I was fresh out of college in 1996. She became a vice president at AT&T while I was just starting out in my language career, and she was incredibly well regarded by others. Whenever people spoke about her, it was with such tremendous respect. She was legendary, and I could immediately see why. She spoke with such clarity, sophistication, and maturity that she was captivating to witness, but she also listened to others with full attention and respect. She was the type of leader I always wanted to become, and I still work every day to be more like Winnie. When stuck, I sometimes ask myself, WWWD (“What Would Winnie Do?”). She is not only one of the finest in our industry, but in business, period.

 

Yota Georgakopoulou

Audiovisual Localization Consultant, Athena Consultancy

I spent my entire career in the language industry where I always felt I belonged, as the vast majority of professionals are women. We still have quite a bit of work to get it right at the top management level, but it is a lively, inspiring, and female-friendly industry vertical to be in. In my opinion, there is a need for support and mentorship among women in the sector, so we can push each other forward and be our own champions. I would like to see the market grow, as well as the people in it, so I had the idea to bring Women in Localization to Greece and start a chapter in my home country. It is now a thriving community, and I hope it continues this way, as I find it is important to have forums for open communication, especially at times when the industry is undergoing large changes as it is now.
Fun fact: I’ve had no official training, but I completed a couple of voice acting jobs during my freelance years and was told I have a distinctive voice – I sometimes dream of becoming a famous voice actress and starring in the next Disney blockbuster. Anyone have any voice coaching courses to recommend?

 

Vanessa Prolow

Project Manager, TVT Media
Senior Localization Project Manager,
Translation Commons

I started in the language industry as a translator from Russian to English, living in Russia and working as the English translator for The State Russian Museum. When I returned to the U.S. in 2017, I decided to enroll in the Translation and Localization Management program at the Middlebury Institute at International Studies, where I discovered my passion for localization quality management. I joined Women in Localization as a volunteer, and I am the assistant secretary of the organization and the program director for our nonprofit program. In these roles, I am able to not only serve as a leader myself, but also learn from the other amazing women leaders in our organization. The language industry provides opportunities for women around the world to start their own businesses and have the flexibility they need to make their complex lives work. There are few industries that give you the chance to connect with and support women globally the way the language industry does. I’m grateful that I get to do both these things on a daily basis in both my job and my volunteer position.
Fun fact: I’m a huge basketball fan and never miss a Lakers game.

 

Manuela  Noske

Community Manager, TWB

  BY VERA RICHARDS  

I met Manuela Noske while working at Moravia around 2010. Manuela was then my client and a point of contact, and she was already a well-respected authority on localization and language quality. Manuela’s great research and passion for African languages is something to be admired. She continues to contribute greatly within the industry and to many world communities in her role at Translators without Borders. One time, we were resolving a now-funny translation situation when one of the African languages decided to localize the word “delete” throughout the entire software as “kill and eat.”

 

 

Véronique Özkaya

CEO, Argos multilingual

  BY SARAH HICKEY  

Véronique Özkaya is an absolute inspiration to me. The first time I saw her was at my very first GALA conference in Munich. She was giving the final keynote, and I remember being absolutely blown away by her, thinking, “That is where I would like to be.” Ever since, Véronique has been a role model of mine, representing the right balance of professionalism, strong female leadership, and having just a lovely and inspiring personality. It’s women like Véronique who will advance this industry and show girls and women everywhere that female leaders can be both elegant and absolutely badass.

 

Hristina Racheva

Head of Localization, Skyscanner

  BY DANIELLE MEDER  

I had the honor and pleasure to co-host a webinar with Hristinia Racheva. In all of our meetings, her enthusiasm and energy was obvious, especially when it came to supporting others in their career development or organizational advancement. I especially appreciate her transparency, vulnerability, and candidness around her own journey as a means to empower, encourage, and support others as they take their place in the localization world.

 

Lucie Séguin

CEO, Translation Bureau of Canada

I am a grade school teacher by trade from the province of Québec in Canada. Speaking and living in two official languages (French and English) has been a part of my life since childhood. I was fortunate to learn Spanish, Greek, and Latin in high school. I have occupied many executive positions developing programs, policies, and projects supporting energy efficiency, earth sciences management, and historical documentary heritage before being selected to become the CEO of the Translation Bureau of Canada. I am one of the few female CEOs leading one of the top-15 largest LSPs globally, which I think gives me unique insights and perspectives given that the translation and interpretation profession is composed predominantly by women. I oversee all the translation (350 million words annually), interpretation, and terminology services in both official languages and in more than 100 Indigenous and foreign languages, for federal government departments and agencies, as well as to the Canadian Parliament
Fun fact: I am a volunteer patroller in one of the most beautiful Canadian National Parks, which helps to maintain my mental and physical health.