Delegation tour for Japanese localizers comes to Seattle

The delegation tour for Japanese localizers took place October 17, organized by Miyuki Mori and Yoko Chiba from the Learn for Yourself Project in Tokyo, a LocWorld official partner. The aim of the delegation tour was to utilize the opportunity afforded by LocWorld38, where worldwide localization leaders got together in Seattle, the central location of some of the world’s leading companies.

Three Japanese women participated: Miyuki Myrthil from WeWork in New York; Yumiko Funakoshi from Crestec USA in Los Angeles; and Yumiko Metsugi from XTM International in Tokyo. This rare occasion to meet with the leaders of global enterprises was deeply appreciated by all participants.

The tour started with Tableau, a software company that offers an interactive visualization tool specialized in business intelligence. Daniel Sullivan, the director of global content readiness, told participants how he got into the localization mission at Tableau and how his team has been expanded. He discussed his experience living in Japan and interacting with the Japanese’s sensitivity with localization tasks.

After the lunch, partcipants met with Terence Maikels, the enterprise translation manager at Starbucks — at a vast Starbucks Reserve coffee bar where the rich aroma of coffee wafted. Maikels discussed the importance placed on the Starbucks voice, which is considered even into the most technical of enterprise content. Unlike SEO measures, voice and tone can’t be easily taught or learned. Translation quality also came up: in order to improve the quality of corporate literature, in-market subject matter experts provide reviews and audits, despite not having professional backgrounds as translators or reviewers, and in addition to their day-to-day roles.

Afterwards, three sessions were carried out at the LocWorld venue, Bell Harbor International Conference Center.

Gregor Kneitz, the localization vendor manager at Facebook, explained the differences among translation, localization and internationalization. Randy Shoemake, department head of language services who has worked at Nintendo of America for more than 25 years, reminded participants of the importance of the enterprise’s communication during translation. Systems work effectively not only by improving speed and output through automation, but also providing quality communication among members. Information handling is often critical, especially in the marketing field, but it’s also important to “surprise and delight” the audience.

Patrick McLoughlin, the manager of localization at Eventbrite, said their task is not simply to translate their existing English pages into other languages. Eventbrite, the worldwide online ticketing service, offers several languages on their website and on mobile apps. For example, they would have to implement payment systems that are generally used in Japan on their Japanese user interface. In other words, it is not so simple as to offer a language, but to offer their services specifically for country.

On the following day, there was an optional tour to a local game developer, Big Fish. Yumi Okubo-Shuman, a manager of the localization engineering team, conducted the tour.