#203 – May

Abhishek Suryawanshi

How do you localize content for a country of 1.38 billion people speaking hundreds of languages?




fter two years of a global pandemic, I think we can all appreciate how important accurate, reliable health information is. And just as important is the ability to access that information in a language you can easily read and understand.

This is a topic we’ve covered before. For instance, in February, MultiLingual writer Elena Langdon wrote about Meducation, an app that delivers patient medication instructions and information in the individual’s native language. It’s a need that is sure to benefit untold numbers of people who might otherwise hurt themselves — or worse — taking improper dosages.

This month, we return to the topic of medical translation in a conversation with Abhishek Suryawanshi. The Director of the Special Wikipedia Awareness Scheme for the Healthcare Affiliates (SWASTHA), Suryawanshi heads up an effort to localize Wikipedia’s vast supply of healthcare articles for rural communities in India.

It’s an immense undertaking to be sure, but thanks to Suryawanshi and his team of dedicated volunteers, India residents are gaining access to accurate information rather than turning to dubious outlets and misinformation. In our interview, Suryawanshi digs into their methodology, as well as the career path that brought him to Wikipedia.

There’s plenty more to dig into in this month’s issue. Continuing the healthcare theme, Mark Shriner details best practices for securing information and protecting data in life sciences. And of course, you’ll find articles covering many other topics, from an op-ed on fair freelancer compensation to a checklist for culturalizing content to a meditation on the spiritual side of language and writing. 

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Abhishek Suryawanshi

By Cameron Rasmusson

How do you localize content for a country of 1.38 billion people speaking hundreds of languages?
There’s no easy answer for that question. But there are few people who understand the herculean task better than Abhishek Suryawanshi. As the Director of the Special Wikipedia Awareness Scheme for the Healthcare Affiliates (SWASTHA), Suryawanshi’s professional mission is to supply accurate, trustworthy health information to the people of India by localizing Wikipedia English’s healthcare information one article at a time. If that sounds like a sisyphean task, think again. Thanks to a dedicated team of volunteers and Wikipedia’s time-tested localization processes, Suryawanshi and his team are making tremendous progress every day.

Multilingual Boom at Netflix:
An update with Katell Jentreau

By Stefan Huyghe

International entertainment is key to Netflix’s global expansion strategy. And with foreign-language hits like Squid Game on the company’s hands, that strategy is starting to pay off.
Katell Jentreau, Regional Globalization Manager at Netflix, is one major reason for that success. Originally from France, Jentreau has over 20 years of experience in localization, both on the vendor and client sides.


Bridging communities: The work to decode languages of lesser diffusion

By Cameron Rasmusson

Many roads lead to a career in the language industry.
Take Melissa Meyer, for example. The CEO of Barbier, Inc., Meyer’s connection to multilingualism reaches back even before her birth, when her Guatemalan mother met her American Marine father. Now, as a leader of a language services provider, she’s providing a route into interpretation services for indigenous-language speakers. One of Barbier’s centers of operation, Guatemala is a hub for indigenous Mesoamerican languages — which largely fall into the category called languages of lesser diffusion (LLDs). And when it comes to serving speakers of LLDs, it’s easier said than done.

Forever Fragmented. The Language Services Industry and The Consolidation Curve

By Frederick Marx

In 2004, I founded a language services company. Two years earlier, experts claimed that by now, the language services industry would be largely consolidated, and that the top-three players would dominate. It hasn’t happened. In fact, the data show that language services may be even more fragmented today than when I started out 18 years ago.
In addition, the industry segment identified as “Everyone Else” by the latest Nimdzi 100 report seems to be faring quite well despite what experts might have predicted to be “The Great Disappearance.”




Data Protection, IT Security,
and Compliance in Life Sciences

By Mark Shriner

Data protection and IT security are increasingly important for organizations around the world. For companies doing business in a regulated industry like life sciences or financial services, protecting company and customer data is mission critical.


Soft Skills or Superpowers?

By Sophie Solomon

I remember an instance when I was looking to hire a project manager for one of my clients. This role required a few years of work experience and specific technical skills. I posted the role, and once the resumes started pouring in, two caught my attention. They could not have been more different from each other, and yet, I was equally drawn to them.


Beyond Grapholatry:
Writing As Spiritual Practice

By Tim Brookes

In 2010, I was working on my first exhibition of endangered alphabets carvings — Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 13 different minority scripts — when a trick of the light entirely and literally changed the way I saw writing.



Are LSP CEOs “a bunch of megalomaniac money grabbers?” Ode to humanism in language services

By Domenico Lombardini

In Italy, employers are sometimes called the “padroni” (bosses). As someone from a lower social class, I grew up convinced the padroni were enemies who exploited their employees. My mother and father were both immigrants from southern Italy in the 1950s — people who worked with their hands and lacked a high school diploma. Observing their experiences, I accepted our exploitation as an inevitability I was powerless to change.



Localizability and Culture Checks
What They Are and How to Use Them

By Emilia Soto Galindo

Localizability checks are performed to identify elements in source material that could potentially cause localization issues and lead to delays. The purpose of such checks is to ensure that text, images, and layouts are localization ready. For instance, a website that is built to allow for text expansion, prevent truncation and font corruption, support right-to-left (RTL) languages, and is flexible with formatting will be significantly easier and faster to localize without running into costly delays due to design limitations after the product or campaign has launched.



Globalization Strategy Playbook. Practical Advice for Globalization Leaders at Every Experience Level

By Adam Youngfield

Formal coursework in globalization as a profession is rare. There are a few graduate localization programs in the US at institutions such as the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS), and several undergraduate minor programs such as the one at Brigham Young University (BYU), but not many exist beyond those. While these programs do largely have the benefit of being directed by practicing professionals, they all fit within the mold of traditional university degree programs. 



Prepare to Launch Setting Your Sights on International Expansion

 By Nimdzi Insights

Thinking of expanding your business in Europe? Here are a few things you need to know. It’s not just the James Webb telescope that’s about to scour new territory. Your company has finally decided to expand in Europe, and you have been tasked with this mission.