Community is Strength
The story of Women in Localization
BY CAMERON RASMUSSON
For 15 years, women in the language and localization industry have had a helping hand.
Founded in 2008 by Silvia Avary-Silveira, Eva Klaudinyova, and Anna N. Schlegel, Women in Localization has helped professionals — both men and women — navigate the challenges and opportunities of language work. But you can’t ignore the women in Women in Localization. Any objective assessment shows that women face unique obstacles in their career to this day, and there’s still much work to be done before equal workplace standards are achieved from the bottom floor to the board room.
Even so, as Women in Localization leaders are happy to acknowledge, there’s nothing wrong with celebrating the progress of 15 years before rolling up sleeves for the work to come. And it just so happens that there’s much to celebrate.
“I’m so proud that we have over 9,000 active members, a community on LinkedIn with 19,000 followers, 28 chapters around the world, and four more opening by the end of 2023,” Schlegel said. “We have a long wait list for chapters to open that we tackle continuously! I am also extremely proud of having seen so many leaders step up as presidents, board members, program directors, and all their respective teams, we have hundreds of volunteers who show so much passion.”
“I’m also super proud that we have made a deep impact into a lot of member’s lives, from getting a job through us, a mentor, or a try into leadership,” Schlegel added. “The one that cannot compare to anything is Silvia Avary and Eva Klaudinyova’s friendship, vision, support, and innovation for so many years.”
Indeed, the story of Women in Localization is fundamentally tied to the friendship of three professional luminaries. And that friendship charts back to 2005, when the women met at the company VeriSign.
The history of Women in Localization
At the center of Women in Localization’s beginnings is, naturally, its founders.
Now vice president of international product, global infrastructure, platform flexibility, customer education, training, technical documentation, markets, and globalization at Procore Technologies, Schlegel’s executive career spans companies like VMware, Cisco, and NetApp. Klaudinyova, an industry veteran since 2000 who has driven localization programs, teams, and globalization, quality, and vendor management strategies at Medialocate, VeriSign, VMware, and Apple, is now an assistant professor of localization practice at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. And Avary has over 20 years of localization experience working for high-tech companies like Rivian, Juniper Networks, Symantec, VeriSign, and NetApp.
As former coworkers at VeriSign, all three women understood well how valuable and necessary their mutual support and collaboration was in the workplace. So why not, they figured, introduce that dynamic of cooperation to the rest of the professional community? Thus, Women in Localization was born in 2008.
“When Women in Localization first formed, I was in the Bay area and was able to attend all the events from the very start,” said Carrie Fisher, president of Women in Localization. “I loved the feeling and experience of community, acceptance, empowerment, networking, and friendship. These events were safe spaces to learn from each other, raise each other up, gain leadership skills, and get energized. I loved the content that was presented at events, and I loved meeting new people and seeing familiar faces.”
That was especially important given the place Fisher was at, both in her career and in her life.
“I was a single mom of a very young son, and these events allowed me to focus on myself, as a professional, and as a person,” Fisher said. “What’s more? When I feel defeated, tired, upset, lonely, or sad, I can name at least 10 people off the top of my head within the W.L. organization who I can reach out to and get support. This organization is not just about lifting up women in their careers. This is a community of people whom you can count on to help you when you’re in need.”
Initially known as Northern California Women in Localization, the group quickly evolved from a small San Francisco Bay Area networking group into a worldwide entity. In 2010, it embraced the global demand for its professional development opportunities by rebranding into the organization we know today: Women in Localization.
“By working together, we can empower our community, share knowledge, and create a more inclusive and diverse community,” said Jill Goldsberry, who serves as a Women in Localization board member.
It grew still further in 2018, earning its status as a certified nonprofit, and now boasts a membership of over 9,000, spread across 30 chapters, worldwide. Collaboration is key at Women in Localization, as evidenced by the educational and industry institutions that offer resource, networking, and skill-building opportunities to members.
“I was first drawn to the various Women in Localization events in Silicon Valley when I saw how those events provided opportunities for my MIIS students to create meaningful connections with the women leading the language and localization field,” said Winnie Heh, Women in Localization secretary. “Having worked in other professional fields, I have rarely seen such welcoming openness to newcomers. I recognized Women in Localization as a unique trend-setting and tone-setting organization in our field.”
The power of volunteering
If there’s a single secret to the success of Women in Localization, it’s the incredible spirit of volunteerism that powers the entire operation. Because its members are so generous with their time and energy, the organization can achieve the global reach and influence that has characterized its growth.
“I volunteered as one of the chapter managers in the Silicon Valley Chapter and subsequently as a board member,” said Heh. “I see the commitment and support members give to one another beyond the public events. It’s a pleasure supporting Women in Localization so that the vision of its founding — advancing women and the localization industry.
Because so many members are willing to share their skills and insights built over uncounted years of collective experience, the organization can offer services that might well change the trajectory of a member’s career.
“Most recently, we launched a mentorship platform that streamlines mentor-mentee matching, enhancing our long-standing mentorship program,” said Ceci Maldonado, board member and operations and metrics sponsor. “By effortlessly pairing mentees with highly qualified mentors, this tool enables a rich exchange of knowledge, best practices, and invaluable insights. What distinguishes this program is its adaptability; it can be customized to meet the unique needs of each participant, whether they are focused on achieving specific career objectives or seeking long-term guidance.”
That kind of support and guidance is invaluable, perhaps now more than ever. With emerging technologies enabling a faster-evolving industry than ever before, most language professionals welcome a helping hand.
“I have been involved with the organization since year one, 2008, as I was the first invited speaker to a Women in Localization in-person event,” said Olga Beregovaya, board member and technology sponsor. “Back in the day, the topic of MT was just gaining traction, and Silvia, Anna, and Eva invited me to present about the past, the present, and the future of MT. Since then, I have participated in several W.L. panels, presented at local chapter events, and hosted three webinars.”
Where our members come from?
The work yet to be done
As long as language and localization work exists, there will always be a need for Women in Localization. Every year, new professionals enter the field, and the advice and mentorship of industry veterans is essential to set them on the right path.
“If you are starting your career now, I would say these are the three things that made a difference on mine. First, build your network; networking isn’t just about advancing your career — it’s about building genuine connections. Second, keep on learning, always. Third, take some risks; that is how we grow,” said Avary-Silveira. “Life has setbacks and challenges, but it’s how you bounce back that defines your journey. Learn from it and remember to always be kind to yourself.”
Furthermore, while the industry has made great progress in acknowledging, empowering, and valuing female professionals, the balance is still far from equal, particularly in the highest levels of leadership and management.
“There are two major issues that need to be addressed, and quickly,” said Klaudinyova. “Pay equity continues to be the biggest issue women face not only in our industry but in industries all around the world. The burden, as well as the blame for the salary disparity, is being conveniently placed on the victims themselves, who ‘need to be better at negotiating higher salaries for themselves.’ Salary inequality is an institutional issue and should therefore be addressed by the institutions.”
“The second biggest issue is the fact that women are disproportionately represented in the leadership positions in our industry,” Klaudinyova added. “Over 70% of our industry are women, yet they fill only half of the leadership positions, especially at the level of director and above.”
Women in Localization leadership is committed to continuing the fight for those issues. And they’ll do it the same way they’ve achieved all their progress to date: by supporting, listening to, and empowering other women.
“First and foremost, we foster an environment where all members feel safe to express their opinions, needs, ideas, or concerns,” said Olga Blasco, board member and marketing sponsor. “The co-founders have always led by example, and both the board and all volunteer teams continuously set the tone for open dialogue and communication. Community building is our strength.”
WOMEN IN LOCALIZATION TIMELINE
Women in Localization is founded Initially called ‘Northern California Women in Localization’
LinkedIn group is opened
First gatherings locally in the San Francisco Bay Area
Led by co-Founders: Silvia Avary, Anna Schlegel, Eva Klaudinyova
Women in Localization is founded Initially called ‘Northern California Women in Localization’
Introduced guest speakers to events
Launched first Website
First official presence at an industry conference, W.L. promo materials at GALA Cancun
Women in Localization is founded Initially called ‘Northern California Women in Localization’
Introduced guest speakers to events
Launched first Website
First official presence at an industry conference, W.L. promo materials at GALA Cancun
Open to members globally,
becoming Women in
Facebook group opened
First Board, but no official Chairwoman yet
Twitter account created
First Chair of the Board (Chairwoman), Anna Schlegel
Traditonal End of Year Celebration Party Starts
Chairwoman: Eva Klaudinyova
YouTube Channel launched
Chairwoman: Anna Schlegel
Launch of Mentoring Program
HQ is renamed to Silicon Valley chapter, but still run by W.L. Board
W.L.’s first chapters outside of Silicon Valley, starting with Ireland
Launched Pacific NorthWest followed by Germany making it a total of 4″new” chapters in 2014
Chairwoman: Silvia Avary
Launched UK, Catalunya, Japan, North East Chapters
First official Strategy meeting, in which the organization’s mission is defined (3 pillars)
Chairwoman: Silvia Avary
New organizational strategy
Launched China Shanghai, Korea
Silicon Valley becomes an independent chapter, no longer run by W.L.’s board
W.L. develops and runs the whole client-side track at GALA New York conference for the first time
Chairwoman: Eva Klaudinyova
First non-founder president
Brand year, with new logo and brand guidelines
Incorporated, and became an official organization
Implementation of the new strategy, introduction of
Programs and Program Directors
Launched Netherlands and Argentina chapters
The Chairwoman is renamed to President: Allison McDougall
10th anniversary with fundraising for Translators Without Borders
Launched Poland, Singapore, Beijing, Utah chapters
President: Anna Schlegel
- Launched Eastern Canada, Colorado, Texas, India and Los Angeles
- Implemented Google Workspace accross the Org
- GDPR compliance
President: Loy Searle
COVID, the world went online, W.L. pivot and went online as well
Launched Global Community
Content for members only (.org)
Launched Italy, France, Greece, Ukraine, Romania, and the first student led Chapter – MIIS
President: Loy Searle
Ask the Expert Series is launched
Star Award Program is launched to honor our volunteers
Mandatory Board Training
President: : Cecilia Maldonado
W.L. and MIIS partner to offer tuition scholarship for members
Launched the Intranet for volunteers
President: Cecilia Maldonado
W.L.’s 15th Anniversary
Launched MentorEase, a platform that helps connects mentors and mentees
President: Carrie Fischer
CEO, Member, Volunteer
Being introduced to Women in Localization at one of the industry conferences years ago was a pivotal moment that profoundly impacted both my personal life and career. There, I was instantly embraced by a vibrant community of professionals who not only shared my passion for localization but also embodied a welcoming spirit of inclusion.
This sense of belonging motivated my colleagues and me to launch a local chapter in Ukraine, a journey that taught me leadership, resilience, and the power of unity. During the challenging times of war, the community’s unwavering support manifested in heartfelt messages, offers of refuge, and a robust support network that transcended professional boundaries. This unexpected source of strength highlighted the extraordinary bonds we had forged.
Being recognized as a STAR Volunteer this year added another layer of validation, reinforcing my belief in collective effort and empowering me to strive for more. Today, I stand strong as a localization professional, my journey and growth significantly shaped by the impactful experiences I’ve had with Women in Localization.
There were a lot of memorable events during these years, but one event undoubtedly stands out. It was “W.L. Global Community x WLUA: Warm Networking for Ukraine,” which took place in the tumultuous summer of 2022. Amidst a war, this gathering served as a unique platform to forge essential connections. This wasn’t just a meeting — it was a supportive, global community extending a hand to those of us who had to leave Ukraine and settle in unknown countries. Even if life forced them to look for temporary employment in other industries, it was precious for them to still feel being a part of the localization industry, to feel the echo of “old” life, to feel the promise for a better future.
We planned for that summer a large event in Lviv, Ukraine, though war changed our plans. One of the moments that was planned for the Lviv event was a rooftop cocktail party. And we had its virtual version during this networking event! We clinked our virtual cocktails, had a nice chat, and made friends, paying homage to our collective resilience while miles apart.
Despite everything happening, we shared laughter and stories, and there were numerous promises — a commitment to one day meet at the rooftop party under the actual skies of Lviv in peaceful Ukraine. This promise shows the spirit of Women in Localization — a network that thrives on mutual support and the shared vision of its members, irrespective of the circumstances.
Globalization Director, Member
The first time I had contact with Women in Localization was through the Catalan chapter. It was early 2017, and the Catalan chapter organized an event about career opportunities and development in the localization industry at a charming tapas restaurant in Barcelona. The event featured the presence of Inger Larssen, a professional with an extensive career in the industry, specializing in recruitment and development. I had the opportunity to share the space with her and provide my perspective from the buyer’s side regarding career development and joining the localization industry. From that moment onwards, I was captivated by this organization’s incredibly positive energy. They often say that although they are a “women’s” organization, “men” were welcome too, and indeed they were! It’s an organization that is completely open and receptive to everyone, no matter who you are. It’s an incredibly inclusive organization that welcomes you with open arms. Since that date, I have collaborated with other W.L. chapters such as the UK and India, and I’m always amazed by the energy I find there. I love that W.L. has crossed my path because it inspires me to collaborate and helps them contribute to making the localization industry a wonderful place to grow. Thank you very much for your efforts and for being an inspiration and reminding us that where there’s a will, there’s a way. I wish you many future successes and am here for whatever is needed. Thank you for being there!
Vendor Manager, Member
I decided to register as a member to attend an online event focusing on video games and culturalization, an area that sounded interesting but was new to me. That event inspired me to refresh the knowledge I had learned as a translation project manager and to seek out more knowledge about the different aspects of localization. In a way, W.L. encouraged me to try to pursue my passion for intercultural communication and languages in the translation and localization industry once again.
Account Manager, Member, Volunteer
I was volunteering for the Global Sponsorship program of W.L., and during a round of introduction to new team members, I casually mentioned I was considering changing my career path. Next thing I know, the following week I had an interview scheduled with my current employer! In addition to this, the wealth of information I gained access to, the network I am still building today as a W.L. members made me a better localization professional and helped me improve on so many different levels. W.L is a gym where we can train for the actual work to come and while doing so we are exposed to some of the greatest industry leaders. To me this is invaluable. I’ll always be thankful to W.L. (and to Maria Kania in particular) for the unique opportunities of growth and development and I am honored to have the chance to give back to the organization with my volunteering work.
Operations Manager, Member, Volunteer
Women in Localization has been a catalyst for positive change in my professional life. It has empowered me as a woman in the localization industry, provided me with invaluable skills for working in a global context — which I wasn’t used to — and has opened doors to new opportunities that I might not have otherwise encountered. The support, the networking opportunities, and the empowerment I have experienced have been nothing short of transformative.
The mentorship and guidance I receive every day through Women in Localization have been instrumental in my personal and professional growth. Speaking with other women who have faced similar challenges and triumphs has given me the confidence to take on new responsibilities. Working with a global team has taught me the importance of tailoring yourself to many different situations and people, something I wasn’t used to doing in my local LSP environment.
I will forever be grateful for the impact this organization has had on my journey and I am committed to giving back by supporting and uplifting other women.
Team Coordinator, Member, Volunteer
Women in Localization has had a profound impact on my life as a localization professional. Through its networking opportunities, professional development resources, and focus on mentorship and empowerment, the organization has enriched my journey in the industry. Now volunteering in the Global Team as mentorship lead as well as acting as a mentor in the MentorEase platform, I have been able to give back by guiding and empowering newcomers, fostering a cycle of support and growth within the localization community. This network has always facilitated mentorship opportunities, allowing experienced professionals to guide and support newcomers in the industry. By connecting with seasoned practitioners, newcomers can receive valuable advice, guidance, and insights to navigate their career paths effectively.
Being part of Women in Localization has given me a sense of belonging to a community that understands and supports the unique challenges faced by women in the industry. The camaraderie and encouragement from fellow members have boosted my confidence and inspired me to continue striving for excellence in my career.
Board Sponsor – Operations and Metrics, Member, Volunteer
As a university translation graduate with no formal business education, I relied on real-world experience to navigate my way through the language industry for 23 years. From teaching English as a second language to organizing events to co-founding the first regional language association and managing language service companies, my journey has been shaped by hands-on work and a passion for learning. Throughout my career, I embraced opportunities to collaborate and volunteer with various international organizations, further enriching my professional growth.
It wasn’t until I discovered Women in Localization (W.L.) that my career truly reached new heights. I joined W.L. with an open mind and soon realized that this organization was my true “MBA.” Working alongside an incredible group of intelligent, powerful, and driven women, I found a network of inspiration, support, and encouragement that was unparalleled.
Within W.L., I discovered my personal advisory board — a group of like-minded women who were more than just colleagues; they became confidants and mentors. We navigated business challenges together, celebrated each other’s victories, and took time to reflect on our leadership styles and strengths. With the combined wisdom and experiences of these incredible women, I was equipped with a reservoir of ideas and strategies for personal and professional growth.
Women in Localization has become an integral part of my journey, a cornerstone that has accelerated my career and empowered me to reach for new heights. The platform provided by this organization is a testament to the strength of female collaboration and mentorship, proving that when women come together, incredible things can happen. The impact of W.L. on my career cannot be overstated. Through volunteering and collaborating, I had the opportunity to work with women from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and industries. This exposure not only enriched my perspective but also opened doors to exciting new ventures and partnerships that I would have never experienced otherwise.
To anyone seeking a transformational career experience, I wholeheartedly encourage you to join Women in Localization. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just starting in the language industry, this community will provide you with the support, guidance, and inspiration needed to thrive. Embrace the power of collaboration, unleash your potential, and become a part of this extraordinary network of change-makers. Your career will never be the same again!
Head of Sales – APAC, Member, Volunteer
I was a volunteer before. However, due to different time zones it was hard for me to attend most of the meetings online or offline outside of China. But I still got my chance to participate in a few events in Shanghai. They were great! It’s always nice to know the same-minded group of people put all their heart into the same profession and never give up. This had a significant impact on me. Most things can keep progressing or growing, but enthusiasm without support is even hard to stay.
During my time as a volunteer, it’s my privilege to know so many leaders who spent their available time dedicated to Women in Localization, and the main goal is to support each other and grow together. Most of them that I worked closely with were in senior positions in their companies. But they spend their time after work or are flexible to cooperate with others’ time zones. Even though they were so busy at work but still plan and manage the programs and events for the organization. Always positive feedback and encouragement and were always friendly and respectful. I started one week and received Mimi’s message telling me I did a great job and had already heard some positive compliments. It made me want to dedicate more to the organization. I always want to find a chance and say my appreciation to the Women in Localization! !
Client Services Accounts Director, Member, Volunteer
Joining Women in Localization has helped me greatly when I was at the lowest point of my career — I wasn’t doing the job I wanted to, so through Women in Localization (setting up a chapter in Barcelona), I found a way to be a leader, be creative, and empower others. I found my voice again. I got so much encouragement from the W.L. women! I was also able to bring in other women into the organization, and they were amazing — Ceci Maldonado became our president! I loved the fact that I could organize live events and bring the local localization community together. We were a popular organization and people were having fun at our events.
The skills I was missing at work, I was able to learn at W.L. Doing creative events and creating things from scratch meant that I was also able to be more creative in the new posts that I worked in.
I had opened a chapter in Barcelona — had to learn to how to organize events, secure venues, get sponsors, find interesting speakers, empower other women to present and share their stories, set rules etc. It was an amazing experience and it encouraged me to get more involved with the organization when I stopped being a chapter — so I moved to EMEA expansion manager, then to global sponsorship program director, and finally I was offered a place in the board of directors. I was growing and learning but also always felt supported and encouraged by the leadership of Women in Localization. It has been a great experience from the start and even through some hardships, I have felt extremely grateful to the whole organization for its welcome and support. It is like no other organization. The passion, the creativity, the group wisdom has been incredible. One of the things that I have learned while being in the different W.L. teams is that it is important to know how to be strategic in communication but at the same time even in times of crisis and disagreement on topics, to talk them out with calm and professionalism.
Sr. Globalization Strategist EMEA, Member, Volunteer
I’ve been involved as a member of W.L. since the very beginning of the community. Then I volunteered in the board of management of the Italian chapter since its foundation, three years ago. W.L helped me connect with professionals around the world and get to know the multiple roles, skills and personalities in the industry. When I joined the board of management of the Italian chapter, I had the opportunity to meet and know brilliant and passionate colleagues and learned a lot from their many experiences.
I’ve volunteered as a mentor in the mentorship program since the program was launched. At the beginning I was not sure I had something to teach or advise about. I discovered that my personal experience could support women professionals moving into a new role or higher stage in their career path. Because I found my route into the localization industry in an unconventional way, sharing my work experience and knowledge could help women who had a knowhow, career, and cultural background different from mine. I started as a public relations specialist and worked both as an employee and freelancer in different phases of my life leveraging each and all of the experiences, I took along the road. Listening to mentees’ career aspirations and uncertainties I could provide an “outside” perspective and help them overcome small impasses or get more confidence in their choices by sharing episodes from my professional story.
The unexpected outcome from practicing as a mentor is that I learn a lot from the mentees: different roles, ways of working, educational backgrounds, unknown industries. At each meeting I learn something new, and I’m challenged to listening and brainstorming with the mentees on ways to reach their objectives. Being a mentor opens new horizons. And each mentee is different and has different needs, so I’m always very curious about the new challenges we will address together. Because mentorship is all about practicing together.
Localization Project Manager, Member, Volunteer
The amazing supportive community of women that I have met through my time volunteering with the organization has been such a significant impact. Everyone is open to helping one another whether it’s within the same program or across different programs as we share a common sense of belonging within this close community.
Having been promoted from an engagement manager to a program director after only one year, was, at first sight, a challenge for which I wasn’t sure I was ready to take on. Yet, through this experience, I was able to develop new leadership and managerial skills, inspired by the other wonderful program directors, that I get to also use in my job. This experience has also helped me gain more confidence in myself and my ability to lead a team, and I cannot thank Elizabeth enough for encouraging and trusting me to take it on.
Localization Executive, Member, Volunteer
As global president in 2017, I learned what it took to truly build an organization from the “ground up!” Technology, processes, board and organizational design, by-law creation — tremendous strategic planning and infrastructure design! It was a year of establishing the foundation for the organization that exists today. My involvement with the Women in Localization has been a true highlight of my career and life, and I am in awe of the impact we continue to have around the world!
Founder and CEO, Member, Volunteer
Women in Localization has been an instrumental force in both my personal and professional development. My journey with the organization began in 2016 when I embraced the role of social media manager in the inaugural launch of the chapters and Global Growth Program. Over time, my responsibilities expanded, eventually culminating in my position as program director for chapters and global growth. In that role we saw the program come to life, implementing various processes, and organizing the chapters around the world.
One of the highlights of my tenure was the opportunity to co-launch the global community, a role I held with great pride before passing the torch to another capable leader.
Following my maternity leave, my commitment to W.L. remained steadfast. I played a pivotal role in establishing and expanding the organization’s YouTube channel, and the privilege of hosting “Ask The Expert” was one of the most enriching experiences. My multifaceted involvement over the years doesn’t just mirror my dedication but also the immense value and growth I’ve gained from W.L.
However, the benefits of my association with Women in Localization are not just restricted to professional accomplishments. On a personal front, the organization has granted me the privilege of connecting with some of the most passionate professionals in the industry. Through W.L., I have not only expanded my professional network but have also fostered deep, meaningful relationships that have evolved into cherished friendships. The interactions and experiences I’ve had with members have been unparalleled, and many of those I met through the organization have become some of my closest industry confidantes.
In essence, Women in Localization hasn’t been just an organization; it’s been a comprehensive ecosystem that has nurtured my growth, enriched my knowledge, and fostered invaluable relationships. The confluence of structured programs, global initiatives, and interpersonal interactions have, collectively, been the cornerstone of my enriching journey with W.L.
Localization manager, Member, Volunteer
In one and half years with Women in Localization I’ve not only managed to expand my professional network but also find friends. Together, we initiated a series of Book Buzz events (that I originally called a loco-book club) where we talk to amazing authors in localization. Together with my friend Pooja, a mentorship and education manager from W.L.’s India chapter, we brought this initiative to the global level and Madhu S. made sure that it is open and available to all members of the community. I am proud of us and proud to say that it would not be possible without global cooperation within W.L.
I also became a mentor at W.L., so I can share my experience with colleagues from all over the world and support those affected by the rapid spread of artificial intelligence in their transformational journey. I’m probably one of the biggest fans of W.L. mentoring program and have already posted tones of posts under #mentoring and #iDEMANDchange in localization industry on my LinkedIn page.
I’d like to spread knowledge and share some insights in order to support the translators’ community. I know a lot of us these days are panicking and feel completely abandoned. Many of us have no idea how to deal with the fact that AI is completely changing our reality these days. From my mentees and from fellow mentors I hear that some of the amazing project managers and freelancers are now considering a career switch, but a lot have no idea how to initiate the process. If you are one of them and currently reading this message, please know that the community is here to support you. I believe we are strong when we are together!
Director, Globalization Strategy and Loc Ops, Member, Volunteer
I have been part of tWomen in Localization since shortly after I started my career in localization 13 years ago. I participated in the events, and was able to meet many localization professionals and learn from their experiences as well as build long lasting personal and professional relationships. Around six years ago, I decided to become an active volunteer and started working in the marketing program. W.L. has been the backbone of my growth as it provided all I needed. It also empowered me to support others by providing mentoring, by sharing my professional knowledge, by building the organization from within as part of the marketing program for many years to come.
Getting the opportunity to be a program director for marketing after being part of the marketing program for few years was a goal that I set and accomplished. I learned many new aspects of running marketing for a nonprofit. Having a team of highly engaged volunteers as part of the marketing team is enlightening because everyone has different skill sets, yet we all are encouraged to lead and contribute where help is needed. Working also with many international women is another benefit as we are more sensitive to the needs of all women, not one country specific.
Patricia Paladini Adell
Localization Consultant, Member, Volunteer
I joined W.L. as the Catalan Chapter Manager in 2018, where I was able to work with a local team of great women organizing amazing chapter events in Barcelona, Spain. Being the chapter manager was a great learning experience as I had to skill up on tools like MailChimp and Eventbrite, which are apps that I have been using ever since. Maria Kania and Maria Jesús de Arriba Díaz were my mentors, and I could not have done it without them. At the same time, I took the role of metrics program director, where I built an international team to set up the basis on metrics for Women in Localization (Catalan Chapter). This opportunity gave me visibility and access to analytic tools like Google Analytics, Facebook, LinkedIn, Hootsuite, and even Python to generate some of the reports needed to provide metrics. I want to express infinite gratitude to Anna Schlegel, Allison McDougall and Cecilia Maldonado for their support all that time.
Networking has also been one of the greatest opportunities W.L. has gifted me with. As you may know, in any major localization industry event, there is a W.L. booth and several gathering opportunities where the W.L. community can meet and network. I did make the most of it, and I met my colleague Alessandra Binazzi, one of the top localization industry experts. Alessandra and I now partner and provide consultancy services to our major clients.
Thanks to all the networking and the skills I learned through my work at W.L., I was able to achieve beyond my goals and became a localization consultant, providing services focused on setting up lean localization teams for large corporations based on the following principles: people, technology, and process.
So, my advice, Women in Localization is an amazing opportunity to learn about the localization industry from the best in the area, however, it is only you who can craft your own career and set your goals to navigate and impact the localization industry. If you share, you will get back. Women in Localization is the best place to start.
Director of Enterprise Sales – Americas, Volunteer
Being a volunteer with Women in Localization for the last three years has brought so much enrichment, not only to my career, but also to my personal life. Professionally, I have been able to meet and learn from so many people in the industry, whom I would otherwise never have been able to connect with. I work specifically in the Partnerships Program, and the networking and development that I have been able to be a part of because of my role has been invaluable. As a member, I also have taken advantage of many in-person and virtual events that have been shared through the Women in Localization network. These events have expanded my knowledge in the industry, helped me gain confidence and influenced my career path into leadership.
Personally, I have found a group of women who support me — a network of women who I can talk to about work-related challenges, but also an incredible support network for the personal challenges life brings. I value my friendships around the world with these amazing women.
I mentioned earlier, taking advantage of the in-person and virtual events that are either promoted by Women in Localization or sponsored by a chapter or the global organization is one of the move valuable aspects of being a member at Women in Localization. As a volunteer, the support from the volunteer team and the marketing team has been incredible. Everyone at W.L. is so willing to go above and beyond to support each other, and that makes our community incredible!
Localization Quality Manager, Member, Volunteer
Women in Localization has been pivotal in both my career and personal growth. Working as a partner manager for the Global Partnerships and Events Program has allowed me to meet amazing leaders and role models and engage in different responsibilities. Despite being based in Brazil, the global nature of the Women in Localization organization has led me to meet other professionals worldwide, enriching my perspective and network. Above all, my involvement in Women in Localization has given me the chance to contribute to a more inclusive environment for women. This journey has helped me grow, not just by gaining experience and building skills, but also by discovering genuine purpose and connection.
Freelance Translator, Member, Volunteer
In 2019 I joined the Women in Localization Argentina Chapter as an event associate. We were a five-member team, and that year we got to organize two events, and, even though this was a big challenge, I found it extremely rewarding because my circle of colleagues expanded and, as a result, the opportunities for professional development and new projects also grew significantly. Then again, in 2020, I changed my role in the Argentina Chapter to social media manager, a role that I really enjoyed, and which also brought me new opportunities for development as my role was basically the link between the chapter and other chapters and programs in the organization.
That year I also volunteered as a mentor, a role that was quite different from the social media manager position, but also rewarding in its own way. I had the opportunity to guide two different colleagues, who were in different stages in their careers, and that helped my personal career too. Being a mentor is a two-way street, because it feels gratifying to help others, but at the same time you learn a lot from other people’s experiences. Women in Localization offered all mentors a free update course about how to be a better mentor in our sessions. Besides all the knowledge we got at this course, it was another excellent opportunity to expand your network and your resume.
Thanks Women in Localization for all these years of growth, professional development, and networking!
Social Media Manager and Video Game Localizer, Member, Volunteer
In 2021, amidst the pandemic’s challenges, I participated in the Women in Localization mentorship program as a mentee. In a sea of global uncertainty, I connected with amazing professionals who not only made me feel valued, but also aided me in conquering my imposter syndrome.
I remember adding the founders of Women on Localization on LinkedIn with a short but simple message thanking them for creating such an empowering organization. One by one, Anna, Eva and Silvia replied to my messages with words of encouragement and even some professional advice I had asked for earlier.
One of the most important topics covered in my mentorship was crafting a “value proposition:” knowing what I had to offer that made me unique. I chose to specialize in game localization, so I started redefining my LinkedIn profile and sharing content relevant to this field. The mentor, Gabriela Acosta, to whom I’ll be forever grateful, also checked my CV and gave me tips to complete my first translation tests, approach direct clients, and more.
After finishing the mentorship and armed with a polished social media strategy, I began receiving inquiries from various agencies through LinkedIn. As I shared my CV, these agencies noted during interviews that my training with Women in Localization underscored my commitment to inclusion and the empowerment of women.
The following year, I joined Terra Translations as a social media manager with more confidence than ever. Marina, its CEO, is the current chapter manager of the LA Chapter and invited me to join it as a social media manager as well. Contributing to this community feels like a way to give back to those who played an instrumental role in shaping my journey. It’s a safe space where I feel more empowered and valued every single day!
Globalization Operations Manager, Member, Volunteer
By volunteering with Women in Localization since the beginning of my career in localization in 2017, I have had the fortunate opportunity to work with inspirational people in the industry. Their vision and dedication to the trade has been serving as a guiding light for me.
I have worked in the marketing team of Women in Localization since 2017, and one of my co-workers from the original social media team became my manager at NetApp a couple of years later. I credit volunteering for W.L. with the opportunity to showcase my work and my personality to my close network of localization leaders. Starting a career at the age of 42 in Silicon Valley after being a student and then a stay-at-home mom for 16 years was not an easy endeavor and I like to believe that my involvement with Women in Localization has helped my unusual trajectory in life become a wonderful success story.
More recently, through my work with W.L. I had the opportunity to get involved at a high business level of strategic work. That has provided me with insights that I could apply to any kind of organization rendering fluidity to my skills set.
The women I have been volunteering with all share a package of special human qualities that are hard to find anywhere else: determined, helpful, kind, knowledgeable. Every day I am striving to be like that.
Language Manager, Member, Volunteer
When I had just moved to the US four years ago, while already having years of strong linguistic background in my home country, I had to learn a lot from scratch to kickstart my local career. I was in a whole new world, not knowing anyone, and had to navigate how to present myself in this new market. That’s when Women in Localization came into the picture, and I jumped right in. First, as a content writer, and a bit later as a program director (education and coaching). The organization has played a significant role in building my network. They gave me the inside scoop on the local corporate culture, showed me the ropes, and gave me a chance to dive in headfirst. Picture me high-fiving so many amazing women who were lighting up the scene with their brilliant ideas and world-changing vibes. It’s like I stumbled into a treasure trove of inspiration! I am endlessly grateful for this organization and the opportunities it provides.
Senior Project Manager, Member, Volunteer
I have been volunteering at Women in Localization Eastern Canada chapter as an events manager for almost two years. Volunteering here has helped me to overcome distances. It not only allows me to connect with my local community, but also know more amazing L10N people all over Canada. I am a bit shy, but being an events manager motivates me to be brave, enjoy the pleasure of building relationships with ladies with the same enthusiasm, and set a proactive mindset! I benefited a lot in this process, personally and professionally. I definitely look forward to my third anniversary volunteering here. As an events manager, I really love the brainstorming we have when the team decides about the topic of our next Women in Localization event! Everyone shares their network and vision about the industry. It is rare to see such a dedicated group of women trying to help others in our industry, and I am glad I am part of them.
Global Account Director, Member, Volunteer
I entered the localization industry in 2013 after working for 20 years in media. I have always understood the power of networking, so I sought out organizations where I could learn and grow. One of the main connections I made early on was with Women in Localization. I attended W.L. events produced by the Silicon Valley Chapter. I realized that I was in love with my new career path and never looked back. A few years later I sought to increase my involvement by volunteering for the W.L. Partnerships and Events Program. The rest is history (or so to speak). I have been a board sponsor for three years and have made so many wonderful friendships that will last a lifetime.
Quality Manager, Member, Volunteer
Women in Localization is my “village.” In the beginning of my career, I often felt at a loss about things, and there was definitely that “working in a vacuum” feeling. I kind of had to figure everything out on my own. W.L., for me, became the community that makes you feel supported and that you always have somebody to turn to with questions or doubts. It also makes me feel a part of something bigger than myself which is a great feeling. I have met so many amazing women! Fun fact: When I started as the technology program director in 2022, Olga Beregovaya and I were working at the same company and lived in the same city, but we only officially met at W.L.!
Managing Director, Member, Volunteer
I have been a member of the UK chapter since the first meeting in 2014, then a volunteer (UK chapter manager, GEO manager, education and coaching manager – global community) since 2018. I have first and foremost made a lot of new friends, both among the members and the other volunteers. Particularly during the pandemic, this was really important for my mental health and wellbeing, having our weekly calls to look forward to and events to organise. As a volunteer I feel my team of volunteers and I can make a real difference to people in our industry. And we have some good giggles in our weekly meetings.
In this piece — presented as a series of journal entries — Gabriela Kouahla, founder of Beyond Words Creative, tells the tale of her career…→ Continue Reading
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