Attended the Localization Unconference last week at the Salesforce offices in San Mateo, California. What a blast! About 120 attendees in all, a wide range of topics, and much style and flair in evidence made it a great day. I’ve been absent from the Silicon Valley event for a while, and it was a thrill to be back in person, meeting new people and seeing some older, more familiar faces too. No selling, no PowerPoint, and some very thorough and fair facilitation kept the energy and participation rocking throughout the day.
Event feedback was positive and indeed, many attendees expressed the view that, based on all the love shared, maybe all localization conferences should be run this way.
#locunconf is probably the conference with the best personal ROI I’ve ever been to. Thx Salesforce for hosting & everyone else for sharing!
— Jose Palomares (@localizing) June 1, 2013
A screenshot of the main whiteboard with the topics up for discussion gives you an idea of what’s on Localization Unconference goers’ minds these days:
Key takeaways for me from the day were:
- Video localization is really up a hot topic. Lack of L10n-enabled tools is an issue, and it appears localizing these formats can be a very expensive business, especially when marketing material is involved (thankfully people nobody said “transcreation”). This stuff ain’t cheap to localize, and the process can be painful, but then so is localizing millions or words of unread documentation. At least the video format has traction with real users in today’s YouTubed learning world. Plus, community video plays its role too. “Video is the new document for localization” became almost a new industry meme on the day. Indeed.
- There was a willingness to discuss the more eh, political dimensions of L10n, such as how the function gets disconnected from the rest of the business and how the function itself doesn’t always communicate well within itself across organization. Political dynamics, office politics, leadership, communications breakdown, “not invented here” syndrome, it was all going on. Perhaps it was me, but I detected an edgier view of our world, one that is a welcome counterbalance to the usual PowerPoint deck-driven PR puffery.
- The unconference community has tired of machine translation as a topic. Perhaps everyone has implemented their automated solutions beautifully, and it’s all a done deal. Or maybe, it’s all been heard before. Or, maybe it’s still mind-numbingly boring stuff best left to managers at paid-up posh translation automation events. YMMV as to which theory best applies here. Anyway, it wasn’t up for discussion. Using Microsoft Excel in localization would be a more realistic and relevant topic, I heard.
- Pink is definitely the color to wear at these events. Pretty much, pink shirts are becoming the #LocUnConf wellies equivalent seen at outdoor rock events in Europe. And rightly so.
At the end of the event donations collected in lieu of paying for the super lunch provided were taken. The Salesforce Foundation matched the amount and so, some 1,000 USD should be winging its way to Translators Without Borders soon.
Many thanks to the team of Salesforce, VistaTec, and anyothers who made this event happen. And so, on to Localization World, London, 2013. See you there. At another Localization Unconference.
Keep it in pink, people.