What are some of the most important areas at AWS where localization vendors fit into the process?
For my team, we banned the term “vendors” as we need partners for us to be successful. Our localization service partners (LSPs) are invested in our success. We collaborate and listen to our LSPs as the experts in the localization process and encourage innovation. Our partners have the ability to bring in teams of experts, at scale, from translators to editors, proofreaders to content editors. From multimedia specialists to studio sound engineers, and elearning SMEs to DTP, they are integral to everything we do. We ensure our partners understand our processes internally and they are open about their processes externally so that we can jointly solve any issue that may come along.
Given that relationship, how can localization partners, to use your team’s terms, tailor their service offerings to be more attractive to big vendors like Microsoft, AWS, or others? Does AI stand to change this in any way?
This has been said by many and will continue to be the mantra: understand our business and who you serve. For us, it’s the customer who takes our courses. Have the right team in place and continue to evaluate and innovate. For our current LSPs, for instance, we have a permanent solutions architect who is constantly looking at ways to adapt and innovate to keep up with us. And in today’s world, AI and ML are the future, and we need to find ways to adopt this new breed of technology to further engage our customers, reduce costs and time to market, and get us ready for the next generation of technology. As a company, we are providing the building blocks for any LSP to be successful with AWS technologies, and many of the tools our partners use are built on those technologies. With the release of Amazon Bedrock, we look forward to seeing what our partners can provide.
Speaking of AI, it’s certainly the talk of the industry right now. Could you share your opinion about how you believe it will develop over the next several years? What will that human/AI relationship look like?
I’m excited about the evolving world of AI, as I think it’s on a fast trajectory. In localization, I think it will have a tremendous impact on content creation and synthetic voice technology, and it will touch every aspect of life. I think we will have higher quality as machine learning improves and as more products are built on AI. But we will still need human aspects to what we do and what we produce. It’s still me speaking to Alexa with my non-AI brain, and it’s still me that needs to understand the output. With the development of LLM, the role of the localization content editor, for instance, will become more important.
I also want to say, though, that language constantly evolves at a human level, and humans will always be an integral part of localization.
Unconference, a special LocWorld event, is a side project particularly near and dear to your heart. Can you tell us a little about that, how it originated, and what you’d like to see in the future?
I joined the Unconference in the San Francisco Bay area to fill in for a former co-worker who lived overseas back in 2009. The localization Unconference was subsequently invited to be a conference inside a conference at LocWorld and has now become a popular tract of all-day mini-sessions to discuss virtually any topic in localization.
What makes this conference unique is that it’s a gathering of localization peers who aren’t in a room to compete, to sell, but to listen and jointly help problems solve virtually any challenge. With all levels and fields of localization, it’s a unique space that encourages everyone to have a voice at the table.
Now that the pandemic is on the way out the door, I’d like to see more of these gatherings globally (they have been held in San Francisco, Dublin, Toronto, Berlin, Seattle, San Diego, and Boston). As a free conference, we eliminate the cost barriers some companies have in allowing people to attend.