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Tag: Conference

Takeaways from LocWorldWide

Language Industry News and Events

LocWorldWide, held July 28-30, was the biggest localization event yet to pivot to an online forum. The content was originally scheduled for Berlin in June, and then, of course, the pandemic happened. The virtual event offered an interactive exhibit hall, multiple chat functions, and networking over video. Sessions included a mix of prerecorded and live video streams.

Larry Hochman

Larry Hochman gives his keynote address at LocWorldWide.

The topics selected for the in-person event translated with varying ease to the virtual world. The sessions covered familiar LocWorld ground such as the Process Innovation Challenge, machine translation, quality management, localization engineering, and more. Former European Business Speaker of the Year Larry Hochman gave a keynote exploring the existential takeaways COVID-19 offered — “when trust is gone, it’s over,” he stated, tying together a lesson applicable to government handling of pandemics, romantic partners and business.

Business itself was a popular topic. In one session exploring localization and marketing, Nataly Kelly of HubSpot noted that if you heat-mapped an organization, metaphorically speaking, localization would be a hot spot due to the intersections with every geography and department the company works in. Working in localization is like getting an MBA, she said, so it’s no wonder that some people go on to start their own companies afterwards.

Apart from the content, some attendees expressed bewilderment with the digital tech side of the conference. “I’m trying to distinguish between the limitations of the platform and my own inabilities to use it well,” one participant quipped. The main takeaway from the event, as the first of its kind, is that there are limitations on what works in the digital world, at least with the current platforms for virtual conferences.

What worked well:

  1. Sessions with podcast-style flair.
  2. The ability to surf different concurrent sessions, or watch recorded sessions after the fact.
  3. The camaraderie of “well, this is weird and different” with familiar faces from past conferences.
  4. Virtual networking on the Remo event platform.
  5. Participants expressed happiness that the price tag was a fraction of the cost of paying to fly across the world and attend an in-person event.

What didn’t work well:

  1. the iVent interface, which seemed beset by user experience issues and bandwidth problems — sessions timed out occasionally, there were sound issues at times, and so on. Organizers expressed the same frustrations on the back end, since the platform seemingly did not deliver on everything it had promised.
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Conferences Canceled, How Will Translators Network?

Language Industry News and Events

As COVID-19 cases continue to grow worldwide and limit large-scale gatherings, localization conferences and services worldwide face a significant challenge that may impact freelance translators.

black chair lot

Following the worldwide response to the pandemic, many localization conferences, from LocWorld to the machine translation-specific AMTA, have temporarily shuttered their physical gatherings. The Japanese Association of Translators (JAT) decided to cancel its annual International Japanese English Translation (IJET) Conference in June. In March, JAT posted to its website, “It is with great sadness that the JAT Board and the Organizing Committee for IJET-31 have decided to cancel the International Japanese-English Translation Conference planned for Fukuoka on June 5–7, 2020.”

Dating back to 1990, IJET began as a two-day conference promoting professional development and networking among translators working between Japanese and English. It has since become a flagship event for the organization, alternating annual venues among Japan and English-speaking countries.

With the cancellation of this event and countless others, a number of companies that utilize services from translators and interpreters have growing concerns about declines in training and expertise due to fewer opportunities in the field.

The Japan Times reported in April one company’s efforts to overcome obstacles created by the pandemic. Miwaka Star, a Japan-based industrial painting firm, discussed how its recent, pre-COVID incorporation of remote teleconference systems for Japanese-English simultaneous interpretation services has benefited not only the company, but also freelance interpreters in lieu of in-person conferences.

Speaking with the Times, one representative stated, “‘For companies to proceed with conferences smoothly and gain satisfying results, it is necessary for interpreters to prepare beforehand in their field of expertise.’” Employing 15 interpreters remotely in a variety of fields, the company believes it can continue to provide that kind of preparation as non-remote services struggle to survive.

Still, despite the restraints placed on in-person, large-scale conferences, there are still many conferences in translation, interpretation, and localization fields planned for later in 2020, some of which will take place online.

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Contextualizing Localization in the Time of Austerity 2013

Language in the News, Language Industry News and Events

I spoke at Localization World in London last week on the subject of Context of Use in User Experience and Use of Context in Localization. There are great synergies between the two  areas and given UX trends it’s clear that context is what makes for a great user experience and for a great translation too. Translation technology needs to provide for contextual translation without compromising source content. A rubbish translation won’t help the world’s best app design, and a simplified source string designed to facilitate 100% matching in all cases won’t help UX in any language either. You get the idea?

It was great to be back at this conference, and my, but how it has grown in size, quality and reputation since I was first involved nearly 10 years ago! The full program reveals just how rich the agenda has become.

For those of you who didn’t get to my session, I’ve included it in Slideshare format (you need to have the benefit of my delivery for it to come to life, so do come along to the next conference and hear it live). A list of useful resources is included on the last slide if you want to read more. And no, it’s not all about Silicon Valley! The presentation is here:

Making a great, modern, and compelling user experience is all about context. In any language.

Making a great, modern, and compelling user experience is all about context. In any language.

I has honored to also host a great presentation on what’s New in International Components for Unicode by Anubhav Jain of Adobe and Jana Vorechovska of Google who explained how smart open source technology dealing with gender, plurals, day formats, and so on enables great contextual localized experiences in the social media world (Google+ in this case). I also attended some of the Localization Unconference @ Localization World sessions which were as lively and candid as ever, and included probably the best vendor pitch I’ve seen for a long time.

Also loved the MicroTalks format; so very Pecha Kucha in intent. I would loved to have seen and heard more about video content and localization at the conference itself, but there’s always the next conference for that!

I would like to see reach out of these Localization Unconference and guerilla-style Pecha Kuchas happen around “big” localization events, especially as the cost of attending major (or any) conferences is high. Many key countries and regions that have a lot of value-add and insight to contribute the industry based on their experience – countries such as Spain and Ireland (there are others) – but are hurting bad economically. Spending money these days on travel and registration isn’t easy (even if you do have a job). And, let’s see how we can get younger folks involved from those countries too. They’re not the future generation of localization, but the present. Perhaps these “micro”, more ad hoc, events can even be held away from the main event location and happen in eh, more convivial surroundings just like the Dublin <Pub> Standards event (hint, this is nothing to do with publishing standards, really).

On that subject, I am told that Localization World is coming to Dublin in June 2014. There’s your cue…

Thank you to the conference organizers for putting up with me and putting on such a great show! Again.

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Ultan Ó Broin (@localization), is an independent UX consultant. With three decades of UX and L10n experience and outreach, he specializes in helping people ensure their global digital transformation makes sense culturally and also reflects how users behave locally.

Any views expressed are his own. Especially the ones you agree with.

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