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.
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:
- Sessions with podcast-style flair.
- The ability to surf different concurrent sessions, or watch recorded sessions after the fact.
- The camaraderie of “well, this is weird and different” with familiar faces from past conferences.
- Virtual networking on the Remo event platform.
- 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:
- 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.