LocWorld Silicon Valley 2017: What We Learned About Continuous Localization

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For the 35th year running, LocWorld drew localization leaders from around the world for the industry’s top conference and exhibition series. LocWorld Silicon Valley 2017, held at South Bay’s Santa Clara Convention Center last week, brought together about 700 global business executives from 45 countries and, as usual, did not disappoint.

Among a variety of topics including sales and marketing, video game localization, localization for startups, and neural machine translation, the key focus of LocWorld35 was “continuous delivery.” For a long time, this concept outpaced localization. Software release would simply be delayed until translations caught up, meaning developers could be waiting on big batches of translated content for weeks and international users were always a version behind.

This no longer works in a world where consumers expect the latest product, fully functioning and in their native language, the minute an update is available. Localization teams are now figuring out how to keep their services in step with continuous delivery to support clients, most of whom have already adopted the process. Its flexibility then takes us to market faster, delivers the right content at the right time to global consumers, and meets expectations we can no longer avoid.

After attending several of more than 45 sessions packed with fresh content, including nine specialized tracks, two keynotes, and a few workshops, we got a better sense of how continuous localization enables today’s rapid pace of change.

Continuous localization, the future of language, and transforming roles

The amount LocWorld managed to cram into three days was impressive. Dozens of speakers included executives from world-leading companies such as Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Dell, GoPro, and Oracle, as well as emerging brands like The Future Hunters, a top futurist consulting firm whose COO Erica Orange delivered the trend-focused keynote “The Future Begins Now.”

We were pleased to see a few familiar faces from September’s Global Innovation Symposium take the stage, including Anna Schlegel, Senior Director of Globalization at NetApp and Katell Jentreau, Globalization Manager at Netflix. It was especially interesting to hear from our customers and get a sense of what matters most to them and to find out what software companies are building. One of our favorite presentations was by the team at Veritas, a Mountain View-based data management company, on internal workflow tools they created for bug detection and how they implement continuous localization of software.

Also among the lineup of experts was Anja Schaefer, VP of Global Solutions at Lionbridge, who led a panel discussion on “Evaluating Our Roles in the Age of Extreme Automation” with global technology leaders Janice Campbell, Senior Program Manager at Adobe, Alfonso Carrillo, Manager of Globalization and Translation Services at Cisco, and Sergio Pelino, Director of Global Content & Technology at PayPal.

The panel presented their own insights on continuous delivery, its role in an increasingly automation-driven localization environment, the importance of automating the process, and how the adoption of technology automation is impacting traditional roles in the global content lifecycle. A key part of the discussion explored localization’s strategic shift toward customer centricity. In Schaefer’s words, “As localization becomes more automated, it is important to consider our roles within the industry today, how they are changing and new roles that will fuel innovation.”

Thanks to everyone who visited our exhibit—we had some great discussions with vendors and enthusiasts about our services and tech. We couldn’t complain about the after-dinner drinks, either.

Preparing for agility in a new era of content production

LocWorld made clear that continuous localization frameworks are still in embryonic stages for a lot of companies. It’s a nut we’re still trying to crack together, so the conference was an invaluable opportunity to learn from peers at such an exciting time for our industry.

Now that localization can keep pace with the startling speed of software development, we have a serious shot at greater market share, global relevance, and delighting international consumers. Adding to the mix automation platforms, professional translators proficient in specific industries, and open communication between teams will be key to becoming truly agile.

Learn more about ideas we presented at LocWorld Silicon Valley 2017 in our new whitepaper, The Strategic Shift: Localization’s Fast Track to Driving Greater Business Value, and stay tuned for details on the next event, LocWorld36, which hits Tokyo in April 2018.

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