11th MemoQfest – a Nimdzi Conference Report

On the last days of spring 2019, the annual conference organized by the creators of one of the major CAT tools on the market, memoQ, was held in Budapest, Hungary. It was the 11th memoQfest, a welcoming event featuring much technology expertise, extraordinary venues (such as the Museum of Ethnography and the National Museum of Hungary), and of course, the inspiring localization crowd.

The memoQfest: a different kind of conference?

Though memoQfest is not a free event and also has sponsors (this year they were Plunet, XTRF, Consoltec, Globalese, Milengo, EDIMART, and easyling), it serves as more of an advertising project than an additional source of income for memoQ. Which makes sense because of at least two reasons:

  1. a conference is always beneficial for business development, and
  2. B2B is rather well sold through conferences.

Marketing budget can be easily spent on expensive advertising activities, but it may be wiser to spend it on building a friendly community of devoted users – which is exactly what memoQ has done with its conference.

Photo by Marek Pawelec

What was on the menu

Conferences can be beneficial both for the users and the developers. When creating software, as memoQ does, one can get very different performance indicators: the results highly depend on the motivation of different team members.

But if a company has public releases such as the one announced at the conference, or yearly progress reports which they share with the world, things start to work faster and more efficiently. Because of non-shifting release dates and obligations, the whole team has little choice but to increase its motivation to quickly find and build solutions and fix bugs.

What did memoQ offer in addition to these achievements well worth witnessing on their own? They stuffed their three-day event with:

  • Several master classes about hidden treasures in memoQ
  • Sessions on industry trends (such as edit distance reports, MT programs, DITA localization, ISO documentation requirements, to name a few)
  • Integration showcases
  • A shout-out for Women in localization
  • Networking (even before and after the event, via the Whova app)

RegEx in the couloirs

When attending a conference such as the one thrown by a specific software developer, we are not necessarily aiming to sell our products. We might as well be looking for partners to explore and eventually build different integrations, or to share knowledge and exchange life hacks. MemoQfest offered plenty of opportunities for this.

So what did almost 250 attendees from 34 countries discuss in the couloirs? Some of the highlights were:

  • Which web tools for translators and interpreters are useful (for example, http://xl8.link/ to shorten URLs)
  • How to play different sophisticated RegEx tricks
  • What happened to already dead localization tech, and why
  • How to say casual things in Hungarian. In fact, the organizers helped with that by adding a tiny card with typical Hungarian expressions and their English transcriptions to the conference badges
  • Which special Xbench checklists help to find translation issues on a large project in no time
  • What people have cooking in their own tools – e.g. Protemos is up for a new release

Photo by Igor Marach

What did Nimdzi do at the memoQfest?

What Nimdzi Insights did at 11th memoQfest in addition to attending sessions, having meaningful conversations, and enjoying the Hungarian hospitality was sharing our own piece of technology – a comparison tool of terminology management systems. It is freely available at https://nimdzi.com/tbs.

It may seem a bit strange at first – why come to the memoQ event and speak about other tools? We can think of at least the following reasons:

  • It’s always good to know what else there is to broaden your horizons.
  • Terminology in memoQ (and QTerm) is worth special attention.
  • For a language services provider (LSP), it’s a common situation that they have to work not only with memoQ but with several different tools.
  • Buyers of localization are interested in effective terminology strategies, and while some want it all in one place (CAT functions + terminology management), others prefer an independent terminology system which would have integrations with the CAT tool of their choice.

There are now more than 30 terminology systems to choose from. Maybe the reason why both major and smaller companies jump from one terminology solution to another, while big but young companies are still in the research phase, is because there’s an overabundance of tools. We all want to know how to manage terminology effectively.

The interest in this subject was also evidenced by the good amount of attendees at Nimdzi’s session, even though it took place early in the morning after the spectacular Gala dinner the previous evening. In a 20-minute talk, Nimdzi’s very own Yulia Akhulkova dived into the topic of effective reuse of terminology systems, the TaaS (Terminology as a Service) idea, and tried to show different demands and approaches of users and developers to the same terminology-related problems.

In fact, the current terminology integration landscape is really diverse:

So, there is not only a gap between the challenges of content owners and localizers, but also in the way authoring tools, CAT tools, and QA systems address them (don’t get us started on how they name them). And the fact that there are some useful features waiting to be implemented into existing systems means that there is still hope for a better and easier way to manage terminology.

Empathy is key

While technology is crucial to success, it is, in fact, not the goal in and of itself (unless you’re the developer, in which case building a perfect technology is probably exactly your final destination). As discussed in a research from Forrester, the majority of enterprises believe that it is content that drives their brand. So the need for content is growing.

The translation industry is one which can facilitate this growth. And that, in turn, seems to be the ultimate, common goal for everyone involved – achieving unity through better content and more transparent communication.

We’ve already partly reached unity and transparency, owing to the events we are throwing and attending, going out there, talking to people, and bridging gaps. What has made the memoQfest a special and rewarding experience was the feeling of being very welcome and respected – in other words, the empathy permeating the event. Empathy is encouraging people to get more creative in solving problems, and when multiplied, it helps the translation and localization community thrive.

Pictures courtesy of Marek Pawelec, Igor Marach and taken by Nimdzi’s Yulia Akhulkova.


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