On May 30th, Nimdzi Insights hosted a panel discussion with i18n experts on current and future internationalization best practices. The discussionwas a valuable event held to shed light on the evolving landscape of i18n and provide insights into its importance, challenges, and best practices. The event featured prominent panelists with extensive experience in i18n, including Roman Civin, Tucker Johnson, Oleksandr Pysaryuk, Frederick Fisher, and Saurabh Kavathekar. Each panelist brought a unique perspective and expertise to the discussion.
For our readers who wer enot able to attend, this publication will serve to provide several ways to digest the information from the event. You can chose to watch the event, read the below summary, and even download the slide deck.
Roman Civin, the moderator, initiated the discussion by highlighting the significance of i18n in today's globalized world. He acknowledged the complex nature of i18n and emphasized the need for organizations to understand its evolution, gaps, and the value it adds. The event aimed to address these aspects and provide guidance to organizations looking to embark on or improve their i18n efforts.
The panelists provided valuable insights into various topics throughout the discussion. They discussed the evolution of i18n, the need for organizations to understand their current i18n state, the concept of mature i18n, effective i18n initiatives, and how i18n adds value to organizations. They also explored short-term i18n initiatives and shared practical advice on getting started with i18n. The panelists highlighted the importance of teamwork, roles, and responsibilities in driving successful i18n initiatives.
With the event being interactive, Tucker Johnson served as the audience moderator and actively engaged with the audience, acknowledging their comments and questions. This created a collaborative atmosphere where participants could learn from the panelists' expertise and contribute their own experiences.
The panel discussion was enriched by the diverse backgrounds and perspectives of the panelists. Roman Civin facilitated a dynamic conversation, ensuring that important aspects of i18n were covered and that attendees gained valuable insights to apply in their own organizations.
Overall, the event provided a platform for knowledge sharing and learning about i18n, with the panelists' expertise and the audience's engagement contributing to a comprehensive understanding of the topic. The following sections will delve into the key points discussed by the panelists, providing a deeper analysis of each aspect of i18n and offering actionable insights for organizations striving to improve their internationalization efforts.
During the panel discussion, the evolution of internationalization (i18n) and the existing gaps were highlighted, shedding light on the challenges organizations face in this domain.
Oleksandr Pysaryuk emphasized the role of the product manager in driving i18n efforts, stating, "It's the product manager who has the roadmap, believes in it, makes others believe in it, communicates it consistently, and is just there." This highlights the importance of a product manager in championing i18n initiatives and ensuring their alignment with the overall product vision.
Frederick Fisher added to this by emphasizing the value of automation in dealing with challenges such as high engineer turnover. He stated, "The more you can automate things, the easier it is for you to deal with staff turnover." Automation not only streamlines processes but also reduces the reliance on specific individuals, ensuring continuity and maintaining the level and quality of product internationalization.
Saurabh Kavathekar stressed the need for repeatable processes, stating, "You also need to have repeatable processes... That should be always available, somebody can go and refer to it and keep them up to date." By establishing repeatable processes and providing accessible training resources, organizations can ensure sustainable education for stakeholders and maintain a consistent level of quality in internationalization efforts.
The panelists highlighted the importance of a mature i18n approach. Roman Civin mentioned the need to have a well-defined strategy, stating, "Identify your target markets, put together a strategy to prioritize your efforts... and then tailor your internationalization strategy according to it." A strategic approach ensures that organizations focus their resources on the most crucial markets and align their i18n efforts with business objectives.
Furthermore, Frederick Fisher emphasized the value of automation in providing immediate value to developers, stating, "The most valuable thing you can do for developers is automation... Those little manual tasks are like a hidden tax on productivity every day." Automation not only improves developer efficiency but also demonstrates the organization's commitment to supporting their workload and fostering a positive work environment.
The panel discussion highlighted the importance of addressing gaps in i18n, such as the need for clear and engaging training materials. Frederick Fisher emphasized the value of delivering training at the moment developers need it, stating, "The best kind of training is training that's delivered automatically at exactly the moment the developer needs that information." By providing timely and relevant training, organizations can equip developers with the knowledge they need to write code optimally for localization.
This first topic of the discussion shed light on the evolution of i18n and identified key gaps that organizations face. By focusing on the role of product managers, leveraging automation, establishing repeatable processes, and adopting a mature i18n approach, organizations can address these gaps and lay the foundation for successful internationalization efforts.
In the next section of the panel, the topic of understanding current internationalization (i18n) needs was addressed, emphasizing the importance of assessing strategy, target markets, customer feedback, and issues in the development cycle.
Saurabh Kavathekar highlighted the need to define the company's strategy and target markets, stating, "What is your strategy? Which markets do you want to target?" Understanding the company's strategic direction and target markets helps shape the i18n approach and prioritize efforts accordingly.
In addition, Saurabh emphasized the significance of customer feedback in evaluating current i18n efforts, asking, "Are you doing well in those markets? Are you growing in different global markets or not?" Customer feedback provides valuable insights into the effectiveness of existing i18n practices and identifies areas for improvement.
Examining issues in the development cycle was also emphasized. Saurabh mentioned, "Even if you are already localizing the product, what is the level of issues that you find later in the cycle of development?" By analyzing the issues that arise during the development process, organizations can identify recurring challenges and take proactive steps to address them, improving the overall quality of internationalized products.
The panelists highlighted the importance of data-driven insights to support hiring decisions for dedicated internationalization engineers. Saurabh explained, "There are multiple data points and multiple channels for the data that you might be looking for... For example, customer feedback, the level of issues found during development, and the growth in different global markets." Utilizing these data points enables organizations to make informed decisions when hiring dedicated internationalization engineers, ensuring they have the necessary skills and experience to drive successful i18n initiatives.
Overall, the panelists reiterated that understanding current i18n needs requires a comprehensive assessment of the company's strategy, target markets, customer feedback, and issues encountered in the development cycle. By leveraging data-driven insights, organizations can make informed decisions to address their i18n needs effectively and optimize their internationalization efforts.
Next, the concept of achieving mature internationalization (i18n) was explored, with a focus on the need for standardized processes, cross-functional collaboration, and continuous improvement.
Frederick Fisher highlighted the significance of automation in achieving mature i18n, emphasizing that automation helps reduce repetitive tasks and hidden productivity taxes, allowing developers to focus on solving more complex problems. By automating manual tasks, organizations can streamline their i18n processes and enhance overall productivity.
The panelists also emphasized the importance of providing clear and engaging training to support mature i18n practices. Frederick mentioned the value of delivering training material at the moment developers need it, stating, "The best kind of training is training that's delivered automatically at exactly the moment the developer needs that information." By providing timely and relevant training, developers can stay up to date with i18n best practices and avoid common mistakes.
Furthermore, the panelists discussed the use of AI technology to facilitate mature i18n. Frederick mentioned an AI tool called GitHub Co-pilot, which assists developers in writing code, particularly repetitive code. He stated, "It's a really powerful tool that will enhance the productivity of all the developers in your company across the board." By leveraging AI tools like GitHub Co-pilot, organizations can accelerate their i18n efforts and improve code quality.
Achieving mature i18n requires the implementation of standardized processes, automation of repetitive tasks, and the provision of timely and engaging training. By incorporating AI technology, organizations can further enhance their i18n practices and boost developer productivity. Embracing these strategies will enable organizations to mature their i18n capabilities and deliver high-quality internationalized products.
Ia discussion on various i18n initiatives, the panelists shared insights into effective internationalization (i18n) initiatives that organizations can undertake to ensure successful global expansion. These initiatives focus on strategic planning, stakeholder engagement, and collaboration.
Oleksandr Pysaryuk emphasized the role of the product manager in driving effective i18n initiatives. He stated, "It's the product manager who has the roadmap, believes in it, makes others believe in it, communicates it consistently, and is just there. There's value, no matter the turnover." The product manager plays a crucial role in setting the i18n roadmap, gaining stakeholder buy-in, and ensuring the continuity of i18n efforts despite any team turnover.
Cross-functional collaboration and stakeholder education were also highlighted as essential aspects of effective i18n initiatives. Saurabh Kavathekar stressed the importance of repeatable processes and the availability of training resources, stating, "You also need to have repeatable processes...something like a 101 for internationalization that should always be available." By providing comprehensive training materials and promoting collaboration between teams, organizations can foster a shared understanding of i18n principles and practices.
The panelists also discussed the value of having an international team that includes an internationalization product manager and senior engineers. Tucker Johnson acknowledged the influence of senior engineers in advocating for i18n and making the larger business case for internationalization. He mentioned, "The most senior engineers can get you the influence you need...those senior engineers usually lack the time and focus to make the larger business case." Having an international team with diverse expertise and representation helps ensure i18n considerations are prioritized and integrated into the overall product strategy.
Effective i18n initiatives require strong leadership from product managers, cross-functional collaboration, and stakeholder education. By establishing repeatable processes, providing training resources, and involving key stakeholders, organizations can drive successful i18n initiatives and lay the foundation for global product expansion.
The panel of experts shed light on how internationalization (i18n) adds value to organizations beyond mere language translation. The panelists highlighted the strategic advantages and business benefits that i18n can bring.
Frederick Fisher emphasized the value of automation in i18n efforts, touting the benefits of automation. Automation reduces manual tasks, increases productivity, and frees up developers to focus on solving complex problems rather than repetitive tasks. By automating i18n processes, organizations can enhance overall efficiency and save valuable time and resources.
Furthermore, the panelists stressed the importance of providing clear and engaging training materials to developers. Frederick Fisher proposed the idea of delivering training automatically at the moment developers need it the most, using code alerts and relevant training resources. This approach ensures that developers have access to the necessary information and guidance to write code optimally for localization. Effective training helps developers understand internationalization best practices, reducing the occurrence of i18n issues and improving the overall quality of localized products.
As already stated above, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) tools, such as GitHub Co-pilot, was also highlighted as a valuable resource in i18n initiatives. Leveraging AI tools like this can significantly boost developers' productivity and streamline the i18n process.
Overall, the panelists emphasized that i18n adds value to organizations by improving efficiency, reducing manual efforts through automation, providing timely training resources, and leveraging AI tools. By embracing i18n as a strategic initiative, organizations can enhance their global competitiveness, reach wider markets, and deliver localized products effectively.
During the panel discussion, the panelists touched upon short-term i18n initiatives that organizations can undertake to kickstart their internationalization efforts. These initiatives focus on immediate actions that can yield tangible results in a relatively short timeframe.
One key aspect highlighted by Saurabh Kavathekar was the importance of starting early and not waiting for a product to reach a mature stage before considering i18n. Saurabh emphasized, "Start as early as possible," as delaying i18n implementation can lead to technical debt and challenges down the line. By integrating i18n practices from the beginning, organizations can avoid costly rework and ensure a smoother localization process as the product evolves.
The panelists also emphasized the significance of identifying target markets and tailoring i18n strategies accordingly. Saurabh Kavathekar stated, "Identify the target markets, put together a strategy to prioritize your efforts." Organizations need to understand the specific requirements and preferences of their target markets to effectively localize their products. This includes considering cultural nuances, language variations, and user expectations in different regions.
Additionally, the panelists highlighted the importance of obtaining management buy-in for i18n initiatives. Saurabh Kavathekar emphasized the need to involve stakeholders and sponsors early on to ensure support and resources for i18n efforts. Without management support, it can be challenging to drive the necessary changes and secure the necessary investments for successful internationalization.
By implementing these short-term i18n initiatives, organizations can lay a strong foundation for their internationalization journey. Starting early, automating tasks, targeting specific markets, and securing management buy-in are crucial steps that pave the way for long-term success in expanding to global markets.
Getting started with i18n can be an overwhelming task, especially for organizations that are new to internationalization. However, the panelists provided valuable insights on how to embark on this journey effectively.
Saurabh Kavathekar emphasized the importance of clearly defining the markets you want to target, so that you can align your i18n efforts with specific goals and focus your resources accordingly. This strategic approach ensures that your internationalization efforts are purposeful and well-directed.
Furthermore, starting early was a recurring theme in the panel discussion. Frederick Fisher emphasized that organizations should not wait until their product has reached a mature stage to consider i18n. By integrating internationalization practices from the outset, you can avoid technical debt and minimize the need for costly rework later on.
In terms of implementation, Oleksandr Pysaryuk stressed the role of the product manager in driving i18n efforts. He highlighted the product manager as the key person who communicates the roadmap and creates belief in the value of i18n. By consistently championing internationalization, the product manager can ensure that i18n remains a priority and receives the necessary attention from the development teams.
The panelists also emphasized the need for a repeatable process in i18n. Saurabh Kavathekar mentioned the importance of having training courses available for newcomers and creating a culture of continuous learning. By establishing standardized training materials and processes from the very start, organizations can ensure that i18n knowledge is consistently shared and updated.
Overall, the key to getting started with i18n lies in aligning your efforts with your company's strategy, starting early, having a dedicated product manager, and establishing repeatable processes. By following these steps, organizations can lay a solid foundation for their i18n initiatives and set themselves up for success in the global market.
The success of internationalization efforts heavily relies on effective teamwork, clearly defined roles, and well-established responsibilities within the organization. The panelists shared valuable insights on how to structure teams and allocate responsibilities for a smooth and efficient i18n process.
Oleksandr Pysaryuk emphasized the role of the product manager in driving i18n initiatives. He stated, "It's the product manager who has the roadmap, believes in it, makes others believe in it, and communicates it consistently." The product manager plays a crucial role in ensuring that i18n is integrated into the product development roadmap and that all stakeholders understand the importance of internationalization.
Frederick Fisher highlighted the need for an internationalization product manager and the influence they can have on the overall product. He mentioned, "At the very least, an internationalization product manager and the most senior engineers can get you the influence you need." Having dedicated individuals who understand the nuances of internationalization and can advocate for its value can greatly impact the success of i18n efforts.
Additionally, the panelists discussed the importance of cross-functional collaboration and education. Saurabh Kavathekar emphasized the need to educate and onboard designers early in the process to avoid pitfalls during the development stage. He stated, "Onboard designers early, about possible pitfalls in their drafts, before we even reach the development stage." By involving designers and other key stakeholders from the beginning, organizations can ensure that i18n considerations are incorporated into the product design, saving time and effort later on.
Furthermore, the panelists stressed the significance of stakeholder education and buy-in. Oleksandr Pysaryuk highlighted the product manager's responsibility to make others believe in the value of i18n. He stated, "Communicate it consistently and be there. There's value, no matter the turnover." By consistently advocating for i18n and demonstrating its impact on the overall product, product managers can garner support and engagement from stakeholders across the organization.
In summary, effective teamwork, clear roles, and defined responsibilities are crucial for successful i18n implementation. Organizations should empower product managers to drive i18n initiatives, foster cross-functional collaboration, and ensure stakeholder buy-in. By establishing a collaborative and supportive environment, teams can work together to integrate i18n seamlessly into the product development process, leading to a high-quality, globally inclusive product.
Nimdzi Insights has identified internationalization challenges as one of the top 10 challenges faced by buyer-side localization teams in 2023 and we have developed a number of services for our clients to help guide them, including:
During the panel discussion, the audience actively participated by asking thought-provoking questions that further enriched the conversation. Tucker Johnson, the moderator, highlighted some interesting audience questions and comments that added valuable insights to the discussion. Let's recap some of these questions:
Lynn raised a pertinent question regarding how localization product managers or localization teams can maintain the level and quality of product internationalization while dealing with high engineer turnover in buyer-side companies. In response, Oleksandr Pysaryuk emphasized the role of the product manager in consistently communicating the value of internationalization, regardless of turnover. He stated, "It's the product manager who has the roadmap, believes in it, makes others believe in it, and communicates it consistently."
Another audience member on LinkedIn asked about the type of data and insights that can support hiring decisions for a dedicated internationalization engineer. Saurabh Kavathekar provided valuable input, mentioning multiple data points that can be considered. He highlighted the importance of understanding the company's strategy, target markets, customer feedback from international markets, and the level of issues encountered during the development cycle. Saurabh emphasized the need for data-driven decision-making, stating, "There are multiple data points and multiple channels for the data that you might be looking for."
Jessica Grimm, an audience member, contributed to the conversation by suggesting the early onboarding of designers to avoid potential pitfalls in their drafts before reaching the development stage. This proactive approach can save time and effort in the internationalization process.
Overall, the audience actively engaged in the discussion, asking relevant questions and providing valuable insights. Their inquiries highlighted the challenges and considerations organizations face when implementing internationalization strategies. By addressing these questions, the panelists further emphasized the importance of effective communication, data-driven decision-making, and proactive collaboration across teams.
The panel discussion on internationalization (i18n) provided valuable insights and practical recommendations for organizations looking to enhance their global reach. Here are the key takeaways from the discussion:
1. Evolution of i18n and Gaps: The panelists acknowledged the evolving nature of internationalization and the gaps that organizations often face. Roman Civin highlighted the importance of adapting to changing market dynamics, stating, "The evolution of i18n is a continuous process, and organizations need to stay updated to address emerging challenges."
2. Understanding Current i18n: Organizations must have a clear understanding of their current internationalization efforts. Frederick Fisher emphasized the significance of assessing customer feedback from international markets and identifying issues that arise during the development cycle. He stated, "If your product is already in multiple international markets, what is the level of issues that you find later in the cycle of development?"
3. Achieving Mature i18n: Mature internationalization requires a holistic approach and involvement from various stakeholders. Saurabh Kavathekar emphasized the need to align internationalization strategies with target markets and secure management buy-in. He advised starting early and creating repeatable processes to ensure long-term success.
4. Effective i18n Initiatives: Automation emerged as a key enabler for effective internationalization. Frederick Fisher highlighted the importance of automating repetitive tasks, reducing manual effort, and providing clear and engaging training to developers. He mentioned the use of AI tools like GitHub Co-pilot to enhance productivity in writing repetitive code.
5. Adding Value through i18n: Internationalization adds value to organizations by enabling global expansion and reaching a wider customer base. Tucker Johnson emphasized the role of internationalization in supporting business growth, stating, "Internationalization adds value by making your product accessible to a global audience and helping you expand into new markets."
6. Short-Term i18n Initiatives: Panelists emphasized the need to prioritize short-term initiatives that can deliver immediate value. Oleksandr Pysaryuk highlighted the importance of cross-training teams and managing the internationalization initiative as a product. He stressed the value of consistent communication and belief in the roadmap.
7. Getting Started with i18n: Organizations looking to embark on their internationalization journey should identify target markets, develop a strategy, secure management buy-in, and start early. Saurabh Kavathekar recommended testing the code repeatedly, addressing technical debt, and integrating the right tools and technology into the existing ecosystem.
8. Teamwork, Roles, and Responsibilities: Collaboration and effective teamwork are essential for successful internationalization. Panelists emphasized the role of product managers, senior engineers, and designers in driving internationalization efforts. Tucker Johnson highlighted the importance of involving an internationalization product manager and leveraging the influence of senior engineers.
The panel discussion provided valuable insights and practical recommendations for organizations at different stages of their internationalization journey. From understanding current i18n efforts to implementing effective initiatives and achieving mature internationalization, the discussion shed light on the key considerations and best practices for organizations seeking to expand their global footprint.
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