Podcast: The Evolution of Tools and Teams in a Growing Loc Program

Today’s discussion

In this episode of Globally Speaking, Renato and Michael welcome Julio Leal, Localization Manager at Ciena. We discuss the triggers for implementing CMS and TMS technology and how to get it done. Tune in to hear his experienced perspective.

Guest: Julio Leal

Julio Leal is the Localization Manager at Ciena, where he oversees the strategy and operations of their global localization strategy.

Where to listen

The full podcast can be downloaded and listened to on all major podcast platforms, or from the Globally Speaking website. If you prefer to read the full transcript, we have provided that below, as well!

About Globally Speaking

Globally Speaking Radio isn’t just about how we as language professionals can improve our skills. It’s also about building awareness of how important translation and localization services are in helping global brands succeed in foreign markets—no matter where their business takes them. Globally Speaking is an independent podcast that does not necessarily represent the views of Nimdzi Insights or any other sponsors.

Host: Renato Beninatto

Renato is the co-founder and CEO of Nimdzi Insights, one of the language industry’s leading analyst and consulting firms. He has over 28 years of executive-level experience in the localization industry. He has served on executive teams for some of the industry’s most prominent companies, and he co-founded the industry’s first research analyst firm. A dynamic speaker and communicator, Renato is a highly regarded thought leader in the language industry, and is known for creating innovative strategies that drive growth on a global scale. He has also served on the advisory board for Translators Without Borders.

Host: Michael Stevens

Michael has 10 years of experience in the localization and IT industries. He is the Growth Director for Moravia, where his primary role is to assist companies who are inspired to create global software that changes the world. A well-networked entrepreneur, Michael’s main interest is in connecting and bringing people together. He not only enjoys learning about a company’s exciting ideas and developments, he also has a keen ability to add value—and fire—to new and innovative thinking.

This is an episode of the Globally Speaking Radio Podcast. Globally Speaking Radio is sponsored by RWS Moravia and Nimdzi.

The Transcript

Michael I’m Michael Stevens.
Renato I’m Renato Beninatto.
Michael And today on Globally Speaking, we have a guest with some unique insight into content management platforms and translation management platforms.
Renato And somebody with interesting experiences in dealing with a product that is not very common, that we don’t hear so much, is an infrastructure product. This is what makes our industry so interesting and diverse is all the elements in the environment that we touch. And Ciena, one of the largest infrastructure companies in the world, has an interesting localization story to share with us.
Michael Yeah, so, our listeners are going to get a lot; they’re going to hear about how to manage an enterprise program with a small team; what are some of the technologies that are out there that you may not have heard of; and, you know, just some of the fun of what it means to grow a global team, especially when it relates to content and marketing.
Renato Julio Leal is our guest, and let him introduce himself.
Julio My name is Julio Leal, I’m the head of localization at Ciena. I’ve been working at Ciena for eight years so far, and we just recently implemented a translation management system and a content management platform working together. So, we’ll be talking about these integrations and this implementation in this podcast today.
Michael Man, so we have another acronym. We’ve talked about TMS on this show before; now we have got to throw CMP, content management platform, into the mix!
Julio I use CMS but the content guys like CMP better, so I’m trying to use that acronym as much as I can.
Michael That’s great. Before we dig into that, some of our listeners may not be familiar with Ciena. Can you talk a little bit about what Ciena does and your role as localization director there?
Julio Sure. We make the internet happen. Ciena is a telecommunications network company. We provide SMS services, packet optical services to the B2B scene. My role as localization manager is making sure that the company speaks as many languages as possible across the globe without actually losing our unique voice, so we try to keep the Ciena voice across the globe as consistent as possible.
Renato Where are you based, Julio?
Julio I am based in Spain. I work remotely from home; and actually, that’s one of the most interesting things about Ciena, is that a very significant percentage of Ciena employees work from home, and we’re almost 6,000 employees worldwide.
Renato How involved were you in the selection of a content management platform, and how did the company take into consideration the internationalization and localization requirements in that? Because this is something that frustrates a lot of localization managers. Was your experience frustrating or was it a walk in the park?
Julio I have to say that it’s been a tough road until we got here. We didn’t have a content management system or platform for the last eight years. This is something that happened very recently, and one of the main reasons for the company to realize the need for this platform was that content was all over the place; and when I say content I’m also including localized content. It was obvious that we needed to apply a content policy across the organization and that, as I said, included localization. So, one of the main requirements that we put on the agenda for all the different content management providers was that they needed to have a very easy-to-use localization feature, because we wanted this platform to be as a tool for the different teams across Ciena to request translation. So, those content management systems not actually having a very easy-to-use and ergonomic, so to speak, function in the platform were totally discarded right from the start.
Michael So, when you say it has a localization function, does that just mean it’s able to export usable files, or is it deeper than that?
Julio It’s actually deeper than that. The content is actually created in the platform itself, and different portions of a content item can be used across different formats. So, let’s say that we may have a white paper in the platform, and that white paper can be easily converted into a smaller format like an application note or a case study if the requirements are so. So, whenever we have a translation, original translation, for that white paper, we can reuse the translation of that white paper to retranslate whatever versions we take from that white paper. Actually, it simplifies the processes, not only from the content creation perspective, but also from the localization perspective.
Michael Yeah, reuse is a big issue and a huge place to find savings. So, you’re not just creating a one-off sheet for your sales team in a particular region, but rather, able to take sort of the best of that content and then put it into – I don’t know – frequently asked questions, wherever else it could live. Is that the idea?
Julio Yeah, that’s the idea, and I can say that we’re still at the very earliest stages of implementation. At this point, only the marketing organization is actually embracing the platform, but the idea is that in the next two to three years, the whole company will be embracing the platform. And, as you said, sales, learning, legal—we all want these teams with huge localization requirements to be using the tool to request content, to request translation, so we can actually leverage the content across the different teams in the company.
Renato So I have two questions. What is the size of your team, the localization team, and where does it live inside the organization?
Julio I’ll start with question number two. We’ve been always part of the marketing organization. Just like one year ago, I was moved from global marketing into a newly created team which was called the Content Center. So, different people across the marketing organization, which were dealing with content on a day-to-day basis, were brought together to create one single team. So, my manager is the director of content and I report to him, and his direct reports can be writers, social media managers, so everyone dealing with content is actually reporting to him. So that makes things very easy, because all these people dealing with content were scattered across the organization for the past years, and it was very difficult to actually know who was doing what. We are using 13 freelancers who are working almost on a dedicated basis to the company. In addition to that, we also have three agencies and one translation management system. So, that should kind of give you an idea of the size of the team.
Renato What you’re saying is that it’s a small internal organization, which makes it extremely efficient because you don’t need many people in-house to run this function.
Julio Exactly. So, we have two project managers plus myself, and those are the only internal employees dealing with localization. So, we are outsourcing any other tasks that are not management-related.
Michael Julio, do you have any… our listeners love to hear stories of … we like to focus on the positive, the successes that our guests have with their programs, and maybe it’s something related to the CMP, maybe it’s something broader for how your team has gotten something done.
Renato Yes, but people also love to hear the horror stories.
Michael They do! They like to hear that more. We try to be more sunny side of the street.
Renato But if you have a horror story to share, you don’t need to name names, you don’t need to reveal yourself, your good-natured self, but we welcome those, too.
Julio Probably as all the teams in the company, we’ve had our ups and downs, and I can say we’ve all been learning over all these years. Obviously there are things that I regret, there are things I could have done better. Ciena is actually very well known in the United States, it’s relatively very well known in Europe, and we are actually trying to get better at selling ourselves in APAC. We are very good in Japan, we’re very good in Korea, but apart from those two markets, no one really knows about Ciena. So, we ran an awareness campaign for the APAC region very recently, and the imagery that we were using for some of the collaterals that we were creating was actually with a red background. The funny thing is that all these collaterals were created in the United States and we were happy with this red color because it’s the Ciena color. However, when we sent all these collaterals to our recently-created marketing team in Asia, one of the first feedbacks that we got in APAC was that red is immediately associated with China. So, people would say that if we kept that red color as part of our collaterals, people would actually think that we were Chinese instead of American. Being American in that region actually could make you sell more. So actually, we had to change some of our imagery and colors in all these collaterals to actually make the company more attractive to our APAC customers.
Michael Did you do any testing of the colors, or did you just go on the feedback from your teams there, trust their sort of expertise?
Julio Yeah, just through the feedback from the team. And that’s very new because until very recently, we didn’t have a marketing team in APAC. Everything was produced in the United States, it was localized to the best of our abilities, but in many ways, we didn’t have any interaction with the market or direct interaction with the market. We did not really know how things were actually working in terms of marketing because no one was telling us how we were doing. So now that we have that footprint in the region, we are starting to do things much better.
Michael Uber has the case study of their app is in different colors depending on what global city you’re in. So, in the US it’s black on black, but if you go to a different country it will be different, so it’s interesting that you can still retain the essence of a brand but change what seems to be a core part of that brand, which is the main color you associate with.
Julio Yeah, absolutely. The Ciena color is red, so sometimes it goes against your corporate culture to change some things, but at the end of the day what you want is your markets, your products, and services to be sold. Sometimes you have to make a compromise.
Renato So, I did my homework here while we were talking—the wonders of internet and Ciena providing this backbone for me to be able to go and find out—but in 2017, 62% of the revenue came from North America, so 38% of the revenue came from EMEA, CALA, and APAC, your three international divisions. So you, Julio, are responsible, by yourself, for enabling 38% of the revenue of your company, which is a 2.8-billion-dollar company. It’s not small stuff, huh!
Michael That’s rather impressive.
Julio Yeah it is, actually. And, Renato, you being from Brazil, when was the World Cup in Brazil? That was in 2014, right?
Renato 2014, yes.
Julio All the years before 2014, Brazil was our biggest market outside North America, just because all the bandwidth that was needed in Brazil, not only for the Olympics but also for the World Cup. During all those years, we had a lot of contracts, we had a lot of marketing translations happening in Brazil. Since then, things have come down in the region, because those deals in CALA were just impressive. The focus right now is on APAC. So yeah, things shift, and Brazil had its momentum four or five years ago, and I think that we actually reached 50% of revenue coming from outside the United States. So, I think that was our biggest moment for the localization team.
Renato Awesome. The importance of infrastructure products, like what Ciena provides, is that what is happening today is very, very bandwidth intensive, so you’re definitely in a growth market because—and we have interviewed people from Netflix, we have talked to the gaming industry—all of this is requiring a lot of bandwidth for content to be shared, content to be consumed, and if you don’t have the right infrastructure that can provide that speed and quality, those markets flunk. So, it’s great to know that you are involved in something that is so fundamental for the future of technology and the consumption of content that we have.
Julio Oh yeah, absolutely. It’s just not the videos and video platforms, because we all know that video is actually consumed every day more and more, but also for the internet that is consumed and is going to be consumed in cars, in homes across the globe. Cars will be interconnected, homes will be connected to the internet just to request things from Amazon or from whatever big store you need groceries. So right now, the consumption of the internet is just huge and is expected to grow every year, so yeah, it’s very exciting to be here right now because you see the inside of the industry. For someone not coming from this industry, it’s really interesting to see how things evolve so rapidly.
Renato Julio, you mentioned in the beginning of the conversation that you went through a process to select a CMP, this content management platform, and a TMS. What can you tell us about it, what technologies are you using?
Julio We recently implemented a new translation management system, but we actually had one before. However, that platform was not the right fit for us because it was very rigid, it was not flexible enough.
  So yes, we implemented this new translation platform before we actually implemented the content platform, but it was something that we really needed. Probably the previous translation platform that we had was a good fit for larger companies with higher localization requirements, but we needed a more boutique, so to speak, solution for Ciena, and I think we found the right solution for us. And, the good thing is that both the content management system and the translation management system can talk to each other, so obviously that’s something that is in the roadmap for the coming year. At this moment, we are only focusing our efforts on the implementation of the content platform, but once we are fully settled and all the teams are trained, one of the next steps will be implementation of both platforms so we can simplify things.
Renato So, what is the CMP that you chose and why did you choose it?
Julio Can I name names here, Renato? I don’t mind naming names.
Renato Yes, yes.
Michael Absolutely, please do!
Julio The platform that we are using is Kapost. The main reason for using this platform is just from the 20 or 30 requisites or requirements that we had, this was the only tool that actually complied with all our requirements. All the other tools out there were either missing something here or missing something there, and this was the perfect fit for us. As you’ve probably heard from other speakers here in your podcast, legal has a lot to say in the implementation of these platforms, either because they don’t comply with whatever regulations you have in the States, or whatever; so actually it was a very easy integration from that perspective also. So, I can say that I’m very happy with the platform.
Renato And the TMS that you chose integrates with this. Which was the TMS you decided to go with?
Julio We implemented Wordbee and we were coming from GlobalLink.
Renato Okay. So, Wordbee is this cloud-based platform from Luxembourg and it integrated with Kapost.
Julio Yes.
Renato This is very interesting because these are not the usual suspects of technology all the time in the market, and it’s interesting that they can provide you with the support that you need at an enterprise level.
Michael Yes, and it’s great to hear that there are platforms out there that have flexibility available, because that tends to be a high-value item when we talk to clients about what they’re looking for.
Renato Exactly.
Julio And actually, a couple of weeks ago, we were in Luxembourg because Wordbee holds an annual meeting with customers, providers, etc., and in this meeting, we were informed about upcoming updates, things they’re bringing to the table for the next release. We had the opportunity to see other Wordbee clients, and I can tell you it’s not just smaller companies working with Wordbee. We saw large corporations there which are already working with Wordbee. Obviously, I can only say good things about Wordbee so far
Renato We’ll ask you 10 years from now.
Renato Julio, this was fantastic. Thank you so much for your time and this information that you gave us about your experience. This is invaluable for us, thank you.
Julio Thank you for inviting me.

Stay up to date as Nimdzi publishes new insights.
We will keep you posted as each new report is published so that you are sure not to miss anything.

Related posts