Webinar: The Future of Localization Ecosystems

Webinar: The Future of Localization Ecosystems

In the webinar co-hosted by Nimdzi and Xillio, we will hear from the experts. How have language service providers (LSPs) and technology providers been managing translation automation so far? How did they deal with connectivity? Why did TAPICC never land? Is the industry ready for an ecosystem approach? We explore these questions and many others as well as the future of localization ecosystems with Rikkert Engels (CEO/Founder, Xillio), Álvaro Villalvilla Merelo (Global Content, Nike), Renato Beninatto (CEO, Nimdzi Insights), Miguel Sepulveda (Global Localization Manager, King) in a webinar moderated by Tucker Johnson (Managing Director, Nimdzi Insights).

Rikkert

Rikkert Engels, CEO/Founder | Xillio

Rikkert is founder and director of Xillio. He started his company out of frustration with a migration project he worked on at that time. There must be a better way, he thought, and it involves automation. That’s how Xillio was born in 2004. In the last 15 years, Xillio has always delivered on every migration, integration and localization. Xillio has developed a powerful API platform for content integration projects. Gartner awarded it Cool Vendor in 2017. In 2019, LocHub was developed on top of this API to help automate multi-lingual content delivery processes, so that content can be FREE to be localized in the best way possible for your business.
Alvaro

Álvaro Villalvilla Merelo, Global Content | Nike

Originally Spanish, and Amsterdammer for nearly a decade now, Al has had an intermittent but intense relationship with localization for 15 years now, and somehow always avoided working for an LSP. After freelancing as translator and interpreter, he worked as a project manager for Belkin before moving to Nike.inc to take on a number of roles across localization, content operations, and brand marketing. Al has a passion for connecting technology, marketing, and business needs to articulate innovative solutions that help digital businesses grow and brands connect with consumers globally. Slow cyclist, happy camper, and eager cook.
Renato

Renato Beninatto, CEO and Co-Founder | Nimdzi Insights

Renato brings decades of experience everywhere he goes. With extensive experience in international consulting, market research, sales and marketing, Renato provides the strategic direction that helps Nimdzi better serve clients worldwide.
Miguel

Miguel Sepulveda, Global Localization Manager | King - Future of Localization Ecosystems Webinar

After finishing his studies in Computer Engineering, Miguel started his career in 1995 working for Microsoft in Dublin, providing Linguistic QA. Later he worked as a Global Localization Manager for Lionbridge until 2007 when he left the vendor side and joined Electronic Arts as a Technical Solutions Manager. At EA, he was in charge of creating localization programs and automation solutions for blockbuster titles such as Fifa, Need for Speed or The Sims. In 2014 Miguel joined King (the makers of Candy Crush) as a Globalization Director. At King, Miguel is responsible for adapting mobile games so that they resonate with global audiences. Today Miguel is helping Nimdzi explore ways of improving localization programs and advising Nimdzi Partners on game globalization strategies. When not busy working you might find him playing tennis with his lovely 2 kids, doing Nerf battles, or just riding his bike in the middle of the mountains to find some inner peace.
Tucker

Tucker Johnson, Managing Director | Nimdzi Insights - Future of Localization Ecosystems Webinar

As managing director and co-founder, Tucker takes Renato’s crazy ideas and puts them into action. Specialized in vendor side operations, global team management, large program outsourcing, and supply chain governance, Tucker is happy to share his operational experience with Nimdzi’s partners.

The Future of Localization Ecosystems – full webinar transcript:

Tucker Johnson: 0:00:05 Welcome everybody to the webinar. Thank you so much for joining us today. Today we’re going to be talking about the future of localization ecosystems, and this is going to be a semi-moderated round table panel discussion with our experts who we’ll be introducing to you shortly. And because this is a round table discussion and a Q and A, there’s not going to be any set Q and A period per se towards the end, but anybody can enter questions throughout this process if you’re logged into zoom, you can go to the Q and A section and please insert any of your questions for any of the panelists. If it’s for a specific panelist, then please include who you are addressing and we’ll make sure that we moderate those and get those questions asked throughout this. For any other questions, comments, or technical difficulties, you can likewise use that chat functionality in the in the zoom system.
Tucker Johnson: 0:01:05 So with that, let’s see what we’re going to be talking about today. And I apologize if there’s a little delay. Internet is running slow around the world in these times, so there might be a slight delay between the slides. But today we’re going to talk about essentially the future of technology, the future of automation, and the future of localization ecosystems in the language services industry. And some of the basic questions that we’re going to be talking about are how LSPs and other providers are managing that currently; how does that affect what’s happening on the buyer side and on the client side; What type of ecosystems have been tried and either failed or succeeded in the past; And what lessons can we learn from that moving forward? When I talk about ecosystems and the language services industry though, we want to make very clear that we’re all talking about the same thing. We want to define our terminology. So with that, because it’s something near and dear to his heart, and it’s something that Xillio focuses on very well and talks very coherently about, I want to turn it over to our cohost, Rikert to explain to us what we’re talking about when we’re talking about ecosystems. Rikkert:
Rikkert Engels: 0:02:22 Thank you Tucker. So, it’s a little bit of a longer answer because I think it is such a fundamental thing in the localization industry. I still consider myself an outsider coming from the digital marketing industry, and if I look at how the digital marketing industry kind of evolved in the last let’s say 30 years, then from 1990 to 2010, these were all, let’s say enterprise suites with one message supplier – IBM or Oracle – that were providing everything. All sales was kind of relationship driven. Then it moved into platforms, so things started to be open and sales became more kind of solution engineered. It became more of a solution engineer. Then with the cloud rising, everything actually became API focused. So sales was much more developer focused and your platform needed to be open because a developer could say no.
Rikkert Engels: 0:03:20 So things were actually real. It was a developer sales. And because of the cloud and because of the openness of the API, you see the rise of ecosystems. And so kind of my main observation about the localization industry is that everybody talks about MT like machine translation is going to change it and it’s going to be a big change. But I think that machine translation, in itself, is just an acceleration of an existing process and the real change is happening in the business model because the real change is with clouds, and clouds favors ecosystems. I think if you look honestly at the localization industry, it is still in 1995. It’s an enterprise suite sale. It’s driven by relationship management and that’s it. So that is kind of my observation and if you look at the top one to five, of course it’s proven because the top one to five, they’re all over everything and everything is sold through a relationship sales model and kind of everybody follows the same pattern because they see the number one to five are very successful with that enterprise suite.
Rikkert Engels: 0:04:28 But if you take it at cloud, at more the ecosystem approaches, what are the three characteristics of an ecosystem? First one is it’s easy to work with. For a developer, it’s easy to work with. For providers in the ecosystem, it generates new business channels. And for clients it provides access to new data. So for clients, it’s access to new data, access to new experiences. For providers, it’s access to new business channels and it is all facilitated because it has a developer focus, which means it’s very easy to work with for a developer, hence API first, et cetera. That is a very long answer, but that’s kind of my definition.
Tucker Johnson: 0:05:22 Wonderful. Thank you so much Rikkert. That was deep. That was a lot to chew down. I wrote down some key points there. I hope everybody was taking notes during that, but we’ll get into this further and we’ll break it down as we move forward. So if you only comprehended a third of what was just said, hang in there and we’re going to get back to it. Right now we’re going to introduce the panel. We have a number of my esteemed colleagues on the call today, and I want to give each person a little bit of time to introduce themselves on this call and tell us a little bit about who they are, what their role is, and what their experiences are in the localization industry. And I’m also going to ask you guys one question that I’m interested to know and that is what’s an exciting project that you’re currently working on right now. It can be something big. It can be small. It doesn’t matter. Just tell me one exciting thing that you’re really passionate about right now. So with that let’s start with Miguel.
Miguel Sepulveda: 0:06:25 Thank you Tucker. Miguel here. I’m working at King, maybe most famous for being the candy crush makers, and it means that I am in the gaming industry and it’s not been always like this. I’ve had a long run in the industry. I started back in the mid-nineties, 1995, working as a bando in Microsoft, in Dublin when basically the localization industry was shaping in Europe. Back in those days, I already started to have some sort of interest in automation and tech and everything because my first jobs were related to test automation. I remember creating script for QA in Excel and Windows. So I was for 10, 12 years working on the vendor side. Then in 2007, I left the service side of the localization industry and I moved to the gaming industry and I was working for electronic arts.
Miguel Sepulveda: 0:07:41 And there, I was responsible for everything that had to do with creating the technology for doing QA automation. So there was some kind of a connectivity and ecosystem there because it’s a complex thing when you think about it. And I’ve been working at King for the last six years. Next month will be my sixth anniversary and at King I’m responsible for the strategy around the digital content and the different games. And yeah, we have a portfolio of 17 games in different languages. So getting this kind of maturity in the localization industry and in the ecosystem is quite important for us. And for your question, actually something that I’m really excited about and that we are working on, and that is really related to this topic, is that we are in the process of migrating to a new CMS. And we are in the process of seeing how we can have continuous localization in the CMS and integrate that with the game engines. And as you can imagine, that’s the related to this topic. So I’m really looking forward to see where this conversation is taking us because I would love to have also some input on future parts.
Tucker Johnson: 0:09:23 Awesome. Thank you so much Miguel. I was just thinking that we should start having less qualified, less experienced people on these panels so we can get through the introductions much quicker. That’s quite the resume that you have. I didn’t introduce myself, so I’ll go next. My name is Tucker Johnson. I am the Managing Director and Co-Founder of Nimdzi Insights. We provide market research and consulting for the language services industry. One thing that I’m excited about, I’m working on right now is creating some of the workshops that we do. We have lots of workshops that we customize for our clients and I’m modifying some of that so that they can be done virtually or remotely. I’m working on this very exciting one right now for account management and soft skills for project managers. And if you’re an existing Nimdzi client, be on the lookout for that cause it’s coming your way. I mentioned my Co-Founder, Renato Beninatto, so why don’t we go with you next, sir? Work the mute button.
Renato Beninatto: 0:10:26 Rookie mistake! I work for the same company and I am the other co founder of Nimdzi. I am not going to go through my career. It’s too long. Almost 40 years in this industry, in all functions
Tucker Johnson: 0:10:46 Everybody knows already. Nobody cares.
Renato Beninatto: 0:10:48 Nobody cares, exactly. The exciting projects that I’m working on, I would say I’m working on two very exciting projects. One, on the buyer side, we’re reviewing the vendor relationships and the technology platform for a very large healthcare company here in the United States, and we have a chance to help them redesign their workflows before their peak season arrives. And the other very exciting project that I’m working on is on the growth side, working with an LSP, taking advantage of the slow down to develop their strategy and training for after the pandemic. So these are my two exciting projects.
Tucker Johnson: 0:11:37 Awesome. Thank you Renato. Alvaro, sir, where are you joining us from today?
New Speaker: 0:11:44 So today I’m in Amsterdam and I need to be here for awhile in the future. So there are good and bad things about it. But thanks for having me today. Great to see you all and thanks for everyone who can listen to us. I’ve also been in the localization industry for a fair bit. I started when I was a university student translating and I’ve been a conference interpreter, project manager, localization specialist. I’ve done a few stints in localization engineering and I’ll say this very carefully because I’m trying to get people who actually know what they’re saying in this field, but I’ve helped implement a few TMS’s in my time, if that makes sense. And then I’ve been with Nike inc for seven years in different roles across content production and publishing, localization and brand marketing, and constantly always connected to this idea of building scale but also having really high quality standards as you would expect of a global brand.
Alvaro Villalvilla Merelo: 0:12:53 Right? And those two things, there’s a creative tension between those two things. In my current role, I’m working on our language services portfolio, so a bit more detached from the technology, but always connected to it. I’m still connected to localization production, but a colleague of mine runs production and my responsibility is to manage our service portfolio together with our external partners and make sure that we’re consistently servicing our existing clients and expanding that portfolio. A couple of exciting projects other than baking bread, which we all are doing, apparently, I am using everything I’ve picked up along the way to see how we can globalize creativity. So we have an amazing team of language specialists in house at Nike – very talented linguists with different backgrounds. They help us raise the bar for quality, but they also write constantly and in the process they help us be a better global brand. So how do we scale that? Because we all know the creativity doesn’t scale well, unless you’re Disney, and that’s something I’m very excited about the moment.
Tucker Johnson: 0:14:08 That’s very interesting. Globalizing creativity. I’d love to learn more about that in a different webinar. But we’ll discuss that later. Thank you so much Alvero. Last but not least, I’m going to turn it over to Rikkert here and Rikert is with Xillio. We’re going to hear all about who they are, what they do, and Rikkert, I’m going to let you, I saved you for last because we can segue quite nicely into the next slide where you can tell us a little bit about yourself. Then tell us a little bit about Xillio.
Rikkert Engels: 0:14:38 Yeah, thank you very much. So I’m the founder of Xillio. I started 16 years ago as a migration consulting firm, mostly doing web migrations into the likes of Tridium and a site core and Adobe, et cetera. Then in 2014, that led to a development of a content integration platform, basically allowing interoperability between content management systems as I wanted to solve the problem that people could leave or could decide to migrate to a single system, but leave certain systems behind. And while we brought that to markets, I actually went to my old friends at Tridium and, and told them to integrate the technology into our solution. Tridium said, “thank you very much, that sounds great, but we’re going to use it for translation.” So I said translation, okay, that sounds interesting. So let me dive a little bit deeper into that, and that actually led to the introduction of our integration technology further in the in the localization technology and with partnerships with Lilt and uPlexa and Capita, etc.
Rikkert Engels: 0:16:03 And that led to a deep understanding of the actual opportunity and need for proper automation in the translation industry and with the development of the localization hub and the opportunity for an ecosystem approach basically within the localization industry. So I actually have a very cool announcement to make today on a project that we’re working on that we expedited tremendously. And that is the launch of the marketplace. So what we launched, literally today, is a marketplace where any translation technology or any translation provider can advertise their services and have integrated their services into the localization. So what it means is that for an end client, if they buy our connectors, they can of course, send the content that is guarded to any translator or to any translation party or to integrate it within any translation technology.
Rikkert Engels: 0:17:12 It’s a typical middleware. It’s a typical middleware offering that you are free to send to any content provider. But what we have added to this, and that is possible of course because we open API architecture, is that actually other LSPs and other translation technology providers can directly integrate with our solution. So that gives them the ability for enterprise clients to send content directly to that LSP. So that is a very, very cool initiative we are working on and are excited to launch within the localization industry. The second thing that we are working on that will go live in about probably three to six weeks is that of course we have very, very good relationships with all the content management systems because we’ve done migrations to all of them for a very long time.
Rikkert Engels: 0:18:10 And there will be a big announcement coming in the next, I think three to six weeks, but we have already started with a top five player in the world where we will do all migrations and we’re also looking at multi-lingual content delivery there. How to make that easier for their clients. So I think it’s an incredibly interesting time. The client we understand most is the digital markets here. I think, cause we’ve always done migrations for the markets here and so I think there’s just a wide open opportunity to make life better for the markets here because I think until now, that category within the translation process has been a little bit underserved. If we go deeper into the experience of Chile or we have always done the migrations in Holland of course, and worldwide for a lot of the larger companies. So the majority is migrations to Adobe, to Tridium, to Site Core, et cetera. But we have not really a sector’s focus, but I would say as a general rule of thumb, that the clients were usually more on the complicated side with a complicated environment.
Renato Beninatto: 0:19:32 I wonder what you did for the police.
Rikkert Engels: 0:19:35 Yeah. Actually for the police, we migrated every regional system into a corporate system. So in Holland there are 26 regions for the national police and and we migrated them to a single repository to a single system.
Tucker Johnson: 0:19:56 Very nice. Thank you so much. Rikkert. Next, Renato, briefly, here’s your opportunity. Tell us a little bit about what you do, what we do, I should say, at Nimdzi.
Renato Beninatto: 0:20:09 Yeah, let’s not waste too much time on that. We do consulting, we do market research, we provide geo-cultural insights, we have a team of 22 people in nine countries and we focus on helping our clients grow and solve difficult problems related to localization, translation, language services in general. And we’re happy doing that. But let’s go into our conversation, Tucker.
Tucker Johnson: 0:20:40 I couldn’t agree more. Let’s, let’s jump right into it. And for those of you that are already submitting questions and interacting in the chat, thank you very much. We will try our best to get to all of these questions as they come up. So to kick us off here, give us some background, and Renato, you’ve been around for a while since we’ve been translating on stone tablets with chisels, how are LSPs currently managing automation? How are LSPs currently managing automation? And how has that evolved over time and how do you see that moving forward in the future? And other panelists please jump in.
Renato Beninatto: 0:21:17 Yeah, I’ll, I’ll just make a quick a statement. I think that a key characteristic of a language services space when it comes to technology is that it’s reactive. So we’re constantly adjusting to the demands of other departments in the organization. And as things scale and as companies become more global, their challenges increase and then comes a point when you need to take a look at what is in your stack. What is going on and reinvent it. And because translation and localization are services, and I like to say they are consequential services, meaning they are a consequence of other actions that other departments do, we’re not creating anything. We’re transforming things. The ecosystem reflects a little bit of the organization of the company. And what has changed in recent years is the ability, or this whole environment where you have connectors, APIs, and the ability to commit and make systems talk to each other.
Renato Beninatto: 0:22:33 And we are able to have an infrastructure that is designed for translation and localization services and have it connect to other technologies that provide content that needs to be translated. So what has changed in recent years and Xillio makes an interesting and important part of that change is the fact that you are able to have a translation ecosystem that is designed for the industry and have it communicate with the different elements of the organization so that a person like Miguel can have his system regardless of what the rest of the organization is doing. And I’m putting you on the spot here, Miguel, but I think that one of the challenges that you have is exactly that, right? It’s dealing with the internal stakeholders.
Miguel Sepulveda: 0:23:30 Yeah. I mean, in the end it’s, it’s so rare improving connectivity. And when you think about it that’s the reputation of the localization industry. Like It’s a pain point and it’s because everyone is somehow using their own system. And then when you want to talk to that system, and that system then wants to talk to another system, and then everything gets very complicated because you have the content management system and then you have the TMS, the CMS, the machine translation, and then you have the freelance piece. Then when you think about how to make the connection of all this, it’s painful. There are so many things to consider that it’s really painful. So I do really believe that we need to have this ecosystem because for some reason that’s not totally working in our industry and that’s super important. We will need to find a seamless integration between the systems. So yeah still working on that.
Tucker Johnson: 0:24:42 I think we’re all still working on that. And I think one of the biggest challenges is this system or platform proliferation that every organization kind of goes through. As more platforms get built and more integrations get built it becomes more and more difficult to migrate away from those and integrate new systems. And Miguel and Alvaro are two folks from the client side here and you work for different organizations, you know, different, like different ages and different cultures. Alvaro, what does it look like on your side and what are some of the challenges that you’re dealing with in this space?
Alvaro Villalvilla Merelo: 0:25:23 Well, I mean, I think that the challenges are shared, right? There’s an interoperability problem in between systems and it’s true that to a certain extent that the cloud is helping deal with some of those, or accelerating that change rate of some of those. But very early on we had to make a strategic decision to develop around needs where there was an opportunity to connect all of our stack and standardize content, put it to two different TMS. We decided, and we were lucky we had the resources to do that, right, and which pretty much, in it of itself, explains the challenge of the industry, right? Because what happens with every client who doesn’t have the resources in passing, in its own technology solution to integrate their stack with a translation management system or a content management system or both.
Alvaro Villalvilla Merelo: 0:26:20 And I think those problems are common to pretty much any organization. But I do see a constant challenge of incentives, meaning the localization industry is a very specialized industry and there’s three or four big players who have enough money to invest in technology. But what incentives do they have to actually make those systems open and interoperable, right? And we’re seeing some change in that area but it’s not happening as fast as it could have happened. And then the same goes for declines. Like the bigger clients will have the resources to invest in their own solutions, but then that just furthers the problem of the industry, right? Because then everyone below the big investment line stays with the interoperability problem. So, how have language services providers been handling automation so far? I would say it really depends. The lack of an ecosystem is a big problem because it pretty much makes it so hard to migrate from any, or to just pick the best solution to your problems. And oftentimes, you see internal corporate processes or problems adapting to the solution they have rather than using the best tool for the job. And I see this again and again with programs like _____ and anyone in the industry like –.
Tucker Johnson: 0:27:52 Th at’s really good. Thank you so much for, for that. It made me think of something and sorry, I’m distracted here running this. I’m going to pause the share so that we can see each other for those of you because it’s better than just looking at a blank slide. I want to turn it over to Rikkert here because I know that you have interesting things to say on this. Alvero brought up a good point that there’s not really a good motivating factor for people to buy in to a shared ecosystem or API standards. There’s been various attempts, we can talk about TAPICC as an initiative to standardize APIs in the industry. But Rikkert, what are the advantages of creating an open shared ecosystem? And it’s kind of a twofold question and I want to open it up after this. What are the advantages to the end clients and what I’m more interested in is what are the advantages to the providers to make those systems interoperable and join a shared ecosystem?
Rikkert Engels: 0:28:55 I mean, I should be very careful and correct in my answers here. In essence, there are lots of advantages for the smaller providers. There are zero advantages for the bigger providers. I come from the content management industry. So within the content management industry, you had content management interoperability system as a standards that I try to implement I think like eight or nine years ago. And there were two challenges and that, that the same kind of within the topic. So just a very brief summary of that standard. What happened is that the top one through five said, let’s wait and see because we don’t really want it to happen. Then the number eight and number 12 started to develop it. And and really tried to sponsor it and then a number ones through five kind of said like, Oh, we need to do something with that. So they started their research and and determined like, can we put it on the product management kind of roadmap? So the first problem of course was the commercial side, like, do they actually want it? Of course the answer is no. I mean, the main strategy of IBM or the main strategy of Oracle is find a locket. Make it as difficult as possible to make them leave. So I’m not going to say that that the same applies for the other space, but of course it is. It’s the main business strategy. I have people that closed OEM deals with me that signed a deal and it said, Rikkert all this bullshit about openness, are you’re going to help me close it down or not?
Rikkert Engels: 0:30:51 I mean, I have had board members of LSPs – big ones, the real big ones – they tell me the moment you talk to my client, you’re my competitor. I told him welcome to the ecosystem world. This is of course behind the scenes. The main reason is they fight it. They don’t want it. The only only system in the world that was open about it is Microsoft. Microsoft says right from the start, we don’t support it period. And they’re not afraid. They say it. They’re big enough. And the others hide behind kind of complexity because the second problem, why it can’t be is then the product management priority. And because it takes a couple of months to actually develop the interoperability. So when do you decide to put it on the product roadmap? So with content, with the CMIS initiative, that’s where it failed. And because you had the commercial reasons that people didn’t want it, and then you have the product management priority rules where people wanted to delay it kind of and then because it took so much time, they actually did not implement it. Now I think within the language sector there’s a third problem and that’s technology. So the most of the technology is so old that it doesn’t even have an API. So it can’t be done.
Renato Beninatto: 0:32:23 But Rikkert, one of the interesting things that I see, so in our research we published, and I think we’re updating it for publishing in June, our language Atlas. So we have identified the first year at 300 and something technologies in the language space and the second year 400 something. And I, I see that at the last count, we have 538 technologies, tools, solutions needed to language services. Of course, we are in one of the most diverse businesses in the world because we touch every single human activity, every single business process that you can imagine. But when we want to talk about ecosystems and we have so much tool proliferation, it’s kind of hard to think in terms of standards. Everybody creates their own standards. Standards are great, if you’re the one writing it, right?
Rikkert Engels: 0:33:30 I mean it’s not so bad. It’s not so bad. So, we of course are heavy sponsors of TAPICC. And so we offer — TAPICC is the ultimate way to integrate with lockup. And there are some technology bodies that are now integrated through TAPICC and some of them are actually doing it at the moment because the main difference here is almost more on the architecture side. So this is more of the factual case of it. If you take a, and now I’m going to do another spoiler alert here, but translate five is a relatively new open source capsule. It’s based on open standards. So they, they integrate integrated their capsule in lockup in like a week.
Rikkert Engels: 0:34:26 So they build a TAPICC host in a week. Why? Because the underlying architecture is open anyway. And so, so lock up has been built on open standards. Why? Because I don’t need to tell my developers to work on open standards. It’s the only thing available. And if you take something that Lionbridge or global anchor developed, they developed it in 1992 and now, of course they have 4,000 processes in it and now they take these 4,000 processes, put it in someone else’s hardware and call it a cloud. But if you look at what Oracle and Sharepoint, have done, for instance, if you take office 365 and you take Microsoft SharePoint 2013, there is nothing in common. Absolutely nothing in common. Nothing. So what happened with office 365 is that they rebuild their collaboration platform from the ground up. The moment the cloud became evident. It took them eight years to actually develop that. But now it’s on open standards because it’s built on the latest technology. And then of course, integrating that into a standard is very easy. If I take the translate five experience, it’s like a week. But if you have 1995 technology…
Renato Beninatto: 0:35:51 But you have, you have companies like XBN or Native Cloud for example, right? And that is designed and, and this is where, so I think we’re still, we’re going through a long transition process. And coming from this whole innovative thing that was a world server, it’s giving a lot of work for a lot of people in this industry trying to replace it. The technology that is essentially 30 years old that is running large corporate clients, infrastructure of large corporate clients. So we have this change. And one of the things that I’d love to ask Alvaro and Miguel their opinion on this, is that you have the legacy infrastructure that is being updated to a technology that is current today, but to which you’re going to be married for the next 15 or 20 years, right? So there is this, it’s a huge investment. It’s a significant change that you’re doing inside the organization and you have to have buy in from a bunch of different organizations. How do you protect yourself from this? I wouldn’t say it’s not planned obsolescence, but it’s, it’s like inherent obsolescence that you’re buying. You’re buying something that is designed for the reality of today and that will change, I don’t know, 5G is coming around and it’s going to change everything. Right? How do we future-proof this change? How do we future proof the ecosystem? And I don’t know if you have any ideas around that. Miguel and Alvaro?
Rikkert Engels: 0:37:44 Why do you say you’re married? Because of the cost?
Renato Beninatto: 0:37:50 Yeah, cost implementation. It takes you a year to change the system at least, you’re not going to change it every year. You’re married to it. And this is the challenge that companies have today. And Rikkert was talking earlier about the fact of trying to lock in the client or the technology. So, I don’t know, is this something that you think about or talk about? That you’re, you’re essentially buying yesterday’s technology and for tomorrow’s environment.
Miguel Sepulveda: 0:38:30 If I can say something here, I don’t think the technology is the challenge here. It’s not like the mindset, the human mindset and everything. So I will say I was listening to what Rikkert was saying about the main players in the industry and what I have seen when I have been elevating myself with technical solutions is when doing these therapies and trying to get a sense of how this might work in the next five years. The bigger the providers are, the more close everything is. They are really reluctant to change that, and I understand that. I mean if you are one of the big players in the industry, you have invested a lot of research and a lot of time and money customize your team, but it’s trying to combine the old way of working all this legacy, trying to bring that here. And what I’ve seen is that’s not really working. And when they have approached smaller companies with a more fresh set up, I can see that they are more into these open idea. They are more into the idea of creating backlogs of our clients, put their requests, and then they have a backlog that different clients are bolting on and they can implement in the future. You can really see that the way that they are managing that requests from the clients. It’s so different from the big ones. So, you know, in a way that’s giving us some indicators around the plan going into this direction. I am closing, somehow myself because the, the challenge is not technical here, It’s a compromise that they need to put back what they have built. And it’s difficult to let that go. So quite definitely, I feel much more comfortable working with small technical providers because I feel that they have the right mindset for the current times we are living in today.
Rikkert Engels: 0:40:56 Actually to add to that, I mean, what we have seen now with kind of the the recruitment of technology players on the marketplace. There’s a lot of cool stuff out there. There’s a lot of cool stuff out there and so, and of course if, if it’s been developed in the last five years, you can already nearly, it’s nearly guaranteed open that because it just, just be off the source repost stories to be used and the code report stories to be used. But there’s a lot of cool stuff out there. It just doesn’t get a platform. And because of the heavy relationship driven sales approach, it’s very difficult for them to actually get in. But it’s not that there’s no technology, there’s a lot of cool technology. Just doesn’t get a platform.
Alvaro Villalvilla Merelo: 0:41:45 If we can go back to the incentives conversation, like who exactly has an incentive to invest in those technologies at scale? Which in many ways ends up being a part of the scale because business volumes will come from a limited number of buyers, right? They’re driving the scale. Those limited buyers cannot risk structurally the risk of going with a smaller provider. The technology could be awesome, but if you have massive volumes of work to push through, there’s only so much you can rely on a vendor than you could probably be buying yourself, right? Because are they going to be able to support you 365? Are they going to be able to scale up as you grow. If there’s an event like now in the world and everything suddenly shifts and you have a spiking work, are they going to be resilient through a moment like this?
New Speaker: 0:42:49 So you’re limited as a big buyer in the number of risks you can take and also limited in the number of vendors you can work with from a language services point of view. Because there are great language services providers that are medium and small, but then you need to spend time managing multiple of them. So you end up working with a handful at best. And then those, you will find a solution to work with them, but those are the ones who don’t have an incentive on making anything open and interoperable, right? So you end up back at square one. Where’s the funding coming from to fill this open marketplace when the bulk of the business is up here and there are no clear incentives up there to drive the openness because I’m fully supportive of the idea and the way we, for example, work is in as much as possible, we force open standards, right? In everything that we do. That’s not necessarily how everyone operates. And again, to a certain degree, we might be the exception here, if that makes sense?
Tucker Johnson: 0:44:05 It does make sense. I am talking about a small versus large LSP. It’s kind of a catch-22 because the ones that have the resources at their disposal to take on such initiatives are exactly the ones that are not incentivized to do it because the larger LSPs perhaps, maybe it’s not in their best interest to make everything interoperable with each other. Going to the questions here and also…
Rikkert Engels: 0:44:32 And, just to be clear, it doesn’t always have to be for spurious reasons. Like they have good reasons to manage their own systems because they have massive efficiencies built into it, which makes them sustainable as a business and allows them to, you know?
Tucker Johnson: 0:44:49 Yes, agreed. You just saved us all a bunch of nasty emails.
Alvaro Villalvilla Merelo: 0:44:54 There’s not necessarily a clear incentive to them to operate otherwise.
Tucker Johnson: 0:44:59 That is very true. And you just saved us all a bunch of nasty emails after this, especially myself. I’m not trying to imply that there is any mal-intent here. The efficiencies to be gained from creating a closed off ecosystem, especially for larger clients with larger volumes that have very specific needs are huge. They’re absolutely huge. So it’s not just spurious reasons like you mentioned. So thank you for bringing that up, Alvaro. Going back to the marketplace with your announcement today, Rikkert, how do you see this helping in this situation? And there’s a question from the audience too. Thank you Anna. What is the role of machine translation in this marketplace? Is it going to be a place where people can connect to machine translation engines or are those going to have to be routed through LSP services?
Rikkert Engels: 0:45:50 No, both. So it can be any technology. It can be any MT, it can be any LSP. And then it’s up to the end client to determine what they wanna send to an MT, what they want to send to an LSP, what they want to do themselves, if they want to use technology themselves. We are basically just a facilitator in the middle that any MT or any LSP can sign up to or can actually integrate. I mean in essence everybody with kind of the middleware, you can integrate any MT already anyway. It is just that with the marketplace it’s more official and it’s more integrated.
Tucker Johnson: 0:46:31 So provides some flexibility, which takes us to another question about which scenario, and anyone can jump in on this, which scenario is preferable, meaning your favorite, a CMS connected directly to machine translation or a CMS using a TMS system. So essentially what is the role of the TMS system? You mentioned earlier, I think Rikkert mentioned earlier that MT is just an iteration on an existing process. How is that affecting the technology chain from CMS to TMS to machine translation? I didn’t ask that very well. How important is the role of including a TMS in the step between CMS and machine translation? So maybe it maybe depends on your client and your business and your contemplate. Exactly. Yeah, I would agree. There isn’t a single answer to them.
Alvaro Villalvilla Merelo: 0:47:30 I would say one thing. Machine translation, it’s not that different. Okay, someone’s going to slash me for this. It’s not that different from translation memories. It’s very different, I know, but fundamentally it’s the same thing. It’s a box that gives you back translations without human interaction. It’s smarter. It works differently. I get it. I’m not a technologist. Right? I’m not an engineer. In my head, it’s just another way of being, you know? It’s another layer in that mix, but there’s nothing fundamentally different. I think that’s why I was run around by the fact that MT is an evolution of already working dynamics. Right? I remember when translators were scared of translation memories and then it became, you know, the norm. The same will happen with machine translation. It’s not going to remove the need for translators.
Alvaro Villalvilla Merelo: 0:48:25 It’s not going to remove the need for translation management systems. It’s just going to be built in and then you will have to build a process and a stack that works for you depending on your specific needs. Like, are you, I don’t know, do you have an eCommerce platform that you want to deploy globally and that actually you know that you’re going to drive conversions simply by having a translated interface rather than having to in English and therefore your, it’s acceptable to have the machine translated as long as you’re transparent about it? Awesome. Go for it. You know? Are you a content driven business? Then you probably need humans to edit that. That’s depending on the use case.
Miguel Sepulveda: 0:49:13 If I may add something to that. The way I see it like the TMS so much in translation or at part, I don’t think they’re, the problem is there. I think the problem is like in the middle, which is again how everything is connected. Miguel Sepulveda: (49:29)
Cause when you think and when you zoom out and you see like the whole content journey, you will have like the enterprise organization repository of files, content, whatever. In the case of mobile app game development, they will have there the GitHub, you will have there the GitLab, you will have there the JSON. So that’s there. And then at the other side we have the translation management system, the capital, the machine translation. But you want other content on all the control and everything. But the thing is like in the middle, how did you come to this with this?
Miguel Sepulveda: 0:50:08 And that’s where this API and these kind of solutions, it’s the other way of doing it. I think it’s the other way of doing it, but we find a better way to connect the enterprise organization needs with the language service solution. And the key is in the middle, the way I see it. So that’s why I don’t think machine translation or how we connect with this or with that, I don’t think that to the language service provider that’s a problem. I think that it’s more around connecting the company organization needs with localization things delivering a solution to that because in the end, localization teams, even if they are internal from the client side, they are going to be working with the language service providers as kind of an extension team. So they are pretty much almost on the same team. So the key is that we find one single way of connecting pretty much everything. And once we are able to solve that then we will be closer to building this really seamless integration and a nice process.
Rikkert Engels: 0:51:22 So this is actually the main reason why we expedited the launch of the marketplace. And also the main reason why we are such strong supporters of TAPICC is because it makes these things possible. So let’s say we have a scenario where people go right now for post edit into TMS. So that requires in context review of the website within the TMS. So that means that the end client can pick an LSP that provides a complex review of the connector within their TMS of choice. Okay, you just select it on Canada marketplace. Now you are bound, you are forced to save money. And of course that kind of request will come in in the next couple of months for sure. So you’re looking at ways to save and what you’re doing is like, okay, how about we don’t do all the extensive post edit process, but we actually do a final approval process step.
Rikkert Engels: 0:52:23 Now within the same automation, you simply select a different kind of post edit process step. Instead of that, the in context review happens at the LSP site. You would have the in-context review happening at the CMS site. So you either publish it in a QA environment. This is one solution, but they’re not a partner. Richie that provides in context review has very good in context review software is integrated through TAPICC. So you can provide a different in context review and post edit process within the same technical infrastructure. So I’m not saying that everybody will be integrated through TAPICC immediately, but this is exactly what we are trying to actually facilitate. This is exactly the reason why we launched it now earlier because we see you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to kind of foresee that the need to expedite your automation and the need to find savings will come sooner than later. And so we’re trying to kind of facilitate that so it’s not what is the best process post edit here or posted it there? No, what I want to facilitate like six or seven different workflows that can be executed. So you can select the right workflow based on the correct content type. And then you basically determine, okay, this workflow costs X, this workload costs Y. Now can I move certain content types to a different workflow? That is what, that’s what we’re trying to achieve here.
Alvaro Villalvilla Merelo: 0:53:59 And you actually want take it up one level. You want to be managing business logics. You don’t even want to be taking content from A to B to C. You want to be thinking, “I need this to be done this way and to be delivered at this time in this manner.” And for the system to be based on your business logic and the metadata within the content to then be channeled to the right process.
Rikkert Engels: 0:54:23 Thank you very much. Thank you very much Alvaro. So, what I will launch, what I will launch is basically a button that asks, “do you want four hours, eight hours or 24 hours?” That’s it. Yep. Instant, 4, 8, 24, that’s it. Because that’s the only thing the marketeer cares about. Then you really do not have to ask him about post edit or anything. It’s what’s the delivery time? What’s the cost? That’s it.
Renato Beninatto: 0:54:50 It’s very funny that you say that because that’s what our research confirms. It’s on time delivery. That’s the most important thing. Making sure that everything integrates a seamless, and for the localization organization, the most important thing is that it is seamless. It removes manual processes and handoffs. And that’s the value of automation is to remove handoffs so to avoid human errors. That’s the only value at the end of the day because like you said, Alvaro, the process is pretty much the same. You change translation memory for machine translation, the process is the same. You’ve just replaced one activity by another one.
New Speaker: 0:55:36 So I’m going to disagree with you a bit. I don’t think that’s the only benefit of integration and automation. I think it also frees up time and resources to deliver better work. I don’t think content delivery is the only metric that matters. I think it does in some industries, but not necessarily in all of them. And the more you automate the pipeline, not everything is a cost reduction exercise. For example, if you can use human talent to approve translation memory segments, or you can use human talent to refine the output of machine translation. Now what’s more valuable in the long run, right? Thinking future state, can you actually shorten what’s currently done by humans throughout a 24 hour cycle to seconds, and then allow a human to spend a whole hour refining a segment for less cost and you end up with actually better content. So it’s not just a race to the bottom to remove costs and human from the equation is a race to employ human talent where it actually makes a difference.
Renato Beninatto: 0:56:55 No, but, but Alvaro we’re not disagreeing. We’re saying the same thing differently. What I’m saying is to remove human handoffs, not remove humans. Every time that you exchange a file, that you send an email, that’s an opportunity for an error, right? So what you want to remove, or what automation does is remove these manual handoffs where you create opportunities for mistakes. I want to be mindful of time. We are at the top of the hour, Tucker.
Tucker Johnson: 0:57:27 Yeah. So thank you very much for being mindful of time. I’m chatting privately with the panelists here. We’ve decided we can go over by about 10 minutes. So if that’s not an option for you guys who are dialed in and you need to jump off your next call, then I will say thank you very much for joining. For those of you that want to stick around for another five, ten minutes, we’re going to close it up here. I apologize, we’re not gonna get to all of the questions that were submitted here. Please feel free to reach out to the panelists afterwards if you have additional questions for them. But I do want to end with this one last question from Andre here, an open question to anybody who feels strongly can answer this. What is your, if you had one suggestion to software developers, particularly software developers in our industry developing language technology, if you had one suggestion to give them, what would that be? We’ve stumped the panelists.
Miguel Sepulveda: 0:58:31 I would suggest to go with an open approach of the API and then being willing to do some customization to ensure connectivity between the enterprise systems and the vendors one. But definitely going into this direction of open APIs and looking for the available technology out there because it can be done. And there are many companies that are proving the concept that you can go open, you can customize a little bit of what you need. But don’t go reinventing everything from scratch, which seems to be the tendency that you have a need and then the provider will have to connect to your systems. So if they have resources to have the human power, they will develop something. But not everyone is in that position. And also it’s a waste of money in my opinion. So my recommendation would be to embrace this AP openness and then yes, customize a little bit to cover your needs because it’s possible. Awesome.
Rikkert Engels: 0:59:47 Yeah. I have two things: be simple and be mindful of the concept. And with that, what I mean is , it is really easy for a developer to take kind of a different concept in providing the automation. And then if you have a different concept in terms of projects and automation and task, et cetera, it makes it incredibly difficult to integrate even though you make it in an open way. But if the conceptual thinking of the model is slightly off, you still mean an apple while the other person talks about a pear. It makes it complicated. So also be mindful of the concepts.
Tucker Johnson: 1:00:36 Awesome. Anyone else have started feelings about this?
Renato Beninatto: 1:00:43 My comment would be related to the business side of developers in the localization area. I have a sense that everybody’s trying to create disruptive innovation and the space that we have, it’s all around incremental innovations. We’ve had very few disruptive innovations in this industry, and those are rare and far between.
Tucker Johnson: 1:01:18 And many of them aren’t necessarily from our industry, right? Like what Rikkert mentioned earlier, two things that I wrote down, MT is an iteration on an existing process, I wrote that down. And the second thing you said was cloud is the game changer. And I couldn’t agree more. The cloud isn’t, it’s not language technology. It’s something that’s happening to our industry. So the disruptions to the language service industry, I think as an industry we, sorry I’m stepping out of my moderator role here and giving opinions, but as an industry, I think we have a certain amount of hubris that we are going to change this industry by developing this new tech or implementing this new standard. And by definition disruptions come from outside the industry. By definition, disruptions come from outside our industry. So you know, those of us industry insiders who have been around for a while look at outsiders with a certain amount of skepticism. Like what do they know? They don’t know the industry as well as I do. Those are the people that we need to be watching very closely. Those are the companies that we need to be watching very closely. People that don’t self identify, companies that don’t self identify as language services industry or localization companies. Because these are the ones that are bringing in new, new fresh ideas and defining how we’re going to be doing it 10 15 years from now. Sorry I interrupted you Renato.
Renato Beninatto: 1:02:48 No, you complimented it.
Rikkert Engels: 1:02:50 How Amazon deals with Alexa being able to understand everyone around the world will define the future of voice localization.
Tucker Johnson: 1:03:01 And likewise if we’re talking about Alexa and Amazon, they’ve got something that very few LSPs have and that’s R and D budget, right?
Renato Beninatto: 1:03:15 Yeah. So it’s your recommendation that you make your technology Alexa compatible? Oh sorry, I triggered my Alexa here.
Rikkert Engels: 1:03:27 Very, very important also is that there is no advancements in machine translation. It’s not that people are working on advancing machine translation. People are working on it at fancy compute power. So if there is a big innovation at HML in Holland, that will have more impact on machine translation than anything Google does. So the big breakthrough is always coming. Every new innovation is based on five, six generic technologies. So if there is an innovation in any of those five fields, then everything skyrockets.
Tucker Johnson: 1:04:09 Like Renato mentioned 5G, you mentioned cloud, machine learning. We have a question about machine learning that I am sad that we won’t be able to get to. These are the things that are affecting our industry. With this, I want to say thank you to all of our panelists for making my role as a moderator very easy because I could just sit back and shut up and listen to you guys. It’s been very informative. I think it’s time to start wrapping this up though. I encourage any of the attendees that are still with us. If you had questions that we weren’t able to get to, please feel free to reach out and we’ll try our best to answer those offline. With that Rikkert as our cosponsor for this webinar, I’d like to open up to you if you have any closing words. Once again, congratulations on the new announcements. Anything you’d like to say before we wrap it up?
Rikkert Engels: 1:05:01 No, well maybe one thing. I absolutely do not think that translators will be out of a job. I actually see a trend coming of hyper-personalization. So it’s actually not translation, but hyper-personalization I see that as the new, upcoming job for the localization industry. That’s just my 50 cents,
Tucker Johnson: 1:05:23 50 cents is worth a dollar to a lot of the folks listening today. So I couldn’t agree more. I see our other panelists nodding their heads in agreement. So if that’s something that you’re worried about, automation taking your job, do not worry. It’s not something that’s in the stacks. So with that, once again, thank you to our panelists. Thank you to our attendees for logging in. It’s been a very insightful subject for me and I will bid you all a good day. Wherever you are. Stay healthy. Stay safe. Wash your hands.
     

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