Tag Archives: ELIA

ELIA ND Bucharest 2017 – In Review

And off we went…

Destination: Bucharest, Romania

Purpose: ELIA’s 21st Networking Days

… an opportunity to meet with friends and partners from around the globe, share insights and pick the minds of peers on industry trends.

With six tracks in just two days, and as many as 22 presentations, this was yet another inspiring and thought-provoking event.

What impressed us was Andrej Nedoma’s presentation on KPIs, goals and incentives, who explained how we can turn most challenges that many of us – LSCs – face into key performance indicators and how in this way we can resolve very common-place issues. He made it sound easy enough, but let’s see what happens when we put it in practice (more to follow on our progress with that, and possibly some pics as well).

Another interesting session on the technology spectrum was the presentation of the TILDE team, Rihards Kalnins and Didzis Klavins, who shared valuable figures and graphs on how MT has come to impact the localization industry and how feeding an MT engine with clear data can drive performance to unprecedented levels. Did you know that with well set-up and trained MT engines per field, and the use of account-specific terminology glossaries, you can increase the productivity of your translators by 150%?

Moving on to People Power, Annette Lawlor touched upon a rather painful aspect of our industry and that is talent shortage. Is it really that we are lacking talented people or could it possibly be that we are either too picky or not looking in the right direction? Maybe if we tried to engage with the candidates we are interested in through motivating job ads instead of boring and impersonal job specs, we would be more successful in finding better matches for our companies and our teams.

A session that ignited passions and heated discussion was Laurentiu Constantin’s about the relevance of Single Language Vendors in today’s translation chain – are they obsolete as the model of MLVs working directly with freelancers (amongst others) is gaining acceptance? No definite answer was given as the session also pondered upon the eternal question: Grow or Die?

A double session on SEO and Digital Marketing for LSPs shed (a lot of) light on the science behind Internet/search rankings. Especially Chris Raulf demonstrated how Google treats our lives and businesses and lots of hints, tips and tricks were shared to be used immediately by our IT people (say who? – most LSPs admitted during the UnSession that they are outsourcing IT management and administration 😊).

Two sessions that were particularly interesting for Project Managers were Lena Sarbacher’s session on Project management and Christopher Carter’s session on Gross profit margin. Lena talked about the number of roles a Project Manager should adopt and the complexities of today’s disrupting reality, and shared some interesting tips from her personal practice on how to control the complex and dynamic environments on a long-term basis and communicate better with teams and clients. At the end of her presentation Lena shared a very interesting check list to help make motivation and improvement an ongoing everyday process. Chris presented a detailed case study on how to increase margin by providing a detailed step-by-step guide and tools that would help companies achieve their goals through detailed measures of every small or big aspect of the business and shared some ideas on how to measure change in staff’s behavior.

To sum it up, this year’s edition of the Networking days was all about ideas, meeting old and new industry peers and gaining a lot of new knowledge. We enjoyed it thoroughly and can’t wait until next year’s event in Vienna!

Elia Together 2016 – In Review

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On February 11th and 12th 2016, the European Language Industry Association (ELIA) held its first Together Conference in Barcelona, Spain and Commit was there!

The moto of the event was “Developing our Connections” and it aimed in bringing together freelance language professionals and companies. The conference consisted of three streams: Relationships, Growth and Technology with the purpose of covering every aspect of the LSP-vendor relationship.

During the conference we got to connect with many freelance translators and other language industry stakeholders from all around the world and had the chance to exchange views on “hot” industry topics.

The Conference started with the “Welcome to Together 2016” session, followed by the keynote speech “Stronger Together: revitalizing the agency-freelancer relationship”, held by Stephen Lang, where he stressed that the agency – freelancer relationship is the foundation of our industry. We left the session having a better understanding and appreciation of our counterparts and their respective challenges.

We also attended the “Keys to effective relationships between agencies and freelance translators” presented by Robert Sette. It was an enlightening presentation under the Relationships stream exploring “both sides of the coin” in situations of placing/accepting translation projects.

Sue Leschen presented “Confidentiality issues and problems for interpreters and translators working with LSPs”, explaining that defining confidentiality is problematic as it doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing to everybody in the language services industry.

The Panel consisting of Sarah Griffin-Mason, Dr. Ana Hoffmeister and Anu Carnegie – Brown “Tailored certification and training for freelancers based on ISO 17100 and the role of LSPs in translator continuing professional development (CPD)” provided unique experiences of a certification concept for freelancers which was piloted in 2015 and will soon be available in German-speaking areas.

Josef Kubovsky tackled the issue “Can enterprise, LSPs and freelance language professionals work together in a transparent way?” whereas Maria Kania-Tasak presented the “The LSP X Factor” just before the Closing ceremony.

Last but not least, it must be mentioned that the ELIA Together 2016 was held in one of the most beautiful European cities, Barcelona. The venue was the World Trade Center, a lovely seaside conference and business center located at the heart of Barcelona, just a few minutes from downtown and the tourist-filled Las Ramblas street. The proximity to the city center along with the great Spanish weather added much to the success of the event.

Commit enjoyed the ELIA Together Conference very much and wishes all the best to all participants! See you in Berlin next February for Together 2017!

ELIA NETWORKING DAYS KRAKOW – IN REVIEW!

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Another successful ELIA event took place at the beginning of this past October in the picturesque city of Krakow and Commit was there, as always! Once again, ELIA gave us the opportunity to connect with our fellow peers, exchange ideas, extend our business networks and catch up on the latest trends of the localization industry, in a friendly and welcoming environment.

The program included not only interesting presentations, but a number of entertaining social events as well that allowed all attendees to relax over a glass of wine – or more… – and enjoy delicious treats. The official unofficial cocktail at The Baroque, the cocktail and banquet at the Rynek Underground, a brunch of the Historical Museum of the City of Krakow, the dinner at the Wieliczka Salt Mine and the Adventure Game in Krakow’s Old Market were all equally exciting and fun!

However, we did find the time to attend several sessions that gave us enough food for thought until the next ELIA event. Here are some of the highlights:

Mika Pehkonen presented The Quality Myth – A deep dive into what our customers think and gave us an insight into the client’s perception of quality and F-Secure’s agile approach to the localization process. By using automated workflows and extensive scripting, Mika mentioned they have managed to reduce management costs, avoid delays in product development since localization is performed as the product is being developed, thus being able to simultaneously launch localized versions of any given product, get measurable results on errors and bugs that can be fixed on-the-fly and keep both vendors and clients happy!

In The Evolving Use of MT Technology, Kirti Vashee was quite persuasive on the benefits – yes, there are! – of machine translation, shedding some light on the most common misconceptions and the reasons why so many MT deployment projects actually fail. While there is still an ongoing debate regarding machine translation technology and its effects on the role of translators, pricing and the localization industry as a whole, Kirti chose to address the subject from an entirely different point of view, that of using MT technology as a business development tool and, admittedly, made a strong point.

In an interactive workshop, Bob Donaldson gave us a few useful pointers on Overcoming Common Barriers to Growth. In a nutshell, no matter how small or big your business is, the basic principles of business development are the same. You need to establish a proper organizational structure that will allow you to be prepared for the future, having the necessary, experienced and properly trained resources, or as Bob put it: Go “tall” before you go “wide”! Effective communication and cooperation between departments, suitable performance metrics, corporate policies that reflect your vision and delegation are some of the most important factors on your road to success.

Finally, the keynote presentation, The New Differentiator: ‘Below the Waterline’, by Dr. John J. Scherer and Amy Barnes, was by general consensus one of the highlights of the event. With equal doses of interaction, education and fun, the presenters captivated their audience’s interest from the very first moment to the last, providing an interesting view of what can actually be our differentiator in an ever so competitive market. We all know, from our personal experience as consumers that the way we feel is often what drives us to choose a specific product or service, even if the price is not the lowest one. So, achieving this sentiment in our communication and interaction with customers, employees, resources etc., or in other words finding that “sweet spot” where our needs are perfectly aligned with the needs of the others and the situation, could become a competitive edge over competition.

If you’re intrigued, don’t miss the chance to attend ELIA’s next event “Together 2016” in February, the first one to bring freelancers and LSPs together. And the “Focus” event in Mallorca next Spring, a brand new event as well, focused on LSP executives. Commit will be there!

 

 

ELIA Networking Days Lyon – in review!

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The latest edition of ELIA Networking Days took place in beautiful Lyon. What made the event special was the fact that it was ELIA’s 10th anniversary and it was celebrated accordingly. Amongst other events, the 10th anniversary dinner was held at the Abbaye de Collonges, “powered” by the famous chef Paul Bocuse! The conference itself took place at the Lyon Convention Centre with session rooms providing a beautiful view over the river Rhone and the adjacent park.

Sessions covered lots of topics related to the translation and localization industry, with tracks ranging from Technology to Life Sciences, and from Business Management to Smart Sales. As always, here’s our quick list of takeaways from the event.

  • Clio Schils, in a double session, shared her vast experience and talked about the future of life sciences. Some amazing things are in store for life sciences; M-health is here and taking over! As for LSPs:
    • The higher the risk (of the medical/pharma product etc.), the more documentation there is to be translated.
    • Follow regulatory news if you want to provide some added value service to your clients.
  • Anita Wilson described how to leverage transcreation as a service. A few “tweets” that stood out:
    • Translating “I’m loving it” for McDonalds should cost a lot more than €0.30. Doesn’t it cost tens of thousands just to create the motto?
    • Marketing translation is not a service to be charged on a per word rate.
    • Do you transcreate images? Make sure to replace small boats with big yachts when targeting rich countries!
  • Sabrina Ferrari talked not only about the importance of KPIs but also how to leverage them for marketing and sales purposes. Have you thought of including KPIs in your company collateral? For example, your customer retention rate could be a key selling point!
  • Gerry Lynch described the experience of doing business in the US, lots of interesting (to say the least) stories. Merging with a local company was the best solution he said. And if you are worried about the city you pick, just look if there is competition around. If so, then opportunities are there, as well as resources.
  • Doug Strock provided ideas about diversifying your business. Be careful though not to damage your brand when adding a new service to your portfolio.
  • In a session-turned-workshop, Britta Weber tackled the ever-challenging topic of customer complaints. When a customer complains, your first reaction is important! Talk slowly, say your name, and reduce aggression.
  • Matthias Ceasar provided insight coming from years of personal experience as to the growing pains of an LSP, and what is the perfect size, if there is one. The conclusion? There is no right or wrong, it depends on how you see yourself in the future. “Success comes with maturity and curiosity”.
  • Tony O’Dowd and Jeff Allen – besides providing music during the dinner – pointed out how the cloud provides opportunities to small companies and how minority languages can be leveraged as a business proposition respectively.

Finally, in an inspiring keynote speech, Ralph Blundell addressed the topic of “Ethics as a business differentiator”.

  • Positive stories are your most powerful marketing tool.
  • Nobody really works for the money (!) If you do so you would become a drug dealer!
  • Moderation is necessary: excess is always damaging. There is an optimum size and growth for everything. If only more people applied it in everyday life!

Happy Birthday ELIA and thank you for a wonderful conference! Next ND stop: Krakow, October 1-3, 2015. See you there!

 

ELIA Networking Days Tuscany – in review

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Another ELIA ND event is over – unfortunately – because it seems that all attendees would rather stay in the Tuscany area and relax with amazing food and wine under a gorgeous weather. But – returning to reality – we all have to get back to our regular lives and, of course, continue to run our localization business. Speaking of, let’s round up what we took back with us from this extraordinary event:

1. As mentioned before, dozens of (red) wine bottles that we are sure will help us relax after (or during?) our hard-days work.

2. Lots of interesting thoughts about our industry future:

  • During the “Wired/Tired/Expired” session by Michael Oettli, attendees were divided in teams and had to discuss and report back the trends/tools/processes in our industry that are obsolete (Expired), just barely making it (Tired) and are in for the future (Wired). We were surprised by the common ground reported back: Our industry is changing fast and LSPs need to adapt to new models, processes, technologies, but – most of all – attitudes towards client relationships.
  • In the “LSP-Client Collaboration as a Growth Startegy for LSP’s” session, David Kanek and Robert Etches talked about the importance of involving the client in the translation process and suggested that we should all embrace changes in our industry. They also mentioned how we can use crowd-sourcing to cut down costs and  pointed out that even banks have fans! Their main point: We sell solutions, not words!
  • During the “Perfect Tools” session, led by Christian Schwendy and Patrick Bajon, in addition to all the nice technology tweaks that all the teams reported they would like to see (including a client bank money extractor tool), we were introduced to the Six Hats theory that can prove very useful in our every day business. We will certainly put it into action in our company!
  • In the “Why is MT about speed” session, Eef Blommaart  pointed out that we can provide “Fast”, “Good” & “Cheap” services, all at the same time by using machine translation.

3. Some practical tips from sessions to apply to our daily businesses:

  • Robert Ganzerli presented tips and tricks for preparing a budget in our (uncertain) industry. Main points: Use historical data and involve everyone in the thought process.
  • Maria Kania-Tasjak advised us on which RFPs are made for loving and which we should avoid. Hint: Look carefully at the RFP questions – there lies the client’s problem!
  • Anne-Marie Colliander-Lind stressed out the importance of having a written social media strategy and showed us how far 100 euros can take you in social media marketing.
  • Henk Boxma presented an interesting case study regarding screenshot localization and described the solution he developed to generate one screenshot for all target languages simultaneously.

Last – but not least – the infamous Bull’s Eye session was definitely one of the best in this series. Manal Amin and Tea Diettrich created the ‘el clasico’; two totally contrasting in style presentations that attracted similar comments from panel and audience alike.

Commit has enjoyed the event thoroughly from start to end (including the wine which wasn’t actually ending) and is looking forward to be part of the next ND to be held in Lyon, April 16-17, 2015. See you all there!