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19Jun

LocWorld Portugal: Snapshot of the Localization Industry

Last week, CSA Research was in Estoril: a beautiful location in Portugal for this year’s European LocWorld conference. This meet-up of buyers of language services and technology, LSPs, and technology vendors is an opportunity to share ideas and challenges, learn about inventive changes – such as through the Process Innovation Challenge, a sort of a Dragon’s Den for the localization industry – capture information, and to catch up with friends, old and new.

CSA Research Data-Driven Presentations

Two of our senior analysts presented well-attended sessions:

  • Benchmarking the Globalization Journey of the Enterprise, a buy-side colloquium where Rebecca Ray shared the new CSA Research Globalization Maturity Model (GMM). Based on qualitative and quantitative primary research, the model guides all levels of an organization in how to achieve efficient business process globalization. Think Localization Maturity Model, all grown up to include every aspect of the enterprise – strategy, policy, process, and people needed to make your company a truly global success.
     
  • International Expansion for LSPs: How and Why Global Growth Matters, a presentation aimed at language service providers where Alison Toon shared expansion data on the most-successful businesses, with best practices and guidance for any LSP seeking to expand their global footprint. Find detailed information and data on global growth for LSPs in more detail in the report, “International Expansion for LSPs” available to CSA Research members – and check out the latest data on the top language service providers through our latest Language Services Market research

For any members who missed the Benchmarking the Globalization Journey of the Enterprise session at LocWorld, we will be repeating it on June 19th. Insights into some of the areas to be assessed by the Globalization Maturity Model can be explored in “Need a Roadmap for Business Process Globalization?" Other LocWorld presentations such as G11n Teams as Enablers of Global Success” and “Make Commerce Better for Everyone, Everywhere” discussed challenges with globalization efforts and emphasized the readiness of the industry for a GMM to guide them. The customer journey involves so much more than simply translating product and marketing content.

Conference Snippets

Events like LocWorld are often insightful, not only for the presentations but for the stories shared and for the very different – sometimes completely opposite – views that attendees discuss.

During the international expansion presentation, one LSP told us about adventures selling language services in Angola. On entry to the market, they were surprised by a local expectation to pay a “referral fee” of about 30% of each deal, every time a job was awarded, regardless of who you were selling to. At the time, this payment was not considered bribery or corruption, but rather the standard way of doing business in Angola – the norm in the country, but quite uncomfortable for newcomers. A nasty financial surprise if you have already set your prices for the country – and a topic that we cover in “International Expansion for LSPs." 

Another LSP shared views of a “just do it” approach to international expansion and warned of the inertia of too much planning – how it can all become overwhelming. While probably not a process to recommend for a major step into a new foreign market, jumping in with two feet to test the waters can be a valid approach for young, adventurous LSPs that are willing to take the risk, have a solid idea of what they will do once in the market, and have found the right individual to lead the effort.

At dinner and during breaks between presentations, we heard extremes in views of where the industry is headed: for example, a representative of one big consumer of language services considers that we are heading for an Uber-esque business model, where anyone and everyone can become a translator and part of the gig economy by translating sentences on their smartphone (something that CSA Research predicted years ago), while other industry people were insisting that nobody will ever, ever translate anything meaningful on a mobile device. Yet such practices are already common with some LSPs such as CSoft with its Stepes product or Status for interpreting.

Another example of viewpoints that collide: service providers that focus on human, third-party review as their core business versus technology vendors that advocate the use of AI and machine learning to enhance or even replace quality checks. It’s the eternal battle to hold on to one’s fading differentiation against new tools and techniques.

All human, or all machine? Which of these are the future? Maybe none of them, maybe all, or maybe a personalized, carefully-selected mix? We at CSA Research are constantly investigating advances in the market, gathering data, and reporting back to you. Watch this space!

About the Author

Alison Toon

Alison Toon

Senior Analyst

Focuses on translation management systems, plus helping CSA Research’s clients gain insights into the technologies, pricing, and business processes key to executive buy-in

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