Language Industry Hires at EasyTranslate, lingoking, Lilt, Vistatec, and Summa Linguae

People Moves 25 Nov 2019

With all the countless strategies for B2B marketing, perhaps the best strategy is to think B2C. This is what one new CMO is doing. A neuroscientist turned language services platform CTO, on the other hand, aims to lower the barrier for B2C purchases to grow the business, even while delivering a customer experience on the level of an e-commerce shopping platform for B2B clients as well.

No matter from whence customers may come, however, they will no longer ask if they should automate at all but how deeply they should integrate tech such as machine translation into their workflow, according to a new Director of Services.

Kenneth Nellebjerg – EasyTranslate

Danish language service provider (LSP) EasyTranslate appointed Kenneth Nellebjerg Chief Marketing Officer effective October 1, 2019. He reports to Founders Peter Ladegaard and Frederik Pedersen.

Nellebjerg spent the last 16 years in the Danish consumer electronics sector, where he served in various sales leadership roles. Fresh off the buy-side, he said, “I’ve witnessed both good and bad translations during my years in retail and e-commerce” and the biggest challenge LSPs need to address is “to understand the tone of voice of a company and to make sure that translations are done accordingly to any type of term book, etc.”

Kenneth Nellebjerg

He views his management style as mainly consultative. However, given what he described as a broad background, especially in serving B2C customers, as well as PR, Customer Service, Sales, and Marketing, he can be quite direct as a result and, “in some scenarios, might be known as an autocratic leader.” Nellebjerg said, “I will definitely do my best to disrupt the way of doing B2B marketing, using styles from classic B2C marketing.”

According to Nellebjerg, finding good marketing people can be very tough and he has hired from outside the marketing milieu several times. “It is definitely not something I’m scared of — it just takes a bit more time, since you have to educate the talented people a bit more.” For now though, he is searching for a talented web and graphic designer and, as EasyTranslate is growing, it will not be the last post they will be looking to fill.

Thomas Emmerling – lingoking

Neuroscientist Thomas Emmerling joined language services platform lingoking as Chief Technology Officer on October 1, 2019. He reports to CEO Nils Mahler.

Emmerling built a solid science background in academia and research prior to joining the company. He said his transition to CTO of the Munich-based LSP came naturally given that the problem solving and management skills required in a scientific career are equally valuable in daily work.

“Additionally, I can apply the data analysis, machine learning, and programming skills that I acquired during my PhD to building products that I really care about. My new role at lingoking allows me to fuse my interests in technology and automation of processes while appreciating the human factor in translation services,” he said.

Thomas Emmerling

Asked for his thoughts on the new buzzword “human in the loop,” Emmerling said their core idea at lingoking relies on it, as they aim to deliver the accuracy of human translation alongside a customer experience on the level of an e-commerce shopping platform. He explained that their platform serves not only customers “but also our crowd of language service providers because our products depend on their work.”

He describes what they offer as a “hybrid translation service, [where] texts are automatically pre-translated in an NMT engine like DeepL and shown to the translator in addition to the default translation management system tools that we offer.” This allows them to offer a discounted price on hybrid translations, Emmerling said.

Although they do not ignore B2B opportunities, according to Emmerling, “While more agency-like companies have built service models that are best suited for B2B customers, we explicitly want to extend our focus to B2C. Therefore, we built an online shop experience that lowers the barrier for B2C purchases, including orders of certified translations or interpreters. Akin to well-established e-commerce business models, we think of our translation services as products. Our customers do not have to search for the right LSP, waste time with providing elaborate specifications for the translation, or worry about a secure payment. Customers just order the translation product they need and it will be delivered to them as easy and fast as possible.”

The CTO said they are in the final phase of a major web platform relaunch that will allow them to scale to larger order volumes for more complex translation products. “The new web platform will mark the biggest tech innovation in lingoking’s history,” he added.

As for finding machine learning talent, Emmerling believes they are well positioned to attract it “as a young company in a co-working space with options to work remotely and a culture for personal growth.”

Samantha Reiss – Lilt

Language tech startup Lilt named Samantha Reiss its new Director of Services from November 11, 2019. She works out of the headquarters of the San Francisco-based company and reports to CEO Spence Green.

Reiss oversees both the Services Success and Talent and Community Management teams. She said, “We’re a global team with people located across our offices in San Francisco and Berlin as well as remote employees, which gives us excellent coverage across time zones.”

She had been working at LSPs ever since graduating from university with an MA in Translation and Interpreting in 2006. Reiss spent seven years at thebigword, rising from Project Manager to Operations Manager; and, more recently, served as Senior Director of Client Services at Welocalize prior to joining Lilt.

Reiss appreciates the company’s startup culture and views the ability to operate with urgency and agility as a distinct advantage. She said, “We are constantly learning and refining and try to bring a beginners mind to rethinking the way we provide services, which means we can continuously adapt and optimize as we onboard new customers.”

Samantha Reiss

Asked what challenges she currently deals with around client education, Reiss said it depends on the maturity level of the client’s localization team, or whether they have one at all. She explained, “Some organizations who are earlier in the process of expanding globally may understand that they need to localize, but not really understand how and why to make a significant investment in it or how to demonstrate ROI to their procurement team.”

But they also encounter seasoned localization buyers, who may just want to better understand how machine translation (MT) adds value, “which is a question we spend a lot of time answering for customers,” Reiss said.

Among the top customer pain points are, according to Reiss: substantial tech investments not yielding the desired results; convoluted business models and complex rate cards that make it hard to understand what they are paying for or getting; and, the No. 1 concern, quality — “whether that means the quality of localization we provide or the quality of the customer service we deliver.”

Now that more customers understand the value of including MT in their localization strategy, Reiss said, the conversations today have shifted to “the value of neural MT over older, outdatedMT models.” She added, “Ultimately, customers aren’t coming to us wondering if they should use MT at all — but are instead asking for guidance on how deeply to integrate MT into their localization workflow.”

Teresa Lawless – Vistatec

Teresa Lawless

Teresa Lawless stepped into her role as Director of Sales at Vistatec on September 23, 2019. She reports to Chief Sales Officer, Unn Villius​.

Lawless joined the Dublin-based LSP fresh off Argos Multilingual, where she worked for close to nine years, most recently as Business Development & Key Accounts Manager. At Vistatec, she is responsible for creating new, sustainable revenue streams in Europe. “My background has always been in sales,” Lawless said.

After graduating from the National University of Ireland in Galway, she worked in London with the publishing industry. It was when Lawless moved back to Ireland in 2002 that she began her career in the language industry, specifically business development. She said, “I have always loved the innovation and changing technologies in our industry. But best of all is the global community of industry professionals represented in localization and the opportunities for advancement.”

Dominika D’Agostino – Vistatec

Dominika D’Agostino

Dominika D’Agostino joined Vistatec as Strategic Accounts Director on September 16, 2019. She reports to Chief Sales Officer, Unn Villius.

Asked how she came to join the language industry, D’Agostino recalled: “After several months of focusing on my PhD thesis about new Argentine theatre — while also trying to make ends meet as a freelance translator for independent film festivals — I stumbled upon an online job posting. They were looking for a multilingual project coordinator in a localization company. I decided to apply, mostly to break the monotony of being enclosed in the four walls of my study. Since I love collaborating with people, solving translation puzzles, and putting out fires for our clients, it quickly became a new career, as I moved from operations to more sales-focused roles.”

Prior to joining Vistatec, D’Agostino spent three and a half years with Lionbridge Poland and close to four years with Lionbridge in the US, working out of Detroit. Today, she is charged with helping expand revenue for some of Vistatec’s largest existing customers, develop new business, and identify synergies. Additionally, D’Agostino said, she will “lead, motivate, and energize internal and external team members (operations, solutions architects, marketing) to produce a winning sales effort.”

Daniel Egnell – Summa Linguae

Daniel Egnell

Daniel Egnell joined Swedish LSP Kommunicera, which Polish LSP Summa Linguae Technologies acquired in 2018, as Nordic Sales Manager on September 1, 2019. He reports to Lea Backhurst, Managing Director for the Nordics.

Having studied languages at university, Egnell took what he described as “a detour as head chef and a spell in online advertising,” before ending up in the language industry via a four-and-a-half-year stint at LanguageWire, serving as Key Account Manager prior to leaving.

He said his sales strategy comprises taking care of existing clients and, thus, growing their references, as well as staying visible and active in the communities where existing and future customers are. Egnell added, “I would not say that cold calling is dead, but if you attend conferences and put your brand out there, the calls will become a bit warmer.”

Egnell is currently focused on expanding the company’s automation solutions within the Nordic e-commerce sector. “I believe that we will see a similar growth within e-commerce B2B as we have seen in the B2C segment for the past years,” he said.