Language Industry Hires at KUDO, Intento, and Summa Linguae

New Translation and Localization Industry Hires

When your platform is used globally by high-profile, public and private sector clients, it behooves the company to set up a very robust security infrastructure that not only complies with international standards, such as ISO and NIST (in the US), but also various laws and regulations. So says the freshly appointed VP of Compliance and Cybersecurity at a remote simultaneous interpreting platform.

On the AI front, the new Globalization and Localization Director of a California-based AI integration platform says she is actively working toward the day when MT curation overtakes language services. And a Solutions Architect who just joined an LSP after a stint at Expedia, discusses how machine translation (MT) has already started to change the way translation productivity (a.k.a. CAT) tools are used.

Frank Shirmo – KUDO

“Security tops compliance! Compliance-driven security does not provide adequate protection. When you have high profile clients ranging from governments, international organizations, and multinational corporations, security becomes paramount,” said Frank Shirmo in a press statement announcing his hiring as VP of Compliance and Cybersecurity at remote simultaneous interpreting platform, KUDO.

He joined the company on September 1, 2020, reporting to Parham Akhavan, Co-founder and CTO. Shirmo is based on the US East Coast and works remotely out of Maryland.

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Shirmo told Slator: “Following best practices, establishing an information security management system that is aligned with an international standard, such as ISO 27001, is a starting point. There are various other standards (e.g., NIST standards) and guidelines that we are taking into consideration.”

Frank Shirmo, VP Compliance and Cybersecurity, KUDO

He added that such standards “specify security baselines that almost all organizations that are serious about the protection of their assets today need to have in place. We are also looking to prioritize and focus on actions with high payoff for our cyber defense to protect against pervasive and dangerous attacks.”

Shirmo has gained years of experience as a technologist and cybersecurity professional in the fields of IT and Network Security, contributing to the education and training of information security professionals globally for over a decade. He is also a Professor of Computer Science at various colleges and universities in Maryland and Virginia.

According to Shirmo, “I anticipate the diversity of KUDO clients to present the biggest [security] challenge. Diversity in terms of geography as well as industries.” However, such challenges are not unique to KUDO, he said.

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He explained that, because KUDO is “used globally by very high-profile clients in both, public and private sectors,” it, therefore, “magnifies the need for a very robust security posture and ability or readiness to comply with various regulations, laws, and acts.”

Yuka Nakasone – Intento

Yuka Nakasone, Globalization and Localization Director, Intento

It isn’t a reach to say that the emerging MT curation industry will someday overtake the language industry, according to Intento’s new Globalization and Localization Director Yuka Nakasone. “I am actively working to make this a reality,” she told Slator.

Nakasone joined the California-based machine translation (MT) company on June 1, 2020. Working remotely from Barcelona, she reports to Anton Antich, COO, who is based in Switzerland.

Born in Japan, Nakasone traveled to the US on a six-month student visa in 1996 to join a summer school program at a university in Boston. She told Slator, “Towards the middle of the program, one of my local friends who was looking for a job for herself brought me a tiny clipping from the Boston Globe. Back then, if you were looking for a job, you had to buy a printed Sunday edition of a newspaper!”

The clipping was a job ad for a native localization specialist to work in the Japanese group of a multilingual localization vendor. Nakasone landed the job plus visa sponsorship before the end of her six-week course at university. It was “a dream scenario” for international students and Nakasone credits “being in the right place at the right time and knowing the right people.”

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She said, “I truly felt that it was fate for me to start working in this industry. I’ve actually tried to leave the localization and translation industry several times due to burnout, but I could never stay away for too long. Something always brings me back to this fascinating industry where I’ve continued to work for more than two decades. By the way, the funniest part of the story is that I didn’t even know what ‘localization’ meant when I applied for, and eventually landed, the localization specialist position. I’ve come so far!”

Nakasone sees Barcelona as “a great place to operate from because I can work easily with the Intento team located around Europe. There is also an impressive concentration of globalization and localization professionals in Barcelona, including many who are specialized in AI and MT.”

At Intento, Nakasone aims to help global brands discover and implement AI and machine translation (MT) technologies within their content workflows. “What I would love to do now is to blaze the trail and find a new way of implementing language operations in enterprises. I know too many localization professionals that cannot see beyond the framework built on TMSs and CAT tools in this industry. Innovation only happens when people loosen the shackles of the old ways of thinking and look at problems from a different point of view.”

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Asked if Intento’s USP as an AI integration platform is in direct competition with what language service providers (LSPs) offer, Nakasone replied that LSPs “actually see us as an ally and partner” to bring business to the next level; as do tool vendors.

She explained: “Intento helps LSPs come up with their own MT strategies using our evaluation capabilities. There are different scenarios for MT usage in the enterprise. LSPs shine where human involvement is required; but for situations that require real-time responses, such as support chats, MT-only solutions are extremely useful.”

Andrés Vega – Summa Linguae

Andres Vega, Solution Architect, Summa Linguae

“I would not say there will be a total decline of CAT tools as we understood them in the past, but there is indeed a move towards their integration with other tools and services that either supplement or replace them depending on the quality, voice, and intended audience requirements,” according to Andrés Vega, Solutions Architect at Summa Linguae Technologies.

Vega joined the Poland-based LSP on September 24, 2020. Based at company headquarters in Krakow, but currently working remotely, he reports to Lea Backhurst, Managing Director of the Nordics team.

Before joining Summa Linguae, Vega worked in consumer-oriented companies such as Expedia and Amazon. His prior experience had to do with processes and tools development for either MLVs [multi-language vendors] or the clients themselves.

Vega told Slator: “From this perspective, the main difference is in the project planning stages. Being on the client side allows you to be much more involved in the early stages of both content authoring and internal tools selection and configuration, which gives you the opportunity to minimize potential localization challenges even before they present themselves.”

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“On the other hand, big organizations have it more difficult to coordinate any localization initiatives that do not have an immediate business impact; more so when the localization services are not centralized but distributed throughout the organization,” Vega said, pointing out one major challenge of the enterprise.

On his outlook as regards machine translation (MT), Vega highlighted the need for better integration of translation productivity (a.k.a. CAT) and other tools, which would not render the tools obsolete, per se, but would change how they are used. He explained, “Progress in MT as well as authoring related technologies opens a wider range of possibilities for localization and multilingual content creation, and the tools we use for both authoring and localizing will need to be more flexible and tightly integrated.”