Focusing on the alignment of marketing and sales this year, memoQ Translation technologies has appointed Bruno Bitter as Global Head of Marketing and Sales.
“My role is to transform sales and marketing into what we call “smarketing” by building structures, strategies but most of all, a culture of collaboration,” he told Slator in an email interview.
Based in Budapest, Bitter reports to CEO Norbert Oroszi who is based in Zurich. “We are an increasingly global company with over 70 full-time employees,” he said.
Bitter joined memoQ in August 2017 as Global Head of Marketing. “In the past year, my work involved leveraging opportunities in big data, agile marketing, content, automation, design thinking and a shift to a customer-centric approach,” he shared.
This year, he will be leading memoQ’s transformation and integration initiatives, the main focus of which is “the alignment of marketing and sales to create relationships that are far more than the sum of their parts.”
Prior to memoQ, Bitter had run his own digital communication agency, Next Wave Europe, for almost 10 years. Seeking change, he sold the business to a strategic investor in 2015 and exited the company last year. “After a mini-sabbatical, I was ready again for new professional journeys,” he said.
Being an industry outsider has its advantages and disadvantages. With his background in strategic brand consultancy, market research and new media, memoQ’s new “smarketing” thrust is probably in good hands.
“I think the greatest challenge, not just for marketing, is how to be specialists and generalists at the same time. We have to keep our ability to demonstrate depth of skills and expertise in very specific fields but we also need to strengthen our capacity to collaborate across disciplines,” he said.
His thoughts on the language services industry at this time? “I think the ‘worm’s eye view’ is about a rich and growing set of productivity tools to manage translation projects,” he said. “The ’bird’s eye view,’ for me, is about augmentation.”
“Stanisław Lem wrote in his Summa Technologiae over 50 years ago that human beings use technology to extend – augment – their bodies and minds to accomplish tasks, to achieve more and more. This is a very strong argument in favor of the notion of augmented translation…Organizations have powers of molding all this smoothly into everything else they do,” he added.
Franck Burlot — Lingua Custodia
Franck Burlot has been a machine translation (MT) lover for a long time. Hence, he said he was “seduced” recently by the “culture and goals” of a company which develops specialized and customized machine translation engines.
That company is France-based Lingua Custodia, which has offices in Paris and the city of Saint-Quentin en Yvelines. Burlot joined the team as Head of R&D in May 2018. His work is under the supervision of CEO Olivier Debeugny.
“My main role at Lingua Custodia is to initiate a short and long-term strategy for the R&D department,” he told Slator. “The company’s activity consists of providing MT solutions in the finance domain.”
Burlot has a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the Université Paris Sorbonne. “During my studies, I discovered Natural Language Processing and got passionate about it right away. My career in MT has gone through different states in the history of the field: it started with rule-based MT, then I got into statistical and finally neural MT. I still remember how amazed I was the first time I saw the output of a Neural MT system at WMT 2016,” he recounted.
His neural MT life started when he was a Post-doctoral Researcher at the LIMSI-CNRS, where he spent three years under the supervision of Pr. François Yvon. “I worked within the European Project “Quality Translation 21” and mainly focused on morphologically rich languages and the integration of monolingual data in the Neural MT architecture,” he said.
Asked to share his assessment of neural MT, he said it made the question of evaluation more difficult. “Indeed, the provided translations are now of very high quality, and the types of errors made by a system are less coarse, or more subtle. In other words, whereas it used to be easy to say a translation is globally bad, it is now a lot harder to detect an error in a very fluent output, even for human evaluators,” he explained.
For this interview, he said he is fond of language-related questions, but warned that he is “a bad but enthusiastic guitar player.” It would have been nice to swap guitar tips with an MT lover, but that is another story, another time.
David Webb — XTM International
David Webb, the newly appointed Business Development Director at XTM International, will lead the UK-based translation technology provider in developing new relationships with enterprise organizations, with a key focus on the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) markets.
“I will be helping organizations solve common and complex issues related to localization, helping to streamline and automate their processes and workflows across the enterprise,” Webb said.
Based in Manchester in the UK, he reports to Sales Director Shamus Dermody.
“XTM was the natural choice for me given my background,” he told Slator. I initially started out with Applied Language Solutions working with large enterprise and SMEs alike. I then moved to Lingo24 and was part of the team building bespoke SMT engines for global organizations alongside Professor Andy Way.”
Webb also later joined what was then known as Foreign Exchange Translations (now AMPLEXOR), which focuses specifically on the life sciences industry working with global corporate clients. “In my last role I worked on the buyer side for the world’s largest CRO giving me a real insight to a number of aspects of the localization process,” he said.
In 2018, he said the demand for language services is ever growing; hence, he foresees further expansion in the underlying technology that enables this growth.
“I think an effective technology strategy with innovative platforms to manage these workflows is an absolute must. Many companies are very decentralized and technology is going to be in more demand than ever. Not just Translation Management Solutions but also Blockchain, Internet of Things, Machine Learning/ AI solutions as well as technologies such as AR/ VR,” he said.
Juan Legarda — Andovar
Juan Legarda joined Andovar as Business Development Manager in June 2018. His role is to identify new business opportunities in the target industries as well as maintain strong relationships with existing partners.
Based in Medellin, Colombia, where the company develops business for the Americas, Legarda reports to Santiago Lopez, Andovar’s General Manager in Colombia, and to Russell Winterbotham, VP of Global Sales.
In joining Andovar, he said he wanted a more challenging environment that can foster professional growth and advancement.
“I previously worked in the mining industry. My roles and responsibilities ranged from work visas, logistics, site visits for investors, attending meetings with government officials (both Colombian and foreign) and importing (including permits, approvals, and documentation) mining technology from abroad,” he said.
He said he believes that as technology keeps on moving forward, most companies’ internal and external processes would have to become global and the demand for language services will continue to grow at a high pace.
“Companies around the world have great products/services to offer, and we have the ability to make them clear in any language. Our goal and the goal of the industry is to inform and educate our prospects and increase their localization maturity,” he said.
Legarda has a Bachelor’s degree in International Business with an emphasis on firm internationalization from Eafit University, in Medellin. He said he speaks native English and Spanish, as well as an intermediate level of Portuguese. But most of all, he “loves soccer.”