Language Industry Hires at MSS, Unbabel, Global textware, and XTRF

Barcelona-based language service provider MSS – Language & e-Learning Solutions appointed Felix Donoso as CEO in March 2018.

He succeeds founder and former CEO Alvaro Rocabayera who stepped down to concentrate on the strategic expansion of the business.

Donoso told Slator in an email interview that his role is focused on consolidating the three main areas of the business: multimedia localization, e-learning, and AI-focused language solutions.

The new chief has a degree in Computer Science Engineering and a Master’s in Strategic & Innovation Management. “I started working in this industry 18 years ago as a localization engineer in Ireland where I did my final project degree about software internationalization. Then I joined MSS for five years as business development manager (BDM),” he shared.

Felix Donoso

He then moved into a full management role of a Translation Department for a huge international German service provider for eight years. In the last two years, he handled the European sales of an IP services company.

In moving back to MSS, he said that Rocabayera encouraged him to take on the role as there were new challenges that MSS were facing in 2018, which is the company’s 25th year in the business.

In the broader language services industry, Donoso sees the key challenge as “evolving the structure and the teams into real language problem-solving providers.”

“The classical translation business is and will be dramatically decreasing. That is why we believe we need to focus on leverag[ing] all the linguistic know-how and experience of the language and engineering teams into specific out-of-the-box solutions for our customers with multimedia as a key factor, too,” he said.

Richard Kalnins — Unbabel

As the new VP of Strategic Accounts at Unbabel, Richard Kalnins said his role is to grow the company’s presence in the US and help companies solve their multilingual challenges, particularly in customer service.

“We’re discovering that so many brands in retail, travel, gaming, tech, and other verticals find this to be a huge challenge: handling customer service queries in multiple languages. My immediate priority is to help companies solve that,” he told Slator.

Richard Kalnins

Based at Unbabel’s brand new office in New York, he reports directly to CCO Wolf Allistat.

Kalnins was originally from New York but he said he spent the last decade or so living overseas in Europe, working in communications, marketing, and sales. Prior to joining Unbabel, he worked for about five years at the language technology company Tilde, ultimately becoming the head of the Machine Translation Group.

“I first became interested in language and translation as a philosophy major in college, where many of my professors taught and also translated works of contemporary German and French philosophy by thinkers like Heidegger and Derrida,” he said.

He later won a Fulbright scholarship to work on literary translation, and eventually translated a full-length novel from Latvian (which he speaks fluently) into English.

“Therefore I’m very aware of the challenges posed by language barriers and the crucial role that translation plays in building understanding between individuals — be it between author and reader or between companies and their customers. It’s great to still be part of that effort over 15 years later,” he said.

In 2018 and beyond, he said companies will continue to demand much faster, professional-grade translations of more content at scale — not just their websites and marketing materials, but also customer service tickets, live chats, FAQs, and how-to videos.

“Furthermore, companies will want a translation of this content to be completely seamless and almost invisible, like a utility they barely have to think about,” he said, adding that he sees more adaptive AI and seamless integrations into the communications platforms that companies rely on to engage with their customers.

Gisela Staal-Kooistra — Global textware

In April 2018, Gisela Staal-Kooistra joined Netherlands-based LSP Global textware as Commercial Director.

Based at the company’s headquarters in student city Groningen in the northern part of the Netherlands, Staal-Kooistra reports to company owner and director Raymund Prins.

Gisela Staal-Kooistra

Staal-Kooistra shared that she worked for the company as its marketing and sales manager from 2011 to 2015.

“After an absence of three years and several good conversations with the company owner Raymund Prins, I decided to accept this new challenge,” she said.

As the commercial director, she said she gives direction to the teams (project managers, translators, IT specialists and vendor managers) and serves as the link between them and their client base to optimize translation and localization services.

Asked how her team expects to compete in the highly competitive language services industry, she cited three things: combining the technology it has access to in the industry with linguistic experts, working closely with clients, and being able to innovate fast to adapt to changing market conditions.

Staal-Kooistra is married to Eric, a co-owner of a local beer brewery. Together they have a lovely daughter and are expecting a little one in August this year.

Pascal Boivin — XTRF

For more than a decade, Pascal Boivin, the newly appointed business development manager at XTRF Translation Management System has been advising companies in the languages industry regarding different technologies.

In his new role at XTRF, he said he will focus on helping companies with their translation needs throughout the Americas.

Pascal Boivin

Boivin is based in Montreal and reports directly to the head of worldwide sales.

Prior to working for XTRF, Boivin also worked as business development manager at Plunet Inc., SDL Technologies Division, and Oracle Small Business ERP Division.

“Throughout the years, I have seen a lot of changes in the industry,” he said. “At XTRF we do see the potential that resides in constantly improving output quality of machine translation. Since we have always focused on productivity and efficiency, we believe that machine translation can be a big step forward in that direction.”