Language Industry Hires at SwissGlobal, XTM, Morningside, and ULG

SwissGlobal Language Services appointed Iris Strauss as Chief Sales and Marketing in January 2018. She said her focus is on customer acquisition, customer satisfaction, and the innovation of services that go hand in hand with customers’ needs.

“My activities cover the entire spectrum from designing SwissGlobal’s marketing strategy and coordinating the appropriate measures to reach our revenue targets to developing and expanding our customer base,” she told Slator in an email interview.

Iris Strauss
Iris Strauss

Based at the company’s headquarters in Baden, Switzerland, Strauss reports directly with CEO Matthias Trümpy. She also works closely with SwissGlobal’s regional director in Geneva.

Before joining SwissGlobal, Stauss worked in different roles across a variety of industries, including healthcare, energy, banking, telecommunications, and language services.

“In these positions, I developed a special preference for key account and change management. Personally, I find it exciting and inspiring to achieve our customers’ goals while improving the company’s services,” she said.

Keeping up with the rapidly developing market, both from an economic and technological perspective, is the key challenge she sees in marketing language services.

“It is the survival of the fittest; adapting to new developments will become even more crucial. Fulfilling customer requirements and still remaining profitable as a company is a challenge,” she explained.

Eduard Van Grunsven — SwissGlobal Language Services

Eduard Van Grunsven
Eduard Van Grunsven

When SwissGlobal opened a branch in Geneva in January 2018, the company brought in Eduard Van Grunsven as Regional Director.

He said his role is to market professional language solutions in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. “Our aim is to gain a significant market share for professional translation services for large corporations, banking and financial institutions, legal organizations and NGOs,” he told Slator.

Grunsven, who reports directly to Iris Strauss, believes that the market is currently very competitive and language services providers (LSPs) should go beyond just being a supplier of translations to be successful.

He disclosed that clients often ask a lot about machine translation and how this will affect the industry.  “Personally, I believe that technology will play a significant role in the future. However, the human aspect of the translation process will always be a vital component in providing the best possible translation quality, and this will only become more important as technology evolves. Human experts combined with superior technology will be a key success factor in the near future,” he explained.

Grunsven has a degree in Economics and an executive MBA. Before joining SwissGlobal, he held several positions in the translation services, banking, and software industries. He had also worked for the United Nations in Geneva.

“I’m the proud father of two lovely daughters and a native Dutch speaker living in Geneva for the past 10 years,” he shared.

Alex Zekakis — XTM International

Alex Zekakis
Alex Zekakis

As Senior Solutions Architect at XTM International, Alex Zekakis’ role is primarily focused on supporting customers with pre-sales activities, as well as ensuring seamless onboarding, training, custom development mapping, and issue resolution for them.

“Ever since I joined the industry, I have had to use a multitude of TMS and CAT tools, became a certified user with some of them and even a trainer in certain cases. This has allowed me to gain a broad overview of TMS capabilities and I have come to realize that XTM has evolved – and is continuously evolving,” he said.

Based at XTM’s home office in Thessaloniki, Greece, he reports to Sales Director Shamus Dermody.

Zekakis said he has been in the language services industry for nine years, starting off as a Project Manager at nlg where he gradually moved up to become Director and Production & Strategic Solutions.

He then joined Sajan (acquired by AMPLEXOR in 2017), where he was initially responsible for leading the Life Sciences team as an Enterprise Program Manager. He also spent two years there in a global solutions architect role.

“There are several challenges associated with technology that our industry shares with others, but I believe there is a constant challenge with the duality of it. While our industry is technologically driven and that technology aims to streamline processes, reduce throughput times and sink costs, there is always the subjective – or even artistic – nature of language on the other side,” he said.

“One can easily overshadow the other, but these two have to co-exist in harmony, complement each other and one cannot advance without the other being considered,” he added.

Monique Nguyen — XTM International

Monique Nguyen
Monique Nguyen

XTM International appointed Monique Nguyen as Business Development Director in March 2018. 

A long-time resident of San Francisco, California, she is based in the San Francisco Bay Area, reporting to CEO Bob Willans and Sales Director Shamus Dermody.

In her new role at XTM, she said she will be responsible for new business development and strategic account management for North America (West Coast).

“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to elevate the role of TMS technology and to put XTM into more organizations around the world, modernizing the way we work and enhancing the standards for the industry,” she told Slator.

Before joining XTM, Nguyen had a successful career in Technology Sales and Partnership Management with organizations that included Qualcomm, Cisco, and AppDynamics. She joined the localization industry through Welocalize.

Despite the high-frequency volumes and complexities of going global, she said it is interesting to see that organizations and supply chains still hesitant to adopt technologies that can help streamline the production life cycle while providing greater visibility for a more predictable outcome.

“The opportunity for the industry is to move away from the “black box” and into next-generation change management,” she said.

Amy King — Morningside Translations

Amy King
Amy King

When Morningside Translations appointed Amy King as Associate Director of Localization Business Development in February 2018, they also brought in more than 19 years of experience selling language services, technology and consulting. 

King has worked in the industry from small mom-and-pop language providers to Language Line to Lionbridge and SDL.

“I studied Sociology at the University of California at Santa Barbara and have a passion for language and culture,” she told Slator. “As an Associate Director of Localization Business Development at Morningside, I help expand and acquire new clients, focusing primarily on the West Coast. My goal is to deliver language solutions to customers in the areas of corporate communications, training and development, e-learning, human resources, and marketing.”

Based in California, she reports to Danny Fink, Director of Localization Business Development.

The key challenge in the industry that she sees today is the need for companies to be open to change. “Brands are creating more content across more channels – with this proliferation of content, there is a higher demand for localization. The challenge is to create value and find and utilize the best resources while also leveraging automation and technology to compete in this environment,” she said.

Sarah Lafave — United Language Group

Sarah Lafave
Sarah Lafave

Before joining United Language Group (ULG) as Director of Operations in March 2018, Sarah Lafave held leadership positions within the localization industry for the past 10 years. 

“I was on the customer side of localization, working in software technical publications. That past life has allowed me to uniquely understand clients’ needs and internal development processes while also remaining aware that localization is best done in partnership with the client and not simply as an afterthought,” she said.

At ULG, she said her role is to provide leadership and expertise to the production team as well as drive and support strategic direction within the executive team.

“ULG’s aggressive and successful acquisition strategy to support that position was a key driver in my decision to ultimately join their company,” she said.

Based at ULG’s headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota, she reports to COO Karrie Willis.

“In my off hours, I live in the beautiful city of River Falls, Wisconsin, with my husband and our two sons. We enjoy time outdoors kayaking, biking, and spoiling our dog Pungo,” she shared.

Lafave doesn’t see machine translation as a threat. “I see it as an opportunity to provide a new service and an increased volume of localized content,” she said.