With media localization continuing to ride the over-the-top media boom of recent years, companies such as Singapore-based IYUNO Media Group are showing growth in various ways. Aaron Faden, the company’s new US Managing Director as of January 2019, told Slator that this was a factor in his decision to join.
According to Faden, “When approached for this role, the leadership and the company’s core values (respect people, be extraordinary, embrace change) had an impact and stayed with me. In addition, while some companies are reducing their footprint and headcount, IYUNO continues to grow — very exciting times.”
Based out of Burbank, California, Faden said his role entails providing “exceptional service and support to US-based clients, employees, and partners.”
Faden is a post-production industry veteran of over two decades. “I’ve worked with everything from nitrate film, to cloud-based technologies, and everything in between. I enjoy the behind-the-scenes logistics, as well as being client-facing,” he said.
With the ongoing media boom, Faden said the main challenge for companies in the space is “ensuring clients are happy, while helping maintain a sustainable business model.”
“As localization continues to drive the hyper-growth of content consumption, delivering media with high quality and reduced cycle-times at pricing that is constantly being reassessed is a balancing act,” he said.
Noëmie Baron – Labrador Translations
In November 2018, Noëmie Baron joined Paris-based Labrador Translations as Head of Operations. Baron said she was brought on board to “to manage our translation production teams (e.g., Project Managers, Quality Managers, Vendor Managers) and sharpen our operational processes.” She works out of Paris and reports to Claudia del Castillo, Deputy Director of Operations for Labrador Group, in which Labrador Translations belongs.
Before joining Labrador, Baron had been Head of Language Services for a smaller language service provider also specializing in legal and financial translation. There, she built and developed the company’s operational and quality processes and use of industry-related tools. Originally, she taught foreign languages in business-oriented and higher-education institutions in Paris and Hong Kong.
Baron enjoys managing the translation projects of companies from diversified sectors and embraces “all aspects of translation management — probably because it matches my creative personality. I always like to find and develop new solutions for our clients.”
Asked why she chose to lend her creative problem-solving skills to Labrador, she replied, “To express and develop my ideas to offer the best translation experience to our clients. It is an important responsibility, because we have a strong impact and added value on strategic communication for 80% of the SBF 120 (the 120 most actively traded stocks listed in the Paris Stock Exchange) by translating their corporate disclosure documents.”
On her industry outlook, Baron said, “Machine translation and machine learning are definitely the biggest challenges ahead. I believe they are game changers for our sector that can increase quality and productivity. But these tools still need to become more efficient.”
She is excited about implementing something Labrador has been working on called Plain Language, which Baron described as “straightforward language, stripped of jargon and confusing terms.”
Corina Mroncz-Iamandi – Milengo
Coming up through the ranks of Berlin-based Milengo, Corina Mroncz-Iamandi was promoted to Marketing Manager in December 2018. Mroncz-Iamandi currently leads a newly formed marketing team of three members and three internal collaborators out of the Berlin HQ. She reports to Milengo’s Sales Manager, but is also currently working closely with the CEO to develop 2019’s marketing roadmap.
“The Marketing department has been built on the structure of the former Market Research team and we are part of the company’s Sales department,” she explained, adding that her role “is twofold as I act as both head of marketing and a team lead.”
Mroncz-Iamandi first joined Milengo in 2015 coming from a research and data analyst role at a digital marketing agency in Milan. She said, “I was looking for a career shift and since I had some experience with languages and an educational background in business communication, I thought I could use these skills to find something different. I knew nothing about the localization industry at that time, so I think I was really lucky that Milengo was launching a pilot project and looking to hire someone from outside the industry.”
She started working as Translators Community Manager and, up until 2018, worked with a small innovation team developing a recruitment and training framework that helps transform young talent into professional translators.
“I appreciated a lot this startup-like, young mentality that I perceived at Milengo; and the fact that the company culture was truly international and open to novelty.” Mroncz-Iamandi said.
For her new role, Mroncz-Iamandi said it is an advantage that she is a company insider as opposed to being an external hire. At the same time, she needs to fully learn the ropes when it comes to sales processes, tools, and markets.
“I will have to use my finest skills to balance out the action imperative and the learning necessity in order to make sound decisions that benefit the Sales department and the company as a whole,” she said.
Stephen Davis – Iconic Translation Machines
A month ago, Slator featured Ireland-based Iconic Translation Machines’ new Marketing Manager. It looks like the company’s on a roll and eager for growth because, this time, they hired a new Sales Director in Stephen Davis. Working out of Iconic’s London office, Davis reports directly to the CEO.
“The UK, as well as the US, is a hotbed of e-discovery activity and there is great opportunity for Iconic,” Davis said in a blog post. “Primarily I am focused on leveraging our relationship with Relativity in the e-discovery market, and also directly into law firms and advisory firms,” he explained.
As to why he joined the company, Davis said he “witnessed firsthand” how Iconic gained traction early on, with new client feedback being “really strong.” He said the team is “exceptional, packed with PhDs who understand the nuances of the legal market, and of course the global market, and has built a compelling language translation platform.”
Davis comes from a sales background with senior sales experience from companies such as CaseLogistix, Millnet, Thomson Reuters, and LexisNexis. “I have deep roots in the legal technology (legaltech) and regulation technology (regtech) markets and specialize in helping early stage companies get a strong foothold in new markets,” he said.
Asked what he thought was the biggest industry challenge relevant to his job function at this time, Davis told Slator, “The biggest challenge is accepting the veracity of a machine translation versus a human being.”
Talking about how machine translation is used within e-discovery, Davis said, “MT is an invaluable starting point. In our area of e-discovery, we are quickly, securely, and efficiently translating foreign-language documents, using MT, to understand if a document is relevant to a matter,” he said.
“It is then often subject to further machine document review before professional human translation is required. Using just human translation is often disproportionate to the matter so MT has an increasingly important role in the practice of law,” Davis pointed out.
“Using repeatable manual processes in modern business is at odds with the digital workplace,” he concluded.
Dohee Kong – Flitto
Media localization is not the only high-growth sector in language services and technology. Language data is also experiencing skyrocketing growth. This section of the greater language technology industry deals with the generation, curation, and provision of training data for natural language processing and generation technologies such as MT and speech recognition.
Companies such as Australia-based Appen and South Korea-based Flitto are benefitting from this insatiable appetite for language data brought about by machine learning, deep learning, and AI technologies in general.
To help maintain growth, Flitto appointed Dohee Kong Business Development Manager back in December 2018. Based out of the South Korea HQ, Kong is “responsible for driving Flitto’s language data business and implementing strategies, as well as developing long-term relationships with clients.”
She said Flitto generates a lot of language data through routine revenue-earning operations on its crowdsourcing platform. This data is useful for certain clients and she communicates with them to understand how they can use the data to improve their technology — from chatbots to AI assistants.
Kong said Flitto generated more than 70% of its 2018 revenue from selling translation data segments, and the company expects the market for speech training data to grow “dramatically” over the next few years.
“Thus, Flitto plans to place more importance on its own speech database business. For this reason, they asked me to join them and I’m currently focusing on expanding the speech database market globally with our team,” she said.
Before joining Flitto, Kong worked as a project manager at a localization recording studio for three years, managing voice synthesis and recognition projects. “For that role, I managed recording jobs, such as dubbing, narration for games, e-learning, advertisements, audiobooks, and so on. But the main role is handling voice recording projects for TTS, STT,” she said, referring to text-to-speech and speech-to-text.
Kong said she handled everything from securing the contract to managing the dubbing process to speech analysis and annotation. What she found most interesting about Flitto was the translation crowdsourcing platform. Not only is crowdsourcing more cost-efficient, she said it is also more likely to capture the nuances of translation better compared to similarly cost-efficient solutions like MT.