SlatorCon Remote Makes a Bullish Case for the Language Industry

SlatorCon Remote March 2022 Highlights from Localization Conference

SlatorCon Remote March 2022 was the biggest ever. Over 550 delegates tuned in from opposite sides of the globe for Session I: Australia & Asia-Pacific and Session II: Americas & Europe. A third logged on from the Americas, a third from Australia, Apac, and Japan, and the rest from Europe and the UK. Both sessions were moderated by Slator Commercial Director, Andrew Smart, who also served as conference producer for the milestone event.

The audience was (roughly) evenly split between attendees from language service providers (LSPs) and buyers, with the balance coming from the academe, advisory services, and others. A recurring theme throughout the day: the bullish outlook on the language industry.

Slator Managing Director, Florian Faes, kicked off the Session II presentations by highlighting the strong, double-digit rebound of the language industry from 2020–21. Faes drilled down into the resilience of the USD 26.6bn language market (as of 2021), driven in part by M&A that saw the big grow bigger (e.g., Super Agencies grew 33% versus Boutiques at 16%).

He outlined the reasons why the language industry has been positioned to be future-proof and relatively resistant to emerging inflationary pressures; and why robust growth should be expected even by conservative estimates amid today’s uncertain environment.

Faes rounded things off by explaining why the streaming boom is projected to continue, why a supply crunch exists in media localization, as well as where R&D, delivery channels, and hiring trends are headed.

The CEOs

In his keynote for the Australia & Apac audience, Grant Straker, CEO of Straker Translations, talked about how the language market is facing two major trends: an arms race (e.g., via AI efficiencies) and a land grab (e.g., via M&A). He shared his thoughts on how AI-driven productivity will play out in the future and how Straker discovered the most remote location to be its biggest asset for growth.

Cyril Drabinsky, CEO of Deluxe, delivered the keynote for the Americas & Europe. He shared insights from a company uniquely positioned in the Media & Entertainment ecosystem, having been in the business for over a hundred years. Drabinsky outlined opportunities arising from the explosion of local-language productions, the ongoing talent crunch, and how service providers can shape the changing market.

Nic McMahon, CEO of United Language Group, talked about future-proofing industrial teams in an evolving language market; and what AI-powered, human capital conversion might look like for the industry. Through a couple of case studies, McMahon also showed why it makes sense to change the conversational focus from service to solution.

Watch the CEOs in the full conference video now via Slator’s Video On-Demand channel.

The Buyers

Localization buyers from Salesforce, Atlassian, and Coursera presented their takes on current language service and tech demand.

As VP and Managing Director of AI Research at Salesforce, Caiming Xiong leads R&D at the company, collaborating with clients across the globe. He talked about how clients, big and small, were able to scale using their no-code / low-code CRM platform with natural language processing (NLP) applications (e.g., chatbots).

Widely regarded as Australia’s first unicorn company, Atlassian was represented by Melanie Heighway, Manager of the Product Localization Team. Melanie gave the audiences an inner glimpse into the company’s localization workflow, stakeholders, and loc partners. She talked about what motivates their executives to be interested in localization and globalization and also shared an overview on the company’s future plans.

How is localization success measured at leading e-learning platform, Coursera? Two ways, according to Nora Duong, Localization Program Manager: direct and “juicy” data. She also shared some strategies for reaching Coursera’s 97 million registered learners, 80% of whom are located outside the US.

Localization leaders from client companies Gap, Nike, Esri, and language and tech provider Intento also came together for a noon panel discussion.

Buyer presentations in the full conference video are now available via Slator’s Video On-Demand channel.

The Panels

The Transcreation Panel featured the C-suite from content creator Supertext, Transcreation Experts, and Locaria, a multilingual content-scaling agency. The panel exchanged experiences working with ad agencies and end-clients, finding hard-to-source creative talent, and the role of tech in creative, multilingual content creation.

The Media, Entertainment, and E-Learning Panel focused on opportunities in Asia’s diverse, high-growth economies. Trading strategies were leaders from leading multi-platform content company, Astro, and language services and tech provider, Omniscien.

The Telehealth Panel featured a lively discussion among the leaders of Northern Health, 2M Language Services, and Boostlingo. The group covered the spectrum of demand from the healthcare industry, myths and barriers to entry, and some actionable statistics.

The Multilingual Events Panel gathered the leaders of Interprefy (Switzerland), Simul International (Japan), and Encore Event Technologies (Australia). On the agenda: the uptake of remote simultaneous interpreting and new engagement opportunities emerging in 2022 and beyond.

Panels in the full conference video are now available via Slator’s Video On-Demand channel.