The Worm’s Eye View and the Bird’s Eye View for Translation Technologies

A Conversation with Bruno Bitter, memoQ’s Global Head of Marketing and Sales

In July, Bruno Bitter, memoQ’s new Global Head of Marketing and Sales, was featured in the People Moves column. We now publish the interview in its entirety.

Eden Estopace – Slator: Please describe your new role as Global Head of Marketing and Sales at memoQ Translation Technologies.

My new role is about transformation and integration. The main focus is the alignment of marketing and sales to create relationships that are far more than the sum of their parts. Sales and marketing working together can lead to significant gains not just for us but also for our partners by improving the customer experience. My role now is to transform sales and marketing into what we call “smarketing” by building structures, strategies but most of all, a culture of collaboration.

Eden Estopace – Slator: Where are you based? Who do you report to?

I am based in Budapest and I report to our CEO, Norbert Oroszi who is based in Zurich. We are an increasingly global company with over 70 full-time employees and our smarketing team is not just the largest department but the most diverse culturally and spatially. This involves a lot of travel. This Spring, I was involved in a strategic project to establish memoQ’s first headquarters in North America and we ultimately chose Toronto as our hub. In the future, I will spend substantial time there to develop our business in North America. As you know, we are also Lead Partner of SlatorCon San Francisco so I’ll also be there in September.

Eden Estopace – Slator: You joined memoQ in August 2017 as Global Head of Marketing. Why did you decide to join the company then?

Norbert Oroszi asked me to join memoQ to help drive change in the company and I welcomed the challenge to deliver a full-blown transformation 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. Beyond this, I joined this company because I recognized memoQ as an innovation powerhouse and admired it for never losing its founding spirit. I have had experience in both multinational and startup environments and I appreciated the fluid, creative state of memoQ being in-between these two worlds.

Eden Estopace – Slator: Please tell us a bit about yourself and your career before memoQ.

Bruno Bitter

I am an industry outsider with all the disadvantages and advantages this entails. My background is strategic brand consultancy, market research and new media. Prior to joining memoQ, I was running my own digital communication agency for almost 10 years. Next Wave Europe quickly became “Agency of the Year” and we had the privilege to work with some of the most demanding brands in the world, including Nike, L’Oréal, IBM, UPC and Mastercard. Seeking change, I sold my agency to a strategic investor in 2015 and after an interim period of two years staying as CEO, I made my exit last year. After a mini-sabbatical, I was ready again for new professional journeys. At memoQ, I can build on my previous experiences but learn and be stimulated every day by new things too. I highly appreciate and enjoy being involved in a scene, which in many ways is part of the “Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

Eden Estopace – Slator: What are the challenges you see in marketing language translation technologies at this time?

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 with experts in other areas and to apply knowledge in areas of expertise other than our own core prowess. This is what IDEO CEO Tim Brown called a “T-Shaped Knowledge.” For marketing, it is always important to balance multiple perspectives to show a complete picture. We need both the “worm’s eye view” and the “bird’s eye view.” Both have virtues and pathologies.

Eden Estopace – Slator: What is the “worm’s eye view” and what is the “bird’s eye view” for translation technologies?

I think the “worm’s eye view” is about a rich and growing set of productivity tools to manage translation projects. It is about features such as a repository for translation resources, control centers for collaborative, simultaneous translation operations and functionalities to run multilingual projects, reporting functions and unique workflow automation, etc. 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 (he also points out that this will not make them omnipotent – to warn the reader of the dangers of fetishizing technology). This is a very strong argument in favor of the notion of augmented translation. As one of memoQ’s founders, Balázs Kis explained to me, translators using memoQ are augmented with superpowers – enhanced memory and association capabilities, x-ray eyes (document filters), and eagle eyes for errors. Project managers have powers of enhanced multitasking and attention. Organizations have powers of molding all this smoothly into everything else they do (integration, connectors, translation broker interfaces etc.).

An ever more elevated “bird’s eye view” is to recognize language translation technology as a great enabler of globalization: we create technology that transcends the barrier of culture and language and enables communication without limits.