This Is How Verizon Media Runs a Centralized Localization Team

Verizon Media - Localization Team

Localization done well is a very important enabler of revenue. This principle drives Verizon Media’s Localization efforts.

The company’s Localization team positions itself as a partner and not just a service provider. It works with most product, B2B, and B2C marketing teams at Verizon Media, including all Yahoo products, the Verizon Digital Media Platform, and in-house content agency RYOT. The team also localizes articles for the organization’s media properties and verticals, and works with most editorial teams, including all Yahoo Homepage properties, HuffPost, TechCrunch, and Engadget. All this localization work adds up to an average 500,000 words translated monthly.

“As a centralized team, we provide services to the entire company and our budget covers all localization costs. Given the number of products, services, and platforms Verizon Media encompasses, we reach close to one billion people across the globe,” Verizon Media’s Localization team told Slator.

Verizon Media was established in 2019 from the organization that resulted from the AOL and Yahoo! acquisitions. Localization Services and Localization Engineering teams are in Sunnyvale, California and sit within the Globalization team, which, at Verizon Media, belongs in the Core Platforms organization. Verizon Media’s offices are found in 27 locations in North America, 16 in Asia, and 12 in Europe.

Localization Services comprises a Director of Localization, Localization Program Managers, Language Managers, Quality Engineers, and the Product Owner of our proprietary localization platform, Dragonfly.

The Localization Engineering team, meanwhile, is made up of a Director of Engineering and a group of developers working on Dragonfly and its internationalization libraries.

Very Easy, Almost Zero-Touch

The highest volumes of localization requests typically come from Yahoo Mail and Membership, followed closely by Yahoo Finance, News, and Homepage. Verizon Media’s Localization team also handles large volumes of editorial and legal content on a regular basis.

“To make sure we provide the highest localization quality, we work with several vendors that specialize in different types of content”

As for supported languages, it would depend on the product, property, and platform. “For example, Yahoo Mail is translated into 36 languages for iOS and Android, while Mail Desktop is translated into 79, and Membership services into 72 languages. While we mostly translate product UI, Marketing, Editorial, Legal, and Help content from US English into other languages, we are able to handle requests from and to any language combination, and have been translating lots of non-English editorial content into other languages, lately,” the team explained. Therefore, to ensure quality, they work with several vendors that specialize in different content types.

Anyone in the organization with a localization request can use the Dragonfly platform, which is integrated with the systems of Verizon Media’s vendors and some internal CMSs. Dragonfly automates most of the company’s localization processes, such as storing and managing translation memories and glossaries, and delivering translations to requesters via downloadable files or to the locations integrated into CI/CD (continuous integration and delivery).

Upon a vendor’s integration with Dragonfly, they receive localization requests automatically and the interface allows the localization team, the vendors, and the requester to communicate directly as a project progresses. “We have a dashboard that task owners and localization project managers can use to track each step of the process, including translation and linguistic review, at a language level — so it’s all very easy and almost zero-touch,” the team said.

“Dragonfly automates the majority of our localization processes — from creation of translation requests to the storing and managing of translations memories and glossaries”

For end-to-end localization of marketing and editorial materials (especially if they include design assets), the workflow begins in the same way but includes many additional steps, such as coming up with multiple translation versions for highly creative, US-centric or idiomatic copy, with rationale and back-translation.

Verizon Media Localization Team - in person
Verizon Media Localization Team

The team said they recently deployed post-edited machine translation (PEMT) for Help, UI, and specific news content for certain language pairs. This PEMT model may be applied to other content types “after we’ve had a chance to better assess the results.” And while they are currently piloting PEMT for tech-related articles, “all other types of content are handled entirely by human translators / transcreators and reviewers.”

“We decided to try the MT+PE flow for UI content to learn more about how the engine is parsing short or medium length, simpler sentences”

Help content is an obvious candidate for MT or PEMT, the team said, adding, “When it comes to UI, we understand the limitations that MT can have in parsing phrases or sentences that are too short and lack context, but we decided to try the MT+PE flow for UI content to learn more about how the engine is parsing short or medium length, simpler sentences; and we are doing full post-editing to ensure the quality of the localized UI does not suffer. We are currently doing some tests to find out if the use of this flow has increased turnaround times.”

Asked about the impact Covid-19 had on localization work at Verizon Media, the team said the pandemic has presented “many challenges and some opportunities.” The company started offering “Breaking News” translations (via PEMT), for instance, which the team agreed “to deliver within 30 minutes to 8 hours, depending on volume.”

Verizon Media’s localization team explained that stepping up work with the company’s Editorial teams, translating original Covid-related content to and from several languages to maximize exposure of Verizon’s original content, has proven to be an impetus: “Digital content growth has exploded, and the more editorial content we translate, the higher is the demand for it in more languages.”