On November 18, 2021, XTM hosted “XTM LIVEStream, The Goldilocks Zone.” In the words of XTM CEO Bob Willans, “During the pandemic, there have been virtually no live events and we are all feeling the effects of that. At XTM, we quickly found the need to provide thought-leadership with our expertise in localization and technology. As a result, XTM LIVEStream was born.”
Sponsored by Intento, Kontent by Kentico, and XTRF Management Systems, the event welcomed industry leaders who eagerly tuned in as speakers provided key insights on a great many topics.
So, why, exactly, the Goldilocks Zone, you might ask? It is simply about balance. Our Earth is known as the Goldilocks Planet — not too hot and not too cold; rather “just right” for life to exist and thrive. The same, then, can be said of our industry. As Willans stated:
“What we are trying to do is find the balance between technology and human ingenuity in order to find the ideal spot for quality, speed of delivery, and price.”
First up were the event’s joint keynote speakers, Renato Beninatto and Tucker Johnson, co-founders of Nimdzi Insights.
Redefining the Playbook
Beninatto focused on a recurring industry fear that technology might eventually replace humans. And, while Johnson argued that a lot of these fears aren’t necessarily unwarranted since innovation can — and does — present risk, Beninatto attempted to put our fears to rest:
“Every major innovation has been adopted despite the resistance to change. Every [new invention] was going to ‘kill’ the translation industry, and yet, this is an industry that doesn’t stop growing. It is impervious to crisis.”
When speaking of machine translation (MT) and Google Translate as early industry disruptors, Beninatto was quite optimistic, believing that, if used responsibly, both can assist the linguist and enhance translation quality.
Before wrapping up, Johnson urged industry leaders to search for that Goldilocks Zone — that balance between keeping the business afloat and setting aside a budget to invest in the future. In closing, Beninatto reminded us that we are an industry in which collaboration is key and encouraged us to continue to foster this environment.
Strawberry Yields Forever
XTM International Digital Content Writer, David Jones, with panelists Brock Hanson (Localization Technical Program Manager, WISH), Grasi Hanke, (Localization Manager, ASICS Running Apps), and Yana Brown (Localization Project Manager, STARZ) discussed innovative ways to grow in the age of modern technology.
Interestingly, although each of the panelists hailed from very different industries, a common theme surfaced — the prioritization of customers — a theme that wasn’t lost to Jones:
“One of the things we find at XTM is that very successful companies often have more in common with other very successful companies in other fields. The leaders are the ones who prioritize their customers.”
When panelists were asked what system requirements were needed to stay within the Goldilocks Zone, answers varied but pointed squarely to the need to embrace technology.
Another question involved new ways that automation might enable global business growth. Panelists argued that technology will continue to advance, and along with it, the need to push out content at faster rates.
According to Hanson, this, in turn, means that language technology will continue to be key to delivering products and services to new markets. Grasi focused on MT, emphasizing its transformative impact on the industry and how it will continue to save linguists time on repetitive work, while allowing them to focus on specialization projects. Brown’s team is exploring the possibility of AI for dubbing and predictive translations with CAT tools.
Bridging the Gap
Alex Zekakis, Director of Support Services at XTM, interviewed Dr. German Basterra, Technology Lead for Translation Services at Nestle Global.
Basterra spoke of the many challenges Nestle was faced with before investing in XTM. Past TMS systems weren’t flexible enough, upgrades were often difficult, and desktop-based CAT tools were expensive and difficult to support.
Nestle also wanted a centralized repository with collaboration and XTM was the answer. As a cloud-based solution offering centralization, XTM has the technology that adapts to that streamlined flow rather than allowing the localization process to become a bottleneck. In Basterra’s words:
“After 2.5 years with XTM, the cloud architecture is living up to its promise.”
Basterra went on to discuss that, with over a thousand internal users in the XTM system, not all had a localization background. To address some knowledge gaps and deploy the technology more efficiently, he created an e-learning program as well as a digital adaptation platform known as WalkMe.
Basterra ended the interview articulating the balance between machine and human:
“We focus on technology workflows but we cannot forget the human aspect. Nestle found intuitive ways to increase the user adoption and the user support throughout the lifecycle.”
What Else Don’t They Care About?
David Ruane, Digital Content and Partnership Manager at XTM, along with Michael Andrews, Content Strategy Evangelist at Kontent by Kentico, Paulina Makles, Head of Marketing at XTRF, and Konstantin Savenkov, CEO of Intento discussed the definition of quality that has oftentimes prompted heated industry debates. Among these panelists, however, there was no debate. As Savenkov stated:
“Quality management involves tailoring a service to the individual needs and preferences of each client.”
Nonetheless, the definition of quality just isn’t that simple. Savenkov pointed out that there isn’t one single definition, and that it depends on a number of internal and external factors. Makles echoed this same sentiment, speaking about quality diversification. Makles believes that once we understand the individual personas of whom we are marketing, the way we approach quality can — and should — adjust accordingly.
In closing, Savenkov brought us back to the Goldilocks Zone, emphasizing that the solution to quality lies in finding the proper combination of different automated tools and human involvement. Speaking of customers, Savenkov stressed:
“It’s very important to involve them in the process and [help] them feel in control.”
XTM Cloud: Not Too Hot, Not Too Cold, Just Right?
Sara Basile, Product Manager at XTM, focused on the company’s goal to find the balance between product, solution engineering, and AI, while keeping their customers at center stage. Speaking directly to XTM’s customers, Basile stated:
“You give us the motivation to find that balance and in return, we bring our products to the next level with every release in order to give you more powerful automation options, better user experience, and the possibility to be your best when managing your global programs.”
Basile then passed the baton to John Weisgerber, XTM Xpert at XTM International, who gave his take on balance:
“There are balances to be struck everywhere, especially in localization product development. So, finding that sweet spot in the Goldilock Zone is exactly what solutions engineering is all about.”
Next up was Dr. Rafal Jaworski, Linguistic AI Expert at XTM, who spoke of balance from an AI, machine learning, and natural language processing perspective.
“Recent achievements in the research of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing have truly brought an abundance of possibilities. The key is finding a balance and developing technology that serves a specific purpose. Everyone can find an AI solution that is just right for them.”
The final panelists discussed the importance of centralizing language assets for brand and quality consistency and how language technology is critical, especially when communicating with global customers.
When considering how a TMS enables their companies to manage and leverage translation memory in ways that would not otherwise be possible, the response received from Yuka Kurihara, Director of Globalization Services at Scaled Agile, perfectly summed up the panelists’ thoughts:
“Translation without TMS is like searching without Google. I don’t think that’s an overstatement. It’s really mission critical for us.”
The final question focused on how close we are to an optimal balance between human ingenuity and intelligent automation. The panelists were in full agreement emphasizing the importance of finding the balance between intelligent automation and human value. This gave the perfect segue to close the event with a succinct statement from Rory Samplair, XTM Xpert at XTM International:
“An underlying theme here is that connectivity and centralization allows for efficiency and moving content faster and quicker than ever before. But it’s important to not lose sight of that strategic decision-making that still has to happen at the human level throughout any translation program.”
Session recordings from XTM LIVEStream are now available on XTM On Demand. Simply create an account and you’ll have full access to all of the content, along with other valuable resources.
Coming in 2022, XTM LIVE is scheduled to return! Join language industry peers on April 27 and 28 in San Francisco for the return of the in-person version of XTM LIVEStream. Sign up now for early access once registration opens.