LocWorld28, Berlin Calling

I was thrilled to represent K International at LocWorld28 this year. LocWorld is a major conference for the localization industry, which takes place annually in three locations in North America, Europe and Asia. This was the 28th conference and a welcome return to Berlin, which previously hosted the conference in 2009. Once again LocWorld provided superb business opportunities, exhibitors, networking events and a full program of talks from industry professionals from global companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, SAP and Adobe.

hiroshimastrasse

Hiroshimastraße

Berlin

Like most conferences, your day is programmed from morning to night but fortunately I had the chance to walk around Berlin the day before the conference started. The early flight from Luton was surprisingly empty and I had three seats to myself, as close to business class as you can get on easyJet. The conference was taking place the same week as the Champion’s League final between Barcelona and Juventus and many hotel’s were fully booked. This prompted me to try booking a place to stay using Airbnb, I’d suggest you try it out as it was much cheaper than a hotel. My apartment even had a round bed, even more luxury!

My apartment even had a round bed, even more luxury!

Once I’d dropped my bags off at my Airbnb apartment I was off! Forget about the underground, I wanted to walk around, see the sites and breathe in the atmosphere. Knowing I only had the one day forced me to take my time so I walked to Potsdamer Platz via The Sony Centre and then took an obligatory tourist snap of the old Berlin wall. From here I walked to the famous Brandenburg Gate. This took me past the The Holocaust Memorial, a stunning series of concrete slabs.

At the Brandenburg Gate I took a cycle taxi from a cheery guy called Stefan. When I asked him if he travelled much he replied…

Why travel when the world comes to me?

He showed me the grand architecture of Schinkel, a talented architect for sure. After being dropped off near Alexanderplatz, I took in the contrast of the old East side of Berlin with the TV tower, Alexanderplatz station and the world clock.

holocaust_memorial

Holocaust Memorial

Disaster

Spending a day walking around with a modern smartphone, you realise that the phones are not smart at all. Here I am in the middle of Berlin and the phone battery is dead. So what you might think? Except this is modern stress and real. I thought on my feet and found the nearest electrical retailer. Noticed they had some camera’s on display which had the same charging port as my phone. A quick glance around and I plugged my phone in and pretended to take great interest in the store’s electrical goods. I was told in perfect English that I should buy the Sony camera because the lens was made in Germany.

…buy the Sony camera because the lens is made in Germany

At this point my feet were sore. I called it a day and went to meet up with some of my friends at the conference hotel.

The Internet of Things

The conference theme was “The Internet of Things” or IoT or how everything is connected. The keynote was given by the futurist Gerd Leonhard from The Futures Agency promising a world of change. His presentation can be viewed on his website www.futuristgerd.com. This reminds me that the Internet universe is still young and still expanding.

@BeatBabel To make Internet relevant to 80% of world, it requires content in at least 92 languages

The future was bought back to the present by Iris Orriss, Director of Internationalization and Localization at Facebook. She spoke about the challenges facing Facebook and their ambitious vision to provide Facebook in all the world’s languages. I agree, people want to connect in their own language and create what I would call the “The Internet of Humanity”.

The Internet of Humanity

So how do we go about this?

LocWorld has many of the answers to these questions on how best to provide localization services. This is why it is important that K&npsp;International is represented, ensuring that our processes are refreshed and aligned to industry best practices and that we are using the best tools for the job.

The exhibitors this year were varied but with a strong showing of dedicated machine translation (MT) providers. This means more choices when picking the best MT engine or one specific to your domain.

The Elia team held a competition to win an iPad. Collecting stickers from Elia member stands was a smart move to get people talking. I didn’t win the iPad unfortunately.

segway

Check Point Charlie by Segway

 

Direction

I think it is interesting to see where the industry is heading. With so much information that needs localizing there is a push towards automation and technological solutions. This is exciting and raises important questions about how much automation is enough, if a true value is placed on localization and where technology is heading.

Belén García from specialist games localisation company Kite Team, made an excellent point about automating just enough but to place a limit on automating communication between people.

GetYourGuide presenter Anne-Cécile described the process for their website. Their experience shows how important a quality translation is. They rewrote their Polish site and they had a 30% increase in traffic. They take an agile approach and outsource their QA.

Making localization efficient is not just about automation. A whole track at the conference was dedicated to Content Strategy. The river of words that need localization springs from here. Organising and managing content is a key ingredient too for the success of a localization project.

Discussing processes with new people is enlightening, as many issues encountered by SMEs like us are also faced by large enterprises. They are like oil tankers, and it can be a slow process to change direction. This is where we have an advantage using an Agile approach to localization.

One thing for sure is that the cloud is the number one destination and we need to join all the dots up.

Industry Standards

This year, running in parallel was the 4th FEISGILTT and 6th XLIFF Symposium, two groups working hard to create and maintain interoperability standards in the language industry and working on new standards such as XLIFF 2.0. These groups are not for the faint hearted but meeting people from organisations like http://www.w3.org/ add that human touch the next time I’m reading a W3C document.

asparagus

White Asparagus, yummy!

 

Thank You

I’d like to thank everyone who organised the event and made it happen. I met some great people and look forward to seeing them again next time.In addition, a few special thank you’s to the following:

Stefan Gentz (Twitter) for putting up with my lack of German and showing me some great places in Berlin.

Vanessa and Tanja from Across for sharing their sweets and being great fun.

Sufian, Nancy and Jasna from Plunet for letting me gate crash the famous Plunet Party.

Scot Abel (the Content Wrangler), Sarah O’Keefe and Bill Swallow (both from Scriptorium) for three fantastic American content specialists willing to put up with a British guy like me.

wall

Berlin Wall, and yep that’s what you think it is!

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