Thoughts on GALA Membership from Gary Muddyman
I have long held the belief that at the centre of every strong industry or trade is a strong and influential trade association. Trade associations have a crucial role to play in promoting best practice, helping companies become more competitive and influencing the influencers, policy makers and other associations. They are in a unique place to be the voice of the industry, being heard where it is difficult – or impossible – for individual members to be heard.
This is particularly true in the localization industry. We occupy a fragmented industry, populated in the main by small or micro businesses, supplying products and services the value of which are underestimated by business executives and have mysteriously flown beneath the radar at most corporate board tables. When entering the industry early in 2000 I was therefore mystified as to why there appeared to be real apathy towards collective representation, where businesses were focused on a narrow ROI calculation rather than the wider benefits of increased visibility, strong standards and better informed members. In any event, at Conversis, we have always thought that, at $1000, we get good value for money for our membership of our own association, GALA.
Recently, I have been really encouraged by the work that GALA is doing in the arena outside the 'localization bubble.' I have been observing with great admiration how they are making real strides particularly in the areas of advocacy and publicity for our industry.
I have noted with interest how the association is taking a strong position in language advocacy in both the USA and Europe taking an important role in influential organizations lobbying governments for consistent funding for language education.
I am also increasingly aware of how the association is getting invaluable coverage in influential publications such as Forbes, The Washington Post, Politico, La Prensa and many others throughout the America's and Europe. This level of coverage in this quality of publication is a first for our industry and, taking into account where we have come from, is a major achievement. I think these issues are all about momentum and, it appears, the ball is really beginning to roll. If GALA is successful we all benefit from the consequent stronger and more influential industry. I would therefore call on all localization vendors who are not currently members to give positive consideration to joining GALA and becoming part of the drive to giving our industry the voice it deserves.
Reprinted with permission from Conversis Global's blog, The Conversation
NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of GALA.