#GALAChampion: Wafaa Mohiy

In this series of interviews, GALA members share their insights on the pursuit of globalization & localization brilliance. 

Wafaa Mohiy, General Manager Egypt Office at Saudisoft
GALA's Founding Member

What’s in a job title

My main tasks are setting goals and follow up on achievements, both in terms of business/operational and technical aspects.

The road to localization

I started out in localization by sheer chance. I majored in Computer Science and my first job was in application development. A couple of years later I moved to another job as a Systems Engineer. Arabic was at the very early stages of being added as a second language to different operating systems. I helped to enable different OS/applications to support the Arabic language and the RTL (BiDi) concept. (This was before Microsoft's Windows started to support Arabic.) At that time, Saudisoft was the pioneer in Arabic-enabling DOS systems and it seemed to me a good move. With Microsoft Arabic support, localization support for the Middle East market became a hot topic. It was a natural move to draw on my previous experience to support Arabic and to start learning new tools/techniques to fully localize applications.

As the tools and the industry evolved, I learned more about localization and gained different experiences that helped me focus not only on Arabic but on the language industry as a whole, especially in terms of technical aspects and different areas of expertise.

Where GALA fits in

Saudisoft was one of GALA's founding members (I guess the only company remaining) and I was there from the very beginning. GALA seemed to me then (and it still is today) the only place for a SME who wants to grow and learn more about the industry.

GALA is not just a place for LSPs looking to enhance its services, but also a place where one can learn more about our typical customers and their expectations. GALA has evolved over the years. Now more than ever before it is truly global, not only with members from almost all around the globe, but also with content/resources about localization/globalization challenges for almost all languages and different domains. This helps companies of all sizes to find and learn something useful either from a colleague, from the GALA Team and/or from online resources. The scope of the benefits and the exposure opportunities GALA provides now are also exceptional for its members.

I was honored to be appointed as a board member for two rounds. I had the opportunity to see the other side, how hard the GALA staff and the volunteers work so that at the end of the day the organization can make sure it provides its members with valuable benefits. I also learned a lot from the colleagues on the board and about the international side of the business.

I love the annual conference (in person)! Basically it has everything: great content, great attendees, and a great team. I volunteered for a conference committee a couple of times and the effort spent to come up with the conference program makes it a very unique experience. I hope we can have another in-person conference very soon.

Accomplishments

I am really proud of being one of the very first professionals who joined and introduced the localization as an industry, as a business and as a career to the MEA Region. I don't even think I would have been the same person I am today if I did not have the chance to be part of this industry!

Career-building strategies for localization pros

Failure is not always a bad thing. Always dig deep to reach the root cause, learn (seek help), fix and start all over!

Networking tips

Just don't think much about it! Be where the people you would like to learn/hear from are! And of course share!

Something I learned during this last year...

Family comes first. Family is the backbone for one's well being.

Finding inspiration

I always found the conference keynotes and the articles about new technologies a source of inspiration for new ideas and/or to adapt to a change.

My brilliant second career

If I didn't work in the language industry (and money wasn't a factor), I would travel around the world. One of my dream jobs when I was young was to become a flight attendant!

Life beyond localization

I love swimming! I can’t always practice, so I like being around water areas. That is why one of my favorite conferences was Miami. :)