Localization Certification Program Report
By: Daniel Carter (MedCom)
17 September 2007
98% of the Chico attendees and 92% of the Marseille attendees stated that they would recommend the program to a friend or colleague. Not only did the program expand to Europe, but the number of participants also grew by 30% this year with nearly 100 newly certified professionals for 2007.
In addition to the standard certification program in both Marseille and Chico, this year there was an additional two-day advanced session in Project Management on June 16-17 in Chico. For 2008, you can look forward to an expanded program, additional advanced courses, and hopefully another significant increase in the number of participants. And of course the program committee will work to improve the course to strive for 100% satisfaction.
For a short background, the Localization Certification Program was initiated and driven by Professor Nitish Singh during his time at California State University, Chico. In combination with the Localization Institute and GALA, they created a curriculum that includes the most important topics in the industry. With support from CSU Chico, Professor Singh developed the material from his localization courses and in cooperation with industry professionals, added material on a range of industry topics and tools for the online materials. For the in-person component of the program, there was a mix of supplier and client speakers and participants.
The Certification Program consists of both lecture and hands-on lab sessions. Topics cover the full spectrum of the industry, with an introduction and history of the localization industry, preparing documentation for translation, terminology management, career opportunities, and emerging opportunities in the industry. More technical topics are also included such as XML, Unicode, machine translation, internationalization, workflow, and lab sessions, including an introduction to industry tools such as Trados, Catalyst, Passolo, LTC Organizer, Idiom, and across. Whew! It's a lot of material in three days. In addition, there are actual case studies from companies like Adobe, Google, and Starwood Hotels and support from companies like Cisco, HP and Microsoft.
This year was the first time the certification workshop was held in Europe, hosted on the wonderful EUROMED Marseille Ecole de Management campus. Located in the hills just outside of Marseille, the sun was shining and there was an active group of industry professionals in attendance. Although I had expected a large percentage of students, the participants were primarily industry professionals, many with 5 to 10 years of experience in the industry. GALA was the primary source of information for participants with over 40% of the attendees indicating that they found out about the program from the GALA website or newsletter.
We were welcomed by Dr. Jean-Paul Leonardi, Vice President and CEO of EUROMED. Dr. Leonardi gave us an introduction to EUROMED, the curriculum, and the history of the university. Thank you to Dr. Leonardi and the EUROMED staff for the excellent organization and hospitality.
The program consisted of a series of lectures and lab sessions, broken up with time to talk one-on-one during breaks, lunches and social activities. I felt that there was a good combination of theoretical content mixed with practical, strategic and implementation details. There was something to learn for just about everyone. Based on the preliminary results of the post-event evaluations, I would say that my experience was echoed by the participants as both the presentations and importance of the topics were highly rated.
For the second program in the USA, I arrived in Chico the evening of June 12 th , jet-lagged and tired after my flight from Amsterdam. After a short night's sleep, I found my way to the Chico campus and wandered through the university enjoying the morning sun and the university atmosphere. It was a student orientation day, so there were a lot of young faces wandering around and also asking how to get from one place to another. I have always enjoyed the atmosphere on university campuses, but I was probably a bit overdressed with my suit and tie.
As in Marseille, there was a casual atmosphere and both the participants and speakers were ready to share and learn from one another. As it should be for a certification program, the content in Chico was similar to Marseille. Topics such as terminology management, internationalization, global content management, creating documentation with localization in mind, and specific tools labs were included at both locations. At Chico, I was particularly interested in the presentation by Francis Tsang from Adobe and the case study from Starwood Hotels on their strategy for website localization. Of course, I also enjoyed the lab sessions and talking with the participants.
I probably couldn't describe it any better than what one of the participants from the Project Management workshop shared on his evaluation: "As an account manager on the vendor side, this Localization Project Management Workshop has helped me understand the roles and activities of project managers on the vendor side and client side. This workshop has provided me with information and skills that will help me advance in my career and further extended my interest in the localization industry."
I think we owe a big thank you to GALA, the Localization Institute, CSU Chico, and EUROMED for putting this program together. I am expecting this program to have a continued impact on the development of professionals in the industry. And of course, thanks to all of the contributors and speakers, and the companies that supported the program by paying to send their staff to Chico and Marseille. I'd also like to thank the sponsors, for without them it would not have been possible to make the financial ends meet.
To sum up my experience, this is a broad program with information on many different levels and aspects of the industry. Even after being in the industry for over 20 years, I learned new things, met new colleagues and made new friends. I'm looking forward to 2008 and seeing how the program continues to develop in the future. I'm expecting to learn more, make more new friends, and hopefully have more time to enjoy the social events. Hopefully I'll see some of you there.
Daniel Carter is a founding member of GALA and was on the GALA Board of Directors from 2002 until 2005. He is the GALA representative to the Localization Certification Program Advisory Board. He is also founder and CEO of MedCom International and he works as a facilitator for mergers and acquisitions between translation and localization companies