What We Learned at 12 Events in 7 Weeks
By: Allison Ferch (Programs Director)
15 November 2017
For the GALA team, autumn in the Northern Hemisphere means events—lots of events. Our involvement ranges from light promotional support to hosting exhibit stands to making presentations and even developing a full track of content. The events are opportunities for us to share the association’s benefits and programming, rally support for industry initiatives, and meet with members and prospective members to foster engagement with GALA.
Perhaps more importantly, events present an opportunity for us to listen and learn what is on the minds of our members and the industry at large. After dozens of sessions and conversations, we begin to see themes emerge and these help us to tailor our offerings and to be more responsive to our members’ needs. As we catch our breath after several busy weeks, we’d like to reflect and share some of what we did, heard, and learned.
Language Technology Industry Summit
Events season began in early October at the LT-Innovate Summit in Brussels. The audience was comprised mainly of European academics and researchers, many working on innovative technologies rarely seen (yet) in the corporate side of the industry. Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) were hot topics, themes that were echoed at subsequent conferences. In the “technology spotlight,” GALA Board vice-chairman Klaus Fleischmann presented the latest from GALA’s TAPICC initiative, a collaborative, community-driven, open-source initiative to advance API standards for multilingual content delivery.
Our long-standing cooperation with tekom continued this year and we produced the GALA Localization Forum on the second day of the conference. It was a one-day track addressing translation and localization topics, designed for the tekom crowd which is heavy on technical writers and documentation managers. Video localization and machine translation were the topics that garnered the largest crowds in the GALA Loc Forum, confirming our belief that both MT and new media–videos in particular—are top of mind for many. Presentation slides are available if you’d like to get a sense of the day’s content.
American Translator’s Association (ATA 58) Annual Conference + Translation & Interpreting Summit
The ATA conference provided a wonderful opportunity for GALA to interact with North American members who are "regulars" at the conference as well as with a broad community of freelance linguists, curious to know about GALA’s member directory, job board, and other resources. This was the first year that GALA hosted a booth at ATA, and we were happy to meet new LSPs as well as professionals leading translation departments, particularly at regional and city government agencies. We enjoyed meeting many new industry friends as well as spreading some love to our translator community, sharing hundreds of “Love Your Linguist” pins.
In addition to the ATA conference itself, we also participated in the annual “T&I Summit,” an annual gathering of North American leaders from associations, standards committees, and government agencies to discuss common challenges in our sector.
TAUS Annual Conference
The TAUS crowd was unique, representing some of the more “sophisticated” organizations in the industry; those with the resources to focus on the cutting edge of language technology and automation. Conversations around the "quantum leap,” robots, multimedia, and the long tail gave us a window into the future where machine learning, AI, and voice dominate the landscape. Some interesting ethical considerations surfaced, and we think this is an important area of focus for GALA members in the near term. In a world dominated by big data and AI, who is “minding the shop” when it comes to privacy, intellectual property, and how data is used? What role will our industry play in responsible stewardship of big data?
We attended FEISGILTT and discovered just how many smart people are engaged in standards-related work. At times it felt like alphabet soup (XLIFF, JLIFF, OMOS, ULI, TAPICC!) but we appreciated that people with full-time jobs volunteer so much of their time and energy to ensure that the industry’s technological building blocks are relevant, functional, and widely applicable. We happily participated in the 2nd TAPICC Symposium, sharing the progress made by our four Track 1 working groups.
Localization World 35, Silicon Valley
Continuous delivery was the focus of the LocWorld program, reflecting a challenging reality that many on the buy-side and supply-side face, and not only in software localization. We hear regularly from members that adapting to continuous localization models presents major challenges to traditional processes and requires business model innovation. This topic went hand-in-glove with discussions around automation, required technology stacks, and the roles of various players in the localization ecosystem. Our stand in the exhibition hall was always busy, and we were delighted to meet with so many members and future members. Once again, we evangelized the TAPICC initiative in a 45-minute session on the final day.
LavaCon attendees live and breathe technical documentation and content strategy. This event enables them to connect with other technical writers, learn about content software systems and standards, discuss authoring models, and explore localization models. The Portland conference featured several sessions on localization, including how to better create content in English to ease the localization process, how to work with the development team, and how to manage localization providers. GALA member Daniel Foster (TechSmith) presented on how content strategists prioritize and get internal buy-in for their localization efforts. We hosted a GALA booth at the conference and enjoyed discussing localization best practices and trends with this audience. We see real value in connecting with this allied industry to foster understanding of translation's role in the content lifecycle.
Translating Europe Forum
The European Commission hosted its fourth Translating Europe Forum, which focused on skills development, new markets, and new profiles in the translation sector. With a heavy emphasis on education and training and a collaborative attitude toward the corporate side of the industry, it was a natural event for GALA to support. Past board chairman Véronique Ozkaya and past Rising Star winner Miguel Sevener—both from GALA member companies—participated in a panel for students on job-readiness and professional growth. Addressing the talent gap and the proper training of next-gen industry professionals remains a priority for GALA.
Gilbane Digital Content Conference
Gilbane lies ahead (28-29 November) and presents an excellent opportunity to reach out to the content management sector to pave the way for collaboration on translation APIs. Content management systems are a part of many translation workflows, and getting buy-in from the CMS community on the importance of translation—and translation APIs—is a key goal for GALA as the TAPICC initiative moves forward. At Gilbane, Working Group 4 volunteer Jim Compton (Moravia) will present a session about TAPICC. We will also host a stand in the expo where we hope to engage the CMS community in discussions about the important role of translation and translation APIs in the content lifecycle.
Amidst all the traveling and events, we also managed to have an in-person GALA board meeting, where we discussed plans for 2018 and prioritized association strategies and goals. If we didn’t get a chance to speak with you at an event, we’d still love to hear from you. Schedule a check-in call with us, or drop us a line at [email protected]. We’re eager to know what’s keeping you up at night and how we might be able to help.