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Emma WallersteinLocalisation Manager, Bitvavo
Alpi MantryChief Human, Translate By Humans
In an exciting meeting this month, our CEO, Alpi Mantry, had the opportunity to engage in a conversation with Emma Wallerstein. Emma is an accomplished Localisation Project Manager with over six years of experience handling projects of varying sizes for diverse teams, including Marketing, Product, Customer Support, Legal, and Sales.
With Alpi’s boundless enthusiasm and Emma’s wealth of experience, the conversation unfolds a display of discrete knowledge exchange, ideas and strategies poised to reshape the future of localisation in our ever-evolving world.
Hey Emma! Let's start with a brief introduction and your journey in localisation.
Oh absolutely! You won’t believe it, but the path to localisation can be unexpected. It wasn’t something I learned in school or planned for. I started as a Spanish teacher, enjoying the language and teaching. But then, while teaching English in Europe, I stumbled upon localisation through an Ed-tech company’s volunteer translators program.
It was a revelation! I discovered my passion for localisation and have been doing it for over six years, managing projects in different industries in New York. It’s been an incredible and fortunate journey, diving into an unknown world that was perfect for me.
What is your native language, Emma?
My primary language is English because I come from California. However, I also adore speaking Spanish. I learned it well and even lived in Spain for a long time. Speaking Spanish brings me great joy, so I use it whenever possible.
How do you develop a strategy to determine which markets to focus on, which languages to prioritise, and which region would generate the highest profits?
Working with a company with clear goals is crucial, especially for global expansion. When entering a localisation role, it’s essential to collaborate with the team and analyse data. By identifying market opportunities and potential revenue, you can demonstrate the value of localisation. Conduct thorough research before investing to make the process smoother. Convincing others about the importance of localised products can be challenging, but showcasing user losses and the potential for growth helps.
Having data not only supports your initial argument but also proves your impact and future success. Localisation is vital because relying on translation tools like Google Translate isn’t feasible or satisfying for users. Imagine trying to use any app where you have to copy and paste into Google translate. It’s not so feasible to do that. Even if it was a 100% perfect tool, it’s just a hassle.
It’s not going to get the text from the images. It’s just not a feasible thing, but a lot of people think, Oh, that works so well, yes it does, but that’s not a comfortable experience all the time, and people sometimes forget that users want to be satisfied they don’t want to do extra work to access a tool. Human touch and authentic experiences matter, and that’s why localisation plays a significant role.
I always say, "Humans are humans, so it will never be the same."
How do you determine if a strategy worked well or not? What factors do you consider, and how do you measure the Return on Investment (RoI)?
RoI in localisation is like the holy grail we always strive for. Measuring the specific impact of localisation can be challenging, but having data from before can be valuable. If you have data on sales and marketing activities before localisation, you can compare it to the data after and see if there is growth in user base and revenue. This indicates the positive effects of localisation.
My role as a localiser is to support the goals of other teams, particularly the sales team, who needs to onboard customers in new markets. It’s a partnership where we work together towards success.
That's a vital thing that you mentioned, Emma. It's always about a team effort! The sooner one starts, the better it will be.
Tell us about a project that made you happy. How did you approach it, what difficulties did you encounter, how did you solve them, and what was the outcome?
I joined a B2B marketing team where our main focus was creating and promoting e-books. We realised that localising these e-books was a complex and time-consuming process involving multiple team members. I created a template to streamline the workflow using our new project management tool. This template helped everyone involved in the process to communicate and collaborate effectively, making the entire process faster and smoother. As a result, our marketing, sales, and growth teams worked together seamlessly, and the e-books were successfully localised and promoted in different markets. It was a rewarding experience to coordinate the project from start to finish and establish a system that simplified everything.
That's a great example, Emma.
In this one, you touched on two things that played a key role. One thing was the technology you used, and the other was around communication that you had within the team, so let's talk about both of them.
So what is the most significant benefit of using technology in localisation projects?
Streamlining processes and keeping everything organised in one place is crucial for scaling businesses. However, many companies face a common challenge: they succeed initially but struggle to replicate their success because they need to remember what worked and what didn’t. That’s where tools come in handy. They serve as valuable project management tools that record past achievements and allow for easy duplication in the future.
For instance, I often follow a specific set of steps in my localisation work. I must review content to particular criteria, ensure accurate translations, and maintain an up-to-date glossary. The translated content then goes through a reviewer. Using technology helps me recreate these processes effortlessly, rather than treating each project as a completely new endeavour, which can be exhausting and prone to errors.
Integrating different tech tools, like a Translation Management System (TMS), allows me to connect all relevant components and automate tasks, saving time and minimising mistakes. This means I don’t have to be a language expert to localise content efficiently. Automated technology simplifies the workflow for everyone involved and enhances the quality of the final product. I always strive to use automation whenever possible, as it eases the workload and improves overall efficiency.
Those are some excellent advantages of using technology and how it makes work simple!
Now a tricky question! Are there any downsides to technology?
Automation is fantastic, but it isn’t flawless like humans. So, it’s crucial to keep an eye on it. Sometimes, I’ve used helpful tools in my work and thought they were accurate. However, the general rule we follow only covers those specific cases. Therefore, when considering automation, we must be sure that any automated process requiring a double-check can still be automated.
It’s essential to identify the potential points where automation might fail. It takes practice to recognise situations where automation has been unable before so that we can double-check if they occur again. This goes beyond simple mistakes that can be easily overlooked.
How can you ensure everyone involved, including different teams, vendors, and stakeholders, is on the same page and has clear and open communication?
Transparency communication is critical when dealing with multiple teams, vendors, and stakeholders. As the central point of contact, I maintain organisation by regularly checking project statuses, tracking tasks, and consolidating notifications for review. I make sure to document all commitments and actions taken. Engaging with external teams is crucial, as they are outside our immediate process but eager to contribute. Collaborating with freelancers is especially enjoyable, as their success depends on sharing information and promptly addressing their inquiries.
While talking about vendors, what are your three quick criteria for selecting your external vendors or LSPs that you work with?
I always look for someone who can communicate effectively, which is valuable. I’m also interested in how this affects my freelancers. Are they open to working within specific time frames? One thing I always do is organise tasks consistently so that localisation can happen smoothly. It’s vital that anyone who requests content knows precisely what they’re getting and when they can expect it.
Additionally, I like to work with someone who can be flexible because sometimes we have urgent tasks. I would enjoy working with freelancers who prioritise our needs and are willing to create a system where we can handle urgent requests together.
So Emma, tell us what is the best localisation advice you have received, and what advice would you like to give your younger self?
The biggest game-changer for me was shifting my perspective on my work. Instead of just being a content generator or someone who completes projects, I started seeing myself as a partner to the teams I work with. This change made everything feel effortless. It’s tempting to stick to the same routine, especially when taking over someone else’s localisation process. But I realised that we need to go beyond just translating for personal and company growth. I began focusing on how I could help these teams achieve their goals by developing strategic plans. I came across this valuable insight from an online localisation influencer, and it resonated with me.
Getting caught up in project management is easy, which can be fun but not sustainable in the long run. I’m still learning how to be more strategic about my localisation works within my company, and it’s crucial to start on the right foot. Once you establish a solid foundation, it becomes harder to make significant changes later.
That's excellent advice.
Thank you, Emma, for joining us and sharing your unique insights in a fun and exciting manner. It was a pleasure having you as our guest today.
As we end this enlightening conversation, let’s use these valuable insights for our localisation efforts. We’ll focus on profitable markets, assess strategies, use technology wisely, and improve communication. Emma’s expertise has paved the path for a successful localisation journey.
Let’s embark on an exciting journey to revolutionise localisation and unleash its power in our connected world. Are you up for the adventure?
It’s time to supercharge your localisation strategy with Translate By Humans‘ exceptional professional translation and localisation services. Book a free consultation call today and discover tailored solutions that perfectly fit your needs.