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Can AI Surpass Humans? Tales of Localisation: Tale – 01 with Pavel Riazanov, HiBob

Can AI Surpass Humans? Tales of Localisation: Tale – 01 with Pavel Riazanov, HiBob

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Our Guest
Pavel Riazanov
Pavel Riazanov
Localisation Project Manager, HiBob
Our Host
host image
Alpi Mantry
Chief Human, Translate By Humans

Alpi Mantry, CEO of Translate By Humans, engages in a virtual dialogue with “The Global Linguist” Pavel Riazanov, Localisation Project Manager at HiBob. With HiBob’s mission to empower modern multinational enterprises in boosting productivity, engagement, and retention, Pavel’s invaluable contributions have become the cornerstone of their success.

Join us on this thrilling voyage as we unravel the intriguing tale of Pavel’s journey to HiBob, and gain insights into his profound understanding of localisation and his invaluable advice to the community through his remarkable voyage.

Key Takeaways:

Key Insights:

Hi Pavel, welcome! It's a pleasure to connect with you.
Could you share with us the fascinating tale of your professional journey and shed light on the path that led you to your esteemed role as the Localisation Project Manager at HiBob?

It has been quite an adventure! Hi! I’m Pavel Riazanov, a former translator and certified linguist, and Product Localisation Manager at HiBob, a leading tech company specialising in HR information systems catering to businesses of all sizes, from micro-businesses to enterprises. Born in Ukraine, I hail from a multilingual community, which sparked my fascination with languages early on.

During my high school years, I pursued a profession closely tied to languages. This led me to obtain an undergraduate degree in English, after which I briefly worked as an English teacher before immersing myself in translation. Specialising in the English-Russian language pair, I simultaneously pursued my graduate degree in linguistics.

Alongside my translation work, I became increasingly involved in localisation projects, gradually transitioning from being a translator to assuming project management responsibilities. Ever since, I have been wholeheartedly dedicated to managing localisation projects across various technology-driven businesses, encompassing both marketing and product localisation.

This journey has shaped my expertise and passion for the intricacies of linguistic adaptation in the rapidly evolving technological landscape.

When approaching a localisation project, do you follow a specific process to ensure its successful execution?

Yes, of course, to initiate any localisation project, it is crucial to establish clear goals. When working on marketing localisation in the past, the marketing managers determined these goals and the target market. As part of my role, I researched the market’s specific requirements and assessed the existing localisation efforts. Depending on the project, whether it involved emails or writing press releases, I collaborated with the respective departments, such as email marketing or PR.

I then set goals for our translation vendors and oversaw the entire process from start to finish. This involved working closely with linguists and reviewers, ensuring the final product was ready for release and met quality standards. However, the current scenario is different as product localisation involves a more technical process with significant involvement of technology and communication with developers. I have more to share on this topic, which we can discuss further.

Do you write or follow any best practices as a rule book for a general localisation project?

Yes, absolutely! Initially, I created comprehensive guidelines as personal notes to aid my practice. If time permits, I also use search engines and consult with colleagues to gather additional tips, cheat sheets, and relevant information. Currently, I am in the process of developing a knowledge base specifically targeted at developers.

This knowledge base will encompass all the do’s and don’ts of localisation during software product development. This endeavour holds significant importance since I have learned through personal experience that many technology companies, particularly fast-growing startups, and unicorns, often need to pay more attention to localisation during the early stages of development.

Unfortunately, this oversight becomes apparent when these companies expand into new markets and realise that numerous aspects of their product need to be addressed and rectified for effective localisation. That’s what I can say. To some extent, it also happened to HiBob.

“What we’re doing right now is not only building the plans for expanding localisation taken in mind but also retroactively fixing the things that were done wrong. That’s one of the reasons why I’m working on this guidelines document for the developers, so that when they create new modules and new solutions for our product, they will keep in mind all the time that every single string that they add to the code will have to be translated into a variety of languages, some of them easier to localise. Still, some of them may be quite surprisingly hard and different. I’m working on that.”

That's very thoughtful, Pavel!
How can we effectively handle situations where the source text is convoluted or poorly written, potentially leading to inaccurate translations, especially when the original author is not a native English speaker?

Often, developers find themselves in a situation where they have to handle all aspects of code creation because companies often need to pay more attention to the need for a dedicated UI/UX writer or professional.

It is surprising that the localisation industry, despite being an integral part of the high tech industry, remains relatively behind the scenes and overshadowed by other tech sectors.

Especially in software development, many people have no idea that localisation is a thing, that it exists. It was funny. Even when I joined the company, I was presented to the teams that, Hi, this is Pavel, our localisation manager. Some of them were like, What’s that?

My primary goal is speaking up and promoting the importance of localisation and software development, especially because we live in an era of globalisation, and nobody develops a product that will target only one specific market, no one. Everyone wants to go global, and that's exactly where we step in.

That's right. The experience that you carry with that foresightedness and proper planning, that is when it would result in success.
So, Pavel, tell us about your challenges with your developers or localisation vendors.

Currently, I am pleased with our vendors as we have been growing together, exchanging knowledge and expertise. We went through a trial-and-error phase where we had to let go of a few vendors, but we ultimately selected those with HR expertise. Our vendors are highly professional and pay great attention to detail, consistently delivering excellent results.

Regarding the development team, it is an ongoing process. I actively educate them and intervene early whenever possible due to my role. Being a part of both the product and development team is crucial for tech companies, and our management made a wise decision by placing localisation personnel alongside the developers.

I have direct access to every individual who writes the code for a specific software project. Through extensive learning and a thorough understanding of the product, I have acquired the ability to identify potential errors and anticipate any localisation issues. As a result, I can accurately determine the appropriate person to approach to address these concerns. This personalised approach has proven successful thus far, as it allows me to create knowledge proactively and prevent future mistakes that could arise and require subsequent resolution.

It is commendable, Pavel, that you're trying to educate yourself and then prepare guidelines for your developers.
Are translation glossaries and translation memories also prepared for the projects?

Indeed, ensuring the accuracy and consistency of our content is facilitated by maintaining comprehensive and up-to-date glossary and providing sufficient context to our linguists. We establish direct lines of communication with the linguists, which significantly expedites the process.

I make myself readily accessible to address any queries or concerns and am accessible most of the time, even via my smartphone. This approach requires additional effort as a manager, but I willingly embrace it as I always want the work to be close to perfect.

Your one-on-one approach is wonderful, Pavel!

Impact and Future Outlook:

Do you see AI like ChatGPT as a threat to human translations?

In the past, translation engines like Google Translator had low quality, but they have improved significantly in recent years. The accuracy and precision of these engines, especially those based on open AI, have become impressive. They serve as valuable tools for translators, increasing their productivity and efficiency.

However, despite these advancements, I may sound a bit orthodox, but AI is not fit yet to replace a human translator.

Artificial Intelligence possesses remarkable learning abilities, but I don't think it’ll ever be able to feel! You still need a pair of human eyes to review the text carefully and determine if it precisely captures the intended meaning.

If you could share one piece of advice with your younger self or the community based on your own localisation experience, what would it be?

We embarked on a captivating and enlightening adventure alongside Pavel as he unfolded his remarkable localisation experience, filled with fun and profound learning moments. Together, we discovered his transformative path, witnessing his great evolution first-hand. Pavel’s story is a testament to the extraordinary possibilities that await those who dare to venture into the realm of localisation. 

To know more about the enthralling adventure of self-transformation and endless possibilities in localisation, watch the full episode!

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