What I learned from the alignment live in London
On the 19th of October we held our first-ever in-person alignment event ! Global App Testing and Phrase came together to put on a great show, including two panels and a live interview with BBC Head of Product Experience Neil Doughty. Our speakers and panellists included:
- Ronald Cummings-John, CEO of Global App Testing
- Neil Doughty, Executive Product Manager at the BBC
- Simone Bohnenberger-Rich, Chief Product Officer at Phrase
- Giulia Tarditi, Head of Global Experience at Qualtrics
- Selase Dela-Brown, Product Manager at Vodafone
- Eugene Kuznetsov, Product Lead at Holland & Barrett
All of our panellists were incredible. If you couldn't join us, don't worry – there's always another alignment! Check out the details of the next episode here.
Below, we've shared some of what I learned from the event!
Insights from our panel on global delivery
1. LLMs are likely to lead to an explosion of content
One thread of discussion was AI, which feels unavoidable in 2023 in localization. Simone was hired to Phrase as a machine learning expert, and was well-placed to understand the role that AI is likely to have in localization. One output is likely to be a huge increase in the production of content as more can be automated. That might be personalized – the example Simone gave was heading to nike website and only seeing interested in sports and athletes which interest you – but it seems like we're going to be producing a lot more content with these new tools.
An additional point Simone made was that content is likely to be generated for different markets / languages all-at-once, rather than English-first, Spanish-second, for example.
2. There's a "triangle of pain" which automation cuts to the heart of
Localization teams face the "triangle of misery" which has Volume, Quality, and Speed as it's three points. The only solution to the triangle is automation. Automation requires proven workflows that are configurable (they can be scaled up and down, or adapted to the asset being localized) – but in the immediate term,
3. To go big, go bitesize
Selase Dela Brown, Global Product Manager at Vodafone, shared her experiences bringing Vodafone's smartech products from a small number of users to an audience of millions. She advised that you should break down a GTM into smaller rollouts, learn from your mistakes, and break down the expected impact in order to communicate with stakeholders in a complex enterprise environment better.
You also need to "keep the machine oiled' with operational product support, and defining local KPIs and product metrics to give local teams what they needed to break down their goals.
4. We need to play the "why" game more
Giulia, the Head of Global Experience at Qualtrics, was hired by a mature organization to retrofit localization capabilities – not an easy task.
But the biggest thing Giulia learned was that you can build better internal relationships and advocacy by listening rather than talking. Giulia pointed out that we can learn from young toddlers and practice the "Why game" more often. Young toddlers often ask, "why?", to everything, pointed out Giulia. For l10n team members, it's useful to ask these questions to yourself: Why did the company hire me as a l10n expert? What is the company trying to achieve? How can I help achieve that?
Children rarely start by teaching. They ask why questions to learn and understand others, which has several benefits, including building partnerships, breaking down mistrust of your role through relationship-building, and providing a richer perspective for you to approach your objectives.
5. It's not enough to just translate text content
"Localization is the lesser-known sister of customer experience," said Giulia.
Giulia began her career as a translator and shared that while translation is important, it's not enough just to translate text content. She gave a great example of this by contrasting the Chinese and Korean markets. In Chinese e-commerce you will see 30+ photographs of a $2 pencil case, but that is just weird to Koreans (and other markets as well) to have so many photographs of a low-value item. This is localization measure to build trust for Chinese consumers in what they are purchasing, which isn't needed to the same degree in other markets
From our panel on global UX
1. The BBC write most of their content natively
Most BBC content is written natively, shared Neil Doughty, Executive Product Manager at the BBC. This is true internationalization – a distributed product which works for distributed users, rather than a centralized product which translates "out" into localities from a central perspective.
2. Better global UX is all about getting close to customers. Nobody has solved that yet
An explosion of personalization and higher levels of content and software segmentation creates a problem. The modern framework for software excellence is iterative, pointed out Ronald Cummings John, the CEO of Global App Testing.
If you can increase production, the implication is that software and content teams are going to. need increased understanding of users, too. You need to understand that content or software is fit for purpose; or that the additional level of segmentation and personalization actually reflects your users.
So the big challenge is this: how can we get closer to our users? It remains the challenge which different businesses need to sole
3. Dogfooding helps
One technique is "dogfooding" – the process of using your own product or service every day. This is what Eugene Kuznetsov, the Product Lead at Holland & Barrett, encouraged attendees to do in order to verify the quality of their software every day.
Eugene did draw a distinction between the feedback profile of real users and colleagues – colleagues tend to be politer. Real users are less invested in their relationship with you meaning that they are more likely to be frank about their thoughts and feelings.
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