Archive for December 2006

Globalization Business Drivers

The recording from our December 13th webinar, “How Sun takes Brands and Solutions to the Global Marketplace” is now available here.
Many thanks to Kristen Harris, .Sun Content Management Engineering Manager, for an excellent discussion of Sun Microsystems’ Starlight Platform for content and translation management. The companion case study is available here.
Our informal poll during the webinar on the most significant business drivers for providing localized content to customers yielded some interesting results:

Brand management and presence in emerging markets (examples given were India and China) were primary drivers for the audience. It’s not surprising to see emerging markets in the number 2 position since the U.S. market is essentially saturated for many industries. It’s also validating to note brand management in the number 1 position. Much of our webinar discussion focused the value of content within the global customer experience. Clearly, that’s not a “foreign concept” for companies focused on improving multinational revenue profiles. The significance of consistent and contextual content was front and center for this audience, as it should be.

Call for Papers Deadline: San Francisco & Washington DC

A quick reminder to mark your calendar, and to submit your speaking proposals before the upcoming deadlines:
Gilbane San Francisco
April 10-12, 2007, Palace Hotel
Call for Papers Deadline: January 3rd, 2007
Gilbane Washington DC
June 5-7, 2007, Reagan Building
Call for Papers Deadline: January 15th, 2007

Webinar Reminder

Join The Gilbane Group, SDL International and Interwoven to learn how Sun Microsystems used a global information management solution to deliver product information, support services, and information in many languages to deliver an enhanced customer experience.
Date: 13th December, 2006
Time: 8:30 Pacific, 11:30 Eastern, 16:30 GMT, 17:30 Central Europe
Duration: 1 hour
Register here.

New Case Study and White Paper published

With so much of our news focused on the Boston conference the last couple of weeks, you might have missed the publication of a new case study and a new white paper. Both are by Senior Analyst Leonor Ciarlone, and as usual, both are free. The case study is “The Global Customer Experience: Sun Microsystems’ Vision for the Participation Age”, and is the topic of today’s webinar. The white paper is “Eliminating the Fear Factor: Creating a Culture of Compliance“, and a recording of the webinar covering this is available here.

Multilingual terminology

It has been interesting to note that even inside the US, more and more languages start appearing in various services. Spanish is the obvious example, but at the Gilbane Boston conference we heard that e.g. a New England healthcare provider needs to think about providing information in Vietnamese and in Russian. The old saying “You can always buy in your own language, but you must sell in your customer’s language” still holds true.
Although English has become the universal second language, people still feel more comfortable dealing in their own native language. Maybe the next generation will be different (although I guess that has always been the expectation of the previous generation) and will communicate mainly with smileys – but I believe that languages will not go away.
One could assume that in the European Union with its plethora of official languages there would be a lot of language tools available. Well, there is e.g. Eurodicautom at, a multilingual and searchable term bank which includes about 5.5 million entries in 48 subject fields. It continues to be available, but it is currently not updated, as it is being moved into a new database – and the latest news about it are from 2003. So one can only hope that the migration will be completed soon and the updating can continue, as new words appear in languages continuously. Just think about “truthiness”, which was chosen as Merriam-Webster’s word of the year in 2006.
There are several other multilingual general and industry-specific dictionaries available in the web, such as the European multilingual environmental glossary at Another example is the Microsoft multilingual terminology at Googling e.g. with “multilingual glossaries” or “multilingual dictionaries” brings a lot of hits to various resources.
The thing is, multilingual content management and multilingual searches start from good multilingual terminology. There will be a lot of work needed in that area, both in general and in industry- or even in company-specific dictionaries. I will follow up on this topic later.

Lots of Globalization and localization activity this week

Underscoring the increasing interest in globalization and localization among our audience of content and web professionals are three items this week. Today we announced that the the LISA (Localization Industry Standards Association) Forum will co-locate with the Gilbane conferences starting with Gilbane San Francisco April 10- 12, 2007. Last Friday, Kaija Poysti, introduced herself as our new guest blogger covering translation and localization issues (in her post, she doesn’t actually propose it, but she does point us to some reasons why we should just all speak Finnish). And, this coming Wednesday, we co-host a case-study webinar on how Sun has built a a global customer experience with their online content and branding.

New blogger

I am starting to blog here on mainly globalization and localization, and the many issues they bring to end users and organizations. To give you an idea about what my views and thoughts are based on, here is a short background:
As a native Finnish speaker I realized early on why languages do matter – very few people outside Finland speak any Finnish, despite its many quaint characteristics, such as 16 cases formed by adding endings to nouns. In addition, I studied operations research and systems analysis at the Helsinki University of Technology, which gave me a tendency to look at everything as processes which can be optimized.
For 14 years, I had a localization service company, Trantex, which translated a lot of software and documentation for major sw providers, such as IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, etc., and also did technical writing and training. In 1997 we sold the company to L&H and I moved to Boston, where I later became a consultant to Finnish high-tech companies entering the US market.
After all the years I spent in the localization world, I have kept following the industry, as I think there are very interesting developments and challenges ahead. In 1985 a translation customer told me that I should start looking for a new job, as all computer users will want to use only English software. Since then, the number of languages into which companies have to translate their materials has at least tripled. With the web and now with wikis and blogs, information can be published instantly 24/7 all over the world, and much of it is or needs to be in languages other than English. After all, only 5% of the world’s population are native English speakers (354 million according to Wikipedia).
I welcome comments and discussion – though preferably in English :0). For a wonderful description of why Finnish would make a great world language, go to .

Globalization: Views from the Trenches

I had the pleasure of moderating the Content Globalization Workflows session at last week’s Gilbane Boston conference. Although we were the last session on the last day, the room was filled with interactive participants with very specific issues and questions. The underlying theme? The act of translation is not the “stress-buster” for globalization projects. It’s the process. Managing it, understanding it, aligning it, integrating it — you name it. Globalization has process-centric red flags from the get-go.
The good news is that globalization as a recognized enterprise business practice continues to gain traction. In fact, our audience cited “global, simultaneous product shipments” as one of the most distinct and well-understood business drivers at the executive and cross-departmental levels. Even better, there are achievable, significant cost savings to be had. The description of a first-year, $2.4 million savings realized by GE Healthcare was impressive, to say the least. Many thanks to Jeanette Eichholz, a Leader in the Global Ultrasound User Documentation group, for sharing her story.
The Gilbane Group is working to keep the subject of globalization in the spotlight as a key issue for 2007 to help organizations understand that cost savings is actually only the cusp of the benefits. Rapid market reach, consistent brand management, and increased customer satisfaction are equally viable, and more importantly, quantifiable.
To that end, join us for our December 13th webinar, “How Sun Takes Brands and Solutions to the Global Marketplace.” Sponsored by Interwoven and SDL International, understanding Sun’s success factors will be a valuable learning experience for any organization with globalization on the agenda.
Date: 13th December, 2006
Time: 8:30 Pacific, 11:30 Eastern, 16:30 GMT, 17:30 Central Europe
Duration: 1 hour
Register here.