Just back from the latest Localization World in beautiful Barcelona. Here are some quick highlights from the conference before they recede in the crush of day-to-day work.
The event continues to grow beyond its core audience of localization and translation professionals, attracting business and marketing managers from companies like Expedia, Fedex, and SAP. Of the practitioners attending our panel on global marketing communications, about half self-identified as marketing, the other half as localization managers supporting marketing. Hats off to conference organizers Ulrich Hennes and Donna Parrish for nurturing a program and venue that enables critical cross-functional interaction.
Speaking of our panel, we moderated a session entitled Global Marketing Communications: Bringing Order to Chaos. The core premise of the panel drew on the results of our 2011 study on multilingual marketing content, which revealed that the global content value chain for marketing content is very much in the formative phase. How are leading global companies making progress towards bringing stability and maturity to their globalization practices for marketing content? Speakers included Meritxell Guitart from Hogarth Worldwide, Sophie Hurst from SDL (speaking in her role as director of global corporate communications, not as SDL), and Amanda Lordan from Philips, who used a video to demonstrate Philips’ practice instead of just talking about it. Thanks to Meritxell, Sophie, and Amanda for sharing their experiences.
There was — finally! — a broader recognition of the position we have long taken regarding localization as a key element of an integrated content value chain, not as a standalone function that happens in a back office or black box. We were happy to see a session on CMS/TMS integration presented by Intel, for example, and references to eliminating language afterthought syndrome throughout the conference. The notion that a localization strategy is essential to mainstream business success was a consistent and prominent theme throughout the conference. Music to our ears, of course.
We left the conference with insights into what’s emerging as the new primary driver for investments in content globalization strategies, practices, and infrastructure. In 2011, it’s all about velocity — enabling the organization to operate effectively in an age of rapid change. While there is still much talk about audience engagement and customer experience, the tremendous pressure to deal with velocity was clearly top-of-mind for all attendees. This topic will be featured prominently in our analyst coverage in the weeks to come.
All in all, a great opportunity to spend a few thought-provoking days looking at the current state of content globalization and gleaning insights into what’s next, with the backdrop of a drop-dead gorgeous city as an added bonus.