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Monday, November 14, 2011

The $300 Million Button

The $300 Million Button

This isn't obviously related to localization. However, with so many online localization process systems making clients and vendors (not to mention a localization company's own staff) navigate an online maze to accomplish anything, but is useful in reminding us that focusing on user experience must be key, not on the bureaucratic hoops management thinks everyone wants to jump through.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Despite the floods, your Thai-language projects are safe with Admerix

Considering the serious flooding in Thailand, Admerix wanted to provide an update on the situation for Thai-language projects.

With large areas of central Thailand under pressure from evacuations, power outages, and conflicting statements from authorities, you can rest assured that Admerix can run Thai projects without a hitch.

Located in Singapore and with a large base of local resources, Admerix can apply industry standard management and quality assurance to Thai language work. Even when Thai-based companies are struggling with communication and delivery difficulties, Admerix can deliver corporate-grade localization work no matter what the conditions are within Thailand.

Admerix Thai Expertise

Availability of qualified subject specialist teams

While there are many Thais willing to give general translation a try, finding professionals with relevant experience and tools can be difficult--particularly on large-scale projects. Admerix has qualified teams of tested resources for even the largest and most challenging projects. Our large Thai team of linguists is expert in many subject specialties--medical, automotive, ERP/CRM, gaming, and elearning.

Terminology specialists

The Thai language is fraught with terminology issues. Even companies selling identical products frequently adopt different (and often confusing) terminology for seemingly commonplace terms. Admerix's knowledge of the Thai market ensures your projects will employ the most appropriate terminology.

DTP and formatting issues

Thai still remains one of the trickiest languages to deal with because of line-break issues, stacked tones and font size problems. Admerix has extensive experience in handling these types of issues in ERP/CRM, online software, and mobile devices.

If you are anxious about trusting your project to a Thailand-based company at this time, Admerix can give you peace of mind in stable and transparent Singapore.

We would be happy to answer any questions about our solutions for Thai and other Asian languages, so please don't hesitate to contact us. Email:

Sunday, October 2, 2011

3 Questions to Ask Before Adopting that Best Practice

Thought-provoking stuff from Harvard Business Review:

Best practices are alluring. If other companies have already determined the best way to do something, why not just do what they did? But before you run off to collect best practices from the leader in your industry, ask these three questions:

    * What are the downsides? Implementing a practice that worked elsewhere isn't necessarily a slam dunk. Think through the potential disadvantages and figure out how to mitigate them.
    * Is success truly attributable to the benchmark practice? There are many reasons a company succeeds. It is unlikely that emulating one practice of an industry leader will give your company the same success.
    * Are the conditions similar at your organization? For best practices to be transferrable, businesses need to have key similarities: strategy, business model, and workforce.

Adapted from Harvard Business Review on Making Smart Decisions

Sunday, September 25, 2011

"Crowdsourcing" means translators will work for free

The history of the localization industry in the internet era has been the story of the race to free translation. This may be good for business, but linguists have always been aware that the expensive tools offered to them are designed to reduce what they have to be paid.

This started with expensive TM tools that had the dual effect of costing a fortune up front and then discounting repetitions--the grid of which gets tighter and tighter for the linguist with each year.

Now we have crowdsourcing, the holy grail of the industry, where linguists log on to a system (creating "systems" is another holy grail) and work for a vastly discounted rate--or even for free--to complete work in record time.

There's hardly a localization firm out there that has not contemplated a future where it gets to charge big bucks to its clients, but then gets all the work done for practically nothing by Wikipedia-style editors who, for some reason, want to do it for free.

All of this was brought to mind by this interesting thread on Slashdot: Steam Translation Community Slaving Away

It is interesting to note that the open source community supports this sort of model as being compatible with the development of community driven software such as Linux.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Press releases we see too often

Localization press releases and newsletters come fast and furious these days as those in the industry attempt to drum up business in the face of an uncertain future. Most of these efforts have very little to offer to clients or resources and many unintentionally demonstrate the odd thinking that pervades the industry.

Here are a few of types of press releases we have seen that make us smile (and sometimes shake our heads in disbelief):

Localization company congratulates itself for having a blog
(…shares favorite recipes of their accounting staff in an attempt to solve the problems of their clients)

Localization company appears at localization convention
(…where they spend the shareholders’ money speaking to other firms about options for future jobs once their own company goes broke)

Localization company in the U.S. boasts that they have a project manager who lasts more than six months
(…has been driven partially insane by sales though)

Focus on standards dooms LISA – as a result, GALA jumps on board the standards bandwagon
(…everyone know that bureaucracy equals quality, right?)

Localization company revamps its website
(…and it still looks no different than any other localization company site)

Localization company trumpets its new accounting system
(…now promises to pay translators after 6 months—if they complain enough)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

We are here in August!

Localization is a strange business. Not many industries can hang up a “gone fishing” sign for a month and expect the clients they serve to simply wait for them to return from their holidays. The Eurozone cultural convention of month-long holidays around this time of year usually causes a dearth of localization resources. No skeleton staff or reduced capacity, just turn on the holiday auto responder messages for all emails and make sure the lights are off on the way out the door!

This trend may be changing though. July-August used to be a slow period for localization, but in the past few years it has been one of Admerix’s busiest times.

Here at Admerix, we remain on call throughout August and maintain a complete selection of subject-specialist resources to cover all requests. Our veteran project managers are standing by to solve your challenging localization problems.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Localization: Our Backwards Industry

After so many years of LISA plowing time and effort into standards, it is odd to see GALA jump on the failed LISA standards bandwagon.

Does anyone in the industry really care about standards?

Talk of standards and how to maintain them is mainly used by sales departments to dazzle impressionable clients. Discussion about standards also allows clueless management to conjure up the impression that some sort of bureaucracy can compensate for the inexperienced (i.e. cheap) project managers that localization firms are forced to hire to cut costs.

This has created the phenomenon of the localization vendor manager as a bureaucratic paper pusher, requiring endless forms and notifications that are inevitably ignored by their resources. (We don’t think localization companies actually believe vendor management brings value either--it is most often the first department to go when companies cut back.)

After all the promises of unsupported processes and standards are forgotten by the production department, what is it that really guarantees quality and thus maintains the client relationship?

The answer is personalized service by industry veteran project managers. Experienced, professional project management is the key to solving the inevitable challenges that arise. Deep down, salespeople know this is true. Project managers who have to face both client and salesperson ire know it too.

Project management is also a part of sales. Their interaction with the client and the impression they make creates customer confidence and loyalty.

Inexplicably, the focus of localization companies has been consistently moving in the opposite direction.

The trend is to hire younger and less experienced project managers. When projects start wandering off track and salespeople and clients are complaining, these people get burned out and leave. Staff turnover because of this is detrimental to the consultative relationship we should be trying to create with our clients. (How many novice project managers have left your company this year and who did you replace them with?)

Localization companies are moving further and further away from personalized service by implementing expensive workflow systems to handle projects. These workflow systems go hand in hand with reduced project manager experience and competence. The less experienced project managers are, the more necessary management believes it is to have a “system” to compensate for the failings in all other areas.

This slide to employ cheap novice project managers in conjunction with impersonal workflow systems is a big shift away from anything that can satisfy and keep a customer.

The real answer is experience and client interaction that demonstrates you can and will provide the solution that a client needs.Clients may think they are choosing on price, but the reality is that they stay with companies who create a consultative relationship.

They stay with those who make them confident that their projects will succeed even when unforeseen challenges arise. They stay with those who get results in the face of crazy circumstances that could cause project disaster. They stay with those with the experience and knowledge to make them look good.

Friday, June 17, 2011

More On The Fake Euro Translators

About our earlier post Fake Euro Translators, Claudia writes:
It's as simple as this: You reply to any of those "translators", they have your company details and then they will do business in your name - and not pay their contractors. In the end you will find your name on some blacklist. At least, that's what happened to us...

Sunday, May 29, 2011

To Unlock the Benefits of Social Media, Content Will Always Be Key

A question that seem to be getting asked in the meeting rooms of language service providers now is "Who is going to handle social media within our organization?" The answer is usually a low-level admin person or junior project manager. The questions that do not seem to be getting asked is "Do we have something worthwhile to present?" and "How are we going to monitor the benefit of these exercises?"

The amount of return on the investment in social media will be directly proportional to the quality of the content that is generated and posted. There are a few (a very few) in any organization who have some informed comment to make and this is obvious as most corporate social networking has very little of interest to offer. Social media for companies mostly comes down to generating anything to fill space on a regular basis.

To make social media worthwhile someone in the organization has to put in the time and thought to actually say something that will be of value to the reader. Such content only comes from someone within the organization who has experience in the industry, expertise at many levels, a critical eye for what is important and what is trash, and a flair for presenting their message in as few words as possible. It never can come from the lowest admin person in the company to whom the task is usually delegated and who has to fit it in when not busy answering phone calls and making coffee.

Most often top-level people in charge of company strategy in tandem with marketing people have the wherewithal to contribute valuable material. However, it is most often the case that these people are too busy to contribute and instead allow junior staff to merely fill space by posting links to articles vaguely related to the company’s business and post mind-numbing profiles of staff members.

Newsletters are another area in which many small and medium sized LSPs are investing time. Unfortunately, newsletters have degenerated into something less than a total waste of time. If the newsletter from your company includes the personal interests of the employees of your company, trivia questions, sympathetic statements for the latest disaster victims, applauding yourself for whatever it is that you think you are doing right, etc., then it is of about the same value as an email promoting the sale of replica watches, and will receive the same treatment.

Newsletters can be a valuable way of getting out to customers and resources with relevant information, important changes to processes, and updates that make a difference to how things get done. As with all marketing, it has to be about your customer or the intended reader. It has to be information that they care about and will solve their problems. When producing a newsletter, if you have these objectives in mind, and can focus on the needs of the reader and not on yourself and what is happening in your own little world, the result will certainly get a good hearing.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Why I Will Never, Ever Hire A "Social Media Expert"

From Business Insider: Why I Will Never, Ever Hire A "Social Media Expert"

Great observations in this article.

“It’s not about building a website anymore! It’s so much cooler! It’s about Facebook, and fans, and followers, and engagement, and influence, and…”
Will you please shut up before you make me vomit on your shoes?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Fake Euro Translators

We have been receiving fake Euro translator resumes coming in via email several times per week. There have been 14 in the month of April alone. When you pick out any distinctive phrase from the resumes, you can invariably find this phrase has originated from Translator Cafe or Traduguide. The mails are always sent to “undisclosed-recipients” but would seem likely that any company or agency listed with the above two industry websites would be receiving them.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

So it's come to this: Linguists pay to see jobs on offer

A funny thing that really shows the plight of the biggest players in the industry--Lionbridge expects translators to pay them for the privilege of being able to see what jobs might be on offer. From their GeoWorkz site:
...The marketplace gives you access to search, sort, and view hundreds of jobs such as translation, proofreading, desktop publishing, localization engineering and more. Get started today – just click below to subscribe. Access to the GeoWorkz Jobs Marketplace is part of every paid Translation Workspace subscription. Jobs are posted and updated daily so check back often. And remember, no matter where you are located, now you have access to Lionbridge jobs around the world...

Yes, this is an amazing advance for the industry. :)

All kidding aside, the biggest players in the industry have massive overheads since they are located in expensive locations, but their business model is the same outsourcing model from 1997. Any new start-up immediately begins miles ahead of them in terms of margins while being able to dramatically undercut them in price.

Besides an attempt to monetize the linguists they work with, GeoWorkz represents another attempt to rejigger the localization work flow in the face of Google Translate and Google Translator Toolkit. While we don't know what Lionbridge is really up to, "innovative" new directions like this are usually key for positioning the company for major mergers and acquisitions and its future strategic direction.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

CSA predictions for 2011

Interesting predictions from Global Watchtower: Predictions for 2011: Increased Visibility for Language Services (Global Watchtower is the blog of Common Sense Advisory).

Most localization industry predictions have not had a good record of success. For instance, throughout the 2000’s predictions of CMS and TM systems somehow turning the industry into a mature corporate-dominated arena were a bit far fetched at the time, and have subsequently not come true. (This was expected by many savvy agencies who work at the coal face of the industry :) ).

While it is true that "workflow systems" are still a vision presented as a marketing ploy to corporate clients, the reality is that the back end of the localization industry largely remains a commodity driven cottage industry preformed at home by the cheapest resources available.

Still, the phenomenon of machine translation—and in particular the involvement of Google into the equation (the only player with scale enough to make a dent in this process)—is changing the possibilities in the industry as well as how work is done.

CNS is picking up on this and several other issues, such as:

Instead of just squeezing suppliers for better pricing, they’ll start to look at the big picture, turning to more sophisticated solutions, such as automation and process optimization to address the need to offer multilingual content and services without breaking the bank.

With some top vendors pressing receptionists into project manager duties, the top down push for lowering costs and raising margins must indeed be severe. The conflicting desire for ever higher quality at the same time is what is pushing the move to computerized systems for automating the process and giving higher ups in the organization the illusion they have control of the process.

The one concept missing here is the fact that so many major localization vendors have gone through big external infusions of cash and near brushes with death (and this was even before the economic downturn of the last few years) that shaving sourcing costs continues to be a mania and a necessity.

Another trend:

Internal localization and translation departments will question whether they should go the route of outsourcing wholeheartedly, and whether a large internal staff is truly critical for efficiency in managing their language activities. Smelling the opportunity, savvy LSPs will work with their customers to develop more consultative arrangements, enabling them to offload more work.

This is particularly interesting to us at Admerix as this is at the core of what we are set up to do—provide industry veteran project management that is affordable. We allow major LSPs in expensive locations to offshore their production to an affordable location while maintaining industry expertise. This thinking runs counter to what most companies are trying to do—cut project management expertise and somehow make up for it with expensive online process-management systems.