dog with a stick and a blue badIf it’s fall, it must be conference season. Each year, from September through November, organizations of all sizes bring people together to talk about the state of the industry and topics of the day. It’s an exciting time, for sure. I enjoy traveling from conference to conference, meeting new people, catching up with old friends, and learning more about what people in our industry care about.

Like many, I have a packed conference schedule this fall. I’ve already spoken at a couple of events (Northern California Translators Association General Meeting and Localization World), and I have about five more before I can put away my suitcase. I tend to speak at three different, but interrelated, types of events. First are content development events. These include Adobe Day and Lavacon, among others. The second are translation-related events. These include Localization World and TAUS. The third are content strategy events. These include Content Strategy Applied and the Intelligent Content Conference. Of course, there are many others in each category.

There is an exciting trend taking place at all of these conferences. I call this trend convergence.

Translation-focused events are including tracks on content strategy and sessions on content global readiness. Content development and content strategy events are including tracks on globalizing content. In my opinion, it is not a moment too soon.

We all agree that more companies are translating more content into more languages every single day. This means that we have tons of content (literally – imagine how much all that content would weigh if it wasn’t digital!). And this means that we need a cohesive, comprehensive, and well-developed strategy for producing, managing, and distributing that content. In addition, we need to focus a lot more effort on creating source content that can be consumed by people in multiple languages. Content creators need to do a better job of producing content for human and machine translation.

This past week, I attended Localization World. There were about 600 conference goers, most in the localization and translation space. I co-taught a full day workshop on global content strategy, sat on a panel discussing content strategy and its impact on translation and localization, and presented a session on preparing content for machine translation. In addition to me, other content strategy pros spoke: Ann Rockley, Sarah O’Keefe, PG Bartlett, Anita Davey, Paula Land, Charles Cooper, and DeAnn Wright. Scott Abel led the charge, hosting the event and organizing the track.

Judging from the crowds in the room and the comments I received after I spoke, content strategy and content creation are very important topics for localization people. They (perhaps more than anyone) understand the issues we face creating, managing, and delivering all of this content to all of these countries in all of these languages.

I expect to see equally enthusiastic crowds at upcoming content conferences where I will be speaking about global readiness and localization. Content creators are also coming out of their silos. They are trying to understand how their source language content impacts the final, multilingual deliverables that are produced. All I can say is, “Hurrah for convergence! Let’s do more!”

Next week, I’ll be at TAUS and Content Strategy Applied USA. If you are there, please stop by and say, “Hello.”

Happy fall, y’all!


Val Swisher
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