Thoughts on How the Localization Industry is Coping with the Pandemic
I hope you are safe and well 🙂
In today’s topic, I will discuss the challenges we have been facing as business owners during the pandemic.
During this time of isolation, I have been looking for things to do for personal and professional development. As I searched online for webinars or online courses in translation and localization, I have found an online conference called #locfromhome, all dedicated to localization and promoted by SmartCat.
Smart Cat is a platform and translation tool used for localization and translation projects which I have been looking very closely lately as it seems to be a more forward thinking company than other tools on the market. It helps take the hassle of dealing with complicated files and facilitates the linguist’s job.
In this 12 hour online conference, panelists shared their thoughts on how the COVID-19 outbreak has affected the localization industry and analyzed how growth can be achieved along with predictons for the future of the industry.
If you haven’t had the chance to attend it, I will share with you now my take on some points approached by the panelists.
Although the conference was specific to the localization industry, the discussion can be applied to other fields as well.
Has the industry been impacted? Yes, have all the segments of the localization industry been impacted. No.
While some of the segments of the industry have plummeted others have not stopped or reduced production. In fact, some segments are thriving.
The segments of the translation industries that have been impacted were those that serve sectors that have been largely affected by the pandemic.
Here are some examples of sectors impacted: Travel, Automotive Entertainment such as concerts, theater plays and all small and large events that gather people.
As we know, where there is a challenge there is also an opportunity. Subtiling, elearning, gaming, ecommerce and entertainment such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and all other streaming services have seen an impressive amount of content in need of localization services.
One thing that the panelists seemed to agree on, is that in terms of switching from working in an office environment into working from home, was a seamless experience.
This is because localization departments and agencies are technology driven, meaning their tools are the latest in the market and oftentimes, in the cloud which makes the switch from office to home office less of a struggle.
Working in Times of Crisis:
How to approach clients, manage employees and re-evaluate your processes
Communicate with your client to understand their pipeline. In this way, you can try to forecast your next move.
Be more personal with them. Offer more quality than quantity and a better tailored proposal to their needs. Do not share promotional content at the moment.
Build stronger relationships with your team .You can achieve this by calling or sending a Slack message. Some panelists shared that they have Happy Hours or coffee together on a Zoom call to catch up.
Train or Re-train your employees into new technologies and new processes that will make you come out stronger from the pandemic. Don’t forget your employees are your best assets.
To avoid making your employees redundant or furloughed , try to re-distribute the work. It’s not a solution, but it helps remedy an incredibly difficult situation while keeping all a bit occupied. If you deal with external contractors, you can also apply the same idea. Instead of sending a job to an agency, you can send to linguists who are already in your translator’s pool as resources, spreading the work more evenly.
Find ways to lower your costs, this doesn’t mean layoffs. Letting your employees go can cause a higher problem once this situation ends. You will have to train new people all over again. Instead, find ways to diversify your business, be creative!
You can help lower your costs by using the extra time in your hands to do some cleaning in your processes. All that is not working has to go. It’s time to innovate! Think about your workflows, automation of processes and marketing collateral that can be created or revised.
Suffice to say, be mobile! Take your system to the cloud. This might not be the last time we live in such a situation. We might have to go into lockdown later on again as viruses mutate and vaccines are not yet available. Think forward, invest in yourself and your employees if you have any.
Is there a possibility for growth?
Of course! As mentioned before, some segments are thriving. The pattern of growth after a crisis is for the market to get better. The speed in which this will happen, at this time is anyone’s guess. But we will overcome this, as business owners, freelancers, employers and most of all as a society.
I will use one of the cycles of development shown by one of the panelists: Plan, build, test and review. Use this structure to apply as a guideline for your business.
Look for opportunities to partner with other businesses, we are all trying to figure a way out.
I think that if I could sum up 12 hours of conference, I would say:
Connect. Be Creative. Be Empathetic. Innovate.
2020 will be known as the year where the world stopped. Times are changing, once we are finally free to go out, we might find a completely different reality. Just those adaptable will make it. So prepare yourself, read, keep in touch with your peers, listen to your buyer.
Before the rainbow there’s rain and we will get out of this but unfortunately, we will have to get wet first.
Made in Brazil Translations is here to listen to your needs. We understand that times are tough but I am sure that you have many ideas that you would like to discuss and evaluate their viability.
Send us a message and let’s talk!