If you know anything about the localization industry, you know that Anna Navarro Schlegel is kind of a big deal. A celebrity in the field, Anna is a globalization expert with two decades of experience. She is currently head of globalization strategy and information engineering at NetApp, a multinational storage and data management company headquartered in Silicon Valley. We were thrilled to have her speak at the NCTA General Meeting on May 12th, 2018.
When Anna walks into the room, we are struck with how nice and accessible she is as she chats with the members. Anna takes her seat among the other members as the meeting starts and NCTA organizational agenda items are dealt with: the launch of the new website and updates from Continuing Education, Social Events, and Publications. Then, NCTA vice-president Judit Marin, born in Catalonia like our speaker, announces with some national pride that this woman, a mother of four who started as a translator and today mentors new talents, has articles featured in Forbes, Fortune, Gala.com, and Multilingual.com—among others. She is the author of Truly Global: The Theory and Practice of Bringing Your Company to International Markets, published in 2016.
Anna tells her story starting with her beginnings as a young translator. She eventually became a language service provider and later moved to the corporate side of the industry. As she describes how she coaches her team, she extends the same advice to us: words matter. The words you use to describe what you do and how you will add value are critical. Don’t limit your contribution to translation alone; instead, position yourself as someone who increases revenue internationally.
In explaining how she has convinced skeptical business partners to spend money to localize content, she argues that numbers also matter: a solid business case requires data and analytical skills to demonstrate the value of your proposal in dollars and cents. Anna, a fan of Tableau software, advises her globalization team to use visuals (complete with metrics and ROI) as a compelling way to get the point across to busy executives. Even with that, perseverance is required—the globalization message has to be repeated until it lands with every stakeholder required to take the company international: Marketing, Sales, Legal, Customer Support, Channel Partners, and Training.
We may not all work for multinationals with a mature culture of globalization, but Anna’s perspective inspires individual language professionals seeking business from direct clients who need guidance with their forays into the global marketplace.
In the second part of the presentation, Anna tells us about her group initiative, Women in Localization. She is a co-founder of this worldwide association whose mission is to build a global community supporting the advancement of women in the localization industry. Founded in San Francisco in 2008, today Women in Localization has around 4,500 members across the globe. Participation in the group can open mentoring opportunities and can take your career in new directions.
To learn more, visit www.womeninlocalization.com
To register: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/911827/profile
– Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WomenInL10N/
– Twitter: @womeninl10n
Bringing in speakers of Anna’s caliber helps the NCTA and its members build connections beyond the sometimes-narrow frame in which we operate, immersed in one project after the other. For Anna, presenting at the General Meeting was an occasion to set foot on familiar ground, as she had been very active in the association while a fledgling language professional. She wishes the association continued success as we celebrate our 40th anniversary with past and current members.