Localization Academy

All About Internationalization – Beat Stauber

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Explore the art and science of internationalization with Beat Stauber, where cultural nuances meet coding precision. Uncover how this intricate process shapes the global reach of software, blending innovation with the essential human touch.

Welcome to this episode of The Localization Podcast where you’ll learn about:

  • How Beat transitioned from QA to internationalization
  • What exactly is internationalization
  • The relationship between localization and internationalization
  • Why investing in internationalization is crucial
  • When to start thinking about internationalization
  • Internationalization in the agile model
  • Why smaller LSPs need someone technical

Andrej Zito 

Do you remember the first time you fell in love with internationalization?

Beat Stauber 

I don’t think it was a specific moment. I came into the industry in language QA. And as I was testing, I started to see some of those challenges. And one of the really unusual ones was keyboard sharing. When when you have a shared workspace, you know, you can share like a whiteboard or something, which was part of the video conferencing software that we were testing. If the person on the other side has a keyboard with a Japanese eye, me turned on, for example, the Input Method Editor, how does that translate to the other side? How is the shared whiteboard going to represent? You know, the typing, it has to be aware of the ihme being on and there was all kinds of issues around that that’s pretty advanced internationalization challenge. And as very fascinating to me that how the developers worked on that, and tried to figure that out is a very complex problems. So I was fascinated by those kinds of things that came up during the testing. And video conferencing particularly has some really interesting stuff, because you have different connection speeds. And, you know, in different geographies, some some geography stitches have lower speeds, and you have to have a good experience, you know, that’s internationalization to write to, to allow different physical locations to have the same experience in a shared environment, like a video call, something people maybe didn’t think don’t think about as internationalization, but it is too. So lots of issues around that, beyond the localization. And I just thought it was fascinating how, you know, you have to prepare the software for translation, to show fonts, for example, for different languages, when you translate the interface into Japanese, we did Japanese and German in this first product. And so it’s a fascination with those kinds of problems. And seeing how to develop or solve them at the time. I didn’t know anything, right. And so so it wasn’t just one moment, I fell in love with it. And but I always liked those challenges and kept adding to my, to my knowledge about those things with every product I worked on. So I think that’s kind of how it happened.

Andrej Zito 

Did that initial fascination sort of let you to go to a different role than testing?

Beat Stauber 

Yes, I testing was a little bit repetitive to me. Because you basically, you know, you have a product, build a preliminary builds, put in front of you have a piece of software, and then you just, you know, run through your cycles, and report bugs, and then you verify them and they’re fixed. It gets a little bit repetitive. And so I was like, Well, why can I be involved in the fixing the fixing of issues is a lot more interesting to me. And so I started to just kind of help out that that kind of stuff. In my role, I got more into data sec, who is fixing this stuff. And you know, they realized I didn’t really have an engineer who would do that. And so I just kind of pushed myself into that role. And Demetri switched over entirely to the engineering.

Andrej Zito 

I guess for a lot of people, when you talk about working as a localization engineer, it’s not necessarily related to internationalization. Were you able to, I don’t know, get yourself into internationalization when you started working as an engineer? Or was it still what we normally know from the, let’s say, the vendor side that engineers typically do?

Beat Stauber 

I was able to get myself into it, because I saw that as the locus engineer who does pre processing and bug fixing, post processing, you interface with the QA team, right? You get to see the defects that they submitted. And I noticed that, in at least in this specific group, I was in the QA lead, or the testers didn’t really know which bugs were just things you could fix linguistically, and which bugs were maybe required a developer to fix an underlying internationalization issue. So I felt that the LEA needs to have that knowledge so that they can, you know, as they go through the defects, if they get the raw set of defects from that or not scrubbed by anybody with that knowledge already, you get a mix of things, and you need to know and you need to know quickly, what can I fix, right and then add the internationalization issue to the developer queue. And you want to be able to also add some information to it. So you want to be able to troubleshoot maybe some things figure out okay, what is really the underlying issue here is the developers in jot, they like that when you give them a little bit of of that. Troubleshooting info, it’s easier for them to fix a bug because they’re not internationalization experts either. If they’re not part of the localization team, if they’re just software developers out there. So I think I realized is this my role, I can add value here by figuring that out, adding appropriate information and routing things to the developer or to a linguist or fix it myself, right. So if you’re, the better you get at that, when you talk in large volumes of defects, you can move really fast, right and get through hundreds of defects. And as you get more experienced, within seconds, you immediately know, okay, this is internationalization. This is unlike unfixed Ichigo, linguist. And, you know, that’s where you become more valuable, I think, as a as an ally, if you have that knowledge.

Andrej Zito 

Well, one thing that I think is interesting is that initially, you said that when you were working as a tester, you get fascinated by what you could be doing more. And that’s what led you to engineering. And now you talked about developers, did you ever think about actually going even further, say upstream becoming a developer? Or why there’s the role of an engineer who specializes or has so much interest in interest isolation? Why is that, let’s say your final station?

Beat Stauber 

It’s pretty simple answer. I don’t like coding. I’ve tried it. I’ve done a little bit of coding. I’ve never formally learned it. But I did some coding in the way early times, and I just didn’t really enjoy it. It’s very, I find it very tedious. I think it’s fun to create that way. But I found the process very tedious. And I think so somehow my mind, and coding didn’t really align. Could I have become a coder? Probably. But, I mean, I think I have to. I have the intelligence if I had applied myself, but it just didn’t appeal to me. Alright,

Andrej Zito 

so thinking about internationalization, maybe for those who don’t know what we’re talking about? What is your definition? You mentioned something that I would never think about, you know, like the different internet speed that needs to be solved, for example, for a conferencing software, I never thought that something like that would be a criteria for internationalization. So what do you understand with internationalization? Why is it important?

Beat Stauber 

Well, I think it’s any modification to a product that allows the product to be used worldwide geographically, by any users speaking any language ideally, in best case, right? So it should function worldwide, in as many environments as possible by as many people as possible. That’s to me is the very broad, very broad strokes. Now for each product, that’s of course is a different challenge. You can have a product box of a product and you can internationalize the box by having multilingual instructions on right. Or providing information about, you know, does it contain power cords for different countries or wherever country specific power cord, that’s internationalization to so many this is the an odd example that people may not think about. It’s not just software, it can be in other areas to hardware to right, if you ship a washing machine to one country or the other. When I have to correct plug with it. It’s internationalization, two manuals, providing manuals in different languages. But then for software, of course, that’s my specialty. I’m not specializing in washing machines

Andrej Zito 

through bed, but is there? Is there a scenario where we work in the localization, especially if you’re working on the vendor side can somehow impact something about let’s say, what the power cord should be used? Or is this the internationalization that has to be done by the, let’s say, the manufacturer or the or the client? Yeah,

Beat Stauber 

I mean, if we were in some way involved in that process is of course having knowledge. You know, I would certainly point it out if I see something I have worked with product packaging, occasionally, localization of product packaging, and, you know, may have pointed out some some things there. That can’t come up with a specific example. But yeah, I don’t know if that answers your question. Right.

Andrej Zito 

Okay. So, localization, speaking of localization, how do those two terms relate to each other? You mentioned the packaging. Okay. So we, I guess, obviously understand that you translate whatever is on the box. But how do internationalization and localization relate to each other?

Beat Stauber 

I think If you if you ask different people, you get slightly different answers. What I see a lot localization is the adaptation to a specific region or country. Right. Whereas the internationalization is to get it ready. So it can be adapted. So it’s kind of a two as the one can’t happen without the other. You can’t localize without internationalization. But you can internationalize, without localization, one has to come first. If you can’t translate a user interface, then you can make a German app, right? If everything is hard coded, and it’s basically basically impossible to translate the strings, then you can’t localize. If, if you have address formats, for example, in an ordering system, if the system is not internationalized to handle different address formats being through CLDR, I believe it’s called, which I haven’t used actively, sadly. Then you if you don’t make it ready for that, then you can’t adapt, right to address formats, you can support different address formats if this system is not ready to do it. So yeah, I think it’s, it’s a really two things that have to happen in sequence. And localization itself, you know, can be translation, but also can be adaptation of the content, could be marketing, adaptation, right? Like stuff like address formats, picking, picking the, like picking a UI font that’s appealing to, for example, for Thai, that’s localization, but making the software able to where you can choose a font and not just using some default font, that’s internationalization. To me,

Andrej Zito 

I lost my fault right now. What do I want to ask? Well, yes, the example that you gave, that if strings are hard coded, I think that’s like one of the most common examples people give, at least in my experience, when they talk about internationalization. Are you said that you can do localization? Is it really that it’s impossible, or it’s just

Beat Stauber 

impossible, you’d have to duplicate the code for each language, right, and then translate the strings inside the code, which there may not be a parser to proper to automatically parse that. So you’d have to do manually, and then you have multiple sets of the same code. So every time we make a code change, you’d have to make it across all the each language code base. I mean, it’s just crazy to even think about that. But yeah, I’ve worked on projects where that was done, worked on projects, where that was done, and I couldn’t get the dev team to change their ways it has happened. And I’m just like, okay, that’s the hill you want to die on is not to internationalize your code. But I told them, it’s not. Maybe not in those words, but but they just said, we don’t have the resources to do it. But then how many resources? Do you need to manually keep all that up to date? So it doesn’t make sense.

Andrej Zito 

So since you failed in that situation, convince someone, why do you think some companies or some clients are not willing to invest in internationalization? And maybe then we can talk about like, what is the investment actually look like?

Beat Stauber 

That’s really the million dollar question. And I literally mean million dollar questions, because that’s the cost right? Of for a larger company with larger products cost is in the millions. I believe, if you don’t, internationalize I think education is the first part. And you try that. And you, you know, depends if you’re working for a localization provider, and you work for a large company. First, you don’t have the same amount of leverage. If you’re an employee of that big company, you’re both employees, like the developer is and I am then maybe I have a little more leverage, I have easier paths to escalated. If you’re working for a localization provider, you may not have that leverage, they may not take you as seriously because you’re from an outside company. Like why would I listen to that guy? Right. So education is the first part, sometimes development teams are short staffed. So the especially if they’re internationalization is so behind, that the effort would be huge to have already have a huge codebase. And, and, you know, very well established product that we’ve run into that a lot where we get pulled into a product that was released for years in English only in most cases, and we looked at the internationalization and it was just impossible, or it would have been really huge effort than they might have not have to staffing to do it. Or the release cycles are so tight that there’s just no time in between. But we’ve also had cases where they said okay, this is the right thing to do, but we it may take us a couple of releases to actually fully internet Charlize, and then they would either wait on localization, or they would do brute force localization for a little while, and then go to, you know, proper localization. So I’ve seen all of that in my in my career, but yeah, I think I think those are some of the reasons. But without dedication, it’s not going to happen. Because software developers simply are not going to know what internationalization is, unless they work in the industry or have worked on a project where it was a big deal. But yeah, I wish it was on the roadmap for every project, right? Shipping, the requirements should be enforced by development, team management. Just like any other requirements for a piece of

Andrej Zito 

software, from what you were saying, to me looks like, if let’s say a big company decides to do internationalization, and they’re behind, there is a huge investment. Is there something that they could do partially? Or is it like, is it really like you to do it? Or do it well, or you don’t do it at all? Can you do like some smaller steps?

Beat Stauber 

I think you can do it partially. If you know, if if you had to prioritize certain things. So for example, if you say, well, we need to translate the user interface. But we may have to hold off on some of the other issues, I think what you do is you do a full internationalization assessment of the product, see, identify all the issues, hard coded strings, right? Address formats, number format, state formats, UI fonts, you know, many other things, data input, output, things like that, see everything use Unicode in the background, things like that. So you identify everything that you can, and then you, you figure out what would be the effort with the development and you figure out what be the effort for each item to get it to get it supported. And and then you prioritize based on that, what would have the biggest user impact, like, if you can’t hurt, go to strings, you need to transit the German, you have to move the strings to a resource file of some sort, you have to separate them from the code, that’s a must do. So that is top right. And then the other thing is, you’d have to just prioritize what’s the user impact? And, you know, can you live with some of the things if the effort is too big, and some of them, you might see that they’re really small things, you know, we call low hanging fruit, easy to fix, just fix it. Don’t even debate it. So that stuff that’s like 15 minutes to code, you just fix and then the things that take 100 hours, you know, then you have to prioritize. But you also there might be some tools to help you. I know, there’s some tools to extract strings from from code, either do it automatically, or at least flag everything. And so there’s some help there and some cases too. But yeah, that’s how I would approach it, do a full assessment and then prioritize.

Andrej Zito 

When do you think a company should start thinking about internationalization? Let’s say that we’re focusing on new companies like startups today?

Beat Stauber 

Yeah, well, yesterday, he’s not going to help you. But yes, I think as you, as you can see, like, once you have the idea for a product, I think it should come into play right away before you put any effort into it. If it’s an idea, and you actually have a high probability of putting the idea into a product or turning it into a product, at that point, you would like to have somebody on the team who at least understands basic aspects of internationalization because it, you know, I see a review wireframes sometimes if products, they’re not, you know, fully fleshed out that you show approximate look, and the layout they want, how the screens are supposed to look, that’s where you already want to have a review of things. And then you want to train the developers in best practices for internationalization. So they don’t start great writing code and already creating problems. So you do want to do some training on the developers before they write the first line of code? And also a third thing is, yeah, and so I think so it’s I think it’s those three things amended, I can think of so training the developers reviewing anything visual early. And also looking at market requirements. Are there any specific market requirements? Is it always to product going to have to look differently besides language, and fonts and data formats? Those are kind of a given. But is there other other things where you need to adjustment for, you know, for US currency currencies, or, like I said, address formats, I think was another one, that a little, maybe a little more out there to people don’t think about right away. So I think, you know, in the including even maybe marketing, people have marketing people sit down with an internationalization person, go over some of that and see if there’s some stuff there that they didn’t think of.

Andrej Zito 

Well, the first thing that stood out for me was the wireframes that you actually looked at wireframes what is it that you look adds, when it comes to wireframes. Yeah, it’s

Beat Stauber 

kind of from a UX point of view, right? You see the way elements are arranged, that won’t like, for example, if you have a label, and then you have a textbox, you would want the label to be above the textbox. So there’s room for text to expand, and then to the box below, instead of the label being to the left of the text box, and then you have to worry about word wrapping and everything becomes more difficult. You also want us think about if they’re going to be bi directional languages, maybe how, you know, that maybe not quite into wireframes, but how it’s going to flip and all that that’s a whole separate issue that we may touch on. But yeah, I think that’s the kind of stuff I look, look, look out for, what would happen if the text expands or contracts? Is it going to mess with that layout? And or how flexible is it going to be buttons and stuff. If you cram too many buttons next to each other, they have no room to expand easily. Things like that are narrow columns of with text in it. Those kinds of issues.

Andrej Zito 

Maybe let’s have a debate about this thing, because I’m not sure if I agree with you, but or maybe maybe I’ll try to explain it to you from the perspective of a really bootstrapped startup. Like if you’re if you’re bootstrapping a company, and let’s say you have an idea for an app, maybe if you’re confident or maybe if you have VC money or some money in the bank, then maybe yes, you can think about okay, we are we have the best team in the world, we have a great idea we’re going to build is and you know, two, three years from now on, maybe our product will be everywhere in the world. But then there are a lot of startups that probably don’t have this extra cash sitting and back to afford someone like internationalization comes with them, they don’t have time to transfer developers. They just want to get their, you know, MVP, or the first version of their app out just to first try and see if what they assumed about the customers in the market actually sticks. And maybe once they get some initial traction, maybe that’s when, at least to me, it would make more sense to start thinking about, you know, the taking over the whole world with your app.

Beat Stauber 

Yeah, maybe I mean, you know, especially if it’s a fairly, if it’s a small product, you know, it’s not a huge user interface and a lot of user interaction. Of course, it’s not going to be that hard to internationalize later. But if you’re thinking some big enterprise solution, right, if you’re like, Oh, I’m going to create something like Salesforce just better, you know, I think it’d be foolish not to think about it upfront. And, you know, when it comes to, like you said, you know, having the money to hire somebody, I mean, if it’s a small application, give me two hours of my time, you know, pay me pay me 300 bucks an hour for two hours? And I’ll, I’ll do it for you. You know, I’m saying like, it’s not it actually, you’d be surprised at a smaller product, how quickly, you can identify, probably that top 10 issues. It doesn’t take that much time, if somebody’s experience. So it’s still been money well spent in with a small, small amount of funding. But yeah, I see. I mean, you know, there’s a there’s a place and a time for, depending on what you’re what you’re developing, of course. So you’re not I’m not totally disagreeing with you. But I think I think it’s, it’s you have to, you should, you should at least think about it. Right? Is it worth my time? Is it going to be harder later, but again, the people who are creating those products, I’m not going to have that knowledge. So I just want to save people from having the big wake up call later.

Andrej Zito 

What Why is it the white? Why do you think that people were talking about the developers? They don’t know anything about this? Do you think that internationalization is still somewhat neglected thing that should be taught in all the boot camps and all the courses?

Beat Stauber 

Yeah, of course, it should be? Yeah, it’s not I don’t think it is. I mean, I’m sure there’s some examples out there. I think maybe an instructor or creator of content, you know, is aware of those things and actually throws in some mentions of the app. But honestly, I don’t see it very often. And I’d love to be proven wrong by somebody. But I, most software engineers just don’t know. It’s just I mean, I’ve interfaced with hundreds and hundreds of software engineers, and in my in my career and date, even the ones that we’ve worked with for a while and we’ve pointed stuff out, they still keep forgetting. And you have to keep reminding themselves. People have never been exposed to it. They just don’t know.

Andrej Zito 

So do you think like who should be responsible for changing the I don’t know, the education of developers shouldn’t be the education system or anybody who’s training developers, or should it be us people from the localization? Good

Beat Stauber 

question. I mean, ya know, all times. I think people became Software Developers through and they will go to university and study computer science. So of course, I think there’s that’s one place where I’d love to see it, I think it should be mandatory that that’s part of the curriculum. So that’s, that’s the education system. And nowadays, it’s different ways you can go on YouTube and learn how to code. There’s so many good resources out there. So it would be on the individual creator of content to have that awareness and weave it into their into their content, which is probably just as challenging to achieve, because there are 1000s of content creators out there. Books, I guess they’re probably books, you can learn from books to kind of old style, but I’m sure they’re good books out there. Again, it would have to be part of the content. So it’s everybody who creates content would have to, if they don’t put it in there, the audience is not going to know.

Andrej Zito 

But I assume that from your experience, and also, from my experience, it usually actually comes down to people from let’s say, our industry, right, have to do the education. Once the company sort of realizes that, okay, localization, I don’t know, cost us too much, or the people from the localization are complaining too much, what should we do about it, then they are like, Oh, we should maybe do something about the way we write software? So do you think is like a balance? Or what role? Do you think that the LSPs are people in localization should play in the education of developers,

Beat Stauber 

I think they should play a huge role, because they’re the ones who know the most about it. And it just you have to be given the opportunity, right? I mean, I, I was with a large company, not an LSP for a long time, doing work for Intel. And I did definitely have more leverage when I was an employee, like I mentioned before, you just taken more seriously. And we had very long term relationships with some of the product teams, we have products that we worked on for 20 years. And you know that it gets fun, because people really start, you keep pointing out those issues. And they are starting to learn, especially if you have little turnover on the development team side. So that’s the other thing. I think you see more contracted out software development these days. So companies will hire software developers to help with some things. And then, of course, they don’t have control over that level of knowledge that that people have, there’s more turnover. So it gets more difficult. So yeah, I think it’s up to the LSPs. And it’s an ongoing thing. I mean, you’re always going to have to continue doing that. Would it be great if somebody said, Hey, I’m going to contact universities that teach computer science, and I’m going to ask about that. And I’m going to even somebody could offer that as service, right? You could say, Would you pay me to teach your, your software, you know, your your professors, or whoever is teaching the courses? To teach some of that? I mean, that’d be fantastic. It’s probably not going to be me, I’m too late in my career, I

Andrej Zito 

don’t want to lose my question.

Beat Stauber 

I don’t want to, I don’t want to take that on, it would be fantastic. I think it’s a pretty big thing. Considering that mixer, how many, you know, institutions, learning institutions are out there that teach that. So I think it’d be a very, very huge undertaking, it’s as big as an undertaking as another interest of mine, which is personal finance, which is also not taught in schools. And there’s an there I see it, it’s just actually interesting to draw a parallel for a second. There. I know a lot of people in the personal finance community that are making that effort, they are working with schools to bring that to people, young people, either in high school or college to really learn about personal finance, because most people know very little about it, they don’t know how to manage money. Right. And I see a lot of efforts there. I don’t see it with this as much except for you know, the couple of schools that are actually have a localization curriculum. There, it’s taught, right. But on the software development side, I, I think I would love to see some people take that on, you could probably create a company around that. That just does that kind of education. It’s a hard sell, because you have to show people that they actually need it. Right, you have to prove that. And that’s always been, I think the hardest to actually really have people understand your audience that this matters, and you need to notice, to convince them that that’s been very difficult. So why is it not going to be you? I already have a job. And I’m starting a new job. I’m starting a new job tomorrow, which is actually interestingly, happy to share that it’s a it’s a senior globalization lead role for Nike. And that is exactly that role, where you have a this one person who literally the function is just globalization. So it’s going to be working with all the different parties involved that create the products to make sure awareness of of internationalization is here. The right methods are used, things that are addressed in in a timely manner working with QA teams working with potentially marketing people, developers, program managers, project managers, everybody in localization to just kind of be that one person who, who all that stuff goes through and gets assessed and then communicated, and people get educated. So, so I’m already doing that, but just within, you know, enough doing that for one company. I don’t know if I can do it for the whole world. But yeah, it’s actually really awesome. I think it’s a, it’s an awesome thing to do. But you have to find place, and you know, you also most people have to earn some money. So it has to be, for most people would have to be some some kind of paid opportunity as well. So and that’s another thing that might be difficult, right? Educating universities about is one thing, but how do you how do you monetize that?

Andrej Zito 

Do you think someone who is educating the developers about internationalization should ideally be a developer? themselves?

Beat Stauber 

I don’t think they have to be, it’s helpful in some cases. So I’ve had some cases where I so I can read a little bit of code and look at something and maybe see some issues. depends a little bit on language, you can also look up stuff you can always find, you know, people run into problems, you can find some discussion topics. It’s helpful, certainly, if you if it’s easier for you to troubleshoot something, you can be more helpful to the developer, because you can already look at the problem and say, I think your problem is right here. You know, I have limited ability to do that. But what I do is because I usually don’t get that deep is to just identified a problem and say, This is what it should look like. But you’ll have to maybe look at your framework that you’re using. And you know how you exactly solved everyone a code level, I may not be able to give it an answer. But I haven’t had a lot of issues where people say, Well, I understand what you’re telling me, but I don’t know how to fix it. That’s been pretty rare. And you know, we’ll go out there and do some, some investigation, we usually figure it out. So, so yeah, I can give them kind of the concept of how it should be fixed, and then how they exactly implemented in the code, I can’t really tell them and that work is where it would be helpful to be able to code because then you could be more specific with your solutions. Maybe it’s better if the developer has to look into that a little bit. Maybe they learn more, if they have to go a little deeper, you know, if you tell somebody the solution, you may not so may not be the exact same learning, then if they have to spend a little bit of time trying to find the solution, some pros and cons, I guess. Yeah,

Andrej Zito 

I think I mended mostly from the perspective of, you know, like, developers, I guess, like to hang out developers, you know. So if somebody from the localization comes to them, they’re like, Who is this guy? Like?

Beat Stauber 

Yeah, it’s not gonna happen. Yeah, you may not be taken as seriously a common ground. Yeah, no, I think it would help definitely in that regard. So it’s certainly not a bad thing. I know a few people who were in our team at Intel were, who are developers. And they had some advantages in that regard, because they could come up with the actual solution, or just go a little deeper on some stuff. So certainly not going to harm or harm you to to have that knowledge. But I don’t want people to think I if I’m not, if I don’t write code, I can do international session. That’s I think that’d be foolish. So I know.

Andrej Zito 

And maybe we haven’t said it in this intro explicitly. Maybe we mentioned it in previous content that we did together. Is you already mentioned that you work for Intel directly, for the biggest chunk of your career, and then 20 years after the vendor side, right. But still working for Intel? Yes. As the client? Yes. And you touched on this before? That’s the people from the vendor side have it’s more difficult to affect what is happening on the left side. But since you had those relationships, personally, did you feel like something changed once you move to the vendor side? Or was it still more or less the same? Both?

Beat Stauber 

It I still have that leverage with the groups that I’ve kept working with. So there were some teams that I worked with for you know, when I was an Intel employee for 10 plus years. And then when I saw what just for context for people that Intel decided to outsource all the localization so they took basically the internal opposition team and basically engaged the vendor to provide the services and then so unfortunately, a lot of us you No didn’t keep our jobs at Intel. And some of us chose to move to that other provider to continue working for Intel. And that was actually maybe one of my motivations that I liked my customers, I liked the work, and I can continue to support them, I’m going to add more value for that vendor, because I already know all this stuff, right? I already know Intel, if that company had to provide all new resources that are not Intel trained and knowledgeable, they would have had a more difficult time to provide that service. So they tried to, to, to hire some of us so that they can get the knowledge in house and then provide the service to Intel. And I. So it did help with my established customers to continue work with them. Because they took me just as seriously they know. They know that I know, and that I’m helpful and to come to me with the same question. So there was no difference, they’re a little more difficult with, with new customers, new products that came to us, you have to establish that but you know, if you speak to somebody intelligently, you showed him some of the issues, you showed them how to solve them, he showed them that it’s not impossible, and how it improves the product, most reasonable people will see the value you’re bringing. So it’s just a little more work to establish that. And you won’t get that trust from everybody from some people, you won’t get them get it. But it’s always worth trying. Because it’s so much more fun to work with a team, when you establish that that relationship, right, instead of having this separation of localizations over here, the project manager talks to the to the product team. And that’s the only connection, you have no technical connection. It’s not it’s not a good way to work. So I always I always thrive to create those connections. And that’s really, to me is where the fun is working with customers directly.

Andrej Zito 

And you just mentioned that technical connection. thing, that is an interesting point. Because a lot of the people that I work with, you know, who were trained to be project managers, in those setups, it’s usually just the project manager that pretty much handles everything, like a lot of the smaller LSPs. They don’t have any localization engineer, not yet someone who is specialized in internationalization. Do you think it’s important, even for the smaller LSPs to have someone more technical in their team? Assuming that their clients are actually doing something like software? Or like apps? Or do you think that maybe the pm should be somewhat like a jack of all trades, and also know stuff about technicalities and internationalization?

Beat Stauber 

You know, it’s hard to cover all those roles, fully one person, it’s really difficult, there are some people who can do it. You know, I would claim I can probably project manage a project reasonably well, maybe not, you know, not not at the same level, as somebody really experienced it, maybe not a really super crazy big project. But I’ve had so much exposure to it, you know, I could also be a QA lead, but I could do all the roles, but it’d be very overwhelming. And I think there’s the other part is that you want to have a team because you don’t always have the same opinions and same angles on things. So if if all the thinking about a project comes from one person and then gets told to customer, you’re going to miss some stuff, having a team of three roles that secure lead and ally and the PM, I think you just you just provide better service, even if the Pm is the only point of contact. But I to me from a call, like I think you’re you’re better LSP if you can provide those direct technical expertise directly to the to the, to the, to the to the audience, because the pm will be speaking to somebody on the other side, that’s also some kind of program manager or project manager. And then the developer would get another secondhand, you know the information secondhand. So it goes through multiple people to the developer. To me, that’s just that’s just not productive. Developers speak a different language. I think you engineers speak a different language you want to talk directly. So to me, that’s a value add when you can provide an engineer that has the confidence and knowledge to directly talk to developers. That’s probably it’s probably my biggest pet peeve that, you know, engineers who are, you know, I know engineers are often introverted, they like to quietly work on their stuff, but to have an engineer that can that can have these conversations is confident and speaking about it with people that they don’t necessarily know is a huge plus and half a company. If you’re a localization provider, hire some engineers that are good communicate communicators, it’s really going to pay off

Andrej Zito 

yeah, I remember you were highlighting communication is the most important skill that you look for when you hire someone. Is this one of the reasons

Beat Stauber 

Yes, it is. It doesn’t mean you know, he can’t just focus on that of course and I hiring is very difficult. That’s a whole different topic. I don’t know if you have questions about it later. But it’s it’s a it’s a big topic. And it’s it’s very difficult to to establish how well somebody’s going to do during an interview process. I found that out. It’s honestly not, I don’t mind doing it, but it’s not my favorite thing because I, I don’t feel like I’m the best at it. But yeah, hold, that’s a hole. Probably multiple questions in there. I don’t know if you’re gonna touch on it. But I know we touched on it in a different podcast.

Andrej Zito 

Yes. But one thing that I wanted to ask you, when you mentioned about the new customers, where you don’t have those established connections, maybe even for the people who are, let’s say, more introverted, that are not so good with communication and building those relationships? How should how does it actually start? Let’s say we have a new customer is the first interaction. Okay, let’s say let’s say their first introduction is maybe with someone from sales or account managers. But then when it comes to the actual production, how are we going to help that client localize their stuff? Is it more common to have the PMs have the first contact with the client? Or is it the LEDs?

Beat Stauber 

depends a little bit, but I encourage my team to, especially if it’s something really small, right. So if the customer sends you a Word document, they have a maybe have another quick look at it, this is something weird going on. And then you know, that might be it. But if it’s anything bigger, I like to have a to have a first call with an engineer. And and I encourage it because you, you get that, you know that first shot at it to put in your little thoughts about internationalization into the customers mind. It’s the first shot that really matters. And so I think if you can, for a large sum that looks like a larger project, we have often done it. It’s a program manager or project manager and an ally. In few cases, if they know it, they know if they need heavy QA, they might even invite accumulate, you know, especially if it’s a fairly high chance that this is going to happen that we know they are going to need it, it’s going to probably going to happen. It’s not necessarily like this, oh, we just want to get an idea what the ballpark cost is. So if an engineer in there you get to, because you get to ask him some questions, and you get to already maybe see some potential issues. And you throw that right in there saying, hey, there’s some stuff you have to think about here. And we can help you with that. We’re going to bake it into our estimate, it’s really going to help you down the road, because it’s going to save you time at this distance is actually going to save you money, right? You want to throw that in there. Can a pm do that probably possibly some PMS can do that. But you know, PMS are often happy to have that other person there that because it’s takes the pressure off them to catch all those things. So the pm can focus on the pm part of the conversation, and then the engineer can add their piece to it. I love working like that. First, I love working with PMS. And I think those first opportunities are just so valuable and so critical. You know, if you can’t do that, because it’s just as first contracting, maybe it has to happen quickly. There’s no widely available, then you might say, Okay, we the pm could maybe say hey, we’d love to get into a few of the technical things. If you want to do another session, a short test session and have the an engineer there would really be helpful and it would benefit you. And it might actually help you reduce your costs. You know, you definitely always want to sell it. Right internationalization even if you don’t have a technical person in that first call. But okay,

Andrej Zito 

but that’s maybe my question about that, like, do you consider yourself to be a sales person? Or did you pick up some sales skills over the time? Or do you think it’s really just the fact that you are so intuit that you can explain it with your enthusiasm, that the clients just get it?

Beat Stauber 

I can sell a little bit. I mean, I’m not you know, I don’t really like selling I don’t want I don’t want that to be my job to be in pre sales. I had a an opportunity for I was approached for a pre sales position for a company and I, I liked the aspects of it, but I didn’t like necessarily the pre sales part because I don’t want to do that as my main thing. But yeah, you are actually you’re selling you’re selling a service internationalization is a service and you’re selling it, you know, it could provide us with at least upfront extra hours, right? That we can charge the customer that then they will recover at the end hopefully multiple times with you know, reduce QA and a better product and reduced hours on their development team to so yeah, it is there’s a little bit of sales in there. And yes, I can do it together very excited about it. And but that takes us back again to hiring an engineer who can communicate well, right. If you invite an engineering In a meeting, and they don’t dare to say anything and ask any questions, you’re not getting any benefit. So they have to be comfortable. And I think that is a, you know, that shows a certain amount of, it’s not just the person’s personality, it’s also a certain amount of seniority. On the engineer side, you don’t want to put a junior ally in that position, probably, unless they are exceptional at it. But then maybe they’re not Junior anymore. So yeah, you want to have a person that A can communicate and is really just comfortable to analyze things on the fly. I think that’s an underappreciated quality, honestly, of a internationalization engineered localization engineered to be able to just look at a situation with relatively little information and immediately start to pinpoint some stuff. You know, that’s, that’s incredibly valuable. You know, that’s like somebody inspecting your house, and immediately seeing 10 problems, right, that you should fix another person misses half of them, who is more valuable to, yes, your cost will go up, because you have to maybe fix more issues. But those issues are not going to come up when you sell the house and the other inspector by the other party is going to find, right, so it’s it, it applies to many areas, I think to be able to do that is extremely valuable. Maybe it’s under appreciated. I think it should be highly appreciated, honestly.

Andrej Zito 

Is it like playing a detective? When you know, a better physician assessment?

Beat Stauber 

Yeah, it’s a little bit, especially if you don’t if you know, if you if you don’t have a lot of information, initial call, you’re not going to get the full of everything. But I think you can still, you know, just ask a few very pointed questions maybe about, you know, maybe the user information user interface or the use cases or audience or, you know, what underlying technology they’re they’re expecting to use, depending on where it’s at in into development, right. So a few questions can get give you some opportunities to potentially point out some stuff.

Andrej Zito 

When you companies come to you, and the internationalization expert has to sort of sell that service, and then you charge them something extra on the front? That actually leads me to the question that I shared with you. So is internationalization. Something that we do? May be the beginning. Is it a one time thing, just to you know, prepare everything for future development? Or is it an ongoing process? And you as an internationalized position expert are still needed? For the?

Beat Stauber 

Yeah, so there’s two questions here. So the upfront, I mean, you don’t charge them anything extra upfront, you just, that’s just part of localization. Right? That’s not extra. That’s the problem. Like we sometimes look at it as extra. It’s part of it, just like project management and translation and QA. It’s just part of a full localization package. And I’m, you know, that literally, you put the finger on the problem that it’s looked at as extra, it shouldn’t be looked at as it’s not, if you can’t do localization. Without internationalization. It’s not extra, it’s part of the, it’s part of what you need to do. And you don’t have to sell it as something extra, you just say this is you can’t do one you have to present to the customer at one doesn’t go without the other because it’s the problems you’re going to run into if you don’t skip to sec saying I’m going to skip translation, and then they complain that the UI is not in German, will Yeah, you didn’t pay for translation. So you skip internationalization, then you complain that you have issues with address formats, or it doesn’t, you know, or users complain about date formats not being being ambiguous and stuff like that, because you didn’t do the work. It’s the same thing. But nobody would think about skipping translation if you want to localize a product, right? Because it’s like, Duh. So I want it to be the same with internationalization. But it’s, you know, it’s harder for people to grasp. So, but you have to put it in those terms. If somebody really asks you’d have to, you don’t break it out. You don’t break it out on an estimate. Internationalization is an optional line, and it’s just part of the engineering process. It’s just baked into the estimate. So meaning the person who estimates has to put that take that into account and make it part of that, you know, allocate enough time, we do it automatically in our company. We do internationalisation assessment, and then you of course, you have to decide how much is needed. And then also, we do a what we call a Content Review, where we actually review at least part of the source content to make sure the quality is good. So the translators, I’m not gonna promise that’s part of internationalization as well. So, yeah, it’s it’s not it’s not optional. And then, you know, ongoing costs, it’s really the same. Yes, of course there is. If it’s a one time localization, they could you get the source content, you translate you deliver and you’re done. then, you know, a lot of the work is going to be upfront. But if it’s a project that’s going to iterate, they’re going to add features. And, you know, so you’re going to do, you know, five, six releases in a year, of course, you have to allocate a small amount for internationalization into each iteration, because there are always going to be some new issues where they’re going to, you know, introduce some new internationalization issue, hopefully less over time, as you educate them more, right? The product should be should be get better and better as time progresses, but they’re still developers are still gonna introduce issues. So there’s still a small amount of effort that you’re gonna have to put in over time. You don’t want to skip that. Really?

Andrej Zito 

Okay, let me elaborate on that question. Please. But wouldn’t those issues later on, be mostly discovered by the QA team? Isn’t internationalization really about? I don’t know, like we said, education, or how to do the layout, how to get to know separate the strings. So if the developers are following it, do you really think that with each new feature, and each new version, there could be new types of internationalization issues? Well,

Beat Stauber 

there could be, it depends what they’re adding. But the thing is, you don’t want to wait for QA. On last QA does internationalization assessment, you might have a QA lead, or a tester who is trained in that, then they can do the assessment, it doesn’t have to be an orchestration engineer, it just has to be somebody who is knowledgeable. But what you don’t want to do is skip any internationalization assessment, translate the product, throw it at 20 different tests for 20 different languages. And everybody reports the same issue duplicates of each of all 20 bucks about date formats. And that’s when it becomes and then so all the time spent for Buddy QA testers on that. And then somebody has to scrub all those bugs, review them, determined that they’re duplicates, and then communicate it back to the dev team. That’s a lot of extra effort, right? For potentially one issue, times 20, I always say an issue my multiplied times the number languages, and times the number of places that it’s seen in the product. So if you have five places and 20 languages, you could have 100 bugs, where it really was just one issue that you could have caught up front and had to develop, implement correctly in all places. And you avoid all that. So yeah, I don’t think it’s it’s, it’s kind of one of the cardinal rules, so to speak, that you want to identify it up front. It’s much cheaper.

Andrej Zito 

So how does the super what you just said to me, it’s a sort of like a new thing that you need internationalization assessment, or input with every new lytic project, we think about from a project perspective. How does it actually fit into the, let’s say, the Agile Model? And the, I would say, consistent requests from the clients to deliver projects as soon as possible? Don’t you think like, it adds a lot of extra time?

Beat Stauber 

That’s a good, good question. And I’ve worked on a few projects that were use agile methodology and fairly short cycles, and a couple different approaches that we used. So a couple couple thoughts here. So one was that, let’s say to have a three week cycle, right? But not every three week cycle will necessarily result in a product that goes to an end user. There may be some products where literally they do actual build and release every three weeks, right? That’s possible, you get you probably have certain apps at home. I use, for example, I use Quicken for my financial tracking. And I get quite often I get updates pretty frequently, maybe once a month. So that’s a pretty, pretty quick release cycles. And then other ones, you don’t even notice it with Chrome, you probably don’t even notice when it updates in the background. So that’s pretty common. But so if if the product is released for every cycle, then of course you have to do translation for every cycle, right? If the product is multilingual. And I think what what happens is that the plan for a cycle doesn’t start at the end of the previous cycle, you write so you can work on issues like you don’t have an idea for a feature. You you come up with a rough idea. You work out all the requirements, you do all the coding all the testing in three weeks, it is not possible. So your cycles are going to overlap. There are people working on something that’s going to be implemented three cycles down the road, four cycle or even farther if it’s a really big thing. So what you want to do is you want to sort of two things you want to involve an engineer on the localization side to, to see if any internationalization assessment is needed. Right? What kind of feature? Is it? What kind of potential pitfalls? So it was spending a small amount of time to see what if there’s something is there any meat on the bone, so to speak? Or is it just, you know, oh, we’re just adding a new error message there, you know, that’s a feature, okay, probably doesn’t need it a lot. So it really depends. So you want to have anelli involved, ideally, that’s where the integration into the development team by the LE is really helpful. Somebody you know, for a large program, it’s really worth it to have an elite, it’s just kind of is maybe in some of those meetings, maybe in the, in the meetings where the different issues are prioritized. And knowing about new features, we I’ve had, I’ve worked on projects, that’s really cool, because you’re really part of the team. And you always see all the new stuff that’s coming, and you get to think about it as you go and give that input. And the other part is, of course, when you have to do translation. If you have to do those quick cycles, then it’s it’s pretty, it’s crunch time, right. So you don’t have a lot of time, the internationalization issues have to be identified before if there are any. But for products that don’t get a public release every cycle, you might not do translation for every cycle, right. So you may have three weeks cycles, but you say you’re going to do and only do translation once every two months or every three cycles. And that that gives you you know, people still have to freeze to content and the strings and, and all that stuff to give enough time. But you don’t have to do this constant every three week localization cycle, so you could slow them down and say, we’re only going to do every third cycle, we’re going to do localization, that’s possible, that really depends on the need of the product and how often you have public releases. Or sometimes you have releases to OEMs, right? If it’s a company that localizes gives it to the software to OEMs to integrate on platforms, for example, which would entail happens a lot, utilities and stuff like that, then you give it to a little yams, it’s pre released, but they still want to see it localized. Because, you know, the Lenovo wants to see the Chinese version and or whatever other languages to shipping, they want to have somebody look at it before they integrate into the platform. So you still have to be ready before the release. So really all that depends on the product release cycles and needs for early localization or what kind of testing cycles you have. But yes, you cannot, I don’t think you can decouple internationalization from that is

Andrej Zito 

the effort that goes into internationalization proportionate to the number of languages that we localize the product into? Or is it more about the different, let’s say sets of languages?

Beat Stauber 

It’s not, it’s not about the number of languages and it could be about the number of countries, which is not the same thing, right? Because if you’re so if you’re just adding, you know, you already do German, you just have French, but you’re not, you’re actually shipping worldwide with all the languages, you can just switch languages. And you don’t really have any features that are country specific, that adding French is very easy to both Latin, they use the same fonts, they use the same everything. So it’s almost almost free, other than translation and enhancing the product, select the language selection in your in your product or changing the installer to app French. Pretty simple, right? So it’s not about number languages. But if you have, of course, languages that use, you know, different fonts, different layout, then you might have some issues. So you could be adding Russian and all of a sudden your screen has all kinds of truncation issues, because the words are so long and sentences are so long, compared to maybe just you know, if it was simplified Chinese were shorter. So languages can cause problems. But generally, that doesn’t it’s not exponential, for sure. Or it’s not an additive as in, you know, one hour of internationalization now I have to do two hours of initialization because I’m adding one language it’s not it’s not like that. It’s really the the complexity of the product and how many features you have that have potential localization issues, right? So I mean, it’s really simple if your product is only displaying one error message and has no UI otherwise. But easy, right? You have to make sure it’s not truncated. And you have to make sure the font is appropriate for the message. And it’s not hard coded. I think there’s probably about two or three things. Maybe don’t have any string concatenation. So maybe four is still even though semicolon simple error messages, right? You have four, one error message, you could if it’s a dialogue you create and you design you have four potential internationalization issues just with one one error message so so no, there’s no free free lunch man.

Andrej Zito 

But does the number of should I say, look, how else? Does it really not affect the effort? What if, for example, I don’t know, like, let’s say I created my, I don’t know, software or app, most of the companies, I would say, start with the English market or English speaking market. And maybe then they say, Okay, I want to conquer Europe. So they’re going to start localizing into European languages, with the, with the effort be different than from a company who decides to go pretty much everywhere in the world, including, like, I don’t know, Asian languages, right to left languages, and so on, or would would ever be the same?

Beat Stauber 

Yeah, no. So that’s, yeah, that’s, we kind of made that distinction already. Because when you add languages with different scripts, of course, you’re adding layers of complexity, right. So if it’s all Latin based languages, like using Latin characters, then I think it’s mostly length. That’s your difference, right? The length of the text, string length, but when you’re adding, you know, is some far Chinese tide and you need different fonts, it’s gonna affect your layout, word wrapping is going to be an issue, that there’s they’re more picky, they’re gonna have spaces, you know, if periods you don’t have space between words, and Thai. Japanese is very picky Chinese, sometimes to about where to wrap words. So there’s a whole layer of complexity that adds right to left or bi directional languages they’re adding, that’s usually the biggest lift for people. So. So adding languages can add to the internationalization but it’s not. You can’t just say, you know, effort is X for one language and effort is X times two, or 2x, four, two languages, and then three extra three. That really depends a depends on what languages you’re adding. And also, it really depends on what kind of features you have in your product, right? With, especially with bi directional you can have depending on your UI, and depending what kind of content you’re displaying it, especially if we see issues with Windows, you have a mix of words and numbers and other characters. Sometimes the rendering can be weird. So issues can be created. And you also said locales and locales to me or, or geographic locations, not languages. So locale is a little different. Because you may have country specific things we talked address format before or currency or decimals, right? For example, Switzerland and Germany use different decimal convention for numbers formatting, even though they’re both German speaking country, so language not equals locale. I think that’s one of the most common misconceptions language does not equal. Well, that the misconception is that language equals locale. But the truth is language does not equal locale. How often do you see language selectors that language selectors that say, a specific locale. So it says German Germany and the language selector? So what is that exclude the Swiss audience? Or the Luxembourg? Audience? That Austrian audience? Is it something specific to Germany? Why doesn’t it just say German? So that depends, right? You have to be precise about those things. Or we had a case where we say Oh, this is a thing we had on with Intel where we had English pages. We had simplified Chinese pages and it said, POC PRC, right or Mainland China. And you cannot access YouTube from China. So there are rules around language to say, okay, don’t put YouTube links on the Chinese website. And that’s true for the audience that’s in China. But if it’s a Chinese speaker using the Chinese site, on you know, outside of China, they could you view the YouTube video, it just shows you language not equals location, there are different challenges with adding a language or adding a location. Right.

Andrej Zito 

So what in your opinion is the most difficult language to internationalize? internationalize for? Well, I

Beat Stauber 

mean, I don’t know all the languages and I haven’t done with all of them. There are more than we can count. Right. But of the I would say the, the maybe Top 40 Top 50 in the world. I see the most issues with bi directional mostly because the there’s just no readiness for it unless the framework that people use is has an easy way to flip. It is basically set one parameter and it just flips everything mirrors everything properly. With websites that usually pretty good plain HTML, right? It’s one attribute and that it pretty much takes care of it for you. There’s some frame Werkstatt have that. And then other frameworks may not be as good at that I don’t, I’m not an expert on the specific frameworks. But just what I’ve seen is seen applications where they, they would change the rendering, but then they did a lot of custom stuff in the UI, you know, maybe not super standard, and then it causes problems, it doesn’t flip everything properly, and they have to then manually make some fixes around it. So from a just from what I’ve seen, and you know, my exposure is, you know, fairly limited to working with, with Intel, but that one stuff. And then, you know, the other part is with the, like I said, the word wrapping, and Japanese and Thai, if you care about it, in a software UI, it gets really tricky, because you have to individually, you know, manipulate the text to wrap the way it’s nicer to read for the reader. And you have to ask yourself, Is that worth the effort? Was the reader going to be enough? It’s a technical application? Does it matter that much? You know, if so, like a little driver Configuration Utility, or hardware configuration utility for pieces for some hardware you have in your computer? Do you really care that much, if it’s wrapping at the right character, the reader is still going to be able to read it. So may not be worth it. But if it’s something really slick, like a marketing presentation, where you do desktop publishing, you want to have somebody goes, No, you want it to be perfect, right? advertising marketing, you want it to be perfect. So So that’s definitely an airway. It’s it’s a lot of extra work. To do that, I wish we have more advanced frameworks for that text wrapping thing. I know, I’m keep coming back to this one thing, but it’s one thing that we haven’t really solved. I noticed some solutions out there. I’ve seen one being at least tried out in my field. But and oh, maybe that’s where AI could be helpful. Oh, I know, you may have a question about that later. So we can defer that to later. But, you know, that shouldn’t have to be a human having to, to do that, that the information is exists, how can we not automate that? But there’s so many different ways we’re displaying content? How is it going to work? And every, you know, for all the different software frameworks, content delivery formats? How does it gonna work for everything? We certainly haven’t solved that.

Andrej Zito 

Well, I mean, since you touched on it, I was going to ask it anyway. What do you think, is going to be the role of AI, specifically for internationalization? Have you seen any experiments? Have you done any experiments yourself? To try out a chip GPT for something you normally use to do manually?

Beat Stauber 

I’ve asked one question. I think I’ve tried it once. I’ve been a little busy, honestly. But you know, and it’s one, it’s one of those things. It’s fascinating. And I asked myself, How deep into it. Do I want to get unless I need to use it professionally. But I think there should be a lot of opportunities there. And localization honestly. And I haven’t I haven’t deeply immersed myself, I have to admit. So it’s not, I’m certainly in no way an expert on it. I just don’t know enough. But just that example, I can probably think of some areas where it could really save time. You know, why are we doing certain things manually. But there are other areas where I think it’s human judgment is still going to be important and localization, but improvement. So mean, machine translation, improved quality insurance, automated quality insurance. I think there’s a lot of room there for much more intelligent solutions. And I don’t know what will be considered AI and what’s just, you know, a good automated solution that doesn’t involve AI. I don’t have enough expertise there. But I’m sure there’s lots there. I know, a lot of companies are looking at it. There’s also a lot of, you know, a lot of buzzing out there with not much behind it yet. Where that’s gonna go, you know, that’s might be that might be for the next generation to solve of localization experts. There’s so many young people in the industry. And I think them growing up with those technologies. I really hope they’re going to do some very, very cool stuff in that in that area. And I think there’s a lot there. There’s a lot there. People just have to get creative. We just still do too many things manually that are not, you know, there’s it they’re based on some kind of algorithms and some kind of logic that can be solved with technology. Well,

Andrej Zito 

now that got me thinking that one of the easiest thing that you could do is simply give your coat to Chad GBT and ask it if it’s well internationalized.

Beat Stauber 

I I mean, I can’t put code that’s under an NDA into Genchi VT, of course. So I can’t just take it oh, well, you’re not you can, because their policies around it. But it’s an interesting question, right. So you could take some public examples of code that’s out publicly and do that with that be really interesting. And I think that’d be really good for developer to do. I’m, I’m actually quite, I do listen to a lot of information and how, you know, you asked chat GPD to come up with code. I don’t know how much knowledge you have about internationalization, where we would come up with be really interesting. It should be done by the developer, who that’s where a developer with internationalization knowledge would be fantastic. To see what kind of stuffs to come up with and really evaluate that I think that’d be great, honestly, could be a great help. Because we have, we have coke code scanning tools, right? There are multiple, I know, Microsoft has one of those globalizer that we use for a while. And they’re tedious, and they’re a lot, it’s a lot of effort to set up. It’s a lot of false positives when you run reports, and then you have to have a human way through that it’s not productive. And it’s like who wants to do that it’s kind of mind numbing work, honestly, to just to find a handful of issues, right to have LRF 2000 results in this code scan. And now I have to find the three or four that are valid issues that actually need to be fixed. I think, I don’t know how much better those tools have gotten them currently not exposed to the kind of latest generation of those, but you would think that there’s a lot of opportunity there. Yeah, how cool would that be? Right to train an engine specifically on internationalization issues and, and know how to eliminate false positives? Cool, somebody’s gonna do it. I know, somebody’s gonna do it’s not gonna be me.

Andrej Zito 

Well, maybe it’s already done. But we might

Beat Stauber 

it might be I mean, or at least somebody’s working on it, ya know, fantastic stuff, honestly. It’s probably one of the more frustrating efforts I’ve been involved in was code scanning. And dealing with, oh, we have 25,000 results, you know, from a relatively small piece of code is like that, you can’t just throw it out at the developer and say, Hey, go figure out what to fix. Right? So manually filtering, that is painful,

Andrej Zito 

assuming that all the software would be already written, perfectly internationalized? Well. What would you be doing at the point? Where do you think the biggest value a human could add, especially like, in your case, because we were talking that you’re mostly focusing on software, right, which a lot of it has to do with how developers do their job well, and how familiar they are already with the principles of internationalization. And software development is one of the key areas that I think is being affected by AI. And let’s look at it from a positive perspective that it helps them be more efficient, rather than taking their jobs. So assuming that the AI can help them also with internationalization, what do you think in that scenario, where would be the biggest value that someone like you with your experience could still add value? I

Beat Stauber 

will probably just retire at the beach. But, you know, that’s a nice picture, right? If, hey, none of that is needed anymore. It’s just built in. Right? And I think we should push for that. There is no, but I just don’t I’m, I’m kind of interesting, because I tend to be a little bit of a pessimist at times, in that regard, because you have, yeah, you can take something and put it into let’s say, you could put in chat GPT. And it could tell you what all the internationalization issues are. But to make that globally available, it has to interface with every content management system with any content format, right? And take into account maybe some other factors that I maybe can’t think of right now. But those are just two of the parameters, content format, and the tool that the content is in. And it has to be able to handle that. So I’ll do all these integrations that have to happen, ie unless there’s some kind of Universal Interface to everything. Right? Like if you want to interface your transaction management system with content management system that has to be either direct API integration or some kind of in between connector, of which both both exists. And there are hundreds of 1000s of implementations like that in the world. So now you have to tie in that AI piece that does that work for you. You. And it has to be done for the code for the content itself. Right? So it’s so many different pieces. So you I don’t think we’ll ever get there. But I think we’ll get there on a large level where we have, you know, large, like, especially large products, or companies have a lot of money that can implement that kind of stuff. I think you’ll see it first, and I think it would shift the way the role at the localization engineer is not I don’t know exactly where it would shift to, you know, but there’s always the human factor. If the human factor doesn’t go away until we’re all humans are eradicated from there’s there’s always going to be there. There’s going to be human error. And there’s going to be some things that are not just going to be automatically detected and corrected. So I’m a pessimist in that regard, in a good way. Because it, I don’t think the localization engineer is going to be obsolete. Not in not in my lifetime, at least,

Andrej Zito 

well, you’re going to retire soon.

Beat Stauber 

Not that’s not that soon. I’m dying. I still have excitement left.

Andrej Zito 

Besides AI, what is it that you are curious about right now?

Beat Stauber 

You know, it’s interesting. I’m not I’ve never been super interested. I’m not an expert on machine translation, for example. And I you know, that’s I guess we don’t consider that AI. Maybe I don’t know how close it gets to AI. What empty engines do I’m not, it’s not my area of expertise. But I think we should be doing better with empty quality, empty quality should be better by now. I still see so many issues around translation quality, that are not solved. So I think it’s, you know, it’s adjacent to AI and AI man help solve that. But so that’s one area. You’re curious. To me, the most fun part of internationalization is to the people connection part. And that’s why I one reason why I took this specific question at noon, this specific new challenge, this new job, and I’m not retiring. So if anybody who I’m going to be working with is hearing this, I’m not retiring, I’m taking on a new challenge, because it’s, it’s exactly what I love. And what I am curious about is I get to be in the middle of it. And I get to really, it’s all going to be about people interaction and making things better from a from an internationalization point of view. And that that does excite me. Where exactly it’s gonna go I don’t know yet I haven’t started yet. I don’t know exactly what the challenges are going to be. But that is, it’s always been what excited me it was not sitting, you know, that’s maybe why I don’t like coding so much. Because I don’t like just sitting in a cube and coding away. I’m a little bit introverted, but not that introverted. I do like to communicate with people, that the people connections have always been a huge part of my, my work that I loved, and it keeps me going. And so that is what gets me excited.

Andrej Zito 

What else besides of this is work, like outside of work,

Beat Stauber 

I don’t have that much going on outside of work. When you get old, like me, you take you spend a lot more time on self care. So self care is a big thing. So between self care and a little bit of family and work and not enough sleep, you know, there’s not not a lot of time left. So some things will have to wait till later. Also, at our age, who has some of us have elderly parents that are taking up some of our time be to travel to see them or to have them close, and maybe spend time with them. But one thing I noticed and this is very personal to is through some of it was the pandemic. And some of it was my deep immersion in my work over time and also raising children, which is very challenging. I haven’t kept my personal connection alive enough with friends and people just kind of there. They’re there somewhere, but I haven’t really kept it going. And I really encourage people to spend time doing that. So I’m actually started doing that again, and that really gets me excited. I had a spontaneous phone call with a friend who is stuck cause some challenges and he doesn’t really get out of the house much had a call with him and that doesn’t meaningful things. And also COVID Really, I think a lot of us got hunkered down at home. We have our work, we get the remote work, which is great. I love it actually loves to remote work, but we’re neglecting some things and I think we have to actively bring some of those things back into life, it can get lonely fear if you don’t get out. And it’s not fun. It’s not fun to be lonely. And so I started reconnecting with people and some people from the industry, and some people outside the industry, some family, some old friends, and it’s really enjoying it, and just get out more and be out in the city and talk to random people. That’s actually one thing that excites me too. And taking care of my health, I’ve neglected my health for some time and started having some back problems in them. I’m working on fixing that. And that’s been really fun, too, and challenging. So

Andrej Zito 

I have a bunch of questions here, based on what you just said, what is it that inspired you to start reaching out to people,

Beat Stauber 

honestly, and they are getting a little away from localization, which is totally fine with me, I think it’s important to not just be, you know, thinking about your work. But I think there’s two things. i The team that I’ve worked with at sama lingue, which I’m leaving today officially are, it’s been an amazing team to work with. Before that was global me. We do, we’re part of amazing people to work with. And I just really appreciated all those connections, and I don’t want to lose those connections as I’m stepping away from that job to people mean something to me, they’re good friends of mine. And also seeing another thing is, we’re talking about elderly parents, I see my, my parents, my, my mom’s mind has pretty much gone she has severe dementia, and my dad is taking care of her and she was to social on and he was not. And we’d her kind of fading away. And socially, he’s left with not much connection. And he had to try very hard to step out of his comfort zone to create at least some social connections because it can get really lonely. And I don’t want to do that. So I want to I want to learn from my mom, to nurture the human connections and stay in touch with friends doesn’t matter how far away they are, you can make these days it’s so beautiful, you know, you can have a call with somebody in the Philippines and talk for a couple hours. And it’s just the most fantastic. I mean, how do you not walk away from that happy, right, unless you don’t get along, I guess, then you probably wouldn’t have a two hour call. But I’m doing that with my dad and asking him to get an Android phone. So we can do video calls and you know, little things like that. You just got to make these little efforts. And I think that’s if you work in an industry, how long it’s been almost 30 years for me, you long longevity can be curtailed, right? If you don’t take care of yourself. So I think it’s really nice that he brought that up, because I think you have to keep that balance. It’s nice to be excited about localization and internationalization. But you really have to get get excited about other stuff in life too. And if you ever do step away, you want to have something to be excited about that you’re stepping into as well. Right. And I think most if somebody you know, at some point retires from the industry, I don’t know it’s localization is going to be in their lives daily. Some people might still do it on as kind of as a hobby, but other people might then want to move on to something new, or you want someone to be there. So

Andrej Zito 

I think I’ve discussed this with some previous guests, whenever we talk about connections and you know, like reconnecting with people you used to know or used to be more in touch with. And now that you mentioned that, actually, you’re leaving Summa and you want to keep in touch with the people. In my experience. This is what a lot of the people say. I think it’s kind of like a cliche, but it’s like, something people wish for when they leave. They’re like, everybody’s telling you like, you know, like you write your last email, like, thank you. He was working with you. And let’s stay in touch. And everybody will be like, yeah, yeah, yeah, we’ll stay in touch, but in my experience, at least, is that they never do. So do you have some sort of a plan? Or? Or are you being systematic about reaching out to people, whether it’s from sumo or past friends? Or do you really leave it just for some spontaneous moments?

Beat Stauber 

When Yeah, yeah, I mean, you’re not wrong. You’re not wrong. It’s, it’s something we do say casually. And then we end up not doing it, but that’s exactly my point. It does take some conscious effort. I don’t know if I have a specific specific plan. But I know I want that to be part of what I spend my time on. And I actually decided to work only 75% 30 hours a minute job 30 hours a week because I want that balance. I want to have time for things other than work and as I get older that It’s more difficult when I work full time. So I decided this would be a really good balance. And yeah, you have to you have to do it consciously. I have this fantasy of actually traveling around the country and stopping in places where I do have friends and visiting them. I don’t know if that’s a full fledged plan, but it’s certainly something I could see myself do. And I think it’d be extremely enjoyable. You know, having coffee with Andrej Zito in Vancouver? That sounds pretty darn good.

Andrej Zito 

Well, I don’t drink coffee, but damn,

Beat Stauber 

what’s wrong with you? I’m gonna Did you know Andres? He doesn’t like

Andrej Zito 

I think I mentioned it many times. Yeah. Don’t drink coffee. Another thing that was interesting to me when you mentioned that you enjoy talking to random people? Again, do you have some sort of strategy? Because I sort of do have a strategy about that? How do you? How do you initiate the contact? And what is the first thing that you talk with them about? Because I think at least for me, this is a this is a big thing? How do you? How do you get connected with someone you just met? So that the conversation is not very, like on the surface for too long? You know, AIDS? What is the weather and so on? Yeah, it’s

Beat Stauber 

a good question. I actually liked that question. Because I, in my career, went to a few conferences, not many. I went to a Unicode conference a couple of times, to a couple sales conferences in when I was with another company. And I never liked it. Because it, I was kind of forced to talk to people, right, you’re have your booth that you’re in potentially, or there’s some kind of event. And I always felt like, that wasn’t particularly comfortable in that mode. So that doesn’t know sorry, work. For me, I’m not a big fan of going to conferences. It’s not I’m not the right person for that. I can do it. But I want to say I don’t feel at ease fully. i It’s pretty random. i You would not believe I’m as I’m a big coffee drinker. And I like we have a lot of coffee shops in Portland like to try them all out. I mean, we have hundreds, right. And so I actually tend to start conversations with baristas, if it’s not very busy, they’re not very busy. And it’s a quiet time, I’ve had very long very deep conversations with baristas I sharing stuff that you wouldn’t otherwise share with somebody you just met. Or sometimes it’s a place you go frequently, and it’s the same person, you get to know them. So I’ve had a lot of those. But I’ve also occasionally just talk to somebody when I’m out for a walk in the neighborhood, I do a lot of walking. And sometimes he just somebody says, Hey, I’ve seen you around walking, and you know, I do and and then you start talking, you get kind of into a long thing. I love these conversations, and then you might see that person again, and you get a little deeper, you know, over time. I like the random ones. You know, they don’t necessarily turn into personal relationships. But I still think that those those conversations actually underappreciated. And that’s one something we lost during COVID. Right? People didn’t, maybe they did a little bit on the street, but he didn’t go into coffee shops, you didn’t really stand around in stores talking to people, because everybody was just kind of focused on getting in and out and, you know, not getting sick, I guess. And so yeah, that’s some examples where where I do it. And you know, of course with people at work that even maybe somebody I haven’t talked to a lot, but I had a chance to be in a call with them. Sometimes we’d like to add a little bit of personal time. That’s another opportunity. Or we even have a thing some some workplaces have where they match up people for a chat, like randomly with using little bots or something to just match up people and say, Hey, why don’t you have a chat together, you’ve never, you know, you may have never talked to each other and just share that. That’s kind of fun. It’s a little hard sometimes because you’re at work and you’re busy. And then to say okay, now I’m going to add another meeting on my calendar. So that hasn’t worked for me personally. But it might work for other people. There’s so many opportunities as and then it’s, you know, also when you have common interests, when you have hobbies and you meet people who are hobbies, some people it’s gaming, maybe or some, you know, physical activity they playing in a sports team or something. There’s so many opportunities, it doesn’t have to be part of that the work environment at all. What

Andrej Zito 

do those small conversations with people that you meet in the street give you, as you said that it’s under appreciated? So what is it that you appreciate about those interactions?

Beat Stauber 

I think the more people you expose yourself to, you know, intellectually or sometimes emotionally and have this conversation. I think it has always stimulate something. I get ideas from talking to people. I see different struggles that people have my I do have a post localization. I have some ideas that I don’t want to get into right now. It’s not for rimmed enough, but you know, there’s something I want to do with, there’s things I want to do when I’m not doing localization stuff in it. And but I always want to keep my brain engaged. And it’s it’s just, it’s brain engagement. I think, anytime you talk to somebody, and the the older you get, the more you The quicker you lose that. So, you know, for maybe if somebody’s in their 20s, they automatically have their tend to be more social and more out and about, and maybe it’s automatic, and you don’t think about it, but I think you have to, you have to nurture that I think it’s engagement, it’s keeping perspective. You know, if you look at how stuck people are on some, some people on some viewpoints, it’s because they’re not engaging, they’re not open to engaging with other people who may have different viewpoints, you know, I can talk to somebody has a very different viewpoint and have a civilized conversation, I think, I would never want to lose that ability. And, or more a little bit in trouble there. I think, as a society at times,

Andrej Zito 

what is something people seem to misunderstand about you? And I think this could also be connected to what we were just discussing. I’m not sure if you ever built a more, I don’t want to say, a friendship with someone you met, as a stranger in the street. But this question is really about, like, what is the first impression that you think you give to some people, to most of the people, and then over time, they discover like, hey, it’s actually something different.

Beat Stauber 

It’s a little hard to say, I think I’m pretty intense. I talk a lot. And I think that people who know me a little better appreciate that. Whereas somebody who just met me, maybe a little bit might be a little bit, you know, too intense, at times, very opinionated, can come across a little bit strong, I’ve rubbed people the wrong way, occasionally, especially about work related topics, you know, if, if, if something is not done the right way, and or maybe it’s been explained, and that continues to not go that way I can, I will push you know, and I, and it’s because I care, it’s only because I care. It’s not because I’m a jerk, it’s because I care. I care about the outcome. And, you know, that’s also something I have to check myself on. And then another part that’s maybe I find is underappreciated. That just, I try not to make the sound arrogant, but I don’t tend to raise issues, until unless I’m pretty sure that I’m right. So, I mean, I can be wrong, I’m wrong sometimes. But I try to make sure I’m fairly certain that I’m right. And then I will push an issue. And I don’t appreciate it when people don’t take it seriously. Because I don’t raise an issue on that. And people who know me also know that, that if he brings it up, it’s probably something we should at least take into consideration. And if it turns out to be a non issue, then and I, you know, I don’t want people to not speak up, because they’re afraid of that, like, continued to, if you think something is an issue. It’s like that if you see something, say something kind of philosophy, right? In many parts of society, if you see something that’s that you think is really problematic, you should speak up, if it’s safe to do so. And in a work environment, I would say most of the time in our work environment, it’s safe to do so it’s not usually a technical process issue, it should be safe to do so. But I still sometimes feel like my opinion is not appreciated enough. And especially in the vendor, customer relationship, that can happen where you bring something up and you know, it’s kind of a big deal, and you just get into crickets, or you get pushed back. That still bugs me. And so that’s where on one area, I feel misunderstood probably sometimes are underappreciated.

Andrej Zito 

What do you think is wrong with our industry?

Beat Stauber 

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with our industry. It’s, I think we’re still worse. Few things, maybe, I think we’re still spending too much time on small stuff. And not looking at the big stuff. And that’s takes me back to internationalization because with proper internationalization, you can kind of do address big things. And you know, it exactly how you write the sentence if you slightly change the style of a sentence. Spend a lot of time on that when it relates to the end user it doesn’t make any difference to me it’s it’s kind of wasteful. So I think we should not sweat the small stuff and we should look at the big stuff where the big gains and then you know we can still fine tune but get the big gains first. And then if there’s time and and you know, budget is not an issue Can you can you know, depending on the audience, you have to get Little small into the small things. I know marketing language, you know, for example, you want to get more into the maybe little preferential things. But you know, when when I see somebody spending a lot of time on a technical document, cleaning up minor things, and arguing over minor linguistic things that really don’t matter. That’s a waste of time. So how can we, how can we focus more on big stuff and let some of the small stuff go? It’s

Andrej Zito 

funny that you said it, because previously, you said that you can sometimes come off as a jerk. And the reason for that is that you care. So maybe those people care about those little technical detail.

Beat Stauber 

Yes, and I, you know, I sometimes get lost in small details, I actually have done it many times, because I’m a kind of a stickler for things. And so, so I do it, as well. But I think it’s still a matter overall, if you want to exist as a, as a provider, I think you have to know where your focus is, you know, the costs, the pressure on cost is so high, in the if you’re a provider, to to, you know, your rates always supposed to go down ever upright, and you become more efficient. And it you if you want to exist, you have to be able to find a way to do that. And so sweating, sweating, the small stuff is not is not going to get you there. Does that make sense? There’s another thing, when a company chooses a platform, take it off and locked into that platform for a long time because implementing it and then get training everybody and everything is interfacing with it, you know, you’re really locked in and and then you have maybe a new product, that’s a better product. And the switching cost is so high, you tend to stay with the archaic product. And I think that’s, I mean, I’ve just seen some examples of that, I think what needs to happen is that the product you’re currently using, needs to evolve. So it always stays current. And you see a lot more of that these days, you see a lot more products that just evolve very quickly. And, you know, which is comes with its own challenges, but working with archaic tools, is the thing I’m still seeing, seeing a lot. And I think the thing we mentioned earlier to the false positives on quality checkers. It’s a big challenge. So I think some of the new technologies, opportunities out there, including AI, I think is really, really, really gonna make a difference there. And again, that deals with a lot of small stuff, right? Right. If you if, if if automation can find and correct small issues, and you don’t have to spend hours and hours of a linguist or QA person. You know, finding those stats, that’s a win. Right? So yeah, I think there’s a lot of a lot of room there. Alright.

Andrej Zito 

Getting to the second hour or interviews. So my final question to you is mean standard question. If you could say the one thing to everyone in the industry, what would be your message.

Beat Stauber  I don’t know if I have this one. Really big message, but I think definitely focus on collaboration and connection. And also bringing on I say that specifically the people who have been in the industry a little longer be a mentor to theirs. You know, it’s so much easier to get new generation young people into the industry. If if they encountered strong mentors, when they wanted to join the company, I’ve had the pleasure of doing a lot of that and still wish I could have done more as only so much time in the day. I always enjoyed that part. And you know, it’s you, it’s really fun when you see people come in and you get to do some mentoring, and then you see them actually kind of kind of maybe the really good ones are going to leave into dust a little bit and it’s okay, you know, it’s a change of generations. That’s what you want to see is you want to see progress. You don’t as the more senior person, you don’t have to be on top of everything. You don’t have to know everything. Let other people get into that and really push that and drive that. And you know, and then when it’s your time to step away, you step away. You don’t have to step away knowing everything. But I think when you can make a difference in that regard, mentoring people and getting people excited about stuff and expanding their toolset and their knowledge. To me that’s exciting. So that is one message I have for you know Don’t hoard information and protect your space in the industry because you’re getting older. Share it with people and bring them along. And and it’s not just other alleys. You know, I think there’s so much influence you can have on project managers, and QA QA testers, and QA leads by always sharing, always be generous with your, what you’re sharing. Just little things like, let’s say there’s a technical problem, and a pm comes to you with a technical problem and a translation tool. You could just fix and say, Oh, I fixed it, or you could share what the problem was and how you fix it. Because people are going to read it. And these days, it’s often not done in email. It’s in a communication tool, like themes are a Slack right, and other people can see it and so everybody sees it learns from it. The next time they’re going to know Oh, yeah, we had this issue before and I so that’s so cool to be able to share it this way. It’s not in this you know, limited audience you have a much broader audience because you have these communities and channels and, and chats right where you get to share that to share information. It’s the most it’s the best part of the job to me.

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