How To Manage Linguistic Quality – Sankeshwari Deo From Autodesk

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“You want the quality to be evaluated from the look and feel of it, not a score of 1 to 10”. I thought this was a fresh approach to quality management. But how exactly does it work?

I went straight to the source – Sankeshwari Deo manages the linguistic quality at Autodesk. In this interview you’ll learn:

  • How to analyze the quality feedback
  • First steps for setting up a quality program
  • Dealing with country offices
  • How to do RCA on quality issues
  • Does self-certification work
  • Quality of creative translations vs MT
  • Translating 20k… in a day?!

This is episode #33 of my social practice, also known as The Localization Podcast 🙂 #localization​ and #translation​ insight delivered to you by the power of voice, this time with Sankeshwari Deo.


Andrej Zito 

It’s a great pleasure to have you here, Sankeshwari. Welcome to the podcast.

Sankeshwari Deo 

Thanks, Andrej. Great to be here.

Andrej Zito 

How are you doing?

Sankeshwari Deo 

I’m doing good. How are you?

Andrej Zito 

Pretty good. Pretty good. It was a long day for me. Pretty good news. Also some sad news. But that’s life. Where are you right now? You’re in Singapore?

Sankeshwari Deo 

So I’m in Singapore? Yes. It’s a hot, bright, sunny day.

Andrej Zito 

Are you guys still on the lockdown or the situation gets worse?

Sankeshwari Deo 

No, I got better in a way like we can still go out, we can now go out and just you know, as long as your mask, so it’s not too bad. But the numbers are still going up. It’s mostly like the geometry areas and all of that. But outside I think it’s quite safe to go out and enjoy a meal. Meet your friends as long as you’re in groups of five.

Andrej Zito 

Okay, that’s the maximum limit.

Sankeshwari Deo 

Yeah, yes.

Andrej Zito 

So how did you end up in Singapore? I used to live there as well. I think maybe our reason why we get to Singapore is quite similar. Was it because of the job that you have right now?

Sankeshwari Deo 

Yes, I did move here for a job. And I had no idea about Singapore. I had not come here for any holidays. It was just like a crazy. I wouldn’t say a whim, but yes, it was one crazy day, I decided, well, I want to work in Asia, you know, outside of India. And so I decided to move here.

Andrej Zito 

And now you’re working for Autodesk. Right?

Sankeshwari Deo 

That’s right. Yes, we have in common. Yeah.

Andrej Zito 

So until we get there. So this interview will focus on quality management, as your current role linguistic Quality Manager at Autodesk. So let’s start from the very early days. Curious, notorious question, how did you get into localization in the first place?

Sankeshwari Deo 

Okay, so a bit by accident, because I didn’t know what localization was. I definitely knew, you know, basic translation. And I was always so you know, passionate about languages, I was learning French, I was learning Spanish, and it can school and college and audience and not just continued studying at the embassies and consulates that were offering classes in India, and you should have parked on translations, and somehow got into like a freelance, you know, small project at lionbridge, because they were doing some elearning courses, and they wanted me to validate it. And yeah, that’s what that’s how it started. So I didn’t even know it was called localization back then. And then even after after that month, that over they said, Oh, you know, this, this seems good. So would you like to, like, try out something, you know, maybe a full time role? And I said, Yeah, I’m not sure I’m looking at being a part time translator because I was also doing my Master’s in economics. And, you know, I was more about like, two very different fields. So I said, Let me think about it. And then I tried to figure and, you know, ask around, what’s localization and people in India back then were like, no idea, because it was not a very common field of work. And translation to wasn’t like a, you know, mainstream career option. But there were so translator, so I think it was just like a yes, let me give this a shot. This is something new, cool. I love languages. And it just started from there. So it was a very accidental, you know, jump into localization to then learn about localization after getting there. And I started off actually, as a language Quality Manager, too. So yeah, it was, it was very interesting, because I apply that knowledge. And I got a lot of, you know, trainings, a lot of knowledge sharing from the teams that existed, it was done. This was in the France office. So it was like a whole, you know, meeting with a new team, new culture, new country, it was it was like a fantastic experience. And that was like, the moment like, aha, yes, I think go localization is cool. And I should really make that as my career. So that’s how I got into it.

Andrej Zito 

That was really your first job?

Sankeshwari Deo 

Yeah, it was.

Andrej Zito 

Quality management, was it with Lyon bridge?

Sankeshwari Deo 

It was at Lyon bridge.

Andrej Zito 

So how would you compare the quality management on the vendor side, or like when you first started, and now that you do on the client side, so many years later?

Sankeshwari Deo 

So many years later, it’s it’s like poles apart, you know, like with language, it was, it was more It was a quality management was also like managing language leads and you know, overseeing all the linguistic part of it. And back then, like I said, you know, localization wasn’t like a big thing in India. So when we worked on localization quality, it was also trying to Provide what the client wanted. There was no input like no proactive, oh, you know, I could do this like today, if I just jump into something I know exactly what I want. And back then it was like, Oh, you know, they wanted this way. So I need to deliver this. So it was just purely meeting expectations. And it was like a backward process where, okay, this is what you want. And then you’re going to deliver not knowing like to get there what you need to do. So yeah, it’s, it’s really come a long way. Apart from the basic things like, you know, you have style tone, and you adhere to all of that. But yeah, most of the things are, I would say, I would never imagine working in that same way that I did about 15 years ago, and then apply all of that today. Like, I don’t apply any of that today.

Andrej Zito 

Do you think it’s because it’s outdated, or?

Sankeshwari Deo 

The basics are pretty much the same, you know, how, how you would go about it, but how you approach it from a more, you know, holistic view, is now right, then, I mean, I was so young, and it was like, wow, this is cool. So let’s approach this, or, you know, this, this company is doing this, and there wasn’t even that much knowledge of, you know, what, yes, of course, as the lender and the buyer side, you understand that, but you really do everything to please the client, and you just go with what they see versus now, you know, after all these years, and having the experiences working on both client, and by your side, you can approach saying, Oh, you know, what, I think this is probably not the best approach for you. So making that decision and, you know, being courageous enough to say, I know that this works for you, even though you feel that, you know, you want something else, and trying to take that risk to show them how that is the best fit. I think that’s that’s something I wouldn’t do 15 years ago, and that’s come a long way. But, of course, you know, basing these decisions on something that I’ve learned 15 years ago, still stays. So it’s like been a journey. But yeah, I would say it’s, it’s not out there completely. But yeah, some parts of it definitely are.

Andrej Zito 

That’s that’s what I got, as well, on my journey when I was working at Autodesk is that more holistic view, like when you zoom out, and you understand the other stakeholders that are involved in the localization, so not only care about your immediate client, which could be, let’s say, the project manager or program manager on the client side, but you also start to understand more about the end users, and you care about them, and you try to move the relationship to more like, okay, like, you’re not just my client, but we are working on this together. And we are doing it for the end users, and not just for the transaction, right?

Sankeshwari Deo 

Yes. Right. Absolutely.

Andrej Zito 

What I what I like what you said is that, you know what you want. So what exactly does that mean, when it comes to quality management?

Sankeshwari Deo 

So for me, okay, quality management definitely means not just putting what you feel is right, because a lot of times we feel, oh, this works best for a certain market or certain language. But when it comes to, you know, like you said about the end user, it is eventually about the customer experience, whether it is internal or external. And when you’re trying to deliver that you can’t be very rigid about I feel this is, you know, linguistic quality or a certain framework says that I have to have, you know, this quality deliverable or a certain score, and you really have to understand what is your audience? What, where is it going to be used? What is it that they want out of it, and then you try to build or modify or, you know, just massage, I love it, so it fits for that audience. That, to me is linguistic quality. And I’ve always been an advocate of you know, saying that don’t just judge everything very rigidly by Oh, I think this is like a fantastic for our This is like, this is really a poor quality, one waiting translation. Because it’s, it’s a very personal thing, you know, how and we all people, like humans have this tendency where, if I am a person who was very critical of things, I would say, Oh, I don’t think this is like the best, but maybe for my audience, it is the best it is just a personal view there. So they I always say that, you know, try to approach something from more broader audience mindset rather than just, you know, trying to fit it in the boxes that you have checked for your quality standards.

Andrej Zito 

Mm hmm. So from what you’re saying, My understanding is that we should not make quality subjective to us to our personality and our views, but rather look at more multiple people and how they look at the quality and what the quality means for them, but you still probably need to get some quality Evaluation from each of them? And maybe then you evaluate to them, or how does it work in practice what you just shared?

Sankeshwari Deo 

So I, you know, and this is more of a recent development over the last year or two at the most. So what what I’m trying to do is right now and it’s it’s not something that I created, this was like practice at Autodesk. And it’s not something that I’ve seen with other companies that I’ve worked with is where we just don’t work on a numeric score, we also try to attach a value to it, which would give you an overall feel of the translation. So there are attributes that you would read a quality of translation based on, you know, how is the overall feel of it? And you know, in terms of creativity, in terms of the overall understanding level, you know, what is the fluency, and this is separate from, you know, the basic l QA, or the audit forms that we want. So, keeping that in mind, I think when we go through that, and people read, probably, let’s say, I would, maybe on a rating of one to five for a quality score, if, you know, my passing is probably a 3.5. And on a very, how would I say, on more concrete scoring basis, I would say that I would give it like a four. But actually, you know, when you ask me, oh, how do you feel about it? I say, Oh, it’s, it was great. Like, you know, I probably made some few changes, which is maybe grammar and punctuation are one and two terminology. And I think this was really good, as is my overall feedback. But that doesn’t really translate into how you have rated a translation. So then, you know, trying to understand why did you give that maybe a 3.5. And you are saying that it was good, and you could have easily even at like a four 4.5. So trying to understand that gap, and that is where this part comes in. But you get the overall, you know, feeling or the overall feedback on what a person feels about the translation, and then trying to also get some comments and analyze it to see, okay, you know, this is what the person feels like, these are the target areas, I need to focus, which I cannot capture on the very concrete basis of 1234.

Andrej Zito 

Right? Okay, we need to get to the bottom of this, or I need to get to the bottom of this. I remember when I was there, I think Autodesk was using the standard lease a model or something like that, where typically have a reviewer who goes through the through the text that was translated, they record the errors, they categorize was this minor was major was it’s critical. And then in the end, you get a score, right? So that’s the basis. And then what I understand is that after they finish this rigorous part, then they give their feeling of the translation, right. And then you see, then you try to identify the gap. How exactly do you analyze this feedback from the from the reviewers? Is there any systematic way how they comment the gap? And how should the gap be closed? Or how they feel about their feeling? Or? Or how does it work?

Sankeshwari Deo 

So yes, the gap closing part happens when they do commend, whether it is, you know, a third party reviewer, he has some internal ones, which share some feedback in terms in the form of comments, and then analyzing that comments and then trying to tally that with the score, or with the overall feedback they shared within a specific document is something that I do, it’s not it’s not left to either a reviewer or probably, you know, some translator who’s working on that content, because it has to be a neutral party trying to share the feedback. So that’s that’s where I come in and there is a framework that is created for that, it actually tells you that you know, if if you have like these numbers changes or this is the feedback in the non numeric value sense, then how does it help our you know, how would you then go about breaching, sorry, by bridging that gap between that minor point five or you know, one score and then get us to the next level? I just cannot share too much about it, you know, here but I I do work very closely with the vendor teams, our the contacts and then I try to understand from them that you know, if if the have received a specific scoring, and this is the feedback, I check with them from purely the linguistic specialist or, you know, a lead language translator to understand if they had translated it this way, would it really have changed? And that is also something that I try to discuss with either the stakeholders or the reviewers to understand, do you really feel that this makes that difference? Does this really take it from, you know, like, great quality to like an excellent one? Or is it just like trying to make a more preferential change and approach to, to probably helping you know it more relatable to the audience, but then still does not mean that it’s overall bad. So it’s just trying to be like a mediator between two parties, but at the same time trying to make sure that you know, you’re delivering the expectation that fits into the framework that is created. So it’s a very customized framework created for like a specific content, I drilling down to literally like even asset levels, in some cases, depending on what is the visibility to the customers? And that’s something that I’ve worked on for almost a year and try to come up with that. Yeah.

Andrej Zito 

You mentioned the content type. Is this framework being used for the most sensitive and the most visible content type, like marketing? Or what kind of frameworks Do you use for different types of content?

Sankeshwari Deo 

So it’s used across all content, I mean, it could be products or software, documentation, marketing, it could be knowledgebase articles. It could be anything that goes out to the customers like corporate communications, or even legal content there is like, you know, the whole dissection that happens, and then you figure, how many different types of content that we translate, what would be the audiences for that, sometimes it’s like a mix of two content types within a certain asset, or within maybe a certain website page that we’re working on. So trying to see, you know, what applies for that particular content, and what would be the best way to then evaluate the quality based on the types and the framework that we would apply to it.

Andrej Zito 

So does it mean that you have a different, like expectation level or for each content type? Like you use the same framework, but you have different acceptance levels for each content type.

Sankeshwari Deo 

Yes, pretty much. And then there is a customization, depending on you know, if it’s a very new content type, or we really want to make it high visibility, we try to treat that to make it you know, bring about that result. And then we can, we will be able to evaluate that really, this works for us. And sometimes if you get like really brilliant results, then, you know, it’s time to think, Oh, is that really to Lehman’s doing to try to figure out, maybe more issues to improve? So yeah, there is always like, a lot of adjustment that goes on and off customization. But essentially, it’s a very robust framework that is created to fit for at least like 50 content types, I would say today.

Andrej Zito 

Hmm. Is the analyzes still manual? Do you have to do it on your own? Or do you have it somehow automated?

Sankeshwari Deo 

So, it’s a bit of both. And I would say, definitely there is human, touch points involved where people help to evaluate in terms of the linguistic quality, but then it goes into the analysis part. And then that’s, you know, based on a little bit of AI, a little bit of automation. So that’s, that’s the part I would say I’m very excited about it, and also a little bit new to me, because that’s something that I am currently working on. And it’s it’s also like an area of interest, a new area of interest that developed over the last couple of months. And now that you know, there is time to explore more and more, there’s more it is coming up every now and then. But yeah, that’s that’s how the analysis part is going right now. I would say I’m not really there yet, it’s still a long way to go. Where I would want to reach a point where I don’t really need to sit down or would get everything and then I say like, Okay, I will probably want to deep dive in at this. But at this point, I would say it’s still a bit of human plus machine.

Andrej Zito 

Are you using some commercial solutions? Or is this internal development?

Sankeshwari Deo 

Ah it’s internal development. Yeah.

Andrej Zito 

Of course. One thing that we were talking about is that how the end user perceives the quality and how that is important so that we don’t only give the power to only few individuals in the process. So so far, I got the understanding that we are talking mainly about reviewers that are working with Autodesk and they give this analyzes they give the comments they keep the sentiment how they feel about the quality. But how do you get the feedback from the end users? And how do you work with that?

Sankeshwari Deo 

So, I work very closely across you know, teams, and it’s, it’s not specific to my current role. I’ve always been that sort of person who knew from the very beginning that you know, because I started, like I said, it was it was like a reverse learning. I went into localization and that I tried to like, Oh, this is how you need to police the client and then you learn, oh, this is what you can do. So I knew that you know, the end goal is to make sure that The audience is happy with it. So reaching out to audience for feedback is something I proactively do. And I always have done. So what how I do it is either reach out to, you know, internal stakeholders, it could be, you know, anybody in the country offices, it could be marketing teams, product teams, and part of it is to understand, you know, what is not just their expectation, but also when they reach out to people, when they go out to the market, and they reach out to customers, what are the customers saying about this? And then, you know, there’s always a lot of initiatives that go on, as part of feedbacks. And survey is where you hear from customers, and then customers say, Oh, you know, I think this is like, fantastic. Or I see this kind of an improvement, or I probably am not very clear about this specific area, or I don’t know how to execute certain things, when I go to this page, or, you know, when I’m working on a certain document or instruction manual, and then you try to understand, okay, this is the problem, how do I then go and solve it. But the key is to ensure that you don’t lose any of their feedback, you’re always, you know, trying to get that you connect with people, you’re always establishing that relationship with people, even when it’s not about feedback, but you try to constantly build that over a period of time. And that’s where like, the whole networking and engaging part comes into the picture, because that’s the only way, there is no way that in any of the roles that I’ve done, I have reached out directly to the end user or customers saying, oh, how do you feel about that? It’s really rare, unless, you know, you’re on a conference and you meet a customer, and you walk up and you say, Oh, this is what I do. And it has happened. I’m not saying it hasn’t. But that’s, that’s still very limited window. And, you know, once you’re out of that five minute chat with the person, and you know, the person is a customer shares, oh, this is like, you know, I feel fantastic, or I’m very happy reading and I’m like bilingual. And I’ve seen your pages in these two languages and, and then you walk out of there and happy and say, Oh, I’m really happy that you know, the end goal has been achieved. But then that that is a very rare phenomenon, you don’t really run into customers to get the feedback. But you know, we try to either, I would say, team up or you know, collaborate with people who could share that feedback. And then you can implement all of our not really all, but most of it to try and get the quality levels up.

Andrej Zito 

I’ve had once experienced at Autodesk getting a feedback from someone from the customer support. Is that one of the teams that can give you the feedback, or is it? Is it actually something? Is this feedback sharing happening systematically? Or is it only if something really bad happens?

Sankeshwari Deo 

Now, I think I can get happens, like all the time. In fact, I also run initiatives where I try to proactively reach to people to just get feedback. You know, it’s not whether it’s just good or bad. It’s just feedback. So I wouldn’t say like, it’s it’s always fantastic. But I don’t think it’s, it’s been a fleece, as far as I know, so bad that you have to be like, Oh, my God, that’s alarming. So, yeah. But it’s both it’s it’s positive and negative.

Andrej Zito 

Is there any way for the users when they’re, let’s say, browsing the site, to maybe give a thumbs up? or thumbs down? Or how do the other teams collect the feedback about your work?

Sankeshwari Deo 

You mean to specific to localization? Mm hmm. Well, there there is, there is a way there is a place where they can just share feedback in general. Not like I mean, I’m not sure about the thumbs up and down bar. But yes, they could they could share, like what they feel. And they could say, like, you know, I would probably like to see a certain area improved, because it’s not very clear, or I’m not sure how to navigate to a specific page with the instructions available. Yes, that that is possible for them. And they could say that is specific to, you know, this part in Chinese or Japanese or Russian, that would then be analyzed, whether it is really localization, whether it is like a globalization, whether it’s a software development issue, so that that would then be further analyzed, but there is a way for all the customers to share feedback. Sure.

Andrej Zito 

So you mentioned the country offices. I know that was one of the big challenges working at Autodesk getting the feedback, especially from the Japanese LPs. That’s the most trickiest one. So how do you how do you communicate with them? How do you get their feedback and how do you may be connected them with the people who are actually doing the translations so that these two parties are on the same page?

Sankeshwari Deo 

Okay, so you know, like I so far, like with all the years and every very effort, I’ve had like a great relationship with country office contacts, because I know that they are the final decision makers, they are people who help their people, you know, who can really go a long way to help you even make decisions in the areas that they are not really, you know, the decision makers, because they will tell you, yes, this works. And then sometimes you will depend on them, and you will rely on them, as your partners to help with that, so have always kept that relationship going, I think, you know, it does take a lot of time and effort to establish that to keep that running. I have touchwood not had any problems, trying to get, you know, help from anybody, like any any of the country teams ever. And it’s, it’s really, you know, fantastic to just go approach them share the problems, and, and get them to help you and sometimes, you know, if it’s out of their area, they always put you through some other contact who would be able to help. So yeah, I think country office wise, it’s, it’s really not a problem. And, and they’re always also helpful in terms of working very closely with us. So there are times where, you know, you need to work with translators, and you may not have enough knowledge about a specific topic. And maybe it’s very specific to the content that is only privy to internal people. And then you know, subject to the NDA is and you know, all the agreements, and legally, what is possible, people do reach, tend to reach out and help. And, you know, maybe I set up meetings sometimes to help them understand a little bit more, so they can then understand, learn, and then replicate that in the work that they do. So it definitely helps one is bring better quality, because that gives them a better understanding after meeting with somebody, either a subject matter expert, or somebody who’s, even though a translator is local, sometimes, you know, it makes a difference to really sit down with somebody over a quick 30 minute chat to say, you know what, yeah, so that really does make a difference. And fortunately, that’s that’s worked for me, I’ve not had any problems with country office.

Andrej Zito 

That’s good for you. I had a question when I lost it. Oh, yeah. I was wondering if the people in the country office, if they are actually part of the standard localization process? Or when do they actually interact with you?

Sankeshwari Deo 

It’s really on a case by case basis, it depends not not not something that’s like, set in the workflow, because like I said, you know, the, the framework that we have in process caters to everything. And it does already consider all the possibilities, all the levels that we would need to deliver a good quality translation. So if there is a need there consulted if if we are already, you know, able to deliver without any issues and questions, and there’s no need to involve somebody because they’re not, they’re not part of the localization workflow, right country office all the time, but they are people who would be our partners when we need to engage them for any advice, or any help or any queries for that matter. So it’s really on a, you know, do you really need to consult basis?

Andrej Zito 

One of the main things that I remember, it was a new initiative when I was leaving autodesk and that was self certification of vendors. I’m wondering if it’s still going on, and how it’s working for you. Because to me, it was something quite revolutionary, I have never experienced it anywhere else, that the client would put so much trust into the vendors through to their own quality. So I’m wondering, what is your experience with that? Is it still running? What are your results?

Sankeshwari Deo 

And no, I would say, it’s not the same process anymore. So it changed. It changed a while ago. And I mean, for me, because I came from a place where I have always worked on both sides. And I knew, you know, what was the best approach to it, it’s, it’s something that, I would say doesn’t always work. Because at the end of the day, we know, it could be the same resource pool, it could be, you know, probably even the same people. And so it is important to have like a special or a dedicated person trying to value evaluate quality. So it’s not the same same people trying to read the translations. And then I thought it was very important. And we definitely retired that process of long time ago. I don’t I don’t think it’s the best approach to have a third party of all things.

Andrej Zito 

Right. So you basically went to the previous model, right? I think that was there before self certification.

Sankeshwari Deo 

Oh, we still do self certification. I think it’s quite an important part. Yes, we do. We still do. But we need do also have, you know, process where we evaluate on top of these certifications. And Excel certification is important, because that’s just them, you know, the translators trying to tell you that this is the quality that you expect, and it’s ready to go. But yes, it we have to always ensure, you know, from a linguistic quality perspective that we keep a track on that we’re not just depending on somebody telling you Yes, this is like, fantastic. So, yes, we do have audits and things in place. And I think that’s pretty much like a part of the whole process, in terms of linguistic quality evaluation. And I’ve always even done that on the vendor side. Like, if, if you within like the same vendor company that I work with, I would have like, a different team of people review the quality whenever it was possible, probably like a different country office, even you know, when it’s not the client. Part of it is still render, but have their feedback. Because, yeah, you you, you just learn a lot more things that you would have never imagined when you get that quality result when some other person puts their set of eyes into it. So yeah, I definitely advocate having a neutral party.

Andrej Zito 

I’m wondering, in your extensive experience, when you join Autodesk out of this localization model is pretty mature. So I’m wondering how you would approach quality management? If the company was just starting with localization? What would you focus on first?

Sankeshwari Deo 

Well, if it is definitely, I think it’s definitely more mature. And I wouldn’t really I mean, when I started, it was already strong. So it wasn’t like, Oh, you know, it’s it’s not somebody was managing it before. I did whatever work I’ve done so far as building on that it’s not trying to do something from scratch. So yeah, I would say it’s pretty robust. And if I was starting off, and it didn’t have anything at all, I mean, yeah, we definitely start with quality ratings and evaluations, trying to run several audits, check the quality, get feedback from, you know, country, offices, customers, anybody I could reach out to, basically. And I would definitely put in place, like, if at all, it is like a company we talked about with no linguistic quality expertise at all, where I would say, like, go to style guides, reference materials focus on that, you know, tone of voice, what works best for what content? I don’t think, you know, it would make sense to just run audits and say, Okay, this is what are qualities. And that works, I think there is a lot more that goes into quality management. And it’s not always on the client side, there’s a lot that happens on the vendor side, because you need to make sure that the people who work on this translations are continuously educated about the things that are happening, share with them, you know, these are new products, or this is new content, these new these are new campaigns, how we would be able to brief them, whenever something comes in, you know, always ask them, like, Is this enough for you? Do you think the references that we provide help you grow, you know, deliver better translations? Do you think the terminology that is shared is enough? And also, you know, opening up and letting them share? Okay, I feel, you know, maybe we could change the process this way. And that is something I would say is very typical to Autodesk. I haven’t seen that in any of the companies I’ve worked with. So I think, you know, yes, trusting the vendors is what you what you shared earlier, is, is important, because on the client side, what happens is people are too focused on delivering or, you know, achieving the goal of good quality localization. Whereas on the vendor side, it is their job to deliver translations to also, you know, maintain quality to take care of all of that, and they would be the best team to go to to say, how is, you know, you can’t just say, I need you to do a better job, or, you know, I want you to improve on quality without understanding how they could get to that better place. So it, I would always, you know, make sure that when I was starting off something with linguistic quality, I would work first with the core team who’s actually delivering that and see, you know, what is it that they need to help me achieve something, and maybe work really collaboratively with them to get all of that material built up, because at the end of the day, I might say that I want this and you need to get me that but if I’m not going to help and work with you, collectively, you’re never going to understand that vision and I’m not going to understand the solid work. So it’s like work together hand in hand and deliver what’s the best for the customers.

Andrej Zito 

Have you always had a good response to such an initiative from the vendor side I know that many, many times the vendors can say that this is like an extra effort. And maybe they even want to get paid for it for this kind of like training or actually understanding what the quality means for the client. Have you ever struggled with this? Or was it always smooth for you?

Sankeshwari Deo 

So I would say like him in the, in the different models that have worked with, right. I mean, if if I talk about any of the other places, maybe like I’ve worked at Cisco earlier, and then I’ve worked with another company where we work very closely with clients. So we were sitting at the client office and there, I would say, it’s not, it’s not easy to just, you know, approach the vendor, because the model was different from what I’m working on, currently at Autodesk. And, you know, people would say, Oh, you don’t put in two hours, and I need to be paid for it, or what I’m learning here is not going to be helping me with any of the other jobs that I do, because it’s very specific to your company. So yes, I have faced that challenge. But I think I’ve also, you know, learned over the last couple of years at Autodesk that Wenders, sure, of course, you know, with linguistic quality specific, I wouldn’t be able to command on the other areas you work on. But it’s not, it doesn’t take them a lot of time or learning, right? They are the art translators, the language least or expert in the field, it’s just about trying to, you know, see how we can bridge that gap or add something that would really enhance the quality. So those kind of trainings are not specific to, you know, just the content that they work on for a specific client, they also help the person develop themselves, they also learn about industry, rather than a specific product. And they could apply that elsewhere. So I wouldn’t say that I have never run into that challenge. But I would say more recently, no, because it’s also how you’re approaching it. And really, if you are bringing some value to it, because you know, in turn, that’s going to add value to you. And you can have that relationship and share that with the vendors you work on, I think that they would be very welcome. And men always say like, Oh, you need to pay me for that. So that happens. And of course, we have vendor management to take care of all those conversations. So it’s it’s not really something I’ve come across here specifically, but in the past, yes. And, you know, we always involve either business development or weather management, depending on which company has what setup. So, yeah,

Andrej Zito 

Greetings to me. You used to work as a tack as a transcreation manager. So that’s one of the interesting part of localization, I think, is kind of like new and like on the rise all the creative translations. So I’m wondering, how do you measure quality of creative translations? Can you still use the same framework? How does that work?

Sankeshwari Deo 

So for creative translations? I would definitely not use the same framework. Part of it, yes, you know, just for basic punctuation and grammar and all of that. But overall, I think it needs a special way of handling. So you have to see, you know, the, the messaging is coming across from the source. Because when you work on Creative transport, basically transcreation, it has to seem like it’s written in that language, and it’s not just translated from somewhere. So try and recreate that copy. Even if you know, you try the best of the translators, it’s not going to give you that results. So I have to evaluate or I do evaluated from a point of an end user who’s negative, and try to validate the copy based on, you know, reading English and reading that, and then it’s not about, oh, does it really say the same thing? It’s like, if this talks about like, a very, you know, wonderful afternoon, and then this is like, say, Oh, I did like 10 things, you know, so it’s if it sounds like a list of just sharing or replicating that that’s like that quality. So I would say like, when I read that, the way to evaluate is to ensure that if I’m a native speaker for let’s say, Spanish, I want to feel like, Oh, this is quaint. And you know, I don’t even I can’t even try to imagine what it seems like in English. So, you know, like, not that a comparing to like, Oh, this is probably what English says in Spanish. It’s like, Oh, this is really created for the audience. And this is just like a website or page or a campaign for Spain. And yeah, there is there is a different slightly different framework for that, which is built on top of the standard framework to judge or the overall concrete attributes that we have. So yes, that is there. And then there is also something that would specifically rate the creativity factor. That is part of the transcription. Mm hmm. So again, like sorry, you share too much of the detail. But yes, there is a favor. And then there is like a, like a customized a level of, I would say penalties or how we would reach that, where, depending on the kind of visibility also that is associated with that content.

Andrej Zito 

Is this what you meant? I have a quote here somewhere from some of your stuff that you put out there. You want quality to be evaluated from the look and feel of it sentiment analyzes not scorecard, one to 10?

Sankeshwari Deo 

Mm hmm.

Andrej Zito 

That’s it, right?

Sankeshwari Deo 

Yes, that’s, that’s, that’s pretty much it. I feel like, you know, when, like I said earlier, when you try to read it on a certain number of numbers mean different things to different people. And it is, you know, like I said, you could you could be a very critical person, and I could be, you know, somebody who’s like, Yeah, I’m fine. You know, I totally get what this is talking about, and I’m comfortable with it. And maybe, you know, I, after a few days, I read something somewhere, and I say, Oh, you know what, I saw that, that is fantastic. So this is not this, even like me not being a very critical person would then say, Oh, no, now I’m critical of this, because I read something. And I thought that was of a better quality. So I think to, you know, really understand, especially for non technical content, when you’re working on reading quality, it is important to get that more human point of view, because at the end of the day, you’re creating all of this content for people when people are reading it, they’re not going to say, Oh, I like this translation, because, you know, this page is like a perfect five, or they’ve not seen that. They’re saying, I don’t really understand, you know, what, what, exactly at the time to communicate here. So it’s about how they feel. And that is why I feel like that is something that is very important. And we should always bring that up. When we think of evaluating quality. And I would not say it’s just for creative content, I would say it’s even for in itself, the documentation, which is not purely, like telling you a step by step guide, but just something that is describing functionality. Also, if you if you reach for something, and it’s really boring, you know, like, Oh, I don’t really want to read it, even in a magazine, or wherever you’re reading something, you know, it keeps you engaged, that that engagement part only comes from this feedback that you received from people. And that is why that human touch, human feedback or aspects to evaluating quality is what I really believe in.

Andrej Zito 

Thank you. So on the other end of the spectrum, we have machine translation.

Sankeshwari Deo 

Yes.

Andrej Zito 

So how has that evolved when it comes to the quality management? With regards to MT

Sankeshwari Deo 

So personally, I would say like, to me, I think MT is definitely great. I wouldn’t say that MT applies or is the best option, especially when it’s raw MT for every kind of content. But MT definitely helps. Right? I mean, we are moving to a more evil to world today. And you know, it is important to try and automate things. So if MT is giving you that leverage to minimize time, effort, costs, all of that it definitely helps us a process. Would I rely on that, like, just take MT content? Definitely not. But again, there are areas where we could so I would say like, you know, just articles, like telling you how to install something, or, you know, just knowledge base, basically, those kind of articles, I would say Yes, why not go with MT? If you’re sure that the quality of your MT is really fantastic. And if it’s creative, definitely no, no. But if it’s other content, I would say like, yes, you have to go for MT, and then post edited, because you need to always review the content that you’re going to deliver. And there is the the quality framework that goes on top of that, and we try to make sure that it works. And it’s always like going to help you deliver faster and better results as long as you keep a check on that. So it’s the responsibility of the translator to make sure they post it properly. And then you know, for our quality manager perspective to keep tracking and to keep sharing feedback, it is very important to keep retraining the engines no matter how fantastic it is because content changes every day, right? We’re getting so many new things. And I think context is also playing a very critical part. So just getting something out of EMT and say, Oh, this works because it matches source and target doesn’t always work. So yes, it’s it’s definitely helpful, but don’t don’t just use it unless you know, that you totally agree with using a raw EMT content for a specific area or content type. But overall, let’s say yes, please evaluate, keep retraining, and always, you know, make sure that don’t just put it if you’re not sure. It’s great. had like some examples in the past where I was working in one of the companies and you know, there wasn’t enough time, and we had to get some translation done overnight. So we reached out to a translator and said, you know, it’s like 20,000 words. And, you know, can you get? Yeah, it was crazy, but it was like, go to market, there is no way you can do this, like, 20,000 is crazy. How many people can sit? You know, it’s 24 hours now. Sorry, not overnight, I was 24 hours to go live and say, okay, we can get like, you know, 20 people, and then we can help people work, say, Okay, how about the consistency? Because there’s 20 different styles. You know, we don’t know if those 20 people always work on that content. And they said, Okay, let’s let’s try you know, we we see how we can have more people who work on it, just review it to establish that consistency factor and style and say, Okay, fine. And then it was ready. 24 hours go live, it’s up there on the page. And we realized, like, Oh, my God, it was a disaster, because it was all Google translated. And, and, and, like, eight years ago, Google Translate what’s the most fantastic quality? Right? And it was, it was really bad MT. So yeah, that’s and those who are not even creative content or nothing, that is very high visibility. But still, we got a lot of feedback. And people started saying, Oh, I’m not really sure. You know, this talks about this. And it was, it was completely completely different. I mean, any one was talking about color, and one was talking about glass. And, you know, like, it’s a totally very, very different context. So, yeah, that that is like a lesson learned that if you use MT, please keep retraining, please check contacts that, yeah, as much as you can keep for your reviewing sharing feedback to improve. It’s very good.

Andrej Zito 

How did you get out of that situation?

Sankeshwari Deo 

We had to redo everything. So we had to ask for more time. And that meant, like it was, Oh, it was probably like 10 days before to take it and then professionally translated, because there is no way at that point, we could use any sort of MT also, back then MTwasn’t like, the big thing. And people not everybody was using it. So yeah, lesson learned. And that that is also one of the reasons when I started, you know, working more on MT content, I was always a bit, you know, not not very open to the fact that we should use MT. And I was very critical to that approach. And I said, well, it’s fine. But you know, don’t use it for everything. But today, I think with all the developments that we have, and you know how people continuously keep contributing, I would say like, it’s come a long way. And I would definitely advocate for mt today to begin with as the first approach and then review, evaluate and use it.

Andrej Zito 

Think many of the translators are afraid of their jobs because of MT. And since you witness how the MT quality has progressed, do you think that’s something that’s possible to happen in the future that the quality will get to that point? Where we don’t need a translator for many content types?

Sankeshwari Deo 

So I actually had this conversation last month at one of the LocLunches, and yeah, we also group of young translators, and they are they they definitely share this concern. And what I told them is you see, MT is, you know, yes, it’s machine, it’s going to maximize all the time. I mean, minimize, sorry, minimize all the time spent and maximize your output, and it’s going to just help you work more efficiently. I don’t think like even the most fantastic off end quality is going to replace every possibility or area where translator works. Some areas definitely, like I shared, you know, maybe articles or things which are not high visibility, yes. But we will always still need that. And then again, brings me to the point where I said, I need that human aspect to it the feedback because you are creating content for humans, unless we reach a world where you know, there is rarely any human interaction. It’s like a very sci fi world where you’re not really reading and you just ask the robot. It’s like, do this for me, and, you know, tell me this and feed it to my brain. I mean, now that’s not going to happen. I do understand the concerns and yes, maybe, you know, the, the number of hours that they put in, and in terms of you what they were doing five years ago and what they would do in the next 10 years is definitely going to change or how they approach translations is going to change. But it’s also going to help them because you don’t have to start from scratch. I mean, I remember I am, when I started, it was like, like I said, there was no localization in India and I have done translations, which are literally on a Word document, to then, you know, moving on to the cap tools, and you know, all these translation management platforms, it’s, it’s really a long way, and I don’t feel the translators, maybe then they felt threatened, like, oh, there’s going to be a machine and it’s going to show like, you know, two side by side translations, and do I really need to sit and do everything? versus today? They are like, yeah, yeah, capital, of course, you need it, you can’t work without it. Nobody’s going to use a Word doc to translate today. So yeah, I mean, those traits of, you know, 10, 15, 20 years ago, are like, some of the best teams to happen to the industry. And translators would say, Yes, we love this, but I think it’s gonna be the same with mt, it’s just gonna help them work better, but I don’t think they’re gonna just lose jobs, or it’s only gonna ever replace human interactions in the work. So

Andrej Zito 

I think Veronika Skaia, not sure if you know her. She was a guest on the podcast as well. And she had like, when she referred to MT as a productivity tool, is just something that helps you be more efficient.

Sankeshwari Deo 

Exactly. Yeah, I totally agree.

Andrej Zito 

One of the things that I also noted about you is about root cause analysis, and that’s one of one important things that you need to do and you have escalations about quality issues. So I’m wondering if you and this is where we can go through all the in depth, so that people know how to do root cause analysis. So how do you do root cause analysis for linguistic issues?

Sankeshwari Deo 

So, I would say like for me, so I’m not really doing it. I mean, it’s the vendor side who would do that? And for me, it would be like, if, if I received a bad feedback on our translation, I would first want them to, you know, analyze that and share what were the areas that led to that. So while they’re doing because you already have the feedback, right? So you know, that it was not good in terms of either the messaging wasn’t clear, it’s not really clear in terms of there’s no accuracy with the overall content, and then taking that, and then going back and say, You know what, I don’t think the messaging is accurate, or you totally use a different style. I mean, your your style is very formal, but this is like a more, more casual, more informal, that you like, no, some communication, acid, let’s see. So go back and say, Are you using the right resources? Are you using the right terminology? Are you referencing the style guide? And if you know, it’s a yes to all of that, then say, Okay, can you tell me what went wrong here, and this is the feedback. And then I want to see their analysis. After I get the analysis, I would always, you know, set up a meeting and go through that with them and tell them whether I agree or not. And then you know, if part of the I would say the exercise is for them to learn something out of it, I would try to see if they’re lacking that resource, if there’s something I can provide. And another way I would, or another step I would take, in addition to that, is take that feedback and reach out to the person who shared it. And, you know, say that, okay, this is what we have come to, in terms of our analysis. Do you agree with that? Do you think that if we fix these, based on this, would it really help, and a lot of times, you know, we to realize that it is either due to lack of knowledge. And like I said, you know, when you launch a new product, or you’re working on things, which are totally new, I mean, maybe it’s like a, let’s see, like, like robots, for example, you know, it’s a very, very high end robot trying to do things, or maybe helping with medical research for that matter. And, you know, your translator is from a field that is working on scientific and technical content, but they may not be the specialist in that specific area. So, you know, just trying to help them a little bit and also work with the user or the person who’s sharing the feedback. I always try to bridge that gap. And I don’t think that if, you know, if I keep receiving that same issue over and over, and if the RCA is in helping, I would not be doing the same process. At that point, I would be like, no, sorry, it’s not working. And that’s not the problem, we need to really go deep dive into the issue. So it’s, I would say, probably like a two to three step process that I would approach. And I try to close it as early as possible. Because, you know, the shorter you keep it, the better you have, and less complaints you have. So.

Andrej Zito 

What would actually mean how would it look like if you deep dive into something? Like when the vendor is saying yes, yes, I will do this. And I’ve actually experienced that that you tell them that this is an issue. When they tell you yes, we will do this, this and this to resolve it. It looks fine on the paper, but in reality, they just don’t deliver, they don’t improve, do you just work with vendor management or what this in depth mean for you?

Sankeshwari Deo 

So, in depth means I don’t just rely on that root cause analysis, I always keep going back, and I keep tracking it. And I keep tracking it until a point where I realized, okay, this has really improved, and we don’t face that issue. So I don’t typically wait for somebody to come and say, Oh, we have this problem. Again, I know, once it’s like, analyzed for cause it is a problem. And I will keep, you know, tracking that until it’s no longer an issue over a period of time, I do also collaborate with the vendor management, if it is not something that is improving over a period of time, and then, you know, whatever is the course of action, and, you know, ask for the processes that they have is then executed. But yes, I will keep typically monitoring. And I would say, like over a course of one to two quarters, to make sure we’ve really crossed that point. Yeah, that’s where the automation comes into place. Because it was all manual before, but with all that it helps, you know, because it is a lot of time investment. And it’s not that I’m always I would say, the expert in a specific language, and maybe I do know, a few and then I can go and approach her, I would go to some people internally and ask, but I couldn’t do that with everything. So it is important that I make sure and keep track of that. And this is going to help me, you know, set a reminder that oh, you know, two months ago, you had this keep tracking, is it happening.

Andrej Zito 

I really like that part. Yeah. But you are very systematic about them fixing their performance issues.

Sankeshwari Deo 

I mean, I’ve been a translator and so, I’ve been through all of that, and you know, it’s and that that is something that I think and I’m I’m very happy about like in terms of my career, I’ve always switched from when you know like winder buyer winder buyer alternately, because I want to like learn from the vendor side, I want to bring it to the buyer side. And I know after a few years, you know, I’ve always heard you know, lenders, so are the project managers typically see, oh, wow, you are on the client side, it must be cool. Yes, it is definitely cool. You know, but I would say like, most of the learning comes on the lender side, the other ones who are really using technology trying to innovate. From product side, I would say yes, the clients do. But that is for the old product. But if you think of localization as an industry, I would say it’s always on the vendor side. And there’s so much to learn. So, yes, these are things that I’ve learned some of the hard way, like I said, you know, the translator overnight, 20,000 word case, and I wasn’t a translator, I was just managing it. But I have been in situations like that. And when I think of you know what I could have done? Or what is the guidance, I would have wanted at that point of time as a translator who was either starting out or, you know, I wasn’t a translator for many years. But yes, I would even today, like if I had to sit and translate something, say, Oh, is it really good? How would I approach this? How do I evaluate my translation? So these thoughts come to mind. And I definitely, you know, make sure that I apply them to any of the work that I’m or any of the content that I’m reviewing. And I try to like, discuss with the vendor parse, you know, partners and say, you know, this is what I think What do you feel? There are times where they don’t agree with a lot of things, because, you know, it’s not in their best interest. But yes, I mean, I’ve tried to share as much as I can and say, like, you know, this is what you’re going to get in the end, you know, if we work together, and you spend like 10 hours today trying to learn this and improve this and perfect this, maybe like six months down the line, you might not need that you probably need two hours, because you already know what it is. You’ve learned that you know, the process, you know, the style all of it. So yeah, spend some time now because it’s gonna definitely help you in the future. And outside, like I said, you know, most of my work is not specific to a company or a client. It is general because it’s, it’s for customers and for anything that you know, is facing the end users. And yeah, I mean translators work with so many people and so much content, I think it definitely helps to keep sharing that feedback.

Andrej Zito 

Yeah, let’s go to the basics, speak about translators. Just Just an off topic question. Well, not that off topic. But what do you think makes a good translator?

Sankeshwari Deo 

Hmm, I would say somebody who’s definitely knowledgeable about the language as a native of the language, or at least, you know, being part of that country for many years, understands the culture of the people, you know, understands the markets. And I think it’s very important that translator is open to learning, because there’s so much happening every day and it’s not. It’s not, I mean, I feel you have to be an open person, right? If you’re too close, like, oftentimes, we see you were a translator are a bit touchy about receiving feedback and they don’t like when you say that, you know, this is not good. And it’s understandable. I mean, it’s it’s everybody like all of us, when somebody tells you I don’t think, you know, this is great, or could you just work on it, you feel like, oh, I’ve put in so much effort. And it’s the same like with translators, in fact, they’re not creating anything on their own unless it’s transcription, they’re actually trying to copy something that already exists and create that just for a different audience. So they don’t always have that ability to, you know, think and just create, they’re just trying to already put what’s there into a different language. And so that’s, you know, that limits a little bit of their creativity, versus what they would do on a copywriting job or a transcreation. So I think that it’s very important for them to be open to learning to accepting feedback. And, you know, applying all of that, like I said, in the native knowledge and the cultural aspects of it, because it helps improve translation. You know, when they deliver versus something that they just say, Okay, this is what I want to do, I’m going to do this because I need to bring that into another language. So yeah, that’s, that’s what I would say. And it’s important to always be in touch with what’s happening in the industry, to be connected to the right people, especially if you’re working in, maybe like in the field of translating the technical content, you need to read articles, you need to know about those products, you can’t suddenly jump into some field because you feel that as a translator, you have the capabilities. And you know, the knowledge of the language, that’s not enough, you also have to be a little bit if not like the best subject matter expert to be able to work on the content.

Andrej Zito 

You talked about change. And my question is, how do you personally look for a change? One of the things that I’ve noted down here is that you strive to continually expand knowledge, and education and localization trends in use. So how do you do that? So that we can inspire people who are listening? You mentioned LocLunch? That would be a good start.

Sankeshwari Deo 

Okay, yes, definitely. I think LocLunch is also one of the new I wouldn’t say newest, because it’s been a year that I’ve been a part of it now. I think it was, it was very interesting to be a part of something on that level, because we’re in, in Singapore, essentially, you know, it’s a very small community for localization. And I have been here for almost six years now. And I tried to reach out so you know, there were like, meetup groups, they’re just, you know, subject matter experts in translation, or a specific field and all of that. But when I tried to just see if I could be part of groups where I could contribute, learn, it was impossible for me to create something Oh, sorry to join something like that. And when I thought of, oh, how about I create something on my own and, you know, get people and I didn’t really know a lot of people after moving here. So that that was a challenge. I mean, if probably I was in Europe, it would be a much easier way for me, because I do have the contacts and I know people are more open to these kind of things. Versus in Asia, it’s not so easy to get people to just join, you know, an event or come to an unknown gathering and say, Oh, just, you know, network meet people. Maybe in finance, it works a lot in Singapore, because that’s like the big industry here, but not not for localization. So with luck launch, I think I said, Okay, that’s, that’s a good challenge. It’s also something that I’m very passionate about, you know, localization, meaning people trying to learn new things, how people are approaching it, all all of the newer processes and happenings in the industry. So yeah, that started last year made. And it’s been fantastic. Like, I wouldn’t have imagined to have such a big group who’s so dedicated, every meetup that we have at least have like six to seven people. And it’s a small number, you see, but in terms of Singapore, it’s pretty big. Because this is something that we do in the afternoon at lunch hour or once in a while, you know, over trainings where people come together, they share about their experiences, also how they got into localization, what the two, you know, as part of their jobs, because they’re from they’re either project managers business development and localization. Some are even, you know, well, they’re they’re having like a full time role as a project manager maybe but they also are freelance translating on their own and they have like their boutique transcreation companies created. And while we also have a few people trying us every now and then who don’t nothing about localization, but they just want to learn what it is because most people feel localization is about Well, yes, yes. Yes, exactly. And it’s it’s very common in Singapore. I’ve never heard that anywhere outside. But people do feel that. And so we end up having people from different industries, thinking this is, you know, like a place where you can meet up people and talk about that and say, Oh, sorry, I’m a very technical person. And I came here thinking this is gonna be Bs, and it’s not so yeah, I mean, I tried to tell them, okay, this is what it is. And then they get interested. And they say, Oh, we also do that at our company, but I don’t know, it’s called localization, some even have in house teams, and they still don’t know what localization is. So it’s, it’s very, very cool. And, yeah, I think that opened up a lot of other opportunities, you know, like, one is also trying to be exposed to new things that are happening, because, yes, I do work with vendors. And like I said, in my lab to continuously learn, in terms of what is the most latest in the industry from them, or how we can improve, but even on a personal level, you know, to see, or to hear about other people’s experiences, how they got in here, how they have built themselves or the careers. And again, you know, this not being one of the main industries in Singapore, how do they survive, and because smaller companies don’t always last longer here, especially the translation vendors. And so you know, how they made that progress from either joining as, you know, an account manager, then moving across business development, they may be started their own companies, or, you know, they got into another field, but then came back to localization, what brings them back, what drives them? So, all of these are like, really, really very enriching conversations. And I think that that definitely helps me know what’s happening in the industry. And that is my gateway to industry news, specific to Singapore, I would say. And apart from that, well, because of this whole COVID situation, I’ve been joining a lot of LocLunch online. So that gives me perspective about more evolved markets, I would say, like somewhere in Europe or in the US, where localization has been around for a long time, and people are really wested, you know, the, at every level, whether it’s a translator, whether it is a requester, or whether it is you know, somebody even writing content, like copywriters. So it’s, it’s really good to hear that and then try to see, you know, how we could put that here. And so many challenges that come across in these conversations where people say, Oh, you know, I couldn’t attend this specific conference. So Oh, why is it because they don’t really cater for Asian time zones. It’s always for either Europe, US, Canada, sometimes Australia is able to make it but not not most parts of Asia. So yeah, you know, to to hear all of that helps maybe even share some feedback with some of the organizers that, you know, could you do something in this time zone, and we will be able to, you know, love to attend all of this live? That’s that’s part of it. So we’ll LocLunch. Yes, has been now very late and very important role in doing all of this for me. And.

Andrej Zito 

Have you attended any of the new online conferences?

Sankeshwari Deo 

Oh, no, I haven’t this year. I haven’t attended any. But I heard good stuff about the LocWorld. Lock lock world. World. Sorry for the office, worldwide LocWorldwide. I tell some people post on LinkedIn. I thought it was very interesting. You know, they did the roundtables and you know, they had actually people a on videoconferencing. It was, it was nice. Yeah. I didn’t get to attend any of that. I’m sure it was a good experience.

Andrej Zito 

So what is the other source of your learning?

Sankeshwari Deo 

Yeah, so part of that, I mean, it’s definitely reading up a lot. So there’s always CSA articles, you know, trying to read everything that is available on either the pulse website or anything that you come across to the galar articles that are published. And I also Well, it’s probably like six to seven months now. I’m following Natalie Kelly, and all her articles articles. Yes, I think and I think she’s impressive. Like she’s posting once daily. Like, Oh, my God. It’s, it’s unbelievable. It’s like, I can’t even like get to reading one article a day. And by the time I’m like on later, like, oh, my god, there’s another one. It’s fantastic. I mean, I would say like, especially in you know, specifically related to her articles. They’re very, they’re very true. They’re very real. They’re very like, what’s happening? They’re not, they’re not sugar coated, it’s really you get you what is really happening there. And I just love her like writing style. I think even you know, compared to To the normal reading that I used to do earlier, maybe like run Google search, say, Oh, I’m interested about this topic, can we? I have our cut down. And I’m really following that, because that is like, I don’t know, probably take me like six to eight months to read most of the stuff that she’s published just this year, forget the ones before. So I think Yeah, I think that’s, that’s something I’m very, very hooked onto right now. But yeah, I do pretty much read all of that. And I think access to conferences is also one of the ways I would like to, you know, continue when I have in terms of upgrading my knowledge about what’s happening in the industry, because you meet people. And, yeah, I mean, attending any of the look events online that have a that I could have access to, and, of course, some podcasts. So I do I do also, like I heard about yours more recently, when you shared about, you know, you’re working on posca podcast. So I did listen to a few of them. And then I also listened to a podcast from Renato miniato. So yeah, for about a year or two, I’ve been following his podcast, too. So yeah, but I don’t really, you know, say that I dedicate a certain number of hours a week or a month learning. I think, for me, it’s just continuously whenever I have the time, like, Oh, I heard with this or with this, or you just go search about it and keep myself updated. I’m actually a one person team here right now, what Autodesk so it’s not like, you know, there’s always an opportunity to work closely and discuss with people specific to linguistic quality, overall, yes, localization, there’s like a big team. And you know, everybody’s like, open to sharing, it’s very, it’s very collaborative, are very, very nice people, but to specific to linguistic quality, as I do rely a lot on people in the industry, and try to learn from any of the resources available. And one of the good things that happened with that is I also was part of a team task force, which is part of the guild Leaders Forum. But it’s managed to a small task force, right. So we worked on the best practices for team management. And that was a good experience, because again, that was going back to basics, you know, what I learned before, because that’s not what I’m working on at Autodesk. But then bringing that aspect of this is the best practice. And this is what we’re doing. So it’s approaching it from both angles, and then sharing it as part of that collaborative effort. So yes, I try to, you know, find ways where I can learn and share and make the best of both.

Andrej Zito 

What was the initiative about the TM management? It’s about the best practices. So you know, because people were using different TMs, how often do you clean up? What is? Yeah, what is your approach to using TMs? Do you have one per product, one per language? And then we have of many, many companies volunteer. So there were either, you know, globalization managers, they were localization managers, not essentially fiddling with the quality of some of them were Yes, for sure. And then we shared, you know, how we were approaching this within our organizations and how that could benefit others. So that was, that was something of a very good experience. And then that also gave me access to a lot more people, you know, and I’m, I am in touch with them. I also am trying to currently think of, you know, how I could set up something for linguistic quality management, like a small group, where I meet up with people often and then, you know, they share and I share, and we collaboratively come up with something like a best practices document. Wasn’t out of this part of some localization council or something with other companies like Facebook, apple, and they were sharing their localizaation practices.

Sankeshwari Deo 

That’s the same group. So it’s the guild leaders. But that’s like director and above are the leaders forum. And that, you know, we are like small task force groups soldiers. Yeah, but it’s the same group. Yes. Where people like from all the companies who use localization, which contribute and share.

Andrej Zito 

So apart from localization, what are you curious about right now? Or if there’s anything in localization, you can also mention that but in general,

Sankeshwari Deo 

In general, I’m just curious now, I’m not curious about localization. Right now. I’m just curious about when is this Coronavirus situation gonna end? Like it’s just crazy, you know, so much of disruption. And I’m just also very curious because I’m reading a lot about it. And you’re trying to understand like, yes, we know how it started and where it started. But is it ever going to add like there’s like second waves happening and, you know, because I’m from India, and I know like, bye home. It’s a really bad stage right now. So I’m also curious about why is it getting so crazy? Because it’s one of the countries that actually had a very early lockdown. And yes, the population is large and all of that. But we told me people literally, like not allowed to get out of their houses. How is that still spreading? What is happening? I’m very curious about when it’s going to end when these are gonna at least get to maybe not the original state, but at least to a better state of normal than it is right now. Because it’s, it’s really crazy. And the more I read about it, the more it gets me curious. And I think it’s, well, it’s a good thing. And it’s a bad thing. For my knowledge of growth, it’s a bad thing, because I’m always like, oh, if this happened, then this happened that this research says this, and what about that? And sometimes I feel like, oh, maybe I should get into a different field of work now, because I’m reading so much about all this meant. That that’s what is getting me very curious right now to figure out, you know, where and how is this gonna end?

Andrej Zito 

Yeah, I was gonna make a joke that since you like to switch from the vendor side to the client, and vendor and client, I think the next best fit probably for you would be transperfect. Is transperfect, the one that has majority of their business in life sciences?

Sankeshwari Deo 

Oh, yes, I heard about that. Yes, I think they do. Yes. I know, a lot of my ex colleagues from Lyon bridge are at transperfect. Ah, yeah.

Andrej Zito 

But how did you get used to working from home? With the luck that was easy for you? Or did you prefer working more from the office?

Sankeshwari Deo 

I personally prefer working more from the office. I would say the first few weeks were really challenging. Because it I mean, in terms of focus, I wasn’t able to, you know, give my 100% but I think like that three weeks into the lockdown, I was okay with it. Why terribly misses, though, you know, being in offices because I can interact with people I can talk, I don’t feel that same, you know, over a zoom call, even though you know, we have all of these catchy catch up, and you know, think out every now and then we have like some lunches. And it’s very interesting, you know, people join, and they share how they are going to with all the situation. But yeah, for me personally, it’s still I would love to go back to office. Right now, I am scared to go back to office with the situation. But whenever it’s all okay, I would really prefer that i’m not i’m not somebody you can enjoy working in isolation. And for a long time, sometimes I like to to focus, like there are days when I want to just work from home, even in a normal situation before all these wires started. But yeah, office is like, the place I like to talk to people.

Andrej Zito 

When did you learn to get rid of the distractions and be more focused when you started working from home?

Sankeshwari Deo 

So first few days was obviously you know, working on the dining table, and then you know, you’re not in that environment. So you feel like it’s a day where you’re just taking a day off on things. And then you’re, you know, in the kitchen, you walk around, you’re snacking, you’re doing all sorts of things. And it’s totally like taking the focus away. So think the first thing what I did was to just, I have no home office, right? Because I’ve never worked out of home. So it just like converted my extra bedroom into an office, like got a desk chair. And I said, No, I have to have that environment. I think it’s very important. I just, you know, enter, like, this is my office and I’m like coming in. And I just you decide that Okay, I’m going to be here. And then I’m just going to get out for lunch. And then step back again, like it’s my office. So that that helps definitely focus. the back part was also because I do know, this is at the end of the day, my home and I tend to like be here at extended hours. So like, I’m just in front of the computer and it’s I Oh, I’m very comfortable because I’m at home I don’t have to travel. So I end up working really long hours because of that. I think that that was like something I had to learn to really cut down on and that was one of the effects of this work from home during Coronavirus. Also. I don’t take many breaks because when I was at the dining table, it was all free and easy. But this is like locked in office like self locked

Andrej Zito 

You’re within the lock down. Right?

Sankeshwari Deo 

Yeah. So yeah, I think that’s that’s something I still need to learn. I haven’t gotten to that. And it’s it’s also a personality thing. I think I’m very bad at that. Like, I’m a very focused person when I do something so even like when you’re talking to me, and if I’m really like engaged in it, I would probably like not hear anything like it’s totally blacked out. So I’m very focused or I’m working on something and I can still multitask. So I can probably like talk to you. But I’m totally focused there. But if you’re asking me like, Yo something, oh.

Andrej Zito 

What did you eat yesterday?

Sankeshwari Deo 

Yeah, I’ll be like, Oh, what? No, I don’t think I know what you’re talking about. So that’s Yeah, that is something I need to really work on. And I’ve learned that about me, I’ve always known that. But I think I’ve literally like learned that over the last three to four months, that that’s something I need to work on to like, you know, get out of it after a while and take those breaks and separates the work and home.

Andrej Zito 

I think I have it the other way. I feel like whenever I take a break, and I’m also learning to take breaks as well. But I feel like like when I take a break, I lose the whole momentum, like the thinking and when you’re in the more we’d like in the zone like this just work and just whatever for with me, let’s do it one by one. When we take a break, it’s like, I feel like I’m getting more lazy. So I’m trying to be at least strategic with the breaks, like take them later in the day. So I try to start working with the most important things in the morning. And that’s also very new to me, because to me, my habit is that I try to do the small things and try to try to clean them up so that then I feel like, okay, now I finally have time to work on this big one thing. But usually when I get to this point, I’m like, I did so many things today, you know, and the big things are many times not urgent, but they are very important for your life. And then you just keep delaying them and delaying them later. So I’m trying to start my day with the biggest thing. So when I complete it, I either zoom in, like zoom through the smaller task even faster than I would have normally. Because if I start with a smaller task, I feel like I am trying to perfect them, like give them more input than they maybe deserve. Yeah, so this is what I’m learning as well. So this is the change that you have gone through recently when it comes to your habits and your behavior. But I’m curious if there’s anything you change your mind about, like maybe, let’s say your worldview or your beliefs, like throughout your life?

Sankeshwari Deo 

Well, let’s see, change my mind about but I think I, I have been more accepting. So you know, like, before I moved to Singapore, I’ve lived across a few countries, on and off for work. And I always like thought moving every three to four years is the way to go. Because, well, it’s something that I like, like many years ago, probably still in college, and it was like, it takes you four years, like maximum of four years, but two years is too short, to learn about, you know, a place a culture, a language, really in depth to a level where you can say, I know this, you know, not like just on the surface like, but truly you can claim that Yes, I do. And for me, like I’ve tried to spend like those number of years in very feature replays, even if it was not at a continuous period of time, but just you know, going in and out. And when I moved to Singapore, I did not really think I would stay beyond that. Because that was my thinking. And I said, Oh no, you know what this is it like for years you learn, you meet people, you learn about culture, and you move on and you, you try to explore as much as possible outside of your, you know, holiday travels and all because that’s not enough time. But I think what changed, and maybe it’s over the last couple of months. And with this whole situation and you have more time to really you know, think about things, I feel like now maybe it’s it’s time to not just keep moving like a crazy person, probably at a certain point of time, you want to like just be in one place and just try to see you know how it works for you. And I never thought that this would be the country or the place for me to do that. I don’t know if that’s going to be true in the long run. But I just feel like, over the last few months, I have changed my mindset about you know, the whole move thing I feel sometimes it’s just good to like sink and take that. And also, you know, not not think about too many things like not too much. You can still like be in one place and learn or it could possibly be a result of Yes, I have learned so many things that I’m trying to apply here. And I’ve had that opportunity to do that. But I don’t know so that that is something that I have changed my thinking about to be like a little bit more patient about things and not be like very excited about all the new techniques that are to come. But I’m still excited about things and I’m a person who like just loves to you know, learn about new things. And still see, you know what, what is out there to explore?

Andrej Zito 

Mm hmm. I can kind of relate to that. I also move through different countries, I always thought that it’s because I’m moving forward with my life. It’s like a step forward. But one of my friends gave me this idea that maybe I’m just running away from things. I don’t know, I still don’t know about it. But I really like Canada, no doubt. And that’s what I thought about Singapore as well. When I first moved to Singapore, like, I really liked Singapore, like this could be it. But well,

Sankeshwari Deo 

It’s a lovely placing of the weather. Like, it’s just always hot, hotter and gets worse. And when it’s humid, it’s unbearable. So how many years have you been in Canada?

Andrej Zito 

It’s going to be two years though.

Sankeshwari Deo 

Cheers.

Andrej Zito 

I guess I move here August 2018. So okay, exactly two years now.

Sankeshwari Deo 

And you have seasons there. Right?

Andrej Zito 

We do have seasons here. Yes. Yes. We have a-

Sankeshwari Deo 

Which we don’t here.

Andrej Zito 

I know.

Sankeshwari Deo 

So, I missed that.

Andrej Zito 

Well, you do have seasons, right? It’s raining or not raining.

Sankeshwari Deo 

Yeah. So the season changes every day, like probably twice a day I miss I miss seasons, like in India, I love to you know, every three months, there’s a new season three to four months, that was good.

Andrej Zito 

What do you think is wrong with our industry?

Sankeshwari Deo 

What is wrong with our industry? Well, I wouldn’t say that there’s anything wrong with the industry. But I have been not very related, that what I learned lately is actually a good thing. You know, it’s, I taught that earlier, people always have this approach to maybe like, it’s a very close community, because it’s a small, it’s not like so wide as an industry, especially around this part of the world. And most of the groups tend to work or stay within the curve. So you know, if you know that, okay, I’ve worked with this specific person or this company, as a vendor, I will always go to them, because I’m more comfortable to them. And then most of the jobs that went out were concentrated there, people weren’t very open to exploring your options, unless, you know, it was really necessary for them, or they had issues with the current process are people that they’re working with, which is not a bad thing. And you know, if it’s working out, why change it, if nothing is broken, but sometimes you just need to, you know, learn and see what’s out there. And what I experienced over the last couple of months, and even more personally, where a lot of people lost jobs with this situation. And you know, they were looking at, and if, if this was like the industry, probably like 123, I don’t know, a few years ago, there would be like, everybody’s running because they want like the best of the jobs. And they’re like, Oh, this is scarce, I think I should go this because it’s, it works for me. But what I saw over the last few months is just so amazing, because people are reaching out, oh, you know, what, I know, this contact, and they have a job. And I know you’re looking for one, it’s it’s the whole sharing and, you know, like really trying to be there that empathy was just phenomenal. Even as part of LocLunch, I mean, the founder, Jan, he tried to reach out to all of us as ambassadors. And he told us, you know, people are looking for jobs right now. And I’m going to start collecting, and you know, create, like, some repository and share it with anybody who’s looking. So if you know, you know, please reach out if you know, something, share it out, you know, send it to people, all your industry contacts, you people that you don’t know, whatever it is just post even if it’s not within your company, so try to help as much as possible. I don’t think I have seen that before. And it’s not specific to the industry. I get it. It’s happening everywhere. But I think for for localization, I have never seen that level of involvement to help somebody across the board, you know, so and it was globally so I thought that was something which was a change and it was it was a nice change to see.

Andrej Zito 

Yeah, feels more like more like a community rather than just trying to stab each other right? For the job.

Sankeshwari Deo 

Yeah, there was no like purely business approach to this so it was really about helping people Yeah.

Andrej Zito 

What is something people seem to misunderstand about you?

Sankeshwari Deo 

Misunderstand about me? I don’t really think at the top of my head, but I would say like a lot of times people especially here are not exposed to India as a country, you know, because they say like, okay, you come from India, they have a certain perception and they feel like okay, you’re probably, you know, tied very closely to your culture to religion. They bring a lot of aspects and they try to fit you in a box because of either documentaries that they see on TV or they feel like Indians are supposed to behave a certain way, and dress a certain way and speak a certain way. And that’s that’s before meeting, but when you know, after meeting me, they’re like, Oh, are you from India? Which part of India are you from? And they also have this assumed I speak Tamil, especially in Singapore. I don’t know why, but it’s not it’s not the language or they say, Do you speak Hindu? Hindu is not a language. So I’ve heard a lot of strange things. And they always say, Oh, you have to be behaving a certain way. You have to have a certain diet. These are things people assume. I but I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing. I mean, it just helps them like, open up a box of surprises, like, oh, people do that in India? Well, that is how it is. And yeah, and and they also expect you to be I would say, a bit shy, you know, the typical Indian image, they also expect you to maybe like, I don’t know how to put this not be very aggressive, because that’s not how they see, you know, an Indian woman. And then when you go like, Oh, my gosh, you’re like, No, I mean, in some ways, right? Or they don’t feel that you can be really very assertive in many places. So yeah, I did get that. But I don’t know. I mean, maybe it’s just around here, because there is a huge Indian population, they’ve interacted with people, which is like, a different lifestyle or how they be. And also they they feel that I mean, on a more personal and, you know, not for calm or anything, I think, misunderstand, people feel that I’m very, very reserved, like, I’m not a very open, outgoing person. And then maybe like, after talking or meeting and then just like, oh, okay, I thought, you know, you were the first person. And I get that a lot of data. Every place that I’ve worked at in Singapore, most of the people that I’ve met with, and they’re like, Oh, well, the first time I met you, I didn’t really think you know, it’s gonna, it was gonna be like this, or we would be meeting and talking, like, all this time, so

Andrej Zito 

You can share with them this podcast.

Sankeshwari Deo 

Yeah.

Andrej Zito 

Before you meet me Listen to this. This is who I really am. Because that’s my that was my first impression when we had our intro call that we were like, very, is it Jolly? the word like, you know, like, very happy no? Talk. So I would never say that you’re reserved. Never.

Sankeshwari Deo 

I think it also comes as you know, sometimes with with being in a role where you’re always either one or two people, it’s not always a big team when it comes to language quality. So you You are not like always, like, open about lots of things. And you start off at a new place. You’re very, okay, I need to gauge you know, what is happening? Or what, how I want to position things do I need to approach it in a certain way? And I think it’s Yeah, it’s just because of that, and also comes with you work with so many people and you exposed to so many cultures, you don’t want to come off as offensive, and just go like, Hey, hi, how are you? I’m so and so in some cultures, they don’t like it. They just want it to be like very quiet.

Andrej Zito 

I want to quickly go back to when you said that. Maybe people don’t expect you to be assertive. I think maybe we were even discussing this. At some point together. I was asking for your advice. So my question is, did you have to learn to be assertive? Was that not how you were before? Was it always like that for you?

Sankeshwari Deo 

Yeah, I wasn’t really assertive to begin with, I think it just came as part of, you know, the learnings over the years and you know, even a little bit of career progression. Because when you’re young and you’re starting out, you don’t really think of, you don’t think of everything that you say it’s not calculated. But at the same time, you don’t want to say something stupid and really impose your point because you don’t come out as Oh, you know, this person is saying these things. So you’re also protective of your image in a way but as you grow and you know, you, you learn more things, you’re exposed to people you meet more people, you learn about experiences, you realize, it’s okay to bring your point across, it’s okay. If you believe in it, and you know, that you know, you can do something about it or you know, it’s the right thing you are, it’s okay to just share it and you know, stand by what you say. So it did come as you know, something later on in life over experience, not not something that was me as a person now is said from the beginning.

Andrej Zito 

One of the things that I was struggling with and I’m still struggling with is sometimes I have the fear that when I say something it will come off negatively for the other people. So I’m pretty sure that you have probably also burned yourself a few times when you tried to be assertive and it was not the right time or place to say certain things. Do you do now try to always say, whatever you think, or try to say it in a nice neutral way? Or do you still think there are times when we shouldn’t say something that’s on our mind?

Sankeshwari Deo 

So, yes, it it did happen. And you know, I do not always just like, say whatever I want to are, I will always process it before I do. Also, because, you know, I said, like, people misunderstand sometimes, since they don’t expect that Southern shootout coming their way. And, and that is why there is also a need to be a little bit more sensitive. And in different different countries, different cultures, different personalities, people are gonna take it a different way. So I try to say, and yes, I do, you know, think over it before I see it. And not necessarily that I always say everything, but I feel that he has, if I can tell that person something and, or, you know, help the situation, or it’s gonna benefit something on a larger level, I would. But there are some times where I feel like it’s best not to, because you realize, like, it’s not going to help anybody. And maybe, at that point of time, it’s not the best thing to say. But yeah, don’t just like, say that it’s gone and try it out. Because you can bring it up at a time where it’s more appropriate. And, you know, whoever you’re sharing it with is in a better position to take that like not in a very heated discussion, you don’t want to be too assertive on a point that you think is not going to benefit either way. And it’s going to get tossed out. But you’ll have more comma discussion with somebody and say, you know, this is what I feel. And because of all of these things, maybe try to like build a background to it. So lead your way into it and then see, and that is why I think we should do it. So before you feel like you should you have some background to it, that’s going to help that person believe that, yes, this really is going to help them.

Andrej Zito 

So what would be your final words, now is your moment to speak to the localization community, outside of Singapore and outside of your LocLunch.

Sankeshwari Deo 

Well, I would say like, I would just tell them that, you know, like, it’s so wonderful to see the whole community spirit that came out over the last couple of months, just keep it going, like, even after the situation is better, because it brings that connection. And that is very important. Because at the end of the day, it’s a small industry, we really, you know, work with each other, whether we know each other or not, at some point of time, we need each other we share, you know, our experiences, our learnings, and I think it’s important to be connected like a very close knit community. And also like keep sharing, I think it’s it’s so amazing that the things people have shared over the last couple of months because they’ve had the time to do that, which they did not. I think that’s a good practice. And that’s something I should actually also tell myself that I have to keep sharing the learning. So yeah, just keep learning and keep sharing. I think that helps everybody.

Andrej Zito 

Well, you did that right here. Right? You shared a lot of this is your journey or experience. So I want to thank you very much for that Sankeshwari. Thank you for the lovely interview.

Sankeshwari Deo 

Thank you for setting this up Andrej. It was really lovely to share all of this.

Andrej Zito 

Thank you very much and have a good day. Bye bye,

Sankeshwari Deo 

You too. Thank you. Bye.

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