Coming up next week, the folks at CSOFT are co-sponsoring a holiday party for the Women in Localization group based in Northern California. This esteemed group aims to create a forum for women to develop their careers in localization and share industry experience, and they have recently opened up their doors for global membership. The three co-founders (pictured below), Anna Schlegel, Eva Klaudinyova, Silvia Avary-Silveira, recently honored us with an interview to discuss the history of their group and its rapidly expanding global presence. They were a pleasure to talk to, so we hope you enjoy!
Tell us about the Women in Localization. When did you found the group and why?
W.L.: The group Women in Localization was founded in September 2008 by industry colleagues (and friends!) who share a passion for globalization. Until very recently, the group was only open for women in localization living in Northern California. Therefore we called it “Northern California Women in Localization,” but due to popular demand we recently decided to open it to members in other locations and countries, so we ourselves went global!
We really founded the group because we wanted to help each other. We were all heading localization teams—we even had been in the same team at one point—and we had always been there for each other to ask for advice on processes, vendors, infrastructure, and so forth.
Consequently, we thought it would be beneficial to meet up often, instead of e-mailing each other to catch up, and openly ask questions around anything localization-related. Soon, it became pretty clear that we had something good going. We were being asked to speak at the same conferences, to mentor people, and so we decided to invite more people to join us and create something, and voila… the group was born.
Why did you decide to form a women-only group?
W.L.: Have you noticed how the discussion boards are dominated by men on many of the localization groups? We wanted to have a group for women where they could ask questions and share their professional challenges without feeling intimidated. This would be a dedicated place for women to develop their careers in localization with a goal of creating an open and collaborative forum where women could share their expertise and experience.
Do you think women face particular challenges that men do not in this industry?
W.L.: Yes, unfortunately. Women often get overlooked for career moves and promotions, so we wanted a group where women could help each other to grow and learn.
How many people joined at the beginning, and how big is it now?
W.L.: We started with four members that soon grew to be 35. Now, two years later, we have more than 200 members. By going global we envision that the numbers will grow steadily.
What made you decide to open the doors to global membership, and why at this time?
W.L.: At the beginning, when we created the group, we didn’t look far into the future and didn’t expect so much growth. We probably thought we would have about 30-40 members who would meet locally, discuss localization, network, and help each other. Somehow the word spread, however, and almost from the start we’ve been getting requests from people outside of California who wanted to join our group.
Recently those requests have started coming from outside the US as well. This made us realize that there is interest outside of the Silicon Valley, and we could start forming a global community of professional women involved in localization. But then our name would no longer apply, so after throwing around half a dozen suggestions for a new name, we decided to keep it simple—keep the old name and simply drop the “Northern California” part.
We made the announcement about going global at our last event, and without any publicity or marketing campaigns, the number of members has grown by 60% in the past month only. So obviously the idea about going global was the right one, and we’re very happy to be able to welcome new members from Europe, Latin America, as well as Asia. Latin America is in the lead—we have already received a request to form a local chapter there! Way to go, ladies!
What are your expectations for the group now that it is branching into regions around the world?
W.L.: We are hoping women around the world will form local groups to meet in person. We anticipate that those groups will hold local events and take advantage of networking opportunities just like we did. We are just at the beginning stages of this concept, but we do hope to see this go viral! We will help local groups to form and we are in the process of creating guidelines for local groups, so stay tuned!
Do you anticipate hosting an annual gathering of these women in the future?
W.L.: For the time being we will remain local when it comes to gatherings, but we are hoping we can help women around the world organize their own local events under the W.L. branch.
Who are your own female role models?
W.L.: Strong, independent women with a lot of personal integrity, who are passionate about globalization. We have several examples in the Bay Area, with several Senior or Director titles on their resumes.
Anything else you would like to share?
W.L.: If you would like to become a member, it is very easy. Membership is free, but there are two prerequisites to join: you need to be a woman and you need to be working in the localization industry.
You can find us on Linkedin under groups (here). You can also find us on Facebook (here). We offer discussion boards, job postings, mentoring and quarterly events with discussions and presentations on various topics, as well as networking opportunities for our members. Events have been held in California so far, where we are based. By having gone global we hope to see the evolution into other states and countries, so that our members get inspired to start organizing their own local groups and events.
About the Founders of Women in Localization:
Anna Schlegel (pictured on the left)
Anna Schlegel is Director of Globalization Programs at NetApp. Her background encompasses 20 years of leading international web teams, localization and global engagement teams at VMware, Acclaro, VeriSign, Xerox and Cisco. Anna is a native of Catalonia, and holds a Masters in German Philology from the University of Berlin and is fluent in 6 languages. Anna is a co-founder of Women in Localization.
Eva Klaudinyova (pictured in the middle)
Eva Klaudinyova is Sr. Localization Manager in the Corporate Globalization Program at VMware, Inc., responsible for managing localization teams in Asia, Europe and Latin America. Apart from managing worldwide localization production, she is also responsible for linguistic quality, terminology and localization processes, as well as overall Globalization budget. She has been working in the localization industry since 2000. She holds a Master’s degree in Foreign Language Teaching from Slovakia, as well as a Master’s degree in Translation from the Monterey Institute of International Studies in Monterey, CA. She is a co-founder of the Women in Localization (formerly NCWL) group.
Silvia Avary-Silveira (pictured on the right)
Silvia is a senior localization manager at Symantec. She joined the company in August 2010 when Symantec acquired VeriSign Authentication Services. Silvia has worked for VeriSign’s international web team since 2005 and is continuing that work as part of Symantec. A native of Brazil who has been living in the United States for the past 13 years, Silvia started her localization career doing translation and interpretation for several companies in the Bay Area.
Silvia has over ten years of localization experience, and she is fluent in Portuguese, English and Spanish. She has a marketing background and holds an MBA from San Francisco State University. Silvia has participated in numerous conferences and seminars and is a co-founder of Women in Localization, which aims to create a forum for women to develop their careers in localization and share experiences. She is also a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine by training but in the past several years has only provided care for her two mixed breed pooches.
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