Meet CSN’s Shaun Daggett
How were you introduced to translation/localization?
I think everyone in this industry has some story of how he or she fell into this profession. I have yet to meet someone who initially intended to be a part of the GILT industry (professional translators excluded). My history in this industry has been well rounded, but not the most interesting journey. I have held positions on both the client and vendor side and now find myself part of something very unique—ClientSide News. I think the most interesting story is not my résumé, but the reluctant birth of ClientSide News.
From that you founded the ClientSide News organization, which publishes a monthly magazine dedicated to delivering business content and information to the client side of this industry. What was it that made you decide to enter magazine publishing and focus on this group?
The honest truth is that ClientSide News
chose me, not the other way around. I was working for FrontRange
Solutions in the summer of 2001—with the early stages
of the .com bubble deflating and just prior to world-changing
events of 9/11. As the Senior Manager of Globalization for
this company, my biggest challenge was developing its internal
workflow model for delivering localized products. When I
got there, they really had been in a "brute-force"
localization mode with no process or structure. Localization
projects ran over time, over budget and the quality level
was substandard. I implemented a lot of innovative and powerful
solutions within FrontRange to turn this situation around
and was on a great path, enjoying my work immensely.
I honestly felt that this was the real value my skill set and industry experience offered to client companies that didn’t have a big budget for full time staff. I had to find a way to get my new consulting service offering in front of those who could benefit from it, and in a way that established me as knowledgeable, credible and capable of delivering on this promise.
I spent many weeks looking for ways to network and market myself to potential customers with no success. So, I decided to create my own—The ClientSide Newsletter.
CSN started out as a simple newsletter where
I authored articles on subjects that I felt would help clients
improve some areas of their internal operations, from localization
contract negotiations and vendor management solutions to
developing product roadmaps and how to accurately budget
and forecast across product lines. On October 15, 2001,
the first issue of The ClientSide Newsletter went out to
a little over 800 contacts I had developed over the years.
Over the next few months, this newsletter was gaining momentum
and being passed around in a way never expected. By December
of that year, I had over 2500 “subscribers”
asking for back issues and future editions. The industry
was not only accepting what I was putting out there, they
were pulling the rope of this newsletter demanding more
What are the challenges a publisher faces?
The biggest challenge is finding good content. For so many years in this industry, press releases were cheap advertising. Every press release put out in this industry was published. So, filtering through all of the mostly vast and meaningless press releases to find something interesting, newsworthy and relevant to clients is a real challenge. Another challenge is getting clients to share some of their internal success stories. When clients implement a new solution, develop an internal process that has a real impact on their time to market or some major cost savings, we love to hear about it. But often times adding authoring to their workload is more than they can handle, or it is difficult to get approval to share their intellectual property.
ClientSide News is involved in other activities as well, such as events, education, reports, mentoring, and technology. How do these relate to one another?
With any professional association dedicated to supporting a specific community or demographic within their community, you will find a very similar structure to CSN. Events, educational workshops, industry analysis and reports, as well as specific publications like our magazine and newsletters—each of these solutions and offerings is dedicated to helping the client-side localization professional stay on top of his or her profession and excel.
Your experience places you in the position of knowing the client, vendor and news sides of translation and localization. How has this uncommon set of experiences shaped your perspective?
It is very true, my job is to stay “in the know” about everything going on in this industry, and everything that may have impact on this industry. I feel overwhelmed by the responsibility sometimes and just the sheer volume of information I process each day. But it is very rewarding and very interesting to be in that position.
What have you learned that surprised you the most?
The thing that has surprised me the most about our industry is how incredibly small the world really is how quickly information disseminates in this industry. But the real shock is how EVERYONE knows Renato! [Editor's note: for those of you who are less familiar with our industry, Renato Beninatto, along with Shaun, is another key thought leader in the translation and localization world.]
This month’s issue of E-Buzz is focused on doing business with China, especially for those who may be considering it for the first time. Do you have any thoughts on how a company just entering the global market rapidly matures its operations, particularly in China?
That is a great question. I think often times clients find themselves focusing on China for all the right reasons, but don’t have all the right plans in place before they start focusing on localization for this market. China has many cultural, language and technology challenges as it relates to localization and my advice for first timers entering this market is simply to ask for help. That help is best found with their localization or translation provider. I think one of the biggest mistakes is that first timers underestimate all of these complex challenges, and fail to clearly scope out what it will take from every side of the equation.
What are some pitfalls and rookie mistakes to avoid?
Holding things too close to the vest. Many clients are, for whatever reason, reluctant to communicate effectively with their vendors all their needs. Clients work to keep as much work in house as possible to reduce external (tangible) expenses and don’t realize the soft costs, delays in time to market and slower pace of internal maturation that this causes. New clients need to recognize that localization is a business process that will always be outsourced, and work with their vendors to establish a BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) model in a way that fosters overall savings on both hard and soft costs, provides faster time to market and a rapid maturation of their internal workflow model. All clients new to localization should ask themselves this question: “Are we in the business of translation and localization?” If the answer is no, and 100% of the time it should be, then figure out what makes sense to outsource and work closely and openly with your service provider to make that happen in a way that is beneficial to all.
Are there cost effective ways to adapt existing processes that weren’t originally designed for globalization?
I think when we, as an industry, break out of our cocoon and look at mainstream practices in functional areas that overlap—and adopt some of the mainstream solutions and apply them to our needs, we are in good shape. However, too often in our industry we feel we need to reinvent the wheel. After all, localization is complicated and hard, we have to work out a special way of handling things… or do we? I think we need to start mainstreaming more as an industry and stop falling on back on old habits of assuming everything for the GILT (Globalization, Internationalization, Localization, Translation) industry needs to be custom-made.
Shaun, it’s been a pleasure talking with you. Is there a final word you’d like to leave our readers with today?
Yes, there absolutely is: Thank you.
Please see some ads as well as other content from TranslationDirectory.com: