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Smith's Blog

Posted Jun 7, 2013 at 4:52 AM by Smith Yewell

I was very happy to see Welocalize climb again in CSA's annual Top-100 LSP ranking.
We ranked #10 in 2011 and climbed to #8 in 2012.

Continuing to grow any company is a big challenge.  Some one asked me recently, "how do you do it?"  The answer is talented people working very hard to overcome the growth challenges with creative ideas and drive.  Everyone is a star when things are going well.  One of things I learned while I was in the first Gulf War was that the mettle of true character comes out when facing adversity.  This is where I am most proud of the Welocalize team.  I have asked them to take on many difficult challenges and associated sacrifices over the years, and they have always found a way to succeed.

All the best to them, our clients and our vendors.  This recognition is yours.


Posted Mar 8, 2013 at 11:03 AM by Smith Yewell

2012 was an exciting year for Welocalize. We made great progress in our key initiatives and saw our revenue grow by 16% to $125 million. We also grew to over 600 people worldwide across 12 offices.

One of our top initiatives is to nurture and protect a unique culture. I believe a unique and rewarding culture is the lifeblood of a successful company. It is the way we create enthusiasm, attract talent, attract clients and support my vision for revolutionizing the way our industry services its clients.  

To support this, we successfully transitioned Tim Delbrugge into his new role of CAO.  I have asked Tim to manage our culture initiatives worldwide.  Several of these culture initiatives resulted in great success. The sense of enthusiasm, trust and unique team spirit was palpable in 2012, and we will continue to invest in our culture in 2013.

Another top initiative for us is Operational Excellence: driving out waste through innovation, practical standardization and automation.  We invested approximately $4 million into automation systems and technology in 2012 including new GlobalSight releases and connectors, machine translation, strong advances in our internal project accounting and management system called Falcon as well as translation tools such as the open-source OmegaT.

I feel more strongly than ever that we have the people, process and systems to achieve new and exciting things in our industry.  I want to thank our clients, staff and vendors for a wonderful year!


Posted Dec 12, 2012 at 2:16 PM by Smith Yewell

One fine autumn day in New York’s Catskill Mountains Rip Van Winkle shared in what was a bit too much liquor.  It was offered in a seemingly innocuous way by a group of silent, bearded men playing nine-pins in a hollow along the mountain path.  Making himself comfortable under a broad shade tree Rip soon dozed off.  When he awoke after what seemed like a short nap – his beard had grown below his knees and the world had completely changed.

Have you seen any similar long-bearded, Rip Van Winkle types wandering the floors of Localization World?  I could swear I saw him quietly manning a vendor booth or two with a neglected gaze! 

Yes, it would not be too hard to wake up one day in this industry and see that the standard practices of the past no longer applied to the work of the day.  For just as in the Rip Van Winkle parable, what has fundamentally changed in our industry is time itself.

Where has the time gone?  Oh to pine for the days of localization projects measured in months, but anything measured in months now seems as outdated as Y2K.  Regardless of location, language or culture – we expect everything from basic information to entertainment “now”.

Any content, any language, any device, anywhere in the world instantly is the rule of the day.  There is enormous pressure on the “Clients” in our industry to compete at this level globally, however many historical, cumbersome and walled-garden “Vendor” offerings are simply not up to the task.  There has been ample discussion on the topic, but who is really doing something differently?  Well here is a Welocalize example of something very different.

In a recent three-month period for one of our clients Welocalize delivered:

·      Over 19 million translated words
·      Over 36,000 projects
·      Average project size of approximately 500 words
·      Average project duration of 48 hours
·      Average quality score of 98%

This is continuous localization or what some call “on-demand translation” at its most challenging.  Delivering small chunks of 500 words or less at large scale, high speed and high quality requires a new way of thinking in our industry.   There has been a lot of discussion across our industry about “translation in the cloud”, “crowdsourcing” and “agile localization”.  These are valid concepts but in and among themselves only buzzwords.   Looking at the challenge from a broader perspective what is needed is a holistic supply solution that can deliver at scale through open collaboration and extensible automation.  Clients, language service providers and translators must all be able to connect seamlessly and automate three key business processes:

1.     Project accounting
2.     Project management
3.     Workflow creation and management

A “walled garden” approach does not address this challenge effectively.  This is our philosophy at Welocalize – doing things differently leads to something extraordinary – and it is my vision to revolutionize the industry around innovations that support continuous localization or “on-demand translation”. 

This is an open call for those in the industry who share the same vision to join Welocalize in open collaboration to re-shape the way translation services are performed and delivered across our supply chain.  We are actively connecting MT tools, CAT tools and TMS tools to create an innovative and automated supply chain.  Give us a call if you would like to participate.

Posted Oct 10, 2012 at 3:01 PM by Smith Yewell

Welocalize has been championing open collaboration for many years now.  We feel that interoperability across the translation supply chain is key to gaining efficiency and predictable scalability.   Translation word rates have reached their lower limits putting even more pressure on reducing total cost through automation of logistics and administration across the supply chain.  Here are some of the things we have been working on lately.

Translation Services API in collaboration with TAUS:  We need to be able to do more than pass common files across the supply chain.  We need to be able to directly connect different translation support systems and tools.  Most interoperability efforts for translation processes have focused on file formats. This made sense when systems were not interdependent. In today’s environment, where services are increasingly hosted in the cloud, web APIs offer the ability to simplify the process while allowing a complex task to be broken down into several small and simple requests.

Collaboration on the open source OmegaT translation memory tool: We have been developing the OmegaT tool to run MT productivity tests for several of our key accounts. Our objective is to develop additional functionality as a MT productivity evaluation tool and a platform to gather other MT metrics (confidence scoring, automation scores, MT vs. fuzzy matches, error type analysis and correction submission). We are also working on integrating the OmegaT editing tool as a translation/post-editing workbench connected to GlobalSight.

LocLeaders Forum: we have been hosting LocLeaders Forums with our clients and vendors for several years now, and they have proved to be very worthwhile for all attending.  Our next Forum is October 17th in Seattle.  Please join us!


Posted Aug 15, 2012 at 7:01 AM by Smith Yewell

In June, I attended the Localization World conference in Paris.  In conjunction with the the event we also conducted our own vendor conference as well as a client conference, and with strong representation from both our clients and vendors, we decided to do something unique this year. I am not sure it has been done before.  It was certainly the first time we had ever done it.

The experiment began with the challenge of finding a taxi in Paris during the morning rush hour.  The long line of available taxis we saw conveniently waiting in front of the hotel the day before had vanished. Not a taxi in sight!  Ten minutes passed and still no taxis. And thus began our Paris Metro experience. Taking the Metro is no problem, but trying to coordinate a large group of people in getting on and off of packed trains, at the right stop, without losing anyone – was a true challenge in logistics.  The feeling was strangely familiar to managing a large translation project.

Once we arrived and got settled in the conference meeting room (everyone made it), I kicked-off our first ever combined Client-Vendor summit!  I started by thanking our staff, clients and vendors for the excellent achievements we have made so far this year:

* Revenue in the first half up by 12.4%
* 4 upgrades to GlobalSight and 10 new GlobalSight clients
* Machine Translation Innovation: We are developing our own automated MT scoring tool (beta already running) 

I then discussed our new format for the meeting.  We have been conducting separate client and vendor summits for years, but this was the first time we had ever combined the two meetings.  Our clients and our vendors suddenly found themselves sitting together in the same room.  Yes, many of our client’s reviewers quite often meet our translators, but this was something different.  For an entire day, the Welocalize staff, our clients and our translators met together and discussed key business challenges that we each face at our unique points in the supply chain.  The result was outstanding with one client telling me “it ended too soon”!

One of the really interesting sessions was during a panel comprised of both our clients and our translators.  Antoine Rey, our Sr. Director of Europe & Asian Sales, Lyn Carroll, our Sr. Director of Global Vendor Management, and myself moderated a series of questions put to the panel.  The following question sparked an interesting debate: how necessary is a client review step in the translation process?

The client review process can be very expensive.  I have heard some clients say they spend up to 20% of their budget on this step while I have heard others say they have eliminated the step entirely.  Why are there opposite opinions around such an important question?  We put it to the panel.  One client on the panel informed us that they had stopped doing the review and suggested that time spent on creating a better upfront process produces better quality in the end, and that what they found to be more useful was “allocating more time and authority for the translator to do their job properly.”  The opposing view on the panel was also interesting.  This client pointed out that their review feedback was not intended to be critical but was intended more specifically to help educate the translator on the language that is unique to that client’s products.

I think both points of view are valid depending on the maturity of a translation program.  Naturally, a program that has been running for years will have experienced translators who have learned to “speak the language of the customer.”  In addition, much of the actual translation itself may become less and less new words, and a large and reliable translation database lends itself to greater confidence in eliminating the review step.

I think that what is most important in delivering “quality” is structuring a translation program around a candid assessment of the “maturity” of the program.  Naturally, new programs require additional steps and time to fix the bugs in the program.  Some of the steps become unnecessary as the translation supply chain gains more experience.  This necessary experience comes from patience and investment during the inevitable highs and lows of a translation program life-cycle, and the strongest partners are those you can count in either case.  I want to thank those partners, clients and vendors alike, who have helped us create a truly unique company in our industry and for your willingness to try new things such as this combined summit.  I want us to innovate together wherever possible!


Posted Apr 9, 2012 at 7:17 AM by Smith Yewell

We have very exciting things going on at Welocalize this year, but this would not be possible without the incredible hard work everyone put in during 2011.  2011 marked the greatest single-year expansion in the company’s history.  The pace of change, the dedication of our partners and staff in working long hours to keep up and the support of our clients in trusting us to take-on increasing volume and complexity – were all at the greatest levels I have ever seen.
To put it into perspective:
  • Revenue Record: $24 million added (39% growth)
  • Hiring Record: over 100 new staff added
  • Merger Record: three, with Park being our largest ever
  • Word Count Record: 400 million
  • Language Record: 115
Our revenue climbed by 39% to $83 million, and it is amazing when you consider it was one word at a time.  We moved an enormous amount of words around the world at a dizzying pace with a supply chain of over 10,000 people.
I am also happy to report that we made significant progress towards my vision of being the On-Demand translation leader.  This means delivering services at a competitive price and with minimal inconvenience to clients with large and complex ongoing day-to-day demands.  On-Demand translation is the shift towards continuous translation as opposed to episodic projects. It is characterized by tight integration with IT systems, “right now” deadlines, and a high level of automation.
All of these developments have positioned us for an outstanding 2012, and we began the year with an exciting announcement: our merger with Park IP.
Park IP is the leading patent and legal translation firm in the USA.  Our plan is to continue to expand the breadth of translation services we can offer and this addition of Legal translation services fits perfectly.
In addition, this merger now takes us over $100 million in revenue!  This is a major milestone for our staff, clients and partners, and I want to thank all of you for your support.
Now I want to describe what we have planned for 2012.  All of us on the leadership team are more enthusiastic than we have ever been about the company’s prospects to deliver a superior continuous localization (On-Demand) service built upon a strong foundation of Operational Excellence.  There is a positive buzz in the company and around our industry about the great things going on at Welocalize.  We are evolving rapidly and leading a transformation in our industry around continuous localization.
Given the rapid changes in the world related to On-Demand content being available on any device, anywhere in the world and in any language – an enormous opportunity exists for Welocalize to be recognized as the continuous localization (On-Demand) leader in our industry.  We have built a company that is able to increase velocity, increase quality and drive out waste like no other in our industry.  Our rally cry for 2012 is to DRIVE OUT WASTE!
A strong culture and meaningful values create an enduring company.  This is also at the heart of our growth plans.  We are big believers in Patrick Lencioni’s work and program to build a “healthy company”.  We are even referenced in his new book, “The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business!” Investing in our culture and satisfaction of our people remains a top focus for 2012.
Thank you again for all of the support.  I am very proud of what we have all accomplished together.


Posted Feb 9, 2012 at 11:38 AM by Smith Yewell

Hello Welocalize Community,

I have exciting news! I am happy to announce our merger with a company called Park IP Translations.

Combined, we are now over $100 million in sales with 12 offices and nearly 600 people worldwide!

This is an extraordinary milestone for all of us, and I want to recognize the support of our clients, staff and partners in this great accomplishment.

For your information, here is a question and answer summary:
Q: What does Park do?

A: Park is one of the top providers of translation services in the legal field including patent translations, litigation support, mergers & acquisitions and contracts. 

Q: Will Park keep their name and existing team?

A: Yes, the existing Park management and staff will remain in place.  They will operate as a Welocalize subsidiary, and they will continue with the Park name.

Q: What size is Park?

A: They have 35 employees and approximately $25 million in sales.

Q: What do we have planned?

A: We plan to use our merger as a way to offer our respective clients a larger variety of translation/localization services and technology. 

Q: Are there any changes at Welocalize related to the merger?

A: No, there are no Welocalize changes associated with the merger other than now being able to offer legal translation services to our clients and the addition of the Park offices and staff in New York City and Beijing.
Thank you again for your support!


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