The 2016 conference of the Globalization and Localization Association (GALA) wrapped up in style with a closing keynote address given by Renato Beninatto, a respected industry leader and the chief marketing officer of Moravia Worldwide.
With over three decades in the localization industry, Beninatto drew from his years of experience to discuss the current state of the industry, and equally important, where we are headed from here.
A Mature Industry
Beninatto greeted his audience warmly and expressed pleasure at how much the GALA conference had grown and developed in the five years since he last attended, noting that fully one-third of this year's conference attendees were first-timers. His forward-looking view of the industry was reflected throughout his talk.
"One of things that I like about the business of language is that it's a pioneer business," said Beninatto. "You're always translating the next ... new, new thing — the next generation of software, the next hardware, the new invention that is going to be launched in another country. We're always working in the frontlines of technology and innovation and advancement."
Beninatto also described the industry as now reaching maturity, and he cited the current initiatives of two organizations in particular as signs of this maturity. The group Red-T.org has started a petition to urge the United Nations to actively protect translators and interpreters working in war zones and other dangerous situations. And the nonprofit Translators without Borders donates translation services "to provide people access to vital knowledge in their language."
The Two C's
In keeping with the theme of "Bringing It All Together," Beninatto discussed two of his key takeaways from GALA 2016: the ideas of convergence and collaboration as they pertain to the future of the translation industry.
Referring to the current era of translation as "a period of convergence," Beninatto listed some of the services and technologies currently coming together, including productivity tools, machine translation, automation in all forms, voice translation and more. He suggested that this convergence will aid us in "doing what we do best": converting content from one language to another in any form it is presented.
In addition to this convergence of new technologies, Beninatto also emphasized the power of collaboration, which he encouraged everyone to harness in order to successfully advance together. Calling attention to the diversity of GALA 2016, whose attendees represented 42 different nationalities, he also noted that studies have shown diverse groups to be the most adaptive and creative by nature, and that "a diverse group is smarter than a smart group."
In closing, Beninatto encouraged attendees to continue working together and embracing new technology rather than fearing it. He stressed the importance of adapting to the ever-changing landscape of the translation field, cautioning that "old ideas" are the quickest way to kill an industry.
Following his address, Beninatto generously opened the floor to audience questions, elaborating on his awe of the current translation technologies and stressing the importance of showing clients the correlation between quality and real value with regard to their brands.
He also offered some words of encouragement to those just beginning their careers in the translation industry, saying that with the support systems currently in place and with plenty of room for everyone, he saw no reason not to thrive.