Interview with Language Industry Veteran and GALA Executive Director – Laura Brandon

GALA

It’s coming to the end of a successful year and we are beginning to look back on our partnerships. We understand that being part of a network of experts, practitioners, solution providers and thought leaders is a very powerful tool for success. So, we were delighted catch up with Laura Brandon, Executive Director for the Globalization and Localization Association (GALA) to find out more about GALA, its purpose, benefits of membership and future plans.

GALA was founded in 2002 by a group of 15 language service providers (LSPs) as a non-profit membership organization with the aim of sharing knowledge within the language industry, championing standards and advancing language technology. The growing member community includes, LSPs, language technology vendors and universities.

KantanMT: Thank you for taking the time out to talk about your goals and visions for GALA with us. Could you please tell us a bit about how GALA contributes to the language community?

Laura:  Thank you for the opportunity to share a bit about GALA with KantanMT’s readers.  As a non-profit trade association, we give the language industry a place to come together and tackle mutual challenges and goals for the sector. We provide a neutral platform for discussion, awareness-building, and collaboration around topics and initiatives that matter to our companies worldwide.  The ‘non-profit’ and ‘neutrality’ components are essential to serving the industry as a whole. Our annual conferences have been one way in which we bring our members in the industry to share information and network.

KantanMT: Can you tell us a bit more about GALA’s member organisations and how they contribute to the association?

Laura:  We have close to 400 member organizations from around the world:  LSPs of all sizes, technology developers, universities, and translation and localization departments within multinational companies.  They each represent an important segment of the global language services industry.  Different members are involved with GALA in various ways – from volunteering on our conference program committee, to leading initiatives and community groups, to writing and presenting expert content through our various programs (conference, webinars, publications, for example).

GALA Conference
GALA Conference

KantanMT: Are there are any major projects you are currently concentrating on?

Laura:  We recently announced an initiative called TAPICC, also supported by TAUS and LT-Innovate.  The purpose of the project is to collectively develop a translation API that can be used across the industry.  With the myriad systems that our companies are using, we see an increasing need for standards in this area.  Developing a widely-adopted translation API has the potential to save our members a significant amount of money.  Technology developers and tech-savvy LSPs are invited to check out the project statement and join the online discussion group for the project. You do not have to be a member to participate.

KantanMT: How do GALA’s member organisations benefit from being a part of the community?

Laura:  Being a part of the GALA community is a great way to build perspective on how a company is running its business and language programs.  It’s easy to get stuck in between your four walls at the office.  But when you meet other companies from around the world and hear the vast number of approaches and technologies that they are using, you often realize there is a better way – with your employees, your workflows, your management decisions…Perspective is important.

KantanMT: Could you tell us about the GALA Partner membership programme? How does it benefit GALA members?

Laura: Over the years, GALA has collaborated with many organizations to better serve our respective stakeholders.  Partners are national or regional industry associations, sector-specific organizations, humanitarian organizations, or non-governmental entities with language-focused missions.  For example, at the tekom conference in Germany, we have been hosting the GALA Localization Forum for close to ten years.  This collaboration has helped to bring awareness of localization strategy to technical documentation managers in Europe. We also have cross-promotions and shared member discounts with national associations such as AALC in Australia and ATC in the UK. We created the GALA Partner Program to formalize these mutually valuable relationships with other organizations. In doing so, we aim to elevate the profile of the language industry and to reach a broader audience of professionals, both within the language industry and beyond.

We invite your readers to check out our partner organizations listed in our partner directory.  And we welcome the opportunity to partner with other organizations.

KantanMT: You have been working with GALA for over a decade What changes have you noticed in the industry during that time? Are there any recurring patterns that stand out?

Laura:  When I first started working for GALA, one of the first things I became aware of was the pricing and commodization of language.  This challenge persists, but the solutions and business models for our companies keep evolving.  It’s exciting to see emerging technologies and new businesses formed to meet the growing need for services.  For example, a few weeks ago, at the American Translator Association’s conference, I met four start-up interpreting technology companies that had launched their products within the past three months. That’s the kind of action in our industry that is exciting to witness and presents new opportunities for our companies.

KantanMT: You are also an Advisory Board Member of the University of Washington Localization Certificate Program. Could you tell us more about your association?

This is a 90-hour certificate course offered to Seattle-area professionals and online.  The curriculum covers localization, project management, and some localization engineering.  The advisory board members participate to help assure the program is connected to the current industry and its needs for developing talent.

About Laura Brandon

img_0813Laura is GALA’s Executive Director.  She oversees operations, staffing, and programming for the association of companies in 50+ countries.  Laura currently serves on the advisory board of the Localization Certification Program for the University of Washington and previously was member of the ASAE Small Staff Associations Council and Task Force on Small Staff Community.  She is on the volunteer committee for the Seattle Localization User Group (SLUG!).

Save With GALA

#SaveWithGALA Campaign – Reduced KantanMT Subscription until 15 December 2016

KantanMT has teamed up with GALA in an exclusive #SaveWithGALA campaign, which is valid from Wednesday 14 September until Thursday 15 December 2016 for GALA members. After Friday 16 December, GALA members can avail of a year-round discount of 25% off their first month’s subscription fees. Read more about the offer.

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