Highlights from Monterey Forum 2017

by Gayane Saghatelyan

Academics, industry professionals and students recently gathered in Monterey for the biennial Monterey Forum titled The Future of Localization Training: Keeping Pace with an Evolving Industry. The attendees are all focused and passionate about acquiring new skills and growing the localization profession. The forum included a wide range of topics: from incorporating new technology in the classroom to encouraging students to leave their comfort zones to explore new roles. If there was one word to summarize the forum it would have to be growth. Here are some highlights from the forum.

Rethinking the Localization Profession

Andrew Lawless (Performance Consultant and Coach) kicked off the forum with an impactful presentation inspiring the audience to rethink the way we approach localization training. To make localization stronger and more relevant companies and individuals need to “establish localization as a core competence, rather than a stand-alone program,” proposed Andrew Lawless. Just as every International Business program includes an International Accounting course, every Computer Science and Product Management program should include Localization training.

Andrew Lawless talks about the role of the localization profession in today’s market

This perspective was echoed in Pavel Soukenik’s presentation on Teaching Technical Localization Topics to Non-Technical Students. Pavel rightfully pointed out that “as much as programmers make a localizer’s work difficult by not providing a localizable product, localizers create a new layer of complexity for programmers by defining internationalization guidelines.” By bringing localization into the curriculum early on, we can help developers and localizers meet each other halfway on the learning curve.

Source: Pavel Soukenik. How can localization training help technical and non-technical professionals meet halfway on the learning curve?

Professional Growth

The forum provided a great opportunity for the meeting of three worlds: academia, professionals and students. This was prominently showcased in The Value of Student Participation in Professional Conferences and Events, where participants got a rare perspective from working professionals, professors and students. Alan Melby (FIT/ Brigham Young University) talked about best practices in organizing student groups to attend conferences and professional events, with a special focus on how to prove the value of these investments to academic administration. Nick Lambson (Medialocate, MIIS MATLM 2016) talked about the employer perspective and how professional conferences are a win-win for both the employer and the employee, in that they help companies stay in-tune with current industry trends. Finally, the panel would not be complete without the war stories of graduating students Min Tan (MATLM 2017) and Lindsay Smith (MATLM 2017), who talked about overcoming their fears of networking to become pros in connecting with professionals.

Min Tan shared her experience with us, “In the first semester at MIIS, I went to the LocWorld conference in San Jose. I was so scared when I was there – there were so many things that I didn’t know, there were so many company names that I had never heard of before. The experience pushed me outside of my comfort zone and made me realize that networking at big events takes some getting used to. With time I built up the confidence to attend more events and learned to connect senior-level executives.”

Panel on The Value of Student Participation in Professional Events and Conferences

The moderator of the panel, Winnie Heh (Center For Advising & Career Services, MIIS) asked the participants to share advice with organizers of conferences such as Locworld for enhancing the student experience. The panelists mentioned the following:

  • Introducing a buddy program at LocWorld where students can be paired with experienced professionals to help them navigate in an unfamiliar environment
  • Adding more volunteer opportunities for students and giving them more responsibilities to get involved

Advice from Alumni

Participants had the exclusive opportunity to hear advice from MIIS alumni who joined the panel Strengthening and Leveraging the Alumni Network. Olga Melnikova (MATLM 2015) and Eva Gross (MATLM 2010) encouraged students to stay motivated and create strong bonds with their colleagues. I want to point out an interesting idea mentioned by Olga Melnikova who in the context of staying close to the MIIS community mentioned that “MIIS TLM grads all speak the same ‘language’,” which makes it easier for new grads to hit the ground running in the industry.

Eva Gross, Olga Melnikova and Winnie Heh talk about leveraging the alumni network

Exploring New Frontiers

Participants of the Forum had the opportunity to explore new frontiers with a panel on Neural Machine Translation (NMT). The panel included a hands-on presentation from KantanMT. Kantan partners with a number of higher education institutions, including MIIS and University of Texas Arlington through their academic partnership program. In addition to KantanMT being taught by professors in a classroom, students also have access to a comprehensive self-paced learning resource, KantanAcademy. All in all, as Machine Translation gains more weight in our industry, academia is quick to adapt to current trends.

Talent Needs

It was interesting to hear a CEO’s perspective on today’s talent requirements. Claudia Mirza (CEO, Akorbi) says, “I don’t hire 100% translators anymore,” they have to have other skills. The forum revealed an interesting picture for the skills that the industry is most often looking for:

  • Ability to gather and analyze data
  • Knowledge in machine learning
  • Ability to manage relationships with stakeholder
  • Working in remote settings and managing remote teams

To learn these skills we often need to go outside of our comfort zone, as was clearly demonstrated by Tetyana Struk (Linguistic Center and Iryna Drobit (Lviv State University of Life Safety) in their joint presentation titled From Zero to Infinity: Leave-Your-Comfort-Zone Approach. Tetyana and Iryna talked about their experience integrating project-based work in the classroom and encouraging students to go outside of their comfort zone by working in roles they aren’t accustomed to. The results were fascinating: some students loved the new roles, others realized that it was not for them. In either case, exploring new roles was a beneficial experience for both the instructors and the students.

Tetyana Struk and Iryna Drobit share their experience bringing real-world projects into the classroom

Final Thoughts

As mentioned by Pete Smith in his closing remarks, I really do believe that “the common thread in all of these discussions is growth and learning.” From technical knowledge to soft skills, the Monterey forum brought together a truly passionate and knowledgeable group of professionals. If you missed this year’s Monterey forum, look out for the next one in two years. I want to leave you with one final thought expressed by Adam Wooten in response to my question “Where do you see your students in 5 years?” — “I hope that you will all find your passion and that it takes you in different directions, so far that it will be hard to gather you all in one place.”

Professor John Balcom finalist for the 2017 PEN Poetry in Translation Award

Professor John Balcom’s translation made it to the shortlist and is now a finalist for the 2017 PEN poetry in translation award.  Attached is the official promo image from PEN, and here is a link to the announcement: https://pen.org/2017-pen-award-poetry-translation/
The $3,000 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation recognizes book-length translations of poetry from any language into English published during the current calendar year. Finalists Pearl: A New Verse Translation by The Pearl Poet Liveright/W. W. Norton &Company translated from the Middle English by Simon Armitage Amazon | Indie Bound Abyss by Ya Hsien Zephyr …

Register Now for Monterey Forum 2017

Join language industry professionals, academics and students on April 1-2, 2017 in Monterey, California as they explore new trends in localization and language training. Hosted by the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, this year’s theme is The Future of Localization Training: Keeping Pace with an Evolving Industry. Register now for Monterey Forum 2017early-bird registration ends February 28.

The localization industry moves at a rapid pace, closely following the software development industry, and requiring us to quickly adapt to new technologies and markets. How do we train individuals who are new to the industry? How do we challenge experienced professionals to expand their skillset to meet new industry needs? Monterey Forum 2017 will address how localization professionals and language educators can prepare students for a career in the language industry while keeping up with the latest trends.

Preliminary topics:

  • Collaboration Between Business and Academia: A Win-Win
  • Soft Skills Needed to Succeed in a Localization Career
  • Early Outreach to Language Educators Benefits the Language Industry
  • How Internships Prepare Students for Their Careers
  • Culture and Gender Challenges in the Localization Industry
  • Providing Localization Career Advising as an Industry Outsider
  • How Students Benefit from Participation in Professional Events and Conferences
  • Cross-Functional Training in Translation and Localization
  • From Statistical to Neural: The Growing Importance of Machine Translation in the Localization Curriculum
  • How FIT Position Papers Fit into the Localization Classroom
  • From Zero to Infinity: Leave-your-comfort-zone Approach
  • Integrating Post-Editing Exercises into Traditional Translation Courses

Accepted and invited speakers from:

LinkedIn, eBay, Lionbridge, Rockant, University of Texas Arlington, BYU, Autodesk, Salesforce, Medialocate, Women in Localization, Mozilla, LDS Church, Linguistic Centre, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and more pending.

About Monterey Forum:

Launched in 2007, Monterey Forum provides a venue to discuss new trends in translator, interpreter and localizer (TIL) education. This biennial conference brings professionals, educators, and students to Monterey, CA. Interested in becoming a sponsor? See this page for more information on how your organization can get involved and reach out to participants.

For more information and to register for Monterey Forum 2017, click here or use this short link: go.miis.edu/montereyforum.

Innovative Pedagogy and Ecological Perspective

The following article is a summary, in both English and Chinese, of Chinese language studies faculty, Jinhuei Enya Dai’s new book, Innovative Pedagogy and Ecological Perspective.

Innovative Pedagogy and Ecological Perspective is a book that infuses Eastern philosophy and Western theories. Pedagogy is a way of knowing and doing, as the book exemplifies the importance of the integration of DAO (Way) and QI (Vessel) in the classroom practice. The book is divided into five sections entitled DAO (Way), QI (Vessel), HE (Integrate), YI (One) and QI (Circulating life force); each part, respectively, discusses pedagogy, framework and methods, professional development and self-growth, self, and insights from experts.  The first four words DAO-QI-HE-YI indicates the Way and its Vessel Made One, an act of knowing and doing. The circulating life force QI comprises the insights from experts. Though the cycle of DAO-QI-HE-YI-QI, the path to innovation is complete, as shown below. The book is accompanied with a CD that includes podcasts about pedagogy, innovative units and lesson designs.


As Socrates proclaims, “Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.” This book aims to rekindle readers’ passion for language education. Given that the etymology of “educere” is “to lead out of,” the book aims to guide readers in examining the resources and knowledge they own, integrate that with what they learned from their students and the environment, and then find their own path as educators. Through the cycle emerges the affordances to a new meaning potential, to the path of innovation: a new solution, a new way, and a better self. 

Book site (Author: Jinhuei Enya Dai, by Sharing Publisher, Taipei, 2016)



《創新中文教育:生態語言教育觀》是一本揉合東方道學和西方理論的書,也是一本反思「道」與「器」之於創新個體和語言教育關係的作品。從「教學是一種生活的藝術」到「道器合一」,本書論其「藝」,談其「術」,共分為五卷,並隨書附贈全彩實例附錄光碟。全書五卷各為道(pedagogy 實踐性的理論),器(framework & methods 框架與方法論),合(professional development & self-growth 專業進修和自我成長),一(self 自我),以及氣(insights from experts 專家的話)。
誠如蘇格拉底所言:「Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel」。本書希冀能帶給讀者重新發掘教育自己和他人的熱情,同時也希望讀者能夠開發自我資源,結合世界變遷的視角,找到屬於自己學習或教育的節奏,勇敢面對並接受自己的挫敗,並從挫敗中找到創新的契機,最終道器合一,形成自己的教學風格。

Last Friday, the 13th of November students from Peter Shaw’s Principles and Practices course went to the local elementary school Bayview Academy to do a foreign language lesson for the elementary school children.

For some, it was a new experience teaching a language that they themselves are not fluent speakers of, such as Swedish, Russian, German, Japanese, Chinese and Korean.

For others, the new experience came when stepping into a classroom of 25 young learners.

It was an enriching learning experience for teachers and students alike, and I daresay some fun was had as well!

Registration for Cyril Flerov’s Workshop – Morning of the TAALS 2016 General Assembly

In the framework of the TAALS General Assembly, TAALS will be hosting a workshop on the Voice of the Interpreter, presented in English by Cyril Flerov.


The seminar will take place on Saturday, December 3 from 9 am to 12 pm at AFSA, 2101 E St NW, Washington, DC 20037.


This workshop, sponsored by the American Association of Language Specialists (TAALS), will be presented in English and is not language specific. It will cover the basics of voice work as needed by conference interpreters.  Richly illustrated with audio example, it will present various techniques to develop professional voice quality, common issues interpreters have with voice, and ways to resolve them using computer software work on voice, and voice care.


If you are interested in the seminar, please use the link below to register:



Cyril Flerov’s Seminars on Simultaneous Interpretation in Moscow, Tbilisi and Baku in September 2016

We are glad to announce three one day seminars in Moscow, Russia (September 12, Monday), Tbilisi, (September 17, Saturday), and Baku, Azerbaijan (September 19, Monday) run by a conference interpreter and interpretation trainer Cyril Flerov, AIIC, TAALS.

Please use the following link for more information:

MIIS Chinese T&I Graduates Interpret at Inauguration of Taiwan’s First Female President

MIIS Chinese T&I Graduates Interpret at Inauguration of Taiwan’s First Female President
Tsai Ing-Wen, Taiwan’s first female president who was sworn in on May 20, 2016
Cindy Tao (MACI ’12) interprets between President Tsai (right) and U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce Marcus Jadotte (left). Cindy became a staff interpreter with Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2015.  
Pear Lin (MATI ’95) interprets between President Tsai (right) and Nauru President Baron Waqa (left). Pearl joined Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a staff interpreter in the late 1990s and has since served four presidents of Taiwan.
Teresa Wang (MAT ’10) is appointed as Honorary Chief Aide-de-Camp to President Hilda Heine (left) of the Marshall Islands during her official visit to Taiwan for President Tsai’s inauguration ceremony.