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The pain of managing a multilingual product

I used to be the Operations Director at Lingo24 – overseeing the operations that delivered millions of words of translation to a range of clients and applications every year. I’m now running the Operations at what3words – though this time I’m a buyer of translation services (mostly from Lingo24). Buying and managing translation is really a bit of a headache – even when the services provided by the translators/translation agency are hassle-free. There is so much more to managing the translation process than that which goes through the linguists and their project managers. Imagine a business that has a website, iOS app and Android app – pretty easy, as this is not a particularly unusual combination of things for a business to have. Now imagine that each of these are in, say, 10 languages. Again, not that uncommon. (what3words is in 25


Give it 5 minutes

Most good ideas start as bad ideas, or at least start off sounding like bad ideas. I recently came across this article: http://37signals.com/svn/posts/3124-give-it-five-minutes (I discovered it thanks to Ivan Mazour’s very amusing and appropriate use of the link above to respond to an instantaneous aggressive response to his blog post about banning incoming calls) The basic principle is that when you hear an idea you should give it the respect of thinking about it properly before pushing back. But chance are, the person who has put the idea to you has been thinking about it for a long time… It’s a bit like this in management. Much of management is about making decisions/giving feedback on things in 1-10 minutes – specifically things that other people have been spending hours, days, weeks, even months thinking about. If your team is to be

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