Silvio Scozzari, SDL

LOC TALK: Introducing Silvio Scozzari SDL Localization Manager

Like our customers, SDL has a wealth of content that requires localization. Marketing collateral, websites and press releases right through to legal contracts, user interface and technical documentation all have to be created, localized and then delivered to a variety of different internal audiences. And this entire process needs managing from the initial request through to delivery.

That’s where Silvio Scozzari comes in as SDL’s Localization Manager, who’s responsible for leading and executing SDL’s global strategy, processes and technology for all SDL localized content. We spent some time with Silvio talking about his role, how technology supports him, and his upcoming series called Loc Talk where he shares tips and insights from some of the brightest minds across SDL.

Tell us about yourself and your role

It’s been almost 21 years since I graduated from the University of Birmingham and joined SDL as a Junior Language Services Project Manager. It was a great time to join the industry, so much was happening and technology was beginning to make a real impact on the way translators worked—particularly around Translation Memory (TM). It wasn’t long before I was managing localization projects for key global customers, such as Adobe and Rockwell Automation. I was responsible for managing the localization of the first version of Adobe InDesign—a project that I’m proud to have managed. I subsequently led the SDL Adobe Project Management team which ultimately helped shape my career here at SDL.

Later, as Operations Manager, I was in charge of a team of Localization Project Managers responsible for customer service delivery and key account management for strategic customers. In this role I owned all production activity, including customer retention and profitability. I felt great pride knowing that our customers were getting the best possible service using our unique in-house production model. 

After a number of years on the operations side of the business, an opportunity arose to join the Commercial team as SDL’s first Language Services Account Manager in Europe. In this new role I managed a portfolio of key strategic accounts across the Automotive, Life Sciences and Hi-Tech industries and was responsible for building trusted relationships within key accounts and identifying and developing opportunities for business growth.

As is often the case when running a business, whatever its size, you’re so focused on your external customers’ needs that sometimes your internal customers don’t get the love and attention they deserve. 

Instead of focusing on external customers, I was tasked with transforming SDL’s global localization strategy and processes for the way we localize our own internal content and so I became SDL's first Localization Manager. Essentially our objective was to establish our own Global Content Operating Model (GCOM), a framework that helps brands move from manual to autonomous across their content supply chain. Fast forward three years on, and we’re well on our way to achieving GCOM maturity. 

As a global company, we localize a lot of our own content. And, thinking about it, if we were an SDL customer, we’d be a pretty substantial one.

What types of projects and content types do you work on?

We support hundreds of colleagues globally, across many different functions including marketing, software development, legal, sales and commercial, compliance and communications… to name just a few! That’s a lot of stakeholders to keep happy and a wide variety of content to localize. There’s nothing we haven’t seen before. It could be a single Word file, copy for a landing page, videos, an eLearning course or complex campaigns for specific industries, all of which means orchestrating and translating hundreds of pieces of content at any one time. 

The more complex projects tend to involve software localization. Working with SDL’s software developers, QA testers, and product management teams, we follow an agile software development approach. Localization is very much a part of that process.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t necessarily matter what type of content requires localization. We follow our own best practices to ensure deadlines are met and our translations meet the highest quality standards. 

It all sounds very overwhelming… How do you manage all this?

Quite simply, it would be impossible to manage all of this without technology.

The localization process has many moving parts. Managing this process can be incredibly complex and this is where SDL Language Cloud comes into play. Sitting at the heart of everything we do, it’s our primary platform for managing localization and it allows us to be efficient and effective.

What I particularly like about SDL Language Cloud is that anyone—even someone with very little localization experience—can use the technology. For example, a Subject Matter Expert (SME) can get a notification email, click through to the interface and perform their review in real-time. This technology has completely removed the need for spreadsheets and managing projects over email, while simplifying reporting and budgeting. I know exactly what’s happening with any project at any time.

Users may not be aware, but behind the user-friendly web interface sits a very complex back-end, automating many of the manual steps that need to be performed and making us even more efficient.

Depending on the project (and need), we’re always using SDL’s content and language technology. It could be SDL Tridion DX to publish our web or technical documentation or SDL MultiTerm to improve the quality and consistency across our translations. We’re quite fortunate to have all of this industry-leading technology at our disposal as we continue on our GCOM journey. 

What keeps you up at night?

Localization isn’t easy and SDL is certainly not immune from the same issues that our customers face. Getting everything localized and out on time, in all languages, while maximizing TM re-use and also keeping consistency can be challenging. This is particularly true when development teams are working in an agile environment, asking for last-minute updates that impact technical documentation and marketing assets. With localization coming at the end of the process, schedules are often squeezed and deadlines are shortened. That said, having direct access to SDL’s unique internal operations model (in-house Translators, Language Analysts, Desktop Publishers and Engineers) and industry-leading technology (SDL Language Cloud, SDL Tridion Sites and SDL MultiTerm, to name a few), makes many of the issues I face much more manageable.

Translation is complex and subjective. Meeting the linguistic expectations of SMEs, also known as Client Reviewers, can be challenging. Translation “quality” often means different things to different people and there is more to consider than a right or wrong translation. An SME’s linguistic preferences and language knowledge can vary and while one SME might think a translation is perfect, another might find faults. SMEs can have a lot of influence in an organization, so keeping them happy is important.

SME satisfaction is all about setting clear expectations and ensuring they have easy access to tools to aid their review, such as approved terminology and style guides. Our internal SMEs review directly in SDL’s web-based TMS—SDL Language Cloud—which not only provides an easy-to-use browser-based interface, but also allows access to approved terminology. Giving our SMEs direct contact to our Lead Translators is invaluable and helps us deliver to our global audience faster and is critical to the success of our projects. SDL’s unique in-house translation model has always been one of our key differentiators, and I’m extremely fortunate to be able to benefit from it.

What excites you about the localization industry and what keeps you here?

Thinking back across my career at SDL, it’s been incredibly exciting to be part of such a large organization at the forefront of innovation.

Over the past 27 years we’ve stayed ahead of the trends and evolved our language and content solutions to support our customers’ ever-changing needs. When I first joined SDL, we were very much a language services-focused company. But now we have both the technology and services to handle some of the world’s largest and most complex projects. None of our competitors can truly say they compete with us across our full portfolio of technology.

Machine Translation has also changed so much, particularly in the past couple of years with the growth of Neural Machine Translation. In some languages, it’s now possible to produce the same standard as a human translator. It’s exciting to see how developments like these have caused the translator’s role to evolve and I have no doubt that there will be a much more symbiotic relationship between humans and machines.

Tell us about your new Loc Talk series?

Over the years here at SDL I’ve had the pleasure to work with some of the leading minds in the industry. In coming months I’ll be speaking to them as part of my new Loc Talk series. 

My Loc Talk series is intended to examine emerging trends, best practices and challenges in the localization industry. At times, we’ll go deep into a topic such as how to manage terminology more effectively, or we’ll touch on some basic principles such as when you should and shouldn’t transcreate content.

Whether you’re a seasoned globalization manager or a marketer new to localization⁠—stay tuned for the first installment coming soon!

In the meantime, check out SDL Language Cloud and how we're making it simple for organizations to create multilingual content quickly and efficiently without sacrificing quality.