The fourth episode of LocLife™, Localization Nomads: Living & Thriving Away from Home was an insightful (and at times, a mouthwatering) success! With a focus on growing a career away from home, the event made it clear that leaving behind family, friends and food is the most challenging part — but fortunately what’s gained in the process is just as fulfilling.
As always, the joyous Javi Diaz moderated the online event, leading a lively discussion with industry panelists:
- Lucio Bagnulo, head of translation at Amnesty International
- Alessia Felici, head of localization at IKEA
- Jose Palomares, head of globalization at Coupa Software
- Hristina Racheva, head of localization at Skyscanner
If you missed this moving event, you’re in luck! You can watch the on-demand session here!
The burning question for most participants was why panelists left their home countries. Much to the dismay of our moderator, none of them just woke up one day and decided to move.
For Felici it was about gaining worldly experience. “When you study languages … you always factor in that you will want to spend some time abroad, get the chance to see new places, become familiar with new cultures, and practice the language. For me it wasn’t planned in detail. I won a scholarship from the EU to get work experience abroad after graduation.”
Palomares noted, “It was a combination of age, ambition and frustration. I had just turned 30 so I wanted to have kids and travel with my wife. We were hit hard by the recession in Spain and wanted to go somewhere to grow professionally.” An opportunity presented itself at a dinner meeting and he was soon on his way to San Francisco. “Everything just worked together,” he added.
The LocLife chat room lit up with commentary as well, with one participant commenting, “Because travel is life,” and another stating, “There was no snow in Brazil and I was looking for a snowy Christmas.”
When globalization strategy coordinator at NetApp Alexandra Proca left Romania for California she found that one of the hardest things was figuring out how to keep her culture alive. For her, it was about food and traditions and Bagnulo agreed with that sentiment. An Italian now living in Madrid, he added, “Making the food I learned from my family and from my region is a way to keep my traditions.” He joked, “If you say Spanish food is better, I say no way!”
Localization manager at ActiveCampaign, Laura Lorusso is from Italy and now living in Dublin. She said that being a nomad is in her DNA and asked the panelists, “Where is home?”
Racheva answered, “When I go back to Bulgaria, I never say I’m going back home. Now, living in Barcelona, being happy and content with my life and experiences has made this place home. Home is where I feel content with my life, not so much where I’m from or where I live.”
Felici noted, “Wherever I am, there is always somebody I miss, a place I miss — a dish, a smell, a color, a perfume — because I can’t have it all in the same place.”
Product localization specialist at UKG, Anna Lis, is from Poland and living in France. She asked what unique perspectives the panelists’ experiences have given them as localization leaders.
Bagnulo said that broadening your horizons is key. “From a management perspective, all my teammates are scattered around the world, which has helped me understand and adapt. You have to exercise the brain and be more understanding of cultural differences.”
Felici added, “All of us carry with us a lot of assumptions, and when you get to know people from different places, you give up those assumptions one by one. You build a muscle — emotional intelligence — which allows you to get a better understanding of the people you work with. A wider understanding has helped me tailor my leadership style to the expectations of the people. And I keep learning every day.”
Cristina Marín Garces, localization manager for Chelsea Football Club, is from Spain living in London. She asked our panelists, “What’s next?”
Bagnulo likes to see everything that’s happening due to Covid from a positive perspective. “I think companies are reviewing their flexible working policies. You can get an important role in a completely different country, which broadens opportunities.”
Moderator Diaz believes in the notion of “knowmadic” worker: creative, imaginative and innovative people who can work with almost anybody, anytime and anywhere (a concept that comes from “Knowmad Society,” a book by John W. Moravec).
Wherever the future takes us, our localization nomads (or should we say knowmads) are leading the way. Be sure to stay tuned for our next episode of LocLife™ coming to computer screens near you at the start of the new year!