RWS Moravia Professors on Educating Future Localization Professionals
Share
Click here to close
Click here to close
Subscribe here

RWS Moravia Professors on Educating Future Localization Professionals

Here at RWS Moravia, we believe the entire industry can benefit if we participate in educating the localization professionals of the future. In fact, in addition to working for RWS Moravia, some of our employees are also professors who teach in the field of localization and translation—specifically, Jon Ritzdorf, Jan Grodecki and Pavel Soukenik. We spoke with all three to learn how they got into teaching, what they teach and their insights about education in the localization field.

Jon Ritzdorf

Jon is a Senior Solutions Architect at RWS Moravia and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Maryland and the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. Jon has 17+ years in the field of localization. He received an MA degree in Chinese Translation from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. He also studied Advanced Chinese Language at the National Taiwan Normal University and received a BA in Chinese Language and Literature from the University of Massachusetts.

How did you get into teaching?

When I found out there was a translation certificate program being offered locally at NYU, I chased down the director of the program and quite brashly told her it was ridiculous that they were not teaching the current generation of translators about CAT tools. To my complete surprise, I was hired on the spot and within less than a month, I was put in front of a classroom to teach my first summer CAT course. That was 2003. The rest is history.

What are your areas of expertise?

I’d say my area of expertise is translation technology, including computer-assisted translation tools, translation management systems, natural language processing tools, corpus linguistics and machine translation.

What classes do you teach and where?

At Middlebury Institute, I currently teach “The Financial Side of Localization” and “Localization Sales and Solutions Development.” At the University of Maryland, I teach “Fundamentals of Translation Technology” and “Website and Software Localization.” And, starting at Hunter College in the Fall of 2020, I’ll be teaching “Computer-assisted Translation.”

What do you like about university teaching?

It’s really fun to watch the students gradually grow into professional roles after they graduate.

Do you have any thoughts for students on what to learn and how to succeed in the industry?

Ultimately, I think my number one rule for success in the industry is to be open to learning anything and everything. Don’t close yourself off from doing something just because you think you might not like it.

 Jan Grodecki

Jan is a Senior Solutions Architect at RWS Moravia and an instructor at the University of Washington. Jan has roughly 20 years of experience in the localization field and previously worked as an International Project Manager for Software and Content Localization at Microsoft. He studied at five schools including the Project Management Institute and Franklin Covey.

How did you get into teaching?

In around 2009, a co-worker at Microsoft asked me if I would be interested in talking as a guest speaker about software localization at the University of Washington (UW). This gradually developed into a permanent teaching assignment for the Localization Engineering course.

What are your areas of expertise?

My expertise is in localization engineering and localization project management. My passions are risk management, multimedia and machine translation. I’m also interested in bread-making and film photography, but that’s another story.

What classes do you teach and where?

I teach “Certificate in Localization: Customizing Software for the World at the University of Washington in Seattle.

What do you like about university teaching?

Teaching requires building and maintaining knowledge on a regular basis. You have to keep up with the industry, research and latest technologies. As a Solutions Architect, this is the perfect addition to my day job. My professional experience allows me to illustrate the topics I teach with real-life examples. Oftentimes, student questions provide me with additional challenges that I can take back to my colleagues for further discussion. It simply is a win-win opportunity.

What is the future of localization education? Will there be a change in curriculum?

When in the past, it was relatively easy to update your topics year over year, like from statistical to neural machine translation, this has become more and more challenging with companies continuously entering new markets all the time. You would think that with new technologies, many of the old topics would become obsolete, but because there are still lots of legacy applications around, you can’t drop topics like localizability, software CAT tools or parser configuration, to name only a few.

Do you have any thoughts for students on what to learn and how to succeed in the industry?

In this profession, you have to be flexible. There are no common business hours. Usually, you work with teams around the globe; meetings can happen in the early morning hours or late at night. Also, there’s rarely a defined career path with training offerings. You have to be curious, do research and drive your own career.

Pavel Soukenik

Pavel is currently the Chief Client Acquisition Officer at RWS Moravia, an instructor at the University of Washington, a professional coach and a localization expert. He has roughly 20 years of experience in the localization and translation fields. He was educated at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic, earning degrees in English, American Studies and Mathematics.

How did you get into teaching?

I got engaged with the University of Washington after a lunch with Carla DiFranco who was teaching there (on top of her role at Microsoft) and who encouraged me to look into that.

What are your areas of expertise?

The things I’m currently teaching are related to localization engineering. But I’m interested in all kinds of things—project management, machine translation, etc.

What classes do you teach and where?

I teach localization classes at the University of Washington. On top of that, I give guest lectures at other institutions like the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and the University of Texas.

What do you like about university teaching?

What I enjoy the most is that there are so many bright people around the world that I can share a bit of my time and experience with. It’s very inspiring, and it’s humbling.

What would you say you are trying to bring to the industry?

The biggest advancements in localization that I can think of and that I’m trying to help bring about are not related to newer algorithms or platforms, but to a vision of educating people outside of localization about the concepts of global, localizable products.

Do you have any thoughts for students on what to learn and how to succeed in the industry?

My recommendation for success is for people to grasp firmly the underlying principles and to learn the lingo. The former is so they can use their own ideas and inventiveness in the context of understanding the problem area. The latter is because it’s frankly easier to get a good job in localization if you speak the same language (pun not intended) as other localization professionals.

 

RWS Moravia continues to be immensely proud of the valuable work that professors Jon Ritzdorf, Jan Grodecki and Pavel Soukenik have done and continue to do in the field of localization. We treasure having them as part of our company and believe that their work benefits the entire field of localization. We hope that you enjoyed the insights that they provided in these interviews.

 

Comments