Insights Abound at Feb. 28 ITS Localisation Summit

Keynotes from the top service providers in the localisation industry, insights from the educators training the voice talent of tomorrow, the desires of content owners managing the transformation of our industry, and a comprehensive update from the technologists making everything localisation work.

All that and more will be on tap at the 28 Feb. Innovation and Transformation Summit (ITS): Localisation in London, media and entertainment’s premiere localisation event.

Here’s a look at what attendees can expect from the day-long program:

• Attendees of ITS Localisation will hear welcome remarks from the chairs of MESA’s Content Localisation Council, who will provide their thoughts on how the industry will shape up in 2023. They’ll discuss how the industry continues to navigate what is an exceptionally busy period, how to retain and encourage new talent in both dubbing and subtitling, which languages will be most sought after over the next few years, and the role will technology play in driving efficiencies. Carlo Decianti, head of sales for Plint, Jan-Hendrik Hein, VP of media operations EMEA for A+E Networks, Nicky McBride, global business development and client relationships for Iyuno, and Justin Walton, head of global content operations for ITV Studios will be on stage.

• Scott Rose, the former CTO of Iyuno-SDI and SDI Media, will deliver the opening keynote. The longtime industry veteran’s presentation — “Year 5 of the 3 Year Plan” — looks back to the debut of ITS Localisation’s predecessor, theContent Workflow Management Forum in 2018, where key industry trends were identified and bold predictions were made … partly by Rose himself, in the presentation “Connecting the Supply Chain.” At ITS Localisation, Rose will revisit his presentation and explore how things have played out. What did the industry hit? What did it miss? What were the big surprises? And finally, what can we expect tomorrow?

Rose has more than 30-plus years of experience delivering localization technology and workflow solutions to the global media and entertainment industry, and is currently the executive advisor for Los Angeles-based Media Globalization Consultancy.

• Whose opinion matters more when it comes to the state of the localisation industry today: the content owners reliant on the language talent, or the people training that talent?

ITS Localisation attendees will get both crucial opinions via a pair of panels: “The View from the Academics – Training the Talent for Tomorrow” and “Insights from the Global Content Community.”

First up is a team of academics, who’ll examine the localisation industry’s talent crunch, and detail what’s being done to address it. The changing nature of localisation as machine learning becomes more widely deployed will be discussed, as they discuss how we can ensure the next generation of talent is equipped to work in the industry. Moderated by Yota Georgakopoulou, audiovisual localisation consultant for Athena Consultancy, the panel will feature Jorge Diaz-Cintas, professor of translation studies at University College London; Kristijan Nikolic, lecturer at the University of Zagreb; and Agnieszka Szarkowska, audiovisual translation researcher and trainer at the University of Warsaw and AVT Masterclass.

• Matthew Blakemore, head of product for the British Board of Film Classification, presents “Sleek, Smart, and Streamlined: Introducing the Next-Gen Video Classifier.” This presentation serves as a preview of a new revolutionary video age rating solution. The technology will offer a sophisticated, cost-effective approach to predicting recognised and trusted age ratings across multiple territories, taking cultural differences into account.

The solution will increase the scalability of best practice, trusted, recognised age ratings, and support the role of local regulators. This positive step for video safety will be discussed.

• Two of the top voices in entertainment intelligence will take the stage to discuss “Localisation, Languages (LMT), and the ‘EID’R of the Beholder.” Hollie Choi, managing director of the Entertainment ID Registry (EIDR), and Yonah Levenson, founder and co-chair of the Language Metadata Table (LMT) will discuss the critical role and importance that global, unified, field-level standards play as the localisation industry continues to evolve. Discoverability and localisation: it’s all about standards and metadata, and this is where EIDR and LMT come into play. EIDR is the industry-curated public registry of unique media assets with a universal identifier, which is the DNA of intelligent automation in entertainment. LMT provides a single-source solution for language codes (now more than 270 language codes) and was selected as the language code standard of choice for the Cloud Localisation Blueprint (CLB) presented in Amsterdam at the 2022 IBC Accelerator.

• Attendees will also hear from Dr. Volker Steinbiss, managing director for AI language technology solutions firm AppTek GmbH, in the presentation “Will Machines Take Over?” In this session attendees will hear from those at the forefront of AI and machine learning, covering how the technology is evolving, and what can be expected next. How will the role of the subtitler or voice actor change and how can technology be used to help humans have more time to do what they do best (be creative)?

• In the global content community panel (“Insights from the Global Content Community”) content owners will reveal where they see the localisation industry is going.

With ever-decreasing windows, multiple versions, increasing numbers of languages and in some regions (severe) talent shortages, how are content creators and owners managing the transformation of our industry as work continues to operate on a hybrid basis? What does the industry need to do to encourage and retain talent? How is diversity and inclusion impacting organisations and their talent pool? Alberto de la Puente, director of worldwide localisation for NBC Universal Media; Jan-Hendrik Hein, VP of media operations EMEA for A+E Networks; Vanessa Lecomte, localisation operations manager for BBC Studios; Stephen Rush, VP of international post-production for Sony Pictures; and Justin Walton, head of global content operations for ITV Studios will take the stage, with Caroline Baines, senior director of client services for MESA moderating.

• Anna Bulakh, head of ethics and partnerships for voice cloning tool firm Respeecher, discusses new technologies in the localisation space. Bulakh’s keynote case study — “Advancements in Voice Technology” — will examine how it’s becoming harder to distinguish what is real and what isn’t as voice technology continues to advance at a rapid pace. The use cases for this type of technology are huge and companies behind it are creating content which is astounding audiences. Respeecher, a pioneering start-up, has insights into how the technology is developing, how it is being used, and what the future holds.

• Following the keynote case study, James Duvall, principal analyst and head of entertainment for Futuresource Consulting, presents “Subs, Dubs? What does the Consumer Think?” The growth in localised content is evident, with the industry busier than ever, but what does the consumer think about it? Do they prefer subs or dubs, how are they viewing and how often? We’re seeing increased demand for English dubs due to the popularity of international content and it is true to say that the success of any content is tied in with the user experience. This analyst-led session we will aim to gain insights into the views of the consumer and hear how viewing habits are evolving.

• “Diversity Behind the Camera is Just as Important as in Front of it” will feature Voiceconsult co-founders Anneke Beukman and Franky Rampen. Diversity is rightly centre stage when content creators think about the characters being portrayed on screen. But what about behind the camera, surely diversity here is just as important? Diversity is not just about the voice actor who portrays that character it is also about the language that is used and the way a scene is directed or subtitled. Script writers, directors and casting crew all have a key role to play in ensuring greater diversity in localised content. In this session one of the LSP’s brings two voice talents to talk about their experiences and how they are working to ensure greater diversity and to preserve authenticity.

• Some of the most important players in the media and entertainment localisation space will be on hand at the ITS Localisation event in London. And many of them will be on the stage at the same time, for the panel “The Views from the Technology Service Providers.” As the localisation market continues to shift and evolve so too are the opportunities to service content companies around language, localisation and data.

The industry is seeing a steady stream of mergers and acquisitions, as organisations look to future-proof their businesses and establish a strong footing to cope with the burgeoning demand. And the creation of more streamlined workflows and greater use of AI, ML and voice technologies has become necessary to help service providers meet the requirements of their customers.

This closing panel session of the day will look back at the day’s agenda, talk about how the growth in demand is being met, and discuss why the creative aspect of localisation remains at the heart of the industry.

Carlo Decianti, head of sales for Plint; Sophia Klippvik, marketing manager for LinQ Media; Nicky McBride, global business development and client relationships for Iyuno; Matteo Natale, VP of global localisation for Vubiquity; and Josh Pine, chief revenue officer for XL8, will all discuss the most pressing issues of today for service providers.

• The closing keynote of the day comes from Mark Howorth, CEO of VSI.

The former CEO of SDI Media, and president of Iyuno-SDI has returned to the localisation industry as CEO of VSI and he explains why this is the BEST time to be in our industry and why we should all be excited by the next five years, in the presentation “Running Back into the Fire – Why Would Someone Return to the Localisation Industry Now?” Our market involves some challenging conditions that would scare most normal people away. The customers want lower prices, higher quality and faster turnarounds. Talent, translators, and project managers are in short supply and are looking for higher wages. No one knows if the streaming boom is over, or whether localisation growth will continue. Esoteric terms like AI, Voice Synthesis, NMT and ChatGPT are filling everyday conversations. And all the vendors are building new capacity. There must be an easier way to make a living.

MESA’s Innovation and Transformation Summit focuses exclusively on the localisation business in media and entertainment and will feature subject matter experts, academics, content creators, and their service provider partners for conference sessions discussing the latest trends in software, hardware, products, and people that drive global content workflows and distribution mechanisms.

The event will be held at the Royal Garden Hotel, 2-24 Kensington High Street, London W8 4PT, as well as online in the MESAVerse, MESA’s virtual work environment for its members and communities.

To register, click here.

The Innovation and Transformation Summit: Localisation is sponsored by AppTek, Signiant, EIDR, Iyuno, LinQ Media Group, Vubiquity, OOONA, XL8, and Collot Baca, and is produced by MESA, in association with the Content Localisation Council.