A week in Berlin – Part Two

Day Two: Localization World Pre-Conference

7:15

  • Woken up by banging on the door once again. I should probably get a travel alarm clock that isn’t my business partner.
  • I set the wake-up call through the TV. Surprised that didn’t wake me up. Odd…

7:30

  • Too fast shower and I’m ready for the day.
  • T-mobile freebie plan seems to have expired – that sucks. Free wifi @ conference though :)
  • Burger King for Breakfast. Ugh.

9:30

  • At the TAUS Machine Translation session. Jaap’s giving his rundown on the state of the industry and the importance of improved automation & using technology to make the process smoother/faster/more efficient. He can’t bang that drum loud enough.

10:30

  • Break time: Great to catch up with a bunch of folks from previous conferences, much different from the “meet everyone” mode of Localization World Montreal.
  • Back in the session – learning basics on how to rate the quality of machine translation. We’re looking at our own content that we sent last week and the folks at Cross Language ran through machine translation.
  • Oops. They asked us for content in French or German but didn’t mention we’d need to read the language too for this exercise.
  • Seems everyone sent German but almost no one speaks it. Anyone who speaks German now being spread through the groups.
  • Translation on our stuff is pretty good. Surprisingly the system even nailed a huge paragraph all in one chunk. No funny machine translations to share though :(

12:00

  • Lunch! My system doesn’t know what time zone it’s on yet so I’m not all that hungry but planning to meet the crew from VistaTEC (one of our partners) for lunch.

12:15
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  • Grabbing lunch at the little café in the hotel. We’ve finally figured out how the menu works (it’s in three languages all mixed together)

12:40

  • Ham, Pineapple and Cheese sandwich. Yum. Food experience already better than it was in Boston.

13:25

  • Headed to the Standards session – description is a little vague but should be interesting nonetheless.

13:30

  • Uh-oh. This wasn’t tech standards, discussion is on establishing a “standard” for how LSPs should run their business. This could be a long couple of hours.
  • Hmm – this is getting talked about at a 100,000 feet view and at a two foot view at the same time. No real focus or goal here. Hans: “Discussion is circling the drain”. Yup.
  • [Name Withheld] is asleep. Not a good sign.

14:30

  • A few of us are now throwing ideas out trying to help the group define what exactly they’re aiming to create. We’re not actually LSPs so we can’t (shouldn’t ) take this by the horn – no one will bite though and run with any one idea.
  • Going to have to do a post on this. In a nutshell (I think) the challenge is they’re saying “standard” but intending “methodology”. Standards scare the bejebus out of people and unless it’s a tightly focused topic there will never be consensus.

15:30

  • Session over for now – it’s the right idea but I don’t think there’s any consensus on where it’s going.
  • [Different Name Withheld]: “Do you understand now why nothing ever gets done in this industry?”. No Comment?

15:30

  • Headed back to TAUS

15:35

  • Or not. Office phone system crashed and folks back at the office don’t know where the box is let alone how to fix it.

15:50

  • Unplug. Wait 30 seconds. Plug back in. — works for everything but humans it seems. Phones back up. SkypeOut test confirms it.
  • Thinking House should really try power cycling someone some time just to see if it works.

17:00

  • TAUS session over. Cross Language folks did a great job – sharp set of folks there.
  • Quick freshen up and meeting back up for drinks w/a couple of contacts.

17:30

  • No sign of our “over beers” meeting – lots going on though so probably just lost in the shuffle. Heading to Burger King for quick dinner.
  • Whopper (no cheese) Combo & a coke. Hopefully this is our rock bottom dining experience for the week. Burger King ban in full effect.

19:30

  • We’re at the localization world opening reception – party is crammed into the small lobby area seems no one has realized there’s a whole ballroom for us as well.

19:40

  • Done a whole lap. Can’t find the bar, yet everyone has drinks. WTF?

19:45

  • Ah-ha! Spotted a waiter with tray of beer – At this party the drinks come to us.
  • Drink in hand. Ready to Schmooze.

19:49-21:45

  • Lots of good conversation happening. (Only had to polish off my drink in quick fashion twice to escape some strange conversations.)
  • Thinking foreign language Karaoke would be an interesting ice breaker. Sing a song in a language you don’t speak.
  • Scratch that. Not sure who’d have to drink more – the singer or the spectators.
  • Got to say – in general the folks in this industry are a whole lot of fun. Sad I won’t be able to make it to LW Seattle.

22:00

  • Off for a second dinner with the folks from Language Weaver & Across – someone knows a restaurant a short distance away.

22:15
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  • We’re through the sketchy “next to the railroad tracks” area and have come across a hopping square full of restaurants, patios & people. Apparently this isn’t what our host had in mind though. Still walking.

22:30

  • Can’t find the place we originally set out for but we’re now on a street that’s chock full of restaurants & bars.
  • Some bar is projecting Google Earth on the wall – neat.
  • Found a Indonesian/Thai kind of place that looks good.
  • Kirti just got the guy to agree to a free cocktail before we’ve even sat down. Nice.
  • They offer us a special group meal deal. 25 Euros each w/free cocktail. Kirti: “What if we don’t take the free cocktail?” Waiter: “20 Euros each”.
  • Wondering if maybe “free” has a different meaning here.

23:15DSC08495

  • Deep into the meal. Best food I’ve had in a while. Conversation is light and fun, both the Across and Language Weaver folks are a lot of fun to hang out with.
  • There’s so much great technology in general in this industry – don’t think we’ve even scratched the surface of what’s possible.

23:45

  • Heading back to the hotel. Energy only seems to be picking up on the street as we walk back. The “Friendly Ladies” are also out in full force now on the street.
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  • With the exception of the railway line street the walk back looks like a fun area of Berlin – wonder what is was like during the wall era. Will have to makes ure to come back later in the week.

0:30

  • Bedtime.

All Photos from Day 2

< Part One | To Be Continued