A Glimpse into the TAUS Annual Conference 2015
icons-action-calendar26 Oct 2015
5 minute read
An impression of the TAUS Annual Conference in San Jose, California in October 2015.

On the 12th and 13th October we held our TAUS Annual Conference in San Jose, California. A record number of people attended - 135 - and we introduced a (perhaps) new tradition of TAUS Haus musicians.

The theme of this year’s conference was innovation. In order to progress our industry we need innovators. Not just from inside our industry (we call them insiders), but also from outside of the translation industry (the invaders). So on the program this year was a true Innovation Contest. We invited all innovators to submit a proposal for this contest and out of the submissions we picked eight insiders and six invaders to compete in San Jose for the coveted TAUS Innovation Excellence Awards - an award granted to a few other excellent presenters in the past. There were other topics on the agenda over the two days like speech translation, datafication of translation, localization at startups, quality metrics, managing quality and the many uses of MT. TAUS will be publishing articles on each of these sessions in the coming weeks.

TAUS Conferences are known for bringing together different parts of the industry - academia as well as buyers, small translation agencies as well as worldwide operating technology providers. This year was no exception. Among the audience were luminaries such as Alex Waibel (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology/Carnegie Mellon University) and Marcello Federico (FBK) and many decision makers from the buyer side of the industry. As in previous years, we also had a few newcomers to TAUS: Akorbi, Booking.com, Enterpret, FairTrade Translation, Idea Institute, LinkedIn, LiveCareer, Marriott, Mayflower Language Services, Nike, Prompsit, Reverso, Supercell, UTH International and Z-Axis Tech Solutions.

The conference opened with a keynote panel on innovation:

“The 2015 TAUS Annual Conference provided an interactive window into the innovations that are needed in our industry and the innovations; sustaining, disruptive, and possibly devastating, that are happening right now. The keynote panel, with Aiman Copty of Oracle, James Douglas of Microsoft and Marco Trombetti of Translated, set the stage for the Innovation Excellence Award Contest for which the audience was invited to vote for the best Insider Innovator (on day one) and the best Invader Innovator (on day two) from two series of eight presentations in PechaKucha style. I found the high level and knowledgeable audience to be energizing and the honest assessment of disruption to be very engaging. I learned a great deal from the Innovation Showcase, having already shared updates on some of these bright new stars with clients and colleagues.”

—Paula Shannon, CSO & SVP of Lionbridge

On Monday afternoon, eight insiders were ready for battle: Welocalize StyleScorer, MemoQ, MateCat, SmartCat, Lingo24, AltLang and SDL. All great innovations, but one of them was a true winner: MateCat. Alessandro Cattelan, who presented the tool in precisely seven minutes, received the award.

"The industry leaders who gathered at the TAUS Annual Conference expressed quite clearly the need for the industry to have an open translation technology that is simple, cloud-based, scalable, that integrates collaborative translation memories and machine translation and that is flexible enough to be customised for the specific needs of buyers and vendors. And that is what MateCat offers.”

—Alessandro Cattelan, VP Operations at Translated

On Tuesday afternoon we invited the six invaders to present their innovative technologies. The contenders were: FBK (with MMT), KantanMT, Reverso Context, Unbabel, FairTrade Translation and Spoken Translation. Even though it is true that there are no losers in this contest, as Paula Shannon stated when she announced the winners, there was once again a clear winner: Vasco Pedro from Unbabel invited his whole team up to the stage to receive their award.

“Unbabel is a small startup compared to the giant companies who are part of TAUS. This often gives us an advantage in that we can move quickly, find new ways to disrupt translation. We are 100% committed to "enabling better translation", we are committed to enabling better communication. Being recognized at the conference means a lot to us, it feels like winning an Oscar! Thank you!”

—Vasco Pedro, co-founder and CEO of Unbabel

We are very happy with this year’s Annual Conference and we are looking forward to seeing you all again next year in either Tokyo, Beijing, Dublin or Portland (OR)!

“The TAUS event this year was a breakthrough meeting, because it put the right people in the room having the right conversations who can move the localization industry forward.”

—Derek McCann, VP North America West, Welocalize

"This year’s TAUS Annual Conference was certainly one of the best in recent years. The content was rich, diverse and well-delivered. There was also a real sense of shared community, and this led to really meaningful interaction and excellent networking – all in all, a great conference.”

—Paul Mangell, Alpha CRC

Make sure to check back on the TAUS Academy page often to find more articles on the TAUS Annual Conference by (guest) authors Attila Görög, Hyerim Ko, Nick Lambson, Paola Valli and Peng Wang.


Anne-Maj van der Meer is a marketing professional with over 10 years of experience in event organization and management. She has a BA in English Language and Culture from the University of Amsterdam and a specialization in Creative Writing from Harvard University. Before her position at TAUS, she was a teacher at primary schools in regular as well as special needs education. Anne-Maj started her career at TAUS in 2009 as the first TAUS employee where she became a jack of all trades, taking care of bookkeeping and accounting as well as creating and managing the website and customer services. For the past 5 years, she works in the capacity of Events Director, chief content editor and designer of publications. Anne-Maj has helped in the organization of more than 35 LocWorld conferences, where she takes care of the program for the TAUS track and hosts and moderates these sessions.

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