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Me, Myself & I

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Localization manager/translator and coach/intercultural consultant living in Berlin (Germany), passionate about diversity management and intercultural communication, self-awareness and coaching, SFBT and NVC, languages, cultures, body art, dancing, self-empowerment, and, last but not least, vegan gluten-free keto food and good movies. How about you?
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I'm the only person responsible for its content and the views and opinions expressed here are solely mines.
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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Sneak peek of my interview about being a localization manager, or why diversity is a new buzzword for something as old as humankind

How does the life of a localization manager look like?
While asking this question, most people expect me to talk about source languages and target languages and pivot languages and translation KPIs and ISO 9000 quality management systems standards and TMs and glossaries and workflow optimization and... the endless stream of industry-specific lingo could go on and on.

All those things are for sure very important, and yet, at least to me, being a (good) localization manager is above all about self-awareness, stellar and consistent communication, self-control, diversity management and valuable relationships.

A relationship, every kind of relationship (romantic partnership, professional partnership, family relationship, friendship, being colleagues, neighborhood relationship, you name it), can be pleasant, happy, rewarding, quiet, funny, encouraging.
Or challenging, difficult, painful, disappointing, frustrating.

In the practice of tolerance, one's enemy is the best teacher.
Tenzin Gyatso, born Lhamo Thondup
better known as the 14th Dalai Lama

A relationship can actually be also merely boring, ordinary, not interesting at all. Or it can be all these things and more, depending on the days, your mood, the circumstances, your attitude.

Still, what matters is how you deal with the relationships, both in your private life and at work.

[Pics: Me, October 2017 -  With my naturally curly hair...
after five years, they are back.

Last week I got interviewed for Plinga's blog series "Heroes at Plinga".
It has been a fun one, and I had a chance to talk about diversity, work-life balance, servant leadership and more.

Here you can find a sneak peek about my take on diversity:

"Diversity" is a new name for something as old as humanity, since the history of humankind is a story full of different groups coming together and creating something new, due to wars, migrations, natural disasters and so on, with new nations being born from older nations.

"Diversity" is about how organized human groups deal with the "other", while either being fascinated or feeling threatened by it. The current use of the word gained increasing attention about five years ago in the US, primarily because of Silicon Valley, and in Germany a couple of years ago. 
Now, everywhere in Germany people talk about "Vielfalt" or "Diversität" (German words for diversity), whereas when I first started to talk about diversity management, in 2013, the reaction of people on the street was like, "Ha! What’s that!?".

[Me at my desk, where almost everything is, well... purple

Still, even if diversity becomes increasingly important in a hyper-connected and globalized world, is nothing more than a buzzword in most situations and, unfortunately, the vast majority of people have a very rigid idea of what it entails: they think that it's enough to have more women in tech, or black people in white-dominated fields and so on. 
This is well-intentioned but a bit of a cliché, and it won't really solve problems, with such a top-down approach. Diversity works from the inside out and can't be labeled; by definition, it is diverse, different, not something you can achieve or understand if you label it or follow the usual paths.

I am always a little bit skeptical when I hear people saying that they understand diversity just because they studied it at university or something. Being the "different" one is something related to ever-changing dynamics and situations, and comes with emotional consequences. You can be "mainstream" in one context and "other" in a different one. 
If one has never experienced what it’s like to be excluded or a misfit, an outsider, someone who acts outside the box in a way that others don't understand, then they can read all the books about diversity they want, but they will never "get it" for real. As I always say on my blog, "Diversity is something you have to feel, not understand".

As I already said, at Plinga, diversity is a value everyone at the company embodies: we are an international team, we have different backgrounds and different paths in life, and everyone is welcome for who they are. 

[Me at my desk - With the right natural light,
you can see the actual color of my hair...
Indigo-dark purple at the moment

In my case, for example, it doesn't matter where I am from or that I am heavily tattooed. As long as I do a good job, I am welcome here. In most companies with a more conservative working environment, this would not be the case. 
It is always fun to hear what kind of job people who don't know me expect me to have. Nobody would go for, "She manages 14 people, two teams, over 10 projects and languages and external clients!".

PS. Thanks to Mario Vasilev for the great interview!

Tags: Localization Management, Diversity Management, Good relationships, Interview

You can read the full interview here:
Heroes at Plinga: Episode 1 | Interview with Azzurra Camoglio

What to read next:
Three annoying things people do while dealing with tattooed people and what this has to do with you

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