LEVERAGING INTERNAL LANGUAGE SKILLS: ADOBE’S “WOLF” PROGRAM

As a global company, Adobe has a wide variety of people from all over the world that speak a multitude of languages. When it comes to quick translations – maybe you have a short email you’d like to send in another language? or you’re in between a few versions of a phrase for a product or document? – who can you ask for help?

That’s where leveraging the global talent of our employees comes in.  We had the opportunity to sit down and interview one of the original founders of the program, Mayank Dutt, based out of Adobe’s Noida, India office. We wanted to learn a little more about the forum that helps us leverage over 22 languages.

What inspired “WOLF” (World Feedback Central Forum)?

It was a set of a couple of instances.

One day a customer reported a translation issue for Japanese for the product I was working on. As a usual practice, I went back to our translation partner to check on the quality.  I was told it was just a ‘Preferential Change’ and not a ‘Wrong translation’ per say.  We were on a tight schedule and wanted to close the issue as soon as possible. But, I wanted ground level feedback. Feedback from someone who spoke that language (preferably native). That’s when I thought of a colleague in the Adobe Japan office who would be able to help me. I sent her both versions of the translation and asked her which one would be more appropriate and meet Adobe & Japanese standards. To my surprise, I received a response within 5 mins of time.

The second time, I needed an urgent translation into German for an English string. Instead of sending it to a linguistic partner, I sent it to a colleague of mine based in the US who was fluent in German. I received a response in less than an a minute.

That was the moment when it clicked with me! Adobe is a multinational company with employees from all around the world.  Would they be interested in helping us? Why couldn’t there be a platform where such volunteers could be available for anyone to reach out to for help? It all started from there.

You’ve mentioned a few different instances for the forum, but what was its original purpose? 

We launched WOLF – World Feedback Central as a forum where we could discuss foreign language issues. We aimed to improve the International quality of Adobe products.  For instance, if we were testing a French installer and we needed quick feedback on a French term, we would post a screenshot on the French Forum and the French community within Adobe (our WOLF French volunteers) would provide us feedback. We wanted to keep the discussions focused and active, centered around foreign language issues: term appropriateness, truncations, typos, other translation options, and inconsistencies.

We started with 5 languages and very soon onboarded over 20 languages.

Can you share a “win” with us? Or maybe some interesting stories from when you were running WOLF? 

**Editor’s note: Mayank has since passed on the torch of WOLF to other colleagues. 

Frankly, when we started WOLF, we weren’t sure of where it would go. Would it be successful or would it fail? It was quite surprising how it evolved at such a fast pace. There were two interesting things that happened:

Volunteers getting more volunteers – The word of mouth publicity. The volunteers we on-boarded spread the news about the forum to their friends/colleagues who then volunteered. It’s a confidence boost when you hear a couple of folks talking about WOLF in hallway!

Volunteer community interactions – It was amazing to see that the language volunteers were appreciating each other. They were sharing their views and creating discussions.

Example 1
Example 2

It was also amazing to see people from different work roles participating – a true community was built. We had people who were Corporate Trainers, Marketing Managers, Engineering people.. people from Germany, US, Japan, India, Romania, etc.

So to me, WOLF is a great example of Crowd Sourcing with a twist. So I call it, ‘Crowd Sourcing; Sourcing your own Crowd’.

I leave you with a fun fact – the average ‘first’ response time over a query/task was ’15 minutes’ at any time of the day.

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