Category Archives: Global

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.

Understanding the Local User’s Keyboard

Understanding our international customer was never more important than it is now. In some of the Adobe products, the number of local consumers have been recorded as high as 50% of total unique users and it’s only increasing!

Given the plethora of devices and media through which the end customer is reaching us, we have a demanding task at hand of identifying the typical use case of user input method. There are a huge variety of keyboards for each Geo, locale and language. Before coming to how to zero in on what to go ahead with, let’s look at why that is important. There are easily as many as 11 different layouts for a French keyboard on Windows alone, for example, the French Belgian keyboard has the & symbol with number key 1, but French Canadian key has it with number 7.

How do you define the best shortcut for your software and how do you ensure everybody is at least enabled to use your application with a keyboard of their locale? When you go buying a Spanish keyboard, some very different options are available, depending upon the manufacturer and region. Some stark differences are highlighted below.

mexico_keyboard
Mexican Keyboard
spain_keyboard
Spanish Keyboard

Does it mean we could assume that two keyboards of different language from the same region would have the same layout? The answer is interestingly NO.

French_keyboard

In one of the Creative Cloud releases, French users who bought their keyboard from Europe instead of the US or Canada could not even sign-in to the Creative Cloud Desktop App. The reason being, the @ symbol is a shift sequence in American or Canadian layouts, but is a Alt-Gr combination for European layouts. When Creative Cloud disabled special characters in Adobe Id’s, the @ symbol on the Belgian keyboard also got blocked.

Keyboard shortcuts are the most adversely affected area as they often combine special characters, Alt, AltGr, Alt-right, Cmd and parenthesis keys which are placed at different locations on a keyboard depending upon the region (not language)!

For the engineering side, it’s unavoidable to understand how, why and what of “differences in input methods”.

Exercise caution while designing your software. We could be blocking out the Currency symbol due to a special key combination for local currency in a currency field, just like the @ issue mentioned above.

While testing the software,

  • We should never assume the keyboard layout is going to have much to do with OS or application locale.
  • Watch where you buy your keyboard from, amazon.com offers only French and American layout for French language, but local sellers and users certainly use a different one in Belgium, as mentioned above.

Concluding this, I’d say a problem well understood is half-solved. Awareness of your keyboard and its region is key to designing with defect prevention in mind.

International Women’s Day

In more than 100 countries, March 8 is celebrated as International Women’s Day.

Its origins can be traced back to various socio-political movements in the U.S., Russia, France, and other parts of Europe, in the early twentieth century. However, it was not until the United Nations General Assembly recognized 1975 as International Women’s Year that March 8 was designated as official International Women’s Day.

The History Channel notes that this day is celebrated in unique ways across the globe. In Argentina, men gift the women in their lives with flowers. China holds beauty events and fashion shows. In 2016, a group of Chinese men wanted to “experience the hardship” of being a woman, so they climbed a mountain in dresses and heels.

Whatever the true origin, there is a renewed focus on IWD’s roots. This year, women and men across the United States will participate in “A Day Without A Woman” in order to draw attention to the issues women still face, such as lower wages, sexual harassment, discrimination, and job insecurity. This day also highlights the important role that women play in the global economy.

Let us know how this day is celebrated in your part of the world or what meaning it holds for you!

Sources:

  • http://www.history.com/news/the-surprising-history-of-international-womens-day
  • http://fortune.com/2017/03/07/international-womens-day-history/
  • Official IWD logo https://www.internationalwomensday.com/Logo