Global View Interview with Anna Schlegal


“We all started with translation teams, moved to localization groups, and we are now leading globalization strategy for corporations.”

1. How did you come to be involved in the localization industry? It was unintentional!  I started translating software manuals for my cousin’s software company in Catalonia at the age of 18. At age 23, I opened my own localization agency.

2. How do you see Women in Localization developing in 2017 and beyond? We are preparing to go non-profit, and as such, the Board is mimicking already the makeup of a non-profit. With this, we are preparing to extend leadership roles via Executive Committees. We also spun off an Advisory Board with men included. Global Expansion will continue and more industry partnerships will solidify. Women in Localization is a great example of a non-profit going global. The model works, there is incredible demand for more Chapters and Women in leadership positions, and we are about to allow for that with a very strong framework.

3. Can you tell us how you have seen the development of localization and globalization over the last number of years?

  • We all started with translation teams, moved to localization groups, and we are now leading globalization strategy for corporations.
  • Operational efficiencies through Tools and Technologies have improved tremendously. You can take content to market faster than ever, speeding up global revenue.
  • Globalization has gone from a nice to have or a way to grow to being a requirement of doing business at any scale that needs C suite attention. Without globalization you are risking your business. Someone will be able to scale and put you out of the play pen really fast. Companies outside of the US are incredibly sophisticated, while in the US we often wonder about globalization. Countries are defending their turf. Look at Lenovo. Look at Zara. They get it.

4. You were recently involved with the Think Global Forum for Technology, in San Francisco, why did you get involved here? Yes I was! I love the idea of segmenting globalization ideas, topics and issues at a large scale if that makes any sense. The Think Global Forum does that. I want to hear what my peers in my space are dealing with, thinking about, foreseeing, innovating. It is a great community of top thinkers. I will continue to be involved.

5. What does a typical workday for Anna Schlegel look like? Get up at 6am, do 15 minutes of yoga, have breakfast with the kids, take them to school, go to work. I do run about 6-10 global meetings a day. Go home, cook! I love to cook for my family. We always eat dinner together. And then it is adult time, when we don’t want to hear the kids past 8:30pm! We do quite a bit of Netflix, or reading political sites, dreaming of vacations. I love my family…

6. What do you see as the largest challenges for industry? We are not at the C level at the corporate side, but yet we are enabling half of the company’s revenues or higher. We are seen as a service, that has to change fast, we need to speak differently. We keep having the same conversations on models or workflows, instead of planning a move from localization to globalization strategy. The fear of automation. However, there are incredible opportunities for people to step up, and help elevate our wonderful industry.

7. What was your motivation to write your book ‘Truly Global’? I did not see a book that explains what we do. So I wrote it. It has now sold thousands of copies, from Indonesia to China, to Catalonia to Germany. I am fascinated, and grateful. I am glad I did it. I have met incredible folks after the launch from areas I could not have reached otherwise.

8. Following the success of ‘Truly Global’, do you see yourself writing another book?
Maybe! I always wanted to write a nonfiction book about what happens inside corporate politics… Truly Global was my second book. My first book is a networking telecommunications dictionary for Cisco.

9. What is something about Anna Schlegel that people may not know? I ran 3 marathons with my dad.

10. What are the best pieces of advice/ insights you have received over the span of your career so far? Get enough sleep, and the Eisenhower Decision Principles. Have one exquisite moment a day.