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People Make the Difference: A Day in the Life of Elisabetta, Director of Global Localization 

Published By Ryan Walton
People Make the Difference: A Day in the Life of Elisabetta, Director of Global Localization 

In many organizations, there are individuals whose contributions remain largely behind the scenes but are pivotal to a company’s success. One of the many people who fit that description at Planview is Elisabetta, our Director of Global Localization.

Elisabetta’s role embodies the essence of “people make the difference.”

As the head of a team that helps ensure our words resonate seamlessly with international audiences, Elisabetta brings people together from across the company to achieve one purpose: Delight our international readers and software users.

Join us as we share her remarkable journey from a dedicated translator to a collaborative, intentional leader, and discover the valuable insights she has gained along the way.

Explain your role as a Director of Global Localization and a few of your responsibilities.

As the Director of Global Localization, I lead the localization team at Planview. Our responsibility is to take care of any translation needs across the company.

Our ultimate goal is to ensure that our localized content, whether it is a web page, informational materials, or a product’s UI, is adjusted for the specific audiences we support and feels as natural to our international users and readers as English feels to our native English-speaking readers.

Accomplishing this goal includes software localization, transcreation, and a series of tasks designed to provide our international readers with a great experience. We want to help them feel comfortable using our products and reading our materials.

Comfort generates trust, and trust is key for educating and influencing an audience.

I’m fortunate to work with an amazing team of in-house translators and linguists, as well as trusted vendors. I am also blessed to report to someone who is a great mentor.

Tell us about your career journey to date.

I started at Planview in 2002 as a translator. In my first interview, I asked to work from my home in Germany at least three days a week. The office wasn’t very close to my house, and I had two toddlers. When my request was approved, I was extremely grateful for the opportunity, and I felt really blessed and highly motivated.

My typical work-from-home day started at 5:00 a.m. and ended after eight hours of deep work. After that, I picked up my kids from childcare and spent the whole afternoon with them. We had lunch, and I had time to play with them. I could drive them to their friends’ houses or to their sports practices or music classes. I basically had two full-time jobs.

My manager was an important reason why I loved my job. One of the best compliments I ever received was when she told me she wanted to be the best manager she could for me, because she thought highly of me and I deserved it, and she didn’t want to disappoint me.

The example she set as a servant leader resonated so much with me that I strive to be the same for my team.

When my manager announced she was leaving the company, and she wanted to recommend me as her successor, I was shocked! I had never thought about my career path and could have worked for her in the same position until retirement.

When I became the localization team’s manager, Planview had just one product. Our work included UI localization and translation of the online help pages. Eventually, I took over responsibility for the localization needs of our website and informational materials, such as eBooks, infographics, or white papers.

At the end of 2019, my team and I put together the company’s first corporate language glossary. We selected terms based on their need to be used consistently throughout our content production. The glossary is something we update periodically as our language needs evolve.

Two years ago, I partnered with our website team to introduce machine translation (MT) in our web content. I trained an MT engine to customize its output, so it can reflect Planview’s stylistic and terminological choices. With that increased scope of responsibility, I was promoted to director, and I’m ever so grateful.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned as you’ve moved up in your career?

Growing from a peer to a manager wasn’t an easy path to navigate for me or my team members. The biggest lesson for me was learning that I needed to separate my new role from my personality.

I am a naturally open and honest person who tends to tell the truth, but I had to learn that sometimes it isn’t a good idea to speak your honest mind. You need to be diplomatic and carefully choose what to say, how to say it, and what to ignore.

Are there any experiences in your life that you feel contributed to your professional success?

My master’s degree was fundamental. I graduated from the University of Rome with a degree in Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures, with majors in Linguistics and Russian.

I am a firm believer in hard study, no matter how old you are.

Learning does wonders for your brain. It doesn’t really matter what you study, as long as you do. I am ever so grateful to my mum for insisting that I should go to university. I think university studies should be encouraged and made more easily accessible to more people. Education is key and hard study was certainly fundamental for my career.

What makes your team so effective?

For starters, my team shows a high level of professionalism, and we are deeply passionate about our work. We also share a good sense of belonging and appreciation for one another and the great collaboration we have together. Finally, we value and exhibit cultural diversity, which makes us stronger.

Tell us about working from home – what are your tips for success?

I believe there are a lot of advantages to working from home. There are fewer distractions, more focus times, and higher productivity. However, now that my kids are grown, I wish I had an office near my home to work and be around people. Nothing can provide the same experience and value as in-person interaction and collaboration!

Working from home requires a lot of discipline.

You need to turn off your laptop when it’s time to stop working, not when all your work is done. There’s always another day. My best tip is to avoid multitasking and compartmentalize your tasks instead.

I also believe that prioritization is crucial. I have a clear understanding of the tasks that have priority and those that need to be taken care of if time permits.

What motivates you while working?

My motivated team motivates me. We try to keep our virtual interactions frequent, so we feel part of one team despite living in different countries and working from home.

I’m also motivated by conquering challenges at work. My newest and biggest one is introducing terminology management at Planview. This is something that we’ve done sporadically in the past, but not consistently or systematically.

Last year, I founded the Terminology and Standardization Committee with the objective of collecting, defining, maintaining, and sharing Planview’s unique voice. We maintain a common marketing and products glossary, which is designed to help the company ensure a coherent use of terminology across products and in any type of content we produce across organizations.

Additionally, this glossary will provide guidance around the proper use of registered trademarks and capitalization, preferred and deprecated terms, and definitions for key Planview words and acronyms to help prevent confusion within and outside the company.

One of our main challenges is to align products that have been created by different teams on different sites at different times. They may currently use different terms to name the same thing or the same term to name different things.

The Planview Platform requires a consistent use of terminology to allow for a good, homogenous, and seamless experience when working with multiple integrated Planview products.

Planview has a set of five core values. Is there one that really speaks to your experience?

Yes, it’s “we value our differences.” I am passionate about diversity, equity, and inclusion.

I believe in diversity of every kind as a form of enrichment, and I celebrate it.

Last year, my team and I started working on making the language used in our translated content more inclusive and gender-neutral.

I believe in respect and tolerance. I try to live without bias, and to have a non-judgmental attitude. That gives me peace of mind and heart.

For fun, how do you unwind when you are off the clock?

I go dancing! I dance bachata and salsa. It’s great fun, and a way to stay fit, and research says it’s also a good way of preventing dementia.

I also try to learn something new. Four years ago, I started learning to play the piano, and three years ago, I started to play chess. Both are very hard, but the fun is in the process. And making progress keeps me going.

Does Planview sound like a good fit for you? Now is a great time to join our team. Check out Planview’s current job openings across the globe.

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Written by Ryan Walton

Ryan is Planview’s Social Media Manager and has over 17 years of experience in communication and community building. He’s a huge San Francisco Giants fan, dad joke extraordinaire and loves 90's rom-coms. He lives in Northern California with his two children.