Can Mindfulness Improve Localization?

Co-Authored by Dan Koenig, Localization Process Guru & Localization Manager for Beckman Coulter.

Mindfulness is a popular concept right now, being utilized in many different arenas from elementary schools to executive management.

Mindfulness is defined by the American Psychological Association as, “A moment-to-moment awareness of one’s experience without judgment.”

Pretty simple, right? Not always… this practice can be quite challenging considering our work, life and societal pressures that are always encouraging and rewarding busyness, full schedules and overextension. Most of these pressures were introduced when the industrial revolution came about, forcing entire families into the workforce, where manual labor was the main contributor and masses of people needed to be monitored and tracked. With this societal upheaval, an enormous amount of logistics and stress soon followed.

Today, our business objectives and life are very different. We have fluid and remote work environments. We are expected to stay “plugged-in” no matter where we are or what time it is. Basically, our work never ends. Even though we are no longer in the industrial revolution, business still buys into the archaic hierarchies and practices of micromanagement, hourly monitoring and encouragement of a busy, overworked workforce. This is where mindfulness comes in.

Satori would manifest in taking the time for insight and sudden awakening, to go deep within oneself to start that positive change immediately. Within Satori, you acknowledge your feelings and you make room for change to happen, acknowledging your feelings, without judgment. You begin to make peace with where you are at and this allows you to then be full of peace, calm and focus.

Contrary to Satori, Kensho manifests as slow growth through experience and suffering. There is a large body of research on both, however, when it comes to immediate impact and positive growth, Kensho seems counter-intuitive – is suffering really needed to grow? Experience tells us that we will have both in our lives and should strive to learn from them equally. But experience also tells us that Satori manifests more successfully in a business environment where mindfulness has been embraced. Less pain… more gain.

So, now on to our ultimate question – Is it possible that mindfulness could benefit the crazed lives of localization practitioners? 

If you work within the localization industry, whether you are deep in the trenches or are an influencing factor in the chain of command, localization is a high-intensity, stressful world. Change, disruption and innovation flow through the very heart of this industry, making it relatively impossible to “be on top of things” at any given moment. To thrive in this industry you require a sense of fluidity and adaptability that will allow for its nuanced atmosphere and ever-changing regulatory requirements. When your work-life is full of tasks and stress, there is no room for innovation and joy. Without innovation, companies will crumble… without joy, employees will fail. To this point, it is even more important to make room for regular mindfulness practices to any and all that work within localization.

For the individual translator, it keeps them on track for the many hours required to render a source text accurately. This can then expand beyond the individual to the localization team, building the much-needed endurance for the ever-growing demands of this industry – quicker, cheaper and with ultimate quality! The practice of mindfulness fosters increased accuracy and better overall outcomes by helping the individual to readily access the tools it takes to keep focused and not get distracted from the task at hand.

Localization is on the critical path to global product and services delivery, which also implies that these deliverables are usually needed within a certain timeframe and without critical error. Taking time to insert mindfulness, to take a moment and to allow the mind to relax and flow vs. push and pull will immediately leave room for much needed focus, rest and rejuvenation. Imagine a rejuvenated workforce that is excited to be a part of your projects and that will joyfully do the work needed to get it done? A workforce bonding in the experience of Satori rather than enduring constant Kensho? Stated simply, mindfulness is good for everyone. It increases health, happiness and creates better communication channels for transferring health and happiness to others.

So, can mindfulness help the localization industry… YES! Are you ready to try it for yourself?

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi

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