Jon Ritzdorf has been working in localization since 2000 and began teaching as an adjunct university instructor in 2003. Over the years he has educated nearly a thousand students in translation technologies, website and software localization, as well as the business side of the translation industry. Ritzdorf regularly presents on localization topics at translation industry conferences and has also been interviewed and quoted by the Associated Press for his insight on the subject. When not teaching, he works as a “Solutions Architect” for Moravia (one of the world’s ten largest language service providers), where he consults on globalization strategies for companies ranging from the Fortune 100 to the latest start-ups. In 2012, he received an award in “Teaching Excellence” from New York University.
This course will provide students the opportunity to apply the most common financial concepts utilized in the buying and selling of localization services. The focus will be on illustrating the stresses that both sides face in the "tug of war" between the vendor-side's need to achieve healthy profit margins, as contrasted against the client-side's need for maximum return on investment (ROI). On the vendor-side, we will explore the challenge of pricing projects and how LSPs can grow, or collapse, by those numbers. On the buyer side, we will examine the many financial indicators that localization managers use to justify investment for localization in the face of an often resistant senior management. Completing live exercises that mimic the trade-offs impacting LSPs and their clients as they weigh risk and return will be used to hone critical thinking skills throughout the course. Students will also be introduced to how the constant push and pull between localization buyers and sellers drives innovation, outside investment, and, ultimately, the growth of the localization industry today.
In this course we will delve into how localization services are conceptualized, presented and ultimately sold. Students will learn how to utilize authentic sales methodologies and concepts common to the industry for diagnosing localization needs and how to match those needs with relevant services. In the process, we will cover the fundamentals of buyer behavior, localization maturity modeling, selling tactics as well as “solutions development” -- a unique practice combining all you have learned about technologies, services, sales strategies and the buyer’s mindset in order to create customized programs to resolve the most complex localization challenges. Students who are naturally extroverted; love to talk and present to an audience; and are passionate about business psychology, strategy and problem solving are a perfect fit for this course. You must be very comfortable with presenting, talking and receiving feedback in a public forum.
Areas of Interest
Nearly everything connected to translation technologies and localization client<>vendor buy/sell dynamics spark my interest. I’m also a total language geek as most localization folks are, which is to say that I’m fascinated by things that would bore the hell out of most people, like typography and comparative grammar. I’m also deeply passionate about the science and psychology of teaching in general and will talk the ear off of anyone who wants to listen to my teaching philosophy. As I enter the mid-point of my professional career, I get a real thrill watching my former MIIS students’ growth on LinkedIn as they make a name for themselves in this industry.
- MA in Chinese Translation, Monterey Institute of International Studies, 2001
- BA in Chinese Language & Literature, University of Massachusetts, 1997
Professor Ritzdorf has been teaching at the Institute since 2007.