Meet Neil Ferguson, Product Marketing Manager at SDL

A little bit about you…

What is your name?

Neil Ferguson

What is your job role?

Product Marketing Manager – Translation Productivity

Which SDL office do you work in?

Maidenhead, UK

How long have you worked at SDL?

4 years

Let’s talk about SDL and the translation industry…

What is your favorite feature in an SDL translation productivity product?

There are many, but I think one that was recently launched in SDL Trados Studio 2017 that really resonates with me is upLIFT Fragment Recall. Translation Memory is the core of any CAT tool, TMs in many cases have been built up over the years of countless translations and hard work from the translators, it makes absolute sense that we strive to make more use of them and unlock the productivity benefits they can provide, Its kind of the ultimate translator & technology partnership!

What excites you about the translation industry in 2018? What trends do you see emerging?

2017 was the year of AI and I think this year will also have a strong AI thread, although I believe people will now want to see the proof points in their everyday lives. We already have this with our Intelligent MT solutions of course but I am excited to see where the industry starts to take things further.

I also think CAT tool providers, including SDL, realise that we need to help our users utilize the full potential of their investment. Not only do we need to continue to help provide ways to increase productivity but also to help ensure the CAT experience an enjoyable one. That’s why I think 2018 will also be a year where we start to see more work in the User Experience area.

From your experience, what would be your best bit of advice for translators?

To be honest, it would be the same advice I would give to anyone in any industry now and that’s to make time for learning new things. It sounds cliché, but I know from my own everyday working life how busy things can get and it’s hard to make time for ‘sharpening the saw’ as Stephen Covey would say. But I really think it’s important to put some time aside for looking at the new technologies and better ways potentially to work.

In my experience, learning little and often is a great way. A few minutes every day is an effective way to take on board new information and hopefully doesn’t interfere too much with everyday tasks – Investing in yourself on a continuous basis should be a mantra for everyone.

During your time at SDL, what is the most common myth that you’ve come across?

That SDL Trados Studio is complicated to use compared to other desktop CAT tools. Like most mature software, Trados has developed a comprehensive feature set as it is addressing and solving many challenges for a number of different users. When I look at other desktop CAT tools around I truly believe SDL Trados Studio is one of the more intuitive tools available and come with a vast collection of resources to support the user learning needs. Like all worthwhile things in life, it just takes a little commitment and patience, the end goal is worth it.

Tell us about your interests and hobbies…

Away from the world of translation, what do you do for fun?

I am an avid reader, I read all the time, in particular biographies of people who have had either successful business lives or sports careers. I enjoy the fact that there are so many common threads throughout the stories which are kind of comforting and inspiring at the same time. In the last year I have also picked up the running bug, I have always enjoyed sports to varying degrees but this year I am training for my first 10K run which for me is quite daunting but at the same time, it’s exciting to have such a goal. Running helps me relax and you can do it anywhere.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself

I used to do kickboxing as a hobby, I entered a few local tournaments and won the odd medal, but it was never about the competition more about the discipline and being part of a group of people with similar goals. It was great exercise, great fun but above all, it was character building. I do miss it but having to commute to Germany every week for 7 years made it difficult to continue.

Where can we find you online?

You can find me on Twitter – @SDL_Neil.