Meet Paul Filkin, Client Communities Director

Meet some of our staff from SDL’s many office locations around the world and pick up some top tips along the way.

A little bit about you…

What is you name?

Paul Filkin

What is your job role?

My official title is Client Communities Director. This strange title sort of describes what I do most of the time, which is working with our communities. For me communities is anyone who touches our products and this could be a Freelance Translator, it could be a large Enterprise, it could be a developer writing code to integrate with our products, it could be our own internal communities. So I spend time in public forums like and TW_Users, SDL Community that we have been working on and will launch properly in 2015, and of course the favorite places for our communities… Twitter and Facebook. I like the techie parts of the job so often spend time helping to answer technical questions in what I hope is a simple way, and often analyse our competitors’ products too… it all helps to better understand the environment we work in.

Which SDL office do you work in?

I actually work from home in Germany. So whilst my official SDL office would be Stuttgart, I probably spend more time working with the team in Maidenhead, UK.

How long have you worked at SDL?

I joined in November 2006, so I’m fortunate enough to be approaching my 9th year, which is longer than I have ever worked anywhere. SDL has this effect on people I think… if you love it you’ll be here a long time and many of us have!

Let’s talk about SDL and the translation industry…

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

Without question, it would be the SDL OpenExchange app store! Every user who buys Studio has access to our language platform and the development capabilities it brings. Some of the fantastic things I see people developing, sometimes for the OpenExchange website and sometimes for themselves or their company, make it an incredibly exciting place to be. Our users are incredibly innovative and imaginative… they know what they need more than we do and this platform supports their efforts to do it. Nobody else offers anything like this!

What excites you about the translation industry in 2015?

Tough question as there is so much! We’ve just had SDL Innovate in San Francisco, where we ran a developer track for the first time… which was fantastic! There’s speech to text technology where I was reminded by Professor David Hardisty at a conference in the New University of Lisbon in January how much this technology is going to impact the software world this year… I’m very excited by how we can improve the way Studio works with this kind of technology. I’m lucky enough to see some of the very cool things we have planned for our own development too, and this alone is going to make the year one to look back on with satisfaction. Many of the things we have been working on over the last few years are just beginning to come to fruition… so I’m excited about everything!

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

Without a doubt I would say take some time to learn about the tools and technology you use. I think taking a little time out to do this can save lots of time further down the line, and not doing it is a false economy.

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

Another easy one… “Studio is difficult!". I hear this quite often, and usually from users who either come from the Trados background or don’t use Studio as their preferred tool! I’ve looked at pretty much all of our competitors’ tools, have most them installed on my laptop right now, and I really struggle to understand why we hear this. I used to think that Studio was harder to get started, and it became far easier as you took on more complex tasks. But today I think Studio has to be the easiest tool on the market, and if you approach it with an open mind and learn a few simple principles, then you’ll never think this way again!

Tell us about your interests and hobbies…

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

Are you kidding? This is fun! Listening to my son play guitar is probably my favorite thing to do, but I also follow Leicester Tigers (Rugby Union… too old to play these days and it hurts too much!) and Liverpool FC. I also read a fair bit, but always technical stuff… I like being able to understand some of the technologies we use today better and reading when I’m not at work is my guilty pleasure.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself…

I used to play a tenor saxophone, and still (occasionally…) play the clarinet!

Where can we find you online…


Twitter – @paulfilkin