XTM International is pleased to welcome Sara Basile as the company’s first Product Manager. Her role will be key to meeting the unique requirements of our clients by driving continual improvement to XTM’s product strategy. Sara brings years of experience and technical knowledge to advance the development of AI-driven XTM Cloud, the enterprise translation management system. Before joining XTM International, she worked as a program manager, project manager, translator and reviewer for world-class enterprises including SAP, Roche, and EFI. The addition of Sara as Product Manager to XTM International’s growing global teams will benefit both clients and XTM’s offering. New offices in Japan and Poland will provide her with added support and market insight.
We had a conversation with Sara to learn what her view of the product manager role is, what drew her to the localization industry, and what her passions are. Here’s what she shared with us.
How does a product manager add value to the final released product?
Sara Basile: I think that each company would provide a different answer to this question. The Product Manager role covers many different responsibilities and different aspects of the product development lifecycle. At XTM International, the Product Manager is a blend of commercial, technical and customer development roles.
I see four imperatives in my role: know all the ins and outs of your product, know what your customers want, know who your competitors are, and know how the market evolves.
And I’d like to add another important aspect: know your teams and what they need to be successful! Behind a good product, there are always solid internal processes. Starting from internal process optimization, the Product Manager establishes a continuous and iterative communication line with customers. This brings new ideas that can improve the product over time. The Product Manager is essential in establishing true customer needs, which are very often hidden behind requests and questions. As XTM International takes customer feedback very seriously, the Product Manager looks at the entire development lifecycle “through the customer’s eyes” and makes sure that any suggested solution addresses the actual customer problems. This, however, always needs to be backed up by solid product knowledge and the ability to prioritize and combine features. As a Product Manager, you should always be looking at the overall, long-term strategy and company’s vision.
How did you get started in the language industry?
SB: Already during the first years of my studies in technical translation and conference interpreting, I was keen to challenge myself by volunteering as a liaison interpreter at trade shows for foreign buyers, especially for German-speaking ones. Connecting with different personalities and enabling communication, including assisting with deals, always gave me a thrill! Upon graduation, I began working full-time for global companies as a project manager and an internal linguist.
How long have you been working in localization? Why did you choose this career path?
SB: It’s been almost 9 years, in addition to the experience gathered from volunteering and internships during my studies. Everything started with my strong passion for foreign languages. I remember being quite shy as a child, but my brain had flipped a switch when learning English at primary school. Any fear or shy feelings suddenly vanished every time the opportunity to speak in English arose, even in front of my classmates. The same applies to the additional seven languages I have learned during my life – communicating in a foreign language makes me feel powerful, helpful and endlessly satisfied! I also started developing a natural curiosity for technology as a teenager, and almost everything that I know now is the result of self-driven research and learning.
What do you find most interesting about localization?
SB: Localization unlocks unlimited opportunities, from both a business and personal growth perspective. Localizers are enablers!
SB: My journey with XTM started three years ago when I was on the client side. It was like love at first sight for me! I led the XTM implementation program in my previous company and as the XTM Admin I loved to be the main point of contact for any questions – from troubleshooting to new ideas and suggestions for improvement. XTM International is one of the few companies in the industry that you can count on for top-notch technology and support, industry experts and authentic personalities working as a family. I always felt that I was meant to be part of this type of family – and here I am now!
What do you like most about your current role?
SB: The fact that it allows me to perfectly combine my two strongest passions: communication and technology. It’s such an honor to represent and be responsible for the product I love and value the most. The beauty of product management is the constant communication with all kinds of internal and external stakeholders, the market research, the chances to understand the true needs behind each unique customer’s requirement and the satisfaction to see these requirements turn into helpful and fruitful solutions.
How do you see your future in localization?
SB: Joining XTM International already represents one of the biggest milestones in my career path in the localization industry. My main focus will now be to gain insight into our customers’ and prospects’ requirements and provide a great customer experience. Obviously, I look forward to working with the entire XTM team and making sure our product keeps its competitive edge and is continuously attracting new customers whilst satisfying current clients.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. We hope you will enjoy the adventure you’re embarking on and find your job both challenging and rewarding. Good luck, Sara!