Meet our keynote speaker at #LocWorld34, Andreas Ekström

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Andreas EkstromAndreas, you are our keynote speaker at LocWorld in Barcelona. How would you like to introduce yourself to our audience?

As a reporter. Even though my main line of work today is all about speaking, educating and working tightly with boards and leaders of all kinds to try to figure out where society is headed, I am still a reporter at heart. Among other things, that identity makes me obsessed with finding the right questions for a group. Sometimes getting the questions right can be more interesting and productive than chasing an immediate answer.

 

One of your missions is to educate people about digital equality. What is digital equality in your sense?

The world needs to be better at distributing digital wealth, which isn’t only measured in money, but also in knowledge, power and bandwidth. It is, at the end of the day, a question of what sort of world we want to build. Those of us who have the privilege of being online, and that’s only half the world’s population at this point, have a moral obligation to get the world connected digitally.

 

What will be few takeaways for our audience?

I will give you one: I will argue that the concept of the “customer relationship” has changed in a more profound way than many understand. It has happened digitally, but it will affect almost everyone. But exactly how, I will tell you in Barcelona. Also, I need a prop to make my point…

 

I know you have addressed the translation and localization industry before; is there any special message you would like to convey to us?

You know, I am actually a little more hopeful at this point. Expertise will never go out of style, it will just need new outfits. Five years ago, there was almost blind faith in the future power of big data — but we can already see some clear limits, that will demand old fashioned things such as human judgment, personal experience and cultural taste. And that is hard to get down in code!

 

You are a journalist and author, a man of many words — what is your relationship to language and its importance?

I take great pleasure in being precise, and in making myself understood. Which also means that I am socially weird sometimes: if something hasn’t been said, it doesn’t quite count for me. When people say “oh, we have such a good wordless communication,” I see nothing but the perfect setup for a disaster waiting to happen… So I do have a love affair with the Swedish language, and it feels as if it loves me back. With English, it’s more one-sided. I love English, but it is a demanding relationship! I constantly have to struggle to keep it happy, haha…

 

Thank you Andreas, we can’t wait to welcome you to Barcelona and to learn about the secret sauce for digital equality.