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How Do Organizations Measure the Success of Language Operations?

When we surveyed over 1,000 decision-makers at global mid-market and enterprise organizations, more than 90% of them said Language Operations (LangOps) could be very or extremely important for their global market strategy. That’s because, with LangOps, AI-powered translation technology gives organizations complete control over every aspect of language in order to streamline operations and drive business growth.

But how do companies plan to measure the value of LangOps? What metrics will they look at to gauge impact? How might it increase cost efficiencies and drive revenue? Here are three areas that organizations often evaluate to determine the success of LangOps.

The need for high translation quality remains constant
When looking to evaluate a LangOps platform for purchase, 46% of the decision-makers we surveyed said that translation quality would be the most important factor to consider. But what does good or acceptable translation quality look like to organizations today? According to our survey audience, the top five indicators are:

  • Translated content correctly conveys the meaning of the original text (38%)
  • Proper communication of the company’s brand standards (37%)
  • Words and expressions resonate with the target audience (35%)
  • Correct usage of industry terminology (32%)
  • Follows guidelines for dates, addresses, and measurements (30%)

These needs are aligned with LangOps’ ability to help organizations rapidly scale without having to compromise on translation quality. LangOps teams use technology — AI that automates and enables near real-time translation and quality estimation — along with a community of editors to ensure optimum quality outputs and help train their language translation engine over time. 

Interestingly, enhancing translation quality was also the number one improvement our survey respondents said they would like to make to their current translation and localization efforts. High degree of translation quality was especially important to departments like customer service, BizOps/digital transformation, and IT/tech support.

Because many organizations’ localization efforts rely on translating content and communications piece by piece, ensuring high translation quality can be a difficult and manual process — often without a single owner or strategy to tie it all together.

Imagine how jarring it would be to browse a website with well-translated on-page content, but then you open up a chat session to ask a question about a product and the responses you receive don’t make any sense. LangOps solves this issue by taking a holistic approach to driving and maintaining high translation quality at scale. 

Operational and customer-centric KPIs are a top priority
When asked what ROI metrics or KPI improvements would be most valuable in making a decision to purchase a LangOps platform, one-third of our survey audience reported they would like to see an increase in customer retention and/or customer satisfaction.

These tie into the “KPIs of language” that we’ve been examining this year, including operational metrics such as 

  • Average response time 
  • First contact resolution rate
  • Cost per contact

And also customer-centric metrics like

  • Customer satisfaction score (CSAT)
  • Net promoter score (NPS) 
  • Customer effort score (CES) 

With a dashboard such as the Unbabel Portal, organizations can monitor their KPIs in one place without having to switch back and forth between different analytics and reports. This allows teams to make better decisions about how to increase customer service agent productivity and reduce turnover rates, while also working to boost customer retention and satisfaction through filtering data by geography, language, service line, channel, and more.

Let’s say a company with fluctuating seasonal demand notices that customers in Mexico are satisfied with their Spanish language support, yet customers in Spain are not. Their LangOps team could examine the metrics to determine the reason for the disparity (i.e. using a more casual tone that Latino consumers view as friendly but Spanish citizens think is rude). From there, the customer service team can make the necessary adjustments.

Here are a few examples of KPI improvements that our customers have achieved through the Unbabel LangOps platform:

  • 22.5% increase in CSAT scores (Skyscanner
  • 42% reduction in turnaround time for email support (TomTom
  • 91% cost savings compared to staffing native speakers (Tile
  • 100% increase in overall service level performance (Panasonic

Language is a gateway into new markets — and new revenue
Many mid-market and enterprise companies have leveraged AI-powered, human-refined machine translation to expand their global reach and access new markets. Relatedly, our survey found that the top catalysts for earmarking a LangOps platform as a priority budget item are entry into a new foreign market (49%) and increase in demand in non-English speaking countries (44%). Furthermore, approximately one in four decision-makers said that language/cultural barriers are the biggest roadblock to expanding their business in new geographical markets. 

Following increased customer retention (33%) and customer satisfaction (32%), our survey respondents said that new revenue generation (31%) through global expansion would be a top KPI improvement to take into account when evaluating a LangOps platform. Ultimately, many executives and decision-makers want to make sure that investment in new technology will have a positive impact on their company’s bottom line.

After learning that a centralized LangOps platform can improve KPIs at a fraction of the cost of a native-speaking team, 90% of our survey audience said they believe it could save money in the long-term vs. traditional translation services. These substantial cost savings can help organizations increase profit margins on their revenue. Over time, LangOps can even open up new revenue streams.

Providing multilingual support through LangOps is a time-tested way to build customer loyalty across the globe while driving more referrals, repeat business, and brand trust among your target audience. 

Unpacking the value of LangOps
From improving translation quality and language-related KPIs to its ability to help generate new sources of revenue, there are many ways that LangOps can provide value for companies today. To find out more about the factors that decision-makers at mid-market and enterprise organizations consider when pursuing a LangOps solution, download our latest guide, Going Global with Customer Support: How and When to Build and Execute a Language Operations Strategy.

Sarah Din
Sarah Din is the VP of product marketing at Unbabel. She has spent the last 12 years bringing products to life through strategic narratives that align with customer needs. She is experienced in leading marketing teams at startups (creating net new categories and markets) as well as at larger organizations (establishing market leadership through product innovation).

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