Solutions for the top three localization challenges

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A recent research report by multinational translation company SDL collected feedback from 151 companies on the barriers they face with translation. It wasn’t just a simple majority that reported difficulties with localization. Almost every organization surveyed had issues. A whopping 92% of respondents said they experience challenges as they translate content into different languages.

A global marketplace means engaging customers all around the world, but many companies are realizing that their existing translation methods can’t keep up with the 24/7 demand for multilingual content. Operating in silos, a lack of integration and no standardized processes topped their list of frustrations. These challenges are not insurmountable, but to overcome them enterprises need to adopt a global digital transformation strategy when it comes to localization. Thanks to the automation provided by cloud-based technology, managing localization more efficiently is not just possible, it becomes effortless.

Challenge: One Company, several departments, all translating in silos

Global enterprises and their localization teams are faced with greater complexity than ever before. Localization managers are responsible for multiple large-scale projects using a wide range of localization vendors and translators, all while meeting the continuous demand for on-time delivery.

Different business units, multiple marketing departments, customer support divisions and product development teams add to the complexity. Each has their own content management system — marketing automation, website, customer engagement — and each is managing translation separately. With several different systems and departments all operating in several silos, it’s no wonder enterprises are experiencing localization challenges.

Translating in silos is inefficient. When separate business units in the company duplicate work, enterprises end up paying for translation of the same content over and over again. It also makes it difficult for localization managers across the enterprise to maintain translation quality, keep costs down, and ensure consistency of customer experience and corporate branding.

Localizing content is better managed with a cloud-based translation management system (TMS). It provides centralized storage and access to all of your linguistic assets and allows you to reuse multilingual content across all of your applications. Translation memories (TM) that are stored in the cloud lets linguists share them across projects as soon as they are created. A cloud-based TMS allows real-time collaboration and coordination, unlike premise-based translation management that stores TM offline so it can’t be shared until the translator emails it back. The ability to centralize linguistic assets also improves consistency in messaging, branding and user experience.

When you combine your translation spend across business units and bring together technology and processes in one real-time collaborative platform, you’ll save both time and money. The research discovered that, while many enterprises don’t have a centralized translation management model in place, those that do see “better brand consistency, improved customer experience, lower costs and increased revenue.”

Challenge: A lack of integration with disparate content management systems

In the survey, 62% percent of enterprises reported having five or more content repositories; 36 percent have ten or more. It’s common for companies to have several enterprise applications to manage their email marketing, websites, knowledge bases, etc., yet the research discovered that few have the ability to integrate translation with their existing content management systems. Only 29% of enterprises that use a language service provider (LSP) or TMS have a direct integration with their web content management system (CMS).

No integration means that translated content has to be exported via email or FTP, downloaded, translated and emailed back. Many localization groups with no integration spend countless hours cutting and pasting translated information back into their CMS. It’s a labor-intensive process that is slow and inefficient.

A lack of integration also means a lack of control of your proprietary information. Files that are sent out and downloaded onto an unknown number of servers put your information at risk.

Manual processes also make keeping up with the demands of constantly changing, dynamic content nearly impossible. To ensure that your translations are up to date, your localization platform should be as agile as your authoring process.

Translation connectors and multilingual APIs are the solution to a lack of integration. Top translation companies offer connectors with out-of-the-box integration into popular web applications for websites, code repositories, e-commerce, software, knowledge bases, desktop publishing, video, email, audio and social media.

These connectors create a continuous, integrated, and automated translation cycle that pushes content to the TMS for translation, then automatically publishes it back into your original application.

Integration gives you more control of your information, greater security, and more privacy throughout the process. When you use connectors or multilingual APIs, your information resides in your system, giving you access to your files and information whenever you need it. It allows you to reuse multilingual content across all of your content systems increasing brand and messaging consistency and easily keep track of the localization projects that are running between them.

Every silo you can integrate will lead to increased ROI, efficiency and throughput. By integrating localization between your enterprise applications, you will reduce your translation spend across the board.

Challenge: No standardized processes for translation

Just over a third of respondents in the research cited “lack of standardization for translation process” as one of the top barriers to better translation practices. An average company will translate into six to 12 languages, but larger companies will translate anywhere from 20 to 24. Every time an additional language is added, the number of tasks your team has to perform grows exponentially.

Coordinating translation across multiple time zones without a standardized process leads to poor communication and unnecessary delays. Change management becomes a nightmare. When there are too many manual steps and not enough automation, it can take anywhere from four to six weeks to complete a translation.

A cloud-based TMS with customizable workflows gives project managers all the tools they need to automate and streamline global translation projects and teams. Workflows offer convenient task assignment and real-time monitoring to give project managers real-time visibility on the status of each translation project.

A cloud-based TMS also automates the creation of new translation projects by letting managers pre-select languages, pre-assign translators, and add commonly-used settings that are unique to your organization. A simple, intuitive, drag-and-drop selection process makes it easy to create and automate projects to your exact specifications.

With a workflow engine, you can publish translations to your website without lifting a finger. As each piece of content completes its workflow, it can be configured to automatically publish the translation to your website or CMS.

The ability to create workflows is the first step toward creating a documented process that can be shared by departments in several locations around the world. Customizing workflows can make localization groups more efficient by automating processes and setting triggers to keep projects moving forward. It also helps streamline project management and reduce deployment time, improving your ability to enter new markets quickly.

Workflows are key to your operational efficiency. Most translation systems only offer a single workflow. Some companies offer workflow engines, but they can be too complex for the average user, which requires engaging professional services to update or create a new workflow. Look for a TMS that lets you easily customize your translation workflow. Customizing workflows lets you choose the type of translation and a review process that closely matches the content that is being translated. Not all translation may need professional translation with several rounds of review. Simple translations may only require machine translation with a single professional review.

These research results shine light on the extent of the problems enterprises are experiencing with translation. Agile, automated technology has been available in the localization marketplace for many years. Cloud technology offers enterprises a dynamic platform that can automate processes, eliminate unnecessary silos and reduce translation man hours for delivering multilingual content.

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About Rob Vandenberg

Rob Vandenberg is the president and CEO of Lingotek, a cloud-based translation technology and services company. Prior to being named CEO, he served as the company's vice president of sales and marketing.

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