If you are in the localization services industry, one of the few things you can count on is that global enterprise customers will never let up their demands for faster, better and cheaper service. And while demands such as these put pressure on you, they are justified. Because when it comes to getting ahead on a global scale, timely and cost-effective delivery of locally relevant, language-specific information is critical.
For localization services providers, this creates an opportunity: address the escalating demands of the global enterprise with greater ease and efficiency than the competition. Idiom® Technologies can help vendors meet this challenge with technology and strategies for executing high quality localization projects faster and at a lower cost.
This article highlights the complexities global enterprises face when it comes to the delivery of multilingual content worldwide. It also examines the impact on revenue and brand image caused by delays between the availability of information published in the communicator’s source language and the different target languages. Finally, it addresses the associated implications for localization services providers, and more specifically, how one can turn challenges into opportunities by using proven globalization best practices and technology to improve project timeliness, quality and cost.
The Case for Globalization
To get an idea of what global enterprise customers are up against in the race to deliver translated content around the world, consider the example of one US-based global software company. A $1 billion company, it typically suffered delays of 3 to 6 months to deliver localized products and documentation to Europe and Asia. The implications were significant and included:
- Purchase delays by approximately 10% of international prospects
- Defections to competitors’ products by at least 1% of global prospects
- Revenue losses or delays of an estimated $11 million over a 3-year period
- Administrative waste totaling more than $8 million over a 3-year period
Results such as these can typically be traced to serial globalization practices, which delay translations into target languages until the original content is finalized in its source language. Serial translation practices are typically executed with mostly manual activities and are fraught with complexities. Among the most significant are Administration, Quality management and Brand management.
Translating content from a source language into multiple target languages requires a great deal of costly and time-consuming administrative steps. This includes preparing content for translation, tracking it, and packaging, transferring and reviewing content translated by external vendors. Add the complexities of synchronizing the deployment of translated and source content and it is easy to see how bottlenecks can form.
Translator and writer Umberto Eco once wrote, “Translation involves negotiation.” He was right. Any one sentence or paragraph can be translated in a number of different, yet grammatically correct translations. However, context is everything. And if a translator lacks the tools and information to deliver culturally relevant translations, a technically-correct yet out-of-context message could be lost on its intended audience.
Problems such as these can be avoided with the use of technology-enabled terminology databases, style guides, reference translations and Translation Memory technology. Available with modern globalization management systems, such as Idiom WorldServer™, these tools ensure a corporate identity that balances brand consistency and local relevance.
Businesses that spend hundreds of millions annually to manage and refine their brand want to stretch their dollars far beyond headquarters. The challenge: ensuring that brand attributes are accurately and consistently represented in target markets.
Many companies default to local brand management to achieve this objective, where country brand managers adjust each brand for that individual mark. While on the surface this may look like an efficient delegation strategy, it is often far from it. Inconsistencies in brand message are a common outcome when disparate corporate outposts reinvent themselves for their local market. Other inefficiencies result from duplicative spending, staffing, messaging, processes and technologies.