Translation has become more efficient than ever, but the way we manage our translation process is still a huge time suck for many companies. It's become the norm for translation to be viewed as cumbersome, costly and time consuming, which it is, if not managed effectively.
69% of global marketers have no idea of their current translation spend and almost 42% have no insight into what their future spend will be.
It’s not just in marketing though; if you look at most companies, you will see that in every department, translation is rarely defined as a clear workflow step. Translation is decentralised; frankly speaking, it’s all over the place!
Many are in the dark regarding translation; they know it’s there and they know it’s necessary but very often, a certain budget is thrown at translation every year, just because “it has to be done”. Your translation company is just this “entity” that takes your money, but no one really wants to get involved…leave it to the experts, they know what they’re doing.
But it doesn't have to be that way. The era of automated translation management is here, and we should start to pay attention.
Let's look at some of the reasons your localization management process is broken and why it's time to fix it.
# 1 Your time is precious… wasted time = wasted money
Time really is of the essence, and I’m an advocate for anything that saves time. Localization is a complex process, involving a lot of back and forth communication between several people in one project.
Modern business involves fast moving, regular pieces of content being distributed across a myriad of channels, devices and into multiple languages; so in order to succeed as a global company, you have to be agile in every part of your business, including translation management. You already use automated workflows in your CMS and CRM systems, so why make translation more complicated than it needs to be?
In order for your international vision to become a reality, translation requires speed, accuracy, quality.
In the case of eCommerce in particular, quality may not be your ultimate goal but speed certainly is. Time spent managing hundreds of product listings across multiple channels is no longer necessary when your translation management software is integrated with your CMS. No more dissecting files to send for translation, no more back and forth with your translation vendor.
Website localization is now the fastest growing area in the localization industry, surpassing the market share of software localization in the 2000s; and with the international e-commerce marketplace growing by 20% every year, we can’t afford to ignore technology for much longer if we’re to stay ahead of the competition.
#2 Translation isn’t an company-wide effort; it’s more like a game of “hot potato”
It’s more common than you think, and many of you reading this will be all too familiar with the “it’s your turn” approach to translation. People have their day jobs to focus on, which already take up most of their time. Adding translation projects on top of this can be very frustrating, meaning they are usually passed over to the intern or someone who happens to have a lighter workload on a certain day.
International growth = Localization
The truth is, although international growth should have the full support and buy in from the entire company, this isn’t always the case. Generally speaking, localization is given little thought until growth begins to stagnate in the domestic market, and expanding to other markets is the only way forward. If international growth is simply seen as a way of generating “additional revenue”, then it’s unlikely that it will have a company-wide focus; in such cases a clean localization strategy won’t exactly be a priority. This makes translation messy, inconsistent and lacking a clear system, resulting in miscommunication and costly re-work.
A centralized localization process
Having one person or team dedicated to translation isn’t always feasible, which is one of the reasons why translation management systems were created. Every person involved in translation at any point can log in, get an idea of what’s in production, who’s managing what, plan when content will be ready, in what languages, and all in a clean little dashboard… we all love dashboards!
Once this kind of transparency is achieved, translation no longer seems like a mammoth task that you want to pass onto someone else. It also keeps everyone on the same page and gives those who are less familiar with localization an idea of how the process works; making it something that can be managed by the company as a whole.
#3 Crossed wires caused by an exploding email inbox
122,500,453,020 emails are sent every hour… wow, we really do love our emails. We’re all guilty of it, but perhaps we rely a little too heavily on those trusty email accounts?
For large translation projects, email as the primary communication channel can leave room for missing pieces. Several people, several files, multiple tasks, changing delivery dates, one project. It’s easy for things to get lost in translation… and believe me when they do, it costs time and money.
Translation management systems like Smartling are being adopted by the world's fastest moving companies like Snapchat, Foursquare, Sony and Pinterest. Fast moving companies don’t have time for menial, manual tasks, which is why automation is necessary to sustain growth.
Instead of trawling through lists of emails and continuing to work with spreadsheets and FTP servers (oh dear!), they move with technology and reap the rewards it brings.
The reason these companies grow so fast is because they foresee an opportunity and grab it while it’s hot, they are the disruptors of the business world. They focus on the fun stuff and don’t have room for inefficient communication… if something isn’t as productive as it should be, get rid of it or trade it in for a newer model.
#4 Achieving and maintaining a consistent brand voice feels like a losing battle
Suddenly when translation costs are involved, the idea of keeping your brand voice consistent goes out the window.
You have no control over your translation memory, glossary or style guides, yet you expect to achieve a consistent brand voice with every translation? Your international brand isn’t in the hands of your translation company, it’s up to you to invest in its upkeep for each market… your translation company are there to help, but without adequate investment, the cost of fixing terminology will become a vicious cycle.
Your translation memory, glossary and style guides are the keys to achieving and maintaining your desired brand voice in each international market, and they must be updated and reviewed regularly. Sadly their importance is very often overlooked, and they are usually left in the control of your translation company.
Many companies never update their translation memories, meaning words and phrases that may no longer be relevant to your company, are still being reused by your translators. You can’t complain about translation quality without taking the necessary measures to maintain it.
The beauty of a translation management system is that every part of the translation workflow is incorporated into one platform, including your translation memory, glossaries and style guides, which are the most important components of the translation process. You can review your translation memory at any time within the platform, which allows you to foresee potential terminology issues before they arise, and keep things up to date.
They are your property, and they hold the key terms which define your brand across the globe. These should be visible to every single member of your company; creating an inherent knowledge of your brand voice amongst employees, your ultimate brand advocates.
#5 Your review process is anything but a walk in the park
Having an established review process is important because it is your chance to look at the translation from a company and user perspective. Defining and sticking to a clear review process is something which many companies find very difficult, especially in cases where there is no designated reviewer for a certain language and there are no clear guidelines of the type of feedback that they should be giving.
Some of the common problems associated with an inconsistent review process and how to fix them are highlighted in my previous blog post, here.
The QA step is generally the longest part of the translation timeline, and requires input from almost everyone involved in the project. With the traditional localization process, translators were translating a given text without any context, and no idea of how the finished product would look to the end customer, they were asked to translate websites, without knowing if their translations would fit in dialog boxes and communication between translator was either non-existent or had as much back and forth as a game of table tennis.
With a centralised translation management software in place, the source text is visible in an interface and each source string is replaced as it is translated, avoiding problems with sizing and context and therefore fewer QA cycles.
Hooray!.. broken communication between translators and reviewers is now a thing of the past with transparent workflows. Issues can be foreseen before they occur, allowing time for anyone involved to be contacted through the platform, avoiding unnecessary correction costs.
Can you relate to any of these points? If so, a TMS may be the solution to all your problems! Schedule a free consultation for advice on your next step.