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Four Things You Need to Know About Translation

As a global marketer, you work tirelessly to reach customers all over the world with data-driven, hyper-personalized experiences that will stick. And with studies proving time and time again that consumers prefer to purchase products they can read about in their own language, providing a consistent experience in a variety of languages is key to creating positive engagements from the start. However, navigating all the technologies available to help you provide such an experience may feel discouraging. Translation, centralization, internationalization, localization—where does one begin?

In the following Slideshare we explore four aspects of translation, from issues with decentralization to determining whether internationalization is right for you. Here is everything you need to know about providing a truly global experience:

Lionbridge SlideShare - 4 Things You Need To Know About Translation

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1. All About Centralization

You may be using several language service providers (LSPs) to handle the translation of your content. If so, you probably already know this takes a lot of effort to manage.

The expense of maintaining multiple LSPs can be difficult to estimate because many of the costs are “soft” and not considered in calculations. With multiple teams and LSPs, there will be separate price lists, separate processes, and separate people to engage for each project and language. As you add languages and products to your project list, things get even more time-consuming and complicated.

How It Works

Centralization involves giving all your translation work to one LSP, most often an MLV (multi-language vendor). The ideal MLV can handle all your languages and file formats. However, large companies may choose to work with two or three MLVs to ensure they have the resources needed to cover larger volumes of work.

Issues with Decentralization

  •          Communication challenges
  •          Inconsistency across markets
  •          Staggered deliveries; time-to-market variations per language
  •          Lack of collaboration between LSPs
  •          No sharing of assets and best practices
  •          Fragmented and differing processes
  •          Varied billing and accounting methods; no visibility into total spend
  •          No central responsibility for quality
  •          Duplicated work; preparation not shared across LSPs

2. Translation Style Guides: The Key to Consistency

Your company is likely to have a style guide for creating content. It probably defines the conventions writers should use to ensure they accurately convey brand image and desired user experience.

But did you know it’s just as important to define styles and conventions for translated versions of the content?

Commonly, content is checked by companies’ in-country employees—either as a formal process after translation or in an ad hoc manner after content is published. In both cases, problems with the translation arise too late and are more difficult and expensive to correct. Not to mention, most people make changes according to personal preference: It just sounds better when it’s written a certain way.

By implementing translation style guides, you can proactively outline the expected style and tone for translated material. This gives translators an idea of the conventions they should use. Your reviewers can also use the style guide to understand what to judge against when reviewing content, making them less likely to request changes according to personal preference. You can save precious time, effort, and costs at this critical stage of your publishing cycle.

3. Using an LSP for Localization

A typical translation project involves much more than just translation. If you want the translated information to have a professional presentation—one that reflects the caliber of your business—you will also need desktop publishing, file engineering, and project management to coordinate all the steps. An LSP can enable a product launch into target markets, a process known as localization, byproviding the following:

  •          Ability to tackle your translation needs as a program, and identify cheaper, faster, and better ways to complete each project
  •          Understanding of varying file formats and how to handle them
  •          Ability to make the most of the industry’s tools, such as translation memory (TM), which reduces the number of words to translate in future updates to save time and money
  •          Language strategy consulting, which can help you understand what markets to target, which languages to cover, and which materials to localize
  •          Scale and breadth of resources that you typically can’t build or manage internally. An LSP can scale up and down as needed to meet fluctuating volume demands and leave you free to focus on your company’s core competency.

4. Internationalization: Who Needs It?

If you’re thinking about taking your product to global markets, you should also be thinking about internationalization (i18n). Can your product be easily adapted to the language of your target markets? Can it be done without additional engineering? If your product is not internationalized, barriers may demand code changes before localization can begin.

5 Ways to Tell if You Need I18N

First, it’s imperative to complete i18n before localizing to avoid re-engineering your product in parallel with localization. If any of the following statements ring true to your organization, it’s time to consider internationalization:

  •          I am launching a product/service globally for the first time.
  •          I am currently in the design phase for a new product/service and want to ensure the product will work globally.
  •          I am looking at expanding a product/service into new markets.
  •          I have already gone through a painful localization process after uncovering i18n issues while localizing a product/service.
  •          My product/service has language-specific functionality that needs to be addressed for new markets.

If you start localization without internationalizing your product, you’ll most likely encounter schedule delays and cost overruns.

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