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Importance of client feedback

Client Feedback

Client Feedback

When you’re doing a large project with a LSP that requires multiple linguists and your company specific terminology, the importance of providing feedback for the first few batches of files can not be over emphasized. In this scenario you should not expect total quality until at least 2 to 4 batches of files have been completed, feedback has been provided, and the linguists have had the opportunity to integrate the feedback into the current and future batches. Moreover, if you maintain your own terminology database, there might be technical issues that have to be addressed before total quality can be realized. For example, is your terminology database based on industry standards? If not then there might be a great deal of technical challenges to get thru (32 bit vs 64 bit or OS incompatibilities.)

While it is reasonable to accept total quality for the entire project, it can not be realized without giving enough time to implement your specific feedback. It is best to work with your LSP contact to ensure your feedback has been successfully integrated into the project.

Does your LSP adapt to YOU?

It’s difficult enough managing business operations in a single country let alone in multiple countries. Some of the challenges for multinational companies (MNCs) might include the shortage of qualified human resources, unfriendly business environment, conflicting interests, corruption, language barriers, and labour cost to name a few. When all of these challenges are combined together, organizations can face a great deal of uncertainty.

Reliable Language Services Provider

One area where MNCs can really benefit by having a reliable business partner is in the area of addressing language barriers. While some companies prefer to keep language services a strictly internal operation, most companies will use a hybrid approach where some of the language services are carried out internally and some are carried out externally with a reliable language services provider (LSP.)

When using an external LSP it is vital that they adapt to your needs. Business operations are never static and the information/content being localized/translated might need to be changed to reflect the dynamics of your business operations.

For example, if the source text in the product manual your LSP is translating needs to be changed for any reason, your LSP should not only be able to accommodate this change, but the change should be reflected in the terminology database and the translation memory.

Moreover, if you’ve decided to target the Canadian French market, your LSP should be able to minimize your translation costs by localizing the existing French translation for the Canadian French market instead of doing a completely new translation. In other words, your reliable language services provider should be operationally well invested in your business and your business goals.

Fast turnaround ability

Fast Turnaround Ability With Language Service Provider

Not surprisingly, more and more companies are listing “fast turnaround ability” as the most important factor when working with language service providers. Fast turnaround ability is important for some very good business reasons. For one, the global economy runs on information. And two, companies that operate globally have to deal with different time zones. And more importantly, the global economy demands it.

The ability to not only provide translations quickly but doing it with quality and having the ability to handle your increased demand are also essential.

How to Measure Language Service Provider Abilities

How can you measure these abilities when looking for a new language services provider? The answer really lies in your gut feeling based on your initial interactions with the LSP. Were they quick to respond to you? Did the responses sound professional and quality driven? Does the LSP have case studies on their website? Does the LSP have the infrastructure needed to support your needs? Another approach is to have the LSP do a short sample to test their abilities.

Most common requested languages

World Languages

World Languages

Did you know that the following 15 languages constitute 80% of global GDP?

  1. English
  2. Chinese
  3. Japanese
  4. Spanish
  5. German
  6. French
  7. Portuguese
  8. Italian
  9. Russian
  10. Arabic
  11. Hindi
  12. Korean
  13. Dutch
  14. Bengali
  15. Turkish

Now compare that with Cisco’s annual Visual Networking Index that  estimates how different countries will consume internet traffic by 2015.

Consumer Internet Traffic by 2015

Needless to say, if you’re looking to grow your company, you must be open to the idea to selling your products and services globally. If you decide to take the global route then you should also know that according to research done by Common Sense Advisory, “the vast majority (85.3%) of respondents feel that having pre-purchase in formation in their own language is a critical factor in buying insurance and financial services. Conversely, just 45.8% of the sample told us that language is important to buying clothes on the web. The more valuable an item, the more likely it is that someone will want to read about the product and buy it in their own language.” So, all in all, the language in which you sell your products and services in does matter.

Credit: Cisco, The Economist, and Common Sense Advisory.

5 LSP attributes to seek

5 Amazing LSP attributes to seek

When and if you’re looking for a Language Services Provider, there are 5 LSP attributes that you should look for in order to ensure that your localization/translation objectives are going to be successfully achieved. If the LSP you’re considering is not able to demonstrate these 5 attributes, you should keep your options open to speaking with other LSPs.

The 5 LSP attributes are:

  1. Turnaround time
  2. Quality assurance guarantee
  3. Use of a translation management system
  4. Cost
  5. Ability to access your own translation memory or glossary files

Turnaround time

When companies are localizing their content, they are almost always operating with tight deadlines and sometimes cost overruns. The ability of your LSP to provide a quick turnaround time regardless of the amount of content being localized is simply priceless. Imagine your company is going to be releasing a product in a foreign country next week. Not only do you need to have the content localized, but it needs to be printed and made available via several mediums: online, offline, mobile devices, etc. In this context, ability to provide localization services at YOUR speed is of vital importance.

  • Click Here to learn how EPIC Translations completed a MASSIVE 2-million-word project in record time!
  • Click Here to read EPIC Translations’ guarantee!

Quality assurance guarantee

Sure, everyone says that they’re committed to quality. But can they back up that claim with a written or signed guarantee? This might not seem like something important, but rest assured that if your localized/translated content is not driven by quality, you might be putting your company’s product launch in jeopardy. It is better for you to define your own quality expectations and then having a written agreement from the LSP that your quality expectations will be met.

Use of a translation management system

If you’re a occasional buyer of translation services, then this might not seem like a big deal. But if you will need translation services often then the LSP’s ability to automate your service requests based on a translation management system will make things somewhat less crazy for you. Imagine being able to automatically send translation service requests, or being able to see the status of your requests in real time via an online portal. Or better yet, having the ability to download your company’s specific glossary file or TM file for internal use. These are all technical capabilities that your preferred LSP should offer at no extra charge to you.

Cost

While receiving a discount on large requests is fine and dandy, but you should really set up a consistent cost structure with your LSP. This will ensure that your localization costs are kept under control and there are no surprises when you receive the invoice!

Ability to access your own translation memory or glossary files

This is important because it is in your best interest to make sure your LSP keeps your translation memory files recent and up to date. Having the ability to access your TM file at your convenience will allow you to not only monitor it but also give you the ability to use it internally independent of your LSP.

So there you have it. These might seem trivial to some, but they can be a lifesaver if you’re a regular buyer of translation services. Contact EPIC Translations today for a free no-obligation price quote for your localization needs.

Not all workforce is the same

Cross cultural Workforce

While you might have a certain type of culture at your company with a solid relationship with your workforce in the USA, this will not automatically translate over when you expand to other countries. This is especially true for the Material Handling industry. There are a variety of reasons for this, some of which are Cross cultural Workforce while others are unique to a specific culture only.

Whatever the case might be, here is a list of things to keep in mind when you hire employees outside of the USA:

  1. People tend to be loyal to an individual rather than the company at large – Therefore it is vital that you start by hiring a high-level executive who you have full confidence in;
  2. Find the right person for the right job – even if it takes you 6 months or more. In the Materials Handling industry, warehouse employees generally have a high turnover rate. Thus it is important your employee handbook is accurately localized documenting company policies and expectations;
  3. Encourage open communications – between the employees and their supervisors/managers;
  4. Hold cross-cultural events – twice a year to have successful integration of all groups of employees. If done correctly, you could use this opportunity to also increase loyalty to the company at large;
  5. Accountability – People everywhere want to feel that they’re making progress in their jobs. Setting goals for your employees (with their input) and holding them accountable for it helps them see that the company takes them seriously and is concerned about their advancement;
  6. Website localization – Localize your website to the country where you’re expanding to. The importance of this simply can not be stated in a blog.

In order to successfully achieve this, you will first have to have corporate policies at the home office. And from there it can be localized to many countries where you expand. Doing this correctly from the start will help to lower the cost of doing business in other countries. Saving a few thousand dollars on the localization of your policies can cost you significantly more in high turnovers, unhappy employees, and lost productivity.

Who needs a Global Marketing Manager?

Who needs Global Marketing Manager?

If your company is expanding to operate in multiple countries then you will, sooner or later, need a Global Marketing Manager. This role is very different than that of the local Marketing Manager.

 

Why do you need a Global Marketing Manager?

Generally speaking, Global Managers Marketing  should report to Chief Marketing Officers or the Chief Executive Officers. You might ask why do you need a Global Manager? The answer really lies in your company’s objectives as to why it’s expanding globally.

It will be the responsibility of your Global Marketing Manager to enhance your company’s international market share and profits. To that end, a successful Global Marketing Manager should assist in developing products/services that meet the international demands along with providing valuable input on pricing strategies.

Global Marketing Managers & Localization

Another area where the Global Manager Marketing  will be actively engaged in is the localization of your content as your company begins to set up the new operations. In this regards, the localization of your content should be error free and be very considerate of your company’s culture, terminology preference, internal/external policies, and how the localized content will be perceived in the new marketplace.

For more information, contact us for a free consultation session.

Exit Strategy: Sell to the Chinese?

So you’ve worked really hard for the last 20 years and have created a company that the Chinese are after. Should you sell it to them? This question is tougher than it sounds. Imagine selling your company to another organization right here in the USA! Now add complexities to this scenario that are 200 times more complex. Saab and Hawtai Motor Group are the perfect example!

After spending a lot of time and money in agreeing to a joint partnership where Hawtai would own 29% of Saab, the Chinese government “forced to terminate the agreement” according to Saab. The time and money that were spent on language services such as document translations and interpretations should not be underestimated.

Document Translation

A company that has more than 500 employees and is involved in manufacturing autos will have lot of documents and content that have to be translated before an agreement to joint partnership can ever be reached.

Exit Strategy

If you’re thinking about an Exit Strategy for your company, don’t bet on a Chinese acquisition unless you have done the following:

  • Carefully understood and agreed in writing how your products are going to be affected
  • Have a clear agreement on certain matters of business operations
  • Have the necessary legal agreements in place
  • Have understood the financial ramifications of the deal
  • Have the backing of the relevant government agencies

In all these situations, you will need localization/translation services and possibly interpretation services as well. Having your own language services provider that understands you and your company philosophy/culture will go long ways in making sure your interests are protected. Spending a few thousand dollars on localizing content is a very smart investment when you see what’s at stake, your entire company and its future!

Your Translation Budget

Choosing your language services provider can be a time-consuming process, especially if you are not familiar with the industry.

We’ve created this blog/report to alert you to the common problems that can hinder the translations process and not allow your projects to flow as smoothly as they could. Setbacks, as we know, result in loss of productivity and ultimately loss of profit.

If you have experience working with language service providers, this report will help your company recognize past problems and improve your interactions in the future.

Because the language service industry is quite unique and may be unfamiliar to most companies, it can be hard to recognize that you are not getting the optimum value out of your current provider.

Below are some useful tips to keep in mind when selecting a language service provider for your company.

1. Negotiating Bargain-basement bids

We will be the first to admit that in our industry, most of the companies promote that they have the same capabilities, knowledge and experience. Therefore, one would think that if you line up four or five vendors that offer similar services and guarantees of quality, you should be able choose the one with the lowest bid, right?

Well, not if you believe that cheap is never good and good is never cheap.

You likely had a few expectations before purchasing your car or home that were unique to your particular needs, lifestyle and family.

In fact, you most likely ended up choosing the dealer or agent who made you feel most comfortable and offered the best value. And while you likely didn’t have corporate pressure to save dollars when youchose these services, your own sense of economy likely kept you from buying that Mercedes or that mansion on the hill.

A translation company that gives you a quote that is much lower than other vendors may tell you they have special tools, processes or people to get the cost so low, but you would be wise to “look under thehood” before buying.

Examples we’ve heard from clients who initially went the bargain-basement route include:

  • “We got the old bait-and-switch”- i.e. they were quoted one rate, and invoiced a much higher rate later, with a bunch of add-on services that weren’t in the original quote.
  • “They used machine translation to translate our work, and amateurs to clean up the machine translation.”
  • “Our project was translated, but that’s it”—they didn’t know that other vendors an entire process of proofing and editing that go into their projects to ensure quality. So they were delivered files that were full of mistakes and not client ready.

Are we saying that the priciest quote from your two or three vendors would have given you the best translation? Not necessarily. Just like cars and homes, language services also have a market rate that is fairly consistent. At EPIC Translations, we do our best to ensure our clients receive a fair price that accommodates their budget, without compromising our quality standards and procedures.

Another thing to consider:

Unless you are requesting a single translation, and you are certain you will never need translation services again, chances are exceptionally high that you will end up establishing a relationship with your translation vendor.

Just like the car dealer or realtor you ended up choosing because they were “a good fit,” so should your translation vendor be a “good fit” for you and your company’s culture. Ask yourself: “Would I want to work with this person and their company into the future?”

While smaller companies are easy to work with and provide a personal touch to the service they provide, they often do not have the resources necessary to complete large projects with aggressive deadlines. Larger corporations may have seemingly endless resources, but how easy is it to reach the person who is handling your project when you have questions?

One of the ways we at EPIC Translations are working hard to distinguish ourselves is by offering more value to our clients, in the form of an unheard of Guarantee and a transparent tracking system that allows clients to follow the stages of their project. No smoke and mirrors here!

We have the resources of a large corporation, but with the operating philosophy of a small company where each client has a dedicated project manager who not only works hard to complete your projects, but to build relationships as well.

2. Keep Translation-Related Material Organized & Available

Your company may have more translation cost-saving assets tucked away than you realize, especially if you are relatively new to translation services.

If you spend two hours on the phone each time your translation vendor needs a source or reference file that time will add up considerably raising the cost of the translation project. A little planning to ensure that the translations company has all the resources they will need can go a long way toward cutting cost and time for a given project.

Has your company used translation services in the past? You may discover that your company or the translation vendor for that project has an existing TM (translation memory) that could cut the cost of the current project considerably. The TM will have stored all of the translated phrases and terms from the last project, and the translated phrases can be re-used to some degree for the current project. (The TM will have to be relevant with similar terminology, same target languages, etc., and the previous translation will have to be of high quality to be re-used.)

For this reason, make sure you include post-project access to your translation memories in any contract you sign. If your translation project has a lot of text inside graphics, multimedia or PDFs that will require translation, think about the time it will take either your desktop publishing team or the vendor’s to do this work. It may be easier and more cost effective to have the language service provider complete the entire project, including the desktop publishing. However, make sure the language service providers that you choose has experience handling desktop publishing tasks.

At EPIC Translations, for example, we have highly experienced professionals solely dedicated to completing the desktop publishing portion of the project for our clients. Our clients save time and money by having us complete the desktop publishing because our rates are fair and we are then able to go back and have our editor linguists review the translation post publishing to ensure the formatting has not affected the translation in any way.

3. Be as Specific as Possible

While your translation vendor may initially love the fact that you have blindly sent them EVERYTHING to be translated without giving it a second thought, this will actually present headaches if you do not intend for all of the information to be translated. Without clearly specifying what does and doesn’t need to be translated, you may find that you are repeatedly being asked to clarify your needs once the project is underway. Review what you are about to send your translation vendor and make sure everything is organized and comes with clear written instructions to compliment your verbal instruction.

For whom are you translating? Take the time upfront to understand your end users’ needs. You may discover that they prefer spec sheets in English and really only will benefit from a small percentage of support and marketing information in their native language.

We recommend that you combine this approach with your company’s overall global marketing strategy. There may be other advantages to translating large sections of the corporate marketing content, like Search Engine Optimization, brand equity, global lead generation, etc. The key is that you know exactly what business goal(s) the translation is going to accomplish before you request it.

Your translation vendor should be poised to help you achieve success in business with your translation, and not simply provide you with words in other languages.

Bottom line: The more information you can provide your vendor about the purpose of the translation, the better equipped the vendor will be to translate in a specific manner to achieve your business goals.

4. Know Your Audience

Whether it’s crafting a marketing message, creating a powerful advertisement, writing technical documentation, or designing a website, “audience is everything.”

In other words, you know when you see a presentation, hear a joke, or watch a commercial and you are definitely NOT the target audience, but somebody older or younger than you is. You don’t communicate the same way to your boss as you do your spouse or your children.

In like fashion, a message or copy is written specifically for an English-speaking audience in the U.S. does not translate easily and effortlessly into another language.

Just think of the variations and dialects of English spoken by people in different parts of the U.S., the U.K., Australia, India, and other parts of the world. When you travel to one of these areas, and you see local commercials that are heavy with the flavor of that region, you probably find yourself unable to follow everything that’s being said, in spite of the fact that it is in English.

The deciding factor in how English varies in these regions is, of course, that often loosely-applied word “culture.” There are endless ongoing scholarly debates about how culture and language are or aren’t affected by one another, but it should be readily apparent by the wide variations in English that culture and language are inseparable pieces to the puzzle of communication.

The message you are communicating in English is inevitably affected by your culture, and the message your audiences will be receiving in other languages will inevitably be filtered and affected by their cultures.

This process of cultural translation is called “localization”.

If you are unsure whether or not your message will translate accurately, you may wish to have it either reviewed or re-written in “International English.”

Below are some guidelines for achieving this:

  • Basic English sentence structure—subject-verb-object, no passive voice, confusing compound sentences.
  • Avoid: idiomatic expressions, jargon, synonyms, words that can be nouns or verbs or adjectives, negative statements.
  • All acronyms spelt out, with a glossary of proprietary terms.
  • Use words with their primary dictionary meaning.
  • Repeat a noun instead of using a backwards-pointing pronoun.

Optionally, if you have the copy that is very marketing-oriented, and you want to deliver the same impact in other languages, you should probably consider letting the translators on the project have significant leeway to re-write the message in their native languages.

If you are embarking upon a significant marketing campaign in a new locale, and plan on having several media outputs to establish heavy brand identity in that locale, we highly recommend you partner with a reputable marketing agency that has solid experience in that locale (and then have them hire us!).

5. Don’t Keep Your Project Manager Guessing

Inevitably, every project is going to have updates, additions and revisions. With a little planning, you can build contingencies for new and modified text into the translation process.

What changes do you or your team know will likely take place? Are portions of the help content and documentation still being reviewed and rewritten?

Depending on the size and nature of the translation project, some of these suggestions may or may not be applicable:

  • Remember that your translation project manager is not the opponent, but a big part of your team. Keeping them in the know regarding changes—even those that may never materialize—is key to helping them stage the optimal project.
  • If, at the outset of a project, you know that revisions or major changes may be in the project’s future, tell your project manager so they can adapt and plan appropriately.
  • Make an effort, when feasible, to batch your revisions and change orders.
  • If there will be a large number of changes, batch updates at an agreed- upon cycle with your vendor (weekly, biweekly, etc.).
  • Assume that most changes will happen at the end of a project, so plan resources accordingly.
  • Agree on a cut-off date for changes with your vendor. You can always incorporate small changes in a point release.
  • Communicate the change management plan to all relevant parties.

Furthermore:

Before the translation project begins, be sure to check this list. Not all may apply to every project, but in the large ones, these steps will save you time in the long run.

  • Specify your required services, tasks and deliverables
  • Provide relevant background information related to the project
  • Indicate projected milestones and product release date
  • Include any existing glossaries and existing translation memories you have
  • Verify that no files are missing and where multiple versions of source files exist, send only the version to be localized
  • Provide contact information for all key project team members (developers, programmers, designers, project managers)
  • Specify required output formats
  • Include layered editable graphics files if graphics with translatable text exist, and source files used to create the documentation
  • Indicate the authoring, multimedia and validation tools that were used to create the source file

Summary

We know that for you and your company, translation and localization are not an insignificant part of your project budget. That is why it is important to ensure you choose the language service company that provides you with the most value by producing quality, client-ready translations within your budget.

For those who have not been so careful in their selection, there is often a horror story of discovering that the target audience was confused, shocked or offended by the resulting translation, or that a glaring mistake was found too late. We can’t stress enough the importance of organization, planning and communication during the process of a translation project.

So that’s it!

We hope this report was helpful in pointing out some important aspects of working with a language service providers. You can check in regularly at our blog for expanded commentary on the various points within this report. Be sure to add us on Facebook and Twitter to keep us on your radar and please call us with any questions.