Introducing our latest case study: Rubric partners with Amway

Introducing our latest case study: Rubric partners with Amway

How does a multinational company – one that operates in more than 100 countries – ensure that all staff are on the same page? With a strategic localization plan, of course. While the answer may be simple in theory, orchestrating the accurate and timely localization of internal training collateral requires a little help from localization experts. Here’s how we assisted Amway in conducting a localization process that was streamlined, efficient and ultimately, effective.

In order to upskill their staff around the globe, Amway turned to Rubric to localize their multi-media training collateral.  

Amway needed to localize internal training collateral that consisted of web and video-based content. This called for the translation, subtitling, engineering and testing of various assets, totaling a massive 250, 000 words. With staff working in multiple time zones and offices, the project required a water-tight, strategic localization strategy that emphasized collaboration with all stakeholders, regardless of where they were located around the world.

Effective communication played a pivotal role in the project’s success.

Regular communication between Rubric project managers, translators, engineers and Amway staff and stakeholders played a crucial role in the success of the project. We sought to find the most effective methods of communication between all involved and then prioritized frequent calls, meetings and updates with all concerned.

Proactive project management allowed us to plan for all eventualities and create schedules based on each market’s specific needs.

In order to ensure that we were able to provide Amway with a superior localized end result, we first sought to understand exactly what they expected from the project. Once we had identified these goals, we then worked together to determine the most efficient (and effective) processes and technology. By identifying potential issues before we began, we were able to streamline the localization process as we were aware of the red flags and bottlenecks that might be encountered along the way right from the get-go. Specific localization schedules were planned around market-dependent, pre-determined launch dates as well as the current workload and capacity of Amway staff. Rubric project managers ensured that everyone was on the same page at all times.

A resounding success, our partnership with Amway enabled the company to effectively upskill staff in their UK, US, China, Mexico, Thailand, Korea, Japan and Russia branches.

For the full run-down of what this project entailed, you can download our Case Study, here.

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How Rubric’s translation and localization service helped AccuWeather localize in over 100 languages.

How Rubric’s translation and localization service helped AccuWeather localize in over 100 languages.

Translation and localization are all about improving people’s lives. That may sound like a sweeping statement, but when you get down to the crux of the matter, localization is about tailoring your content, whether it’s a mobile app, technical manual or soundtrack to the end user. AccuWeather, the world’s leading provider of weather information, has a mission that’s very much like ours: to serve the end user with the best possible experience.

If you’re anything like me, you probably take the fact that you can get live weather information via your mobile or laptop whenever you want it for granted. But for those living in far-flung corners of the globe, access to this vital data hasn’t always been as easy as opening an app. AccuWeather wanted to make it just as easy for someone in San Jose to access accurate weather reports as it is for someone in Sacramento. And that’s where we came in.

AccuWeather’s requirements were twofold: they needed to localize their offering and gain an in-depth understanding of their users’ preferences and needs.

To do this, our translators and developers worked alongside their project managers to customize and localize their digital assets. This entailed the translation and localization of source code, copy and interfaces to ensure that they were built accurately across different markets, consisting of over 100 languages and dialects. Also known as hyper-localization, our goal was to help AccuWeather tailor real-time weather data to the user’s device, location, language and dialect.

Cultural preferences and the unique needs of users dictated how we approached the translation and localization of raw data.

It’s not just the weather that differs by region, but the way we describe it too. In order for AccuWeather to provide every single user with detailed forecasts, it was crucial that all copy was crystal-clear, and UX-friendly. Achieving this required an in-depth understanding of the unique ways a culture uses language to understand the weather, while bearing in mind that the wording of this had to easily display on any screen – mobile or PC. For example, English speaking users easily understand the phrase “chance for a flurry”. Translate this into Polish, and you get “Prawdopodobieństwo lekkich opadów śniegu” – a massive 40 characters compared to 17, rendering the phrase too long for mobile display and convenient consumption.

Another factor that required careful consideration when localizing AccuWeather’s digital assets is that fact that there’s not always an equivalent term or phrase for its English counterpart.

This is where cultural context plays a massive role in the translation and localization process. For example, when it comes to an affinity for describing snow, the Eskimo languages Inuit and Yupik (as well as their various dialects) have it down to a fine art; they have over a dozen terms to describe snow. Some mean powdery snow, some mean wet snow, and others mean heavy snow. It’s these tiny but oh-so-important details that can complicate translation and localization efforts for many a business if they’re not addressed with in-depth and extensive knowledge of the cultural context at hand.

Transforming weather data into actionable information requires a myriad of considerations and importantly, the combination of skills and expertise.

AccuWeather specialize in weather, while we specialize in localization. By partnering with them, we were able to combine our relative areas of expertise and achieve their goal of providing accurate weather information on demand to all. This ongoing collaboration will see even more innovation to come, as we continue to work together to personalize the weather in the most effective and impactful way possible.

Read more about our partnership with AccuWeather by downloading our case study here.

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Localization – how long will it take?

Localization – how long will it take?

When briefing in any project, the first question should always be: how long will it take? And when that project has a localization component, understanding the project timeframe is even more important.

The key is to plan early. As soon as you’re aware that translation is required, your starting point should be sitting down with a localization service provider (LSP) so that they can help you plan effectively. Good project management from your LSP can help you scope your project thoroughly, assess risks, provide a clear schedule so tasks are done in the right order and help you move tasks off the critical path. This helps reduce stress and time to market.

Having a gauge of the number of words you need translated is essential. A good rule of thumb for translation is 2 000 words per day, on average, once translation is in progress. For small volumes there’s a ramp up time for the LSP, so the earlier you start to plan with the LSP, the smoother the project will run. And if you’re looking to send English content and your target market content together, then you need to plan extra carefully. One also needs to factor in the time needed to create glossaries and style guides.

When planning any translation project, you should ask yourself a few simple questions:

  • When do I need to have the content ready?
  • Is there a need for a pre-final content stage?
  • When is the source content final and ready for translation?
  • Have I clearly identified the content for translation?  
  • In what format will I provide the content to be translated and are all source files available?
  • What languages do I need this content in and which countries are being targeted?
  • What other tasks need to be done for this to be ready for market?
  • Will we have reviewers look at the content?

When it comes to localization different things take longer than others, of course.

With video localization, translating the script is often the smallest part of the project because scripts are generally quite short. It’s the other tasks that can prove complicated. Your LSP needs a clear idea of the project schedule to ensure that voice samples can be recorded and provided on the correct dates. If your LSP is creating videos, they need the source videos and should know the software that these were created in; they’ll also need information around output formats, video quality and screen resolution to ensure you get the correct deliverables back.

Here are a few questions you should be asking:

  • Do I have the source video?
  • Do I want a voice-over for this video?  If so, what sort of voice?
  • Do I need subtitles?
  • What should the subtitles look like?
  • Are subtitles already used in English?
  • Is there on-screen text which requires localization or will this remain in English?
  • Who is going to create the videos for the target markets?

With website localization, it’s important to involve your web team early to plan effectively.

Often the translation of web content is the simplest part of the process, but planning how that content will be exported/imported can take a lot longer. Discuss with your web team and your LSP how best to export content for translation. For smaller projects, you can copy and paste from Word or Excel. However, this probably won’t work for larger scale projects.

A few website localization questions to consider:

  • Which pages need to be localized?
  • Is there localized content already on your website?
  • How will you set up the local pages?
  • Will people access these pages via the main site or will there be country-specific URLs?
  • How will you map the local content within your CMS?
  • Are there graphics which require localization?
  • How am I going to keep localized content in sync with US content going forward?
  • Will content be regularly updated?
  • Who will be responsible for getting the content back into the CMS?

Looking for an LSP to make your content translation easier? We offer all the localization services you need to make your project a success. Click below to find out more.

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In-house vs. Outsourced Vendors: What’s at Stake?

In-house vs. Outsourced Vendors: What’s at Stake?

It goes without saying that efficiency breeds productivity, which, in turn, fosters profitability. But here’s the thing: making your department – and company as a whole – a streamlined, successful venture hinges on your ability to be acutely aware of your capabilities, and your shortfalls. Once you know what you can do, and do well, you’ll be able to identify the areas that need some outside assistance. While some of these are a no brainer, like ordering a colleague’s birthday cake from the deli down the road, others become a little more tricky, like deciding whether you need the help of a translation company for your new satellite office in Sweden. We’ll chat about the various perks and pitfalls of using outside vendors, as well as those associated with relying solely on your in-house staff.

Outsourcing is typically associated with cutting costs, but that’s not the only reason to consider making use of a vendor.

Making use of outsourced skills or services can be an effective method of saving money, but only if the service rendered is equal or better to the results you’d get if you kept the task in-house. That said, minimizing costs isn’t the only reason an outside vendor should be considered. If you already have an employee who has the rudimental skills, for example, but you’re looking to skill up this in-house resource, hiring a consultant who can work with them is an effective way to make sure the job gets done quickly, while fortifying internal talent. What’s more, you’ll save money on future projects as your team will now be equipped to handle the project without the assistance of an external vendor.

On the flipside, if your prerogative is to gain a product or service that’s of higher quality than if you were to attempt it yourself, outsourcing may cost more, but end up as an investment.

Many people associate outsourcing with dirt-cheap labor – yet this isn’t always the case. In fact, if you’re in need of a niche product or service, chances are, you’ll have to pay for it. But here’s the rub, if you forego outsourcing, and attempt to do something you’re not completely familiar with, you’ll end up with an inferior result, which only ends up costing you more time and money in the long run. A good rule of thumb when deciding between using a vendor or keeping the project in-house is to determine what’s at stake: if an inferior end result will cost you future business from a company, or a damaged reputation, saving a couple of bucks here and there isn’t worth it.

Contrary to popular belief, translation outsourcing isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity.

Unless you’re a fan of reckless endangerment, you’d never attempt to rewire your office’s electrical circuit, so why attempt the task of translating documents or software? If you’re struggling to see the similarity between the two, think of it this way: both can result in accidental and even dire consequences, leaving you red-faced as you watch your assets and brand reputation go up in smoke. Translation outsourcing is a crucial requirement when dealing with a market or audience you’re unfamiliar with – a family vacation to Verona hardly counts as being well-versed in the culture at hand. And at the end of the day, that’s what quality translation is all about: the ability to retain the integrity of your core message, while taking cultural sensitivity into account. Again, when weighing up the pros and cons of translation outsourcing versus attempting the job without any outside expertise, determine what you stand to lose and what you stand to gain from either option.

While you can’t put a price on superior translation services, we’re firm believers in supplying our clients with quality translation services and consulting to help grow your internal skillset and communicate clearly with your market – without charging you an arm and a leg. Find out how our translation services can help your business thrive in a global market today.

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Four Things You Can Do to Help Your Engineering Team Win at Product Localization

Four Things You Can Do to Help Your Engineering Team Win at Product Localization

A large aspect of being a Product Manager entails acting as a conduit between Marketing and Engineering. Without your input and guidance, operations can quickly run off course and then screech to a halt – wasting a whole lot of time and resulting in frustration on all sides. And when it comes to product expansion, your ability to orchestrate collaboration and buy-in from all involved becomes more important than ever.  

In order to ensure that your product localization project gets the attention it deserves, prepping your teams before you dive into the project headfirst is far more preferable than giving everyone – especially engineering – a baptism by fire. After all, if engineering is caught unawares, and is suddenly bombarded with a massive workload, there’s little guarantee that the very nuts and bolts of your product localization will work seamlessly. Here’s how you can best prepare and guide your engineering team to conduct the localization of a product to minimize hair-pulling, sleepless nights and caffeine overload:

  • Avoid last-minute panic attacks and the ramifications thereof by giving engineering adequate notice of upcoming projects.

Never underestimate the value of a ‘heads up’. Engineering typically thought of as the ugly sister of marketing, is often neglected during the initial phase of product localization. Unfortunately, this approach is counter-intuitive. Instead, this all-important team forms the heart of your product localization, which means that they need to be your priority throughout the process. A team that’s kept in the loop and frequently communicated with is typically one that performs well – which is the end goal after all. Help your engineering team by giving them adequate notice of upcoming product localization projects, and by making this process as easy as possible for them by preparing them for the task at hand.

  • Utilize a localization service provider (LSP) that offers both project management and engineering expertize.

Your engineering team excels at building and maintaining the inner workings of your product. An LSP’s engineers excel at adapting software and code for a new audience. In order to maintain the functionality of your product and ensure that it’s properly localized, you’ll require the expertise of both. In addition, your LSP must be able to review your software and identify potential problems before translation begins. This will enable your engineering team to fix all the bugs in one go, instead of having to tweak the software multiple times, in however many languages you’re localizing in. As well as engineering know-how, your LSP should be able to firmly take the reins of your project and facilitate and manage the collaboration of all involved. Not only will this make the project localization process easier for you, it’ll also provide critical insight and education for your teams, providing them with the necessary skills to streamline future localization efforts too.  

  • Facilitate open channels of communication between your LSP and engineering team.

Collaboration plays a big part in successful product localization, especially between your LSP and internal teams. Your role is to connect your engineering team and your LSP, acting as the primary channel between the two. Explain what each team requires from the other, for example, when localizing the UI of an app or website, your LSP will require access to the UI source, and will also be involved in the rebuilding of the localized software versions. Helping the two parties to work together will make the process easier and more fruitful. There’s nothing more detrimental to a product localization project than two parties who are unwilling to collaborate. Your role is part peacekeeper, part interpreter and part leader – the better you are at this role, the better the outcome.

  •  Clearly communicate requirements, workflows and deadlines.

Being upfront about the intricacies, potential road-bumps and timelines is the only way to keep everyone on the same page and focused on a shared goal. Don’t throw your engineering team into the deep end with a twelve page document detailing the engineering specs; instead, talk them through the tasks required and iron-out any concerns before the ball gets rolling and the ramifications of a delay interrupt the process as a whole. Clear deadlines, constant communication and an open-door policy all make for stress-free, seamless and ultimately successful product localization.

Make sure you’re using a localization company who can make the product localization process as easy as possible. Download, “The Ultimate Guide to Global Product Expansion” to learn about successful product localization on a global scale.

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