Rebecca Metcalf, Author at Rubric

March 30, 2020

The linguistic review is a critical step in the global content creation process. It’s at this point that subject matter experts and marketing staff can ensure that translated content is accurate, on-message, and relevant for the target region.

Reviewing translations largely follows the same principles as any other content review process: ensure that there is a well-defined process, clear expectations, and up-to-date reference material. However, to achieve the shortest review cycles and the highest quality localized content, you need to go beyond these standard steps.

The key to successful linguistic review is to build effective communications between your translators and reviewers. If you’ve ever been involved in a content review cycle, you already know how easy it is for different perspectives to lead to frustrations, misunderstandings, and delays. But by creating a regular feedback loop and encouraging communication and knowledge sharing, you can establish global content creation as a shared endeavor – driving faster reviews and better translations without additional costs.


The fundamentals

The first step towards improving your linguistic review is to ensure that you have a strong foundation to build on. These are the core elements of a strong review cycle that will underpin a successful cultural shift:

  • Well-defined process – Each stage in the review should be planned out, with a clear schedule and a precise brief. It’s easy to go down a rabbit hole of repeated revisions, so it’s important to set and enforce a strict deadline for each phase.
  • Keep reviewer numbers down – Too many cooks spoil the broth. The more reviewers there are, the more conflicting opinions there will be, and the longer things will take. We find that it’s best to appoint just a single reviewer to each translation, or at the very least, limit reviewers to just a small number of preselected, relevant individuals. When multiple reviewers are involved, establish a clear hierarchy to ensure that someone has final say, and consolidate edits into one document before returning them to translators.
  • Use bilingual review files – Bilingual review files enable translators to track changes and easily see the edits made during review. Additionally, this ensures that no one has to coordinate numerous changes that have been made in different formats.
  • The purpose of the review – The primary role of the reviewer should be to provide input on product and market-specific areas. While feedback on terminology is often valuable, it is not the reviewer’s job to rewrite the content.


Building trust

A mature global content creation process is a cycle of continuous improvement. Translators should be able to learn from subject matter experts, and constructive criticism should prevent mistakes from being repeated. But all too often, this is not the case. Instead, reviewers and translators work in isolation from one another. Review can become a painful process if the reviewers and translators fail to understand each other’s perspectives and the value each brings

Establishing a collaborative relationship between reviewers and translators is the best way to avoid these issues, and it can lead to considerable efficiency and quality gains. While building this kind of relationship can be a lengthy process, there are some practical steps you can take to start moving in the right direction.

  • Product training – Set up calls or in-person meetings for translators to do product training with in-market experts. Product knowledge will help translators deliver better content, and the training process will build trust with reviewers.
  • Collaborate on glossaries and style guides – These resources are invaluable for both translators and reviewers in ensuring that translations are accurate and on-brand. By working together to create and update the documents, both parties can agree standards up-front.
  • Feedback loop – Establish a pattern of regular communication between reviewers and translators. For example, with an initial call at the start of a project followed by ongoing email updates.
  • Transparency over changes – Ensure that translators can see the edits that reviewers have made. This will enable them to learn and improve for future translations, and update translation memory systems.
  • Analysis of changes – To achieve the greatest improvements from one translation to the next, it’s crucial to fully understand the nature of reviewer edits. We recommend using a third-party translator alongside back translation to identify and break down the purpose of each change.


Monitor performance

Once these measures are in place, it’s important to keep track of whether they are working.  This might mean analyzing the number of review changes that are made to each translation and seeing whether it goes down over time; or assessing the success of content via clickthrough rate or other metrics. It can also be valuable to survey reviewers and translators to find out how they feel about the process. Approach each market separately and identify what is working well, and what needs to change.


The end-goal

The translator-reviewer relationship won’t develop overnight, but it will pay dividends in the long term. Reviewers that have confidence in their translators know they don’t have to check every word – they can take an overview of the content, saving time that can be better spent on their other responsibilities.

As a global content partner, when we have the complete trust of our clients, we’re able to take a significant amount of work off their shoulders. For example, with some of our long-standing clients, we manage the entire review process for them. We share content directly with the reviewers, and we facilitate an ongoing discussion between the reviewers and our translators. This approach ensures there are no gaps in the feedback loop, and that the process is fully transparent to everyone involved.

To learn more about how to enhance your global content strategy, and how partnering with Rubric can benefit your business, check out our Amazon #1 Best Seller book, Global Content Quest, and download the first chapter for free.


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March 3, 2020

Considering user requirements and user experience (UX) for each of your target markets is essential to delivering high quality online learning content that hits the mark for a global audience. At Rubric, we’ve worked on countless online learning projects, and we’ve found that this is something that clients often miss.

You can do all the testing in the world, but if you haven’t thought about what your learners actually need, your testing could be wide of the mark. What’s more, it can be easy to over-test or over-localize, focusing efforts in the wrong places and expending resources where they aren’t needed.

In this blog, we’ll examine the key UX considerations that can help you improve the quality of your global online learning content, while reducing the cost of testing and localization.


What do global learners want?

The first step is to understand your learners’ localization expectations: what content needs to be translated, and into what languages? While users in some countries might want fully localized content, others might be fine with English, or a combination of translated and untranslated material.

Take audio and video, for example. Localizing voiceovers can be one of the most expensive elements of online learning content creation, but it isn’t always necessary. In some regions – such as Spain or Italy – fully dubbed voiceovers are the norm, but many other audiences will be perfectly happy with English audio and translated transcripts.

Learners in some markets may be happy with limited localization, whilst other learners will accept nothing less than perfection. Acceptance levels will vary by country, and also by context: an internal audience might be more forgiving than external customers. Ask questions to understand your learners and ensure your localized content aligns with their needs.

It’s also crucial to understand how global users will consume your online learning content – which devices will they use, and which operating systems? – so that you can plan testing accordingly.

By factoring these user needs into your decision-making, you can ensure that you are delivering the learning UX that each market expects, without wasting resources on localization that doesn’t deliver value. To learn more about how to streamline translation for instructional content, look out for our report on Best Practices for Online Learning Localization – coming soon!


Talk to your users

So we know what information we need, but how do we get it? Start by seeking input from colleagues or distributors based in the markets you are targeting. It should go without saying that these people will have a better understanding of local customer expectations than head office – and yet we’ve seen cases where local staff didn’t know that content was being created for their market until it came up for review. Involve these colleagues as early as possible and leverage their insight to get localization right from the outset, rather than waiting till the review stage where you may need to make costly edits.

Secondly – and most importantly – talk to your target audience. While staff might have a good understanding of customer expectations, assumptions don’t always line up with reality, and there’s no substitute for speaking to actual learners. If possible, conduct user interviews for each of your target markets to learn what learners are looking for.

Interviewing users may sound daunting, but you might be surprised at how willing learners are to share their feedback. Particularly in industries such as manufacturing, where online learning courses are frequently a requirement for professional certification, users will have a high level of buy-in. These people need to understand the content, so they will often be happy to have the UX conversation and contribute their opinions.


The best testing is deep and narrow

Armed with UX insight from actual users, once content is created the next step is to test it. We mentioned above that it’s important to consider how users will access your content, and testing is where that comes into play.

Given the immense variety of devices now on the market, it’s very easy to go down a rabbit hole trying to test your online learning content on every possible hardware and software variation. But by establishing which devices are the most common, you can focus your testing where it will be the most effective. In our experience, the best approach is to fully test the source content before localization to ensure all functional issues are resolved, then conduct comprehensive testing for a particular set of specifications for each market, and finally do more limited testing – or none at all – on other devices.


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December 3, 2019

International growth takes more than just localized content. Certainly, translation plays a crucial role; but the perception that multilingual content is all it takes to succeed on the global stage is wildly outdated. In a previous article, we discussed the Localization Maturity Model™ (LMM) and how a systematic, KPI-focused approach to translation can drive forward your global content strategy – and now it’s time to take that philosophy a step further with the Globalization Maturity Model (GMM).

Whereas the LMM offers guidance on benchmarking and optimizing your localization processes, the GMM is a broader framework for applying those same principles enterprise-wide. Corporate strategy, product development, marketing, and many other lines of business all factor into the global customer journey, so it is essential that they are all aligned with the same priorities and goals.

At Rubric, we’ve been advocating this kind of holistic globalization strategy for more than 20 years. And now, for the first time, CSA Research has documented and codified best practices – making it easier than ever for businesses to ramp up their globalization maturity and achieve international growth.


Why enterprises should adopt the Globalization Maturity Model

At its core, the GMM is a tool with two functions. It’s a roadmap for implementing business processes that allow for and facilitate globalization, and it’s a framework for benchmarking your organization’s globalization maturity. Taken together, these two functions enable you to identify areas for improvement, implement best practices in those areas, and then measure the impact of those changes based on actual data. Against a backdrop of constantly increasing competition and growing customer expectations, the ability to make data-driven decisions is fundamental to optimizing the global customer experience.

What’s more, globalization maturity benchmarking isn’t just a one-off exercise. It’s a process that you can repeat, targeting different areas for improvement each time, to achieve a cycle of constant optimization.

By adopting the Globalization Maturity Model, you stand to drastically enhance the international customer experience by delivering customer journeys that are not just translated, but are also tailored to appeal to the local market and supported throughout your organization. And this, in turn, will drive brand loyalty and growth.


Benchmarking framework

CSA Research identifies 57 distinct components that can be used to comprehensively benchmark your globalization performance. These components fall into 21 categories, which are themselves grouped under five broad axes:

  • Governance: Establishing globalization as a business process with properly defined goals, KPIs, and metrics – and achieving cross-company buy-in for those goals.
  • Strategy: Defining your business model and plans for international growth, integrating those global plans with your corporate strategy, and ensuring they are supported by your global content strategy.
  • Process: Ensuring that global priorities are baked into core business processes, and that processes can be easily applied to local teams. This will help you approach globalization systematically and transparently.
  • Organizational structure: Appointing executive leadership to oversee globalization; recruiting and training staff to support international markets; overcoming silos to ensure that teams collaborate towards globalization objectives and share best practices company-wide.
  • Automation: Factoring globalization into technology investment decisions and standardizing tool usage. From a content perspective, making use of authoring frameworks, translation memory systems, translation management systems, and product information management systems to streamline authoring and localization. In the wider enterprise context, ensuring that core technologies – such as ERP, CRM, and business intelligence systems – all support each of the languages you operate in.


Putting it into practice

Carrying out a 57-component benchmark is no easy task, and enacting the organizational, cultural, and strategic transformation necessary to optimize your globalization approach can be even harder. The GMM offers recommended executive actions for each element, but they are often easier said than done.

At Rubric, we’ve always seen localization as just one factor in our clients’ globalization success. We have years of experience helping businesses achieve international growth through a holistic approach to global content, and we are excited to share our expertise to accelerate your GMM adoption. Whereas a typical localization service provider only deals in translation, we put content into its wider context and specialize in working with our clients to develop their globalization strategies.


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