Global reach is now more important than ever for manufacturers.
How can you tell which manufacturing translation services will help you reach your chosen international markets?
The manufacturing industry has undergone some significant changes in recent years. Increased global competition, supply chain restructuring, rising digitization, and growing skills gaps mean that manufacturers need to change to keep up.
For many manufacturers, part of the solution is to reach a wider global market. Even if your home market is large, the benefits of growing internationally are clear. Your products can reach more buyers, you have access to a wider talent pool, you are less impacted by local market fluctuations, and the list goes on.
Plus, if you don’t reach global markets, your competitors certainly will!
One question that manufacturers often struggle with is how to reliably translate their content into other languages.
The translation services market can seem overwhelmingly complex.
Not all translation providers are equal.
How do you find the right translation services for your manufacturing business?
Thankfully, there are some reliable markers that you can use to assess manufacturing translation services and determine how suitable they will be for your global business.
What translation has in common with manufacturing processes
Manufacturers often misunderstand what translation involves. The whole translation process seems confusing and out of their control.
They mistakenly view translation as being like a painting process…
Why translation is not like painting widgets
Imagine that you manufacture a product. Let’s call it a “widget” (the classic nonsensical example in manufacturing). But, you don’t have the capability to paint those widgets on-site.
You’ll have to outsource the painting process to another company.
Simple, right? You just need to find a good contractor who has painting capabilities. You manufacture the widgets, you send them to the contractor, and they paint the widgets (perhaps this is overly simplistic, but it works for the analogy).
This is how most manufacturers view translation — as a simple add-on process that only happens after the source content has been created.
A better way to view manufacturing translation
The problem is that translation is not like painting a widget. It’s not just an add-on step.
What’s a better way to view translation?
Imagine that, instead of simple painting, your widget needed to undergo a specialized heat-treating and coating process. Let’s say that this process required your contractor to disassemble the widget, treat all the parts separately, then reassemble it again in a similar but slightly different configuration.
Would it make sense to treat this as a simple add-on step?
Probably not. The process is more complex. Treating it as a simple add-on step would require the contractor to unnecessarily deconstruct a lot of the work that you had done, just so they could do their job.
It would be much more efficient to include the contractor earlier on in your process. By getting them involved in the planning and design of your process, you would work together to make your manufacturing process more efficient overall.
This is what good manufacturing translation services should do.
A good provider will look at your content creation process as a whole and help you to make it more efficient.
7 marks of reliable manufacturing translation services
Various markers can indicate that a translation provider could be right for your unique business.
Here are 7 marks that indicate reliability for manufacturing translation services:
1. The provider understands the manufacturing industry
A good sign is when the translation provider lists manufacturing as one of their specialist industries. However, you should be wary if a provider lists too many “specialist” industries as this could indicate no real specialism at all.
2. They have evidence of working with clients like you
An even better sign is if the provider has testimonials and case studies from companies within the manufacturing industry that are similar to yours. It’s easy for a provider to say that they specialize in the manufacturing industry, but a testimonial demonstrates that it’s true.
3. They look at your entire localization process
Plenty of translation providers operate as an “add-on service.” But, as we explained above, this can cause problems. A good provider will look at your localization process as a whole. They will get involved with your process and help you to streamline it. This will help to make translation more efficient for you and your business.
4. They are a trusted partner, not just a content provider
A mark of a reliable translation provider is that they operate as your partner in the process of localization. They will work with you at every step of the way to help you get more from your localization budget. They should seem as invested in creating high-quality content for your markets as you are.
5. They ask questions to fully understand your processes
You probably shouldn’t consider a provider that just takes on your translation project without asking questions about your processes and goals for the content. Manufacturing translation often has some unique features compared to translation in other industries. To find these differences, the provider needs to ask you in-depth questions.
6. They use KPIs to track localization performance
Just like in a manufacturing environment, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are a key tool for telling if a translation process is improving. A reliable translation provider will will work with you to identify and measure the KPIs that matter to you, helping you to track the performance of your localization process. This can also help you to monitor the Return on Investment (ROI) of translation.
7. They talk about long-term continuous improvement
In a global manufacturing company, translation is not just a one-time task. You will hopefully be creating quality localized content for many years to come, as your business grows internationally. A reliable provider will talk about continuous improvement of your localization process and will set shared goals with you that stretch into the future.
How to streamline your localization workflow
The translation market can seem complex at first. However, with a bit of knowledge, you can find manufacturing translation services that truly suit your needs.
As well as finding the right services, there are also steps that you can take yourself to improve your localization process.
You can learn some of these tips in our eBook specially created for manufacturing companies like yours: 10 Profitable Tips to Streamline Your Translation Workflow.