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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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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The aim of any localization project should be to make people feel like you really understand them. And this goes beyond using the necessary words and speaking the right language. Successful translation and localization also hinges on tapping into cultural nuances and consumer preferences to ensure that the tone, imagery, color palette, layout and tempo of the content aligns with accepted practices and trends in that region.
Just as localization is not a ‘one size fits all’ kind of thing, there are a number of ways that one can actually localize.
We believe that global success is dependent on delighting your clients. And we have the tools and expertise to help you do just that.
Here are a few of the different ways we can help you localize:
Visiting your website will likely be the first time a new customer is exposed to your brand. As such, your website serves as an introduction to who you are and what you do. Aligning your website with your target market boosts global expansion efforts, improves customer relationships and, ultimately, increases your bottom line. We’ll run a cultural and technological assessment to ensure that your web presence maximizes the allure of your offerings and that your site supports foreign characters and browser/technology preferences, among other things. Graphics should also be tailored to suit each region’s unique traditions and culture.
A common mistake when localizing software occurs when a business relies on random testing. The downfall of this strategy is that one element of the program is tested several times and problems can remain hidden and could lead to greater issues at a later stage.
At Rubric, our translators will conduct linguistic testing to identify any character corruption or clipped labels. We’ll remedy glitches so that the software isn’t affected – eliminating any technical issues further down the line. Software localization should involve changing structural elements of the user interface, ensuring software guides contain consistent terminology and that accompanying documents are also localized appropriately.
A Japanese explainer video will fall flat in Spain and a South American-inspired commercial will likely pack less punch in the UK. Multimedia localization refers to the translation and internationalization of any multimedia material, such as images, audio and video content. Things like voice dubbing, subtitles and transcript translations will ensure that the language and cultural intricacies of the content are appropriate and appeal to your target audience.
Desktop publishing localization
Basically, this type of localization entails editing and translating any printed material such as books, magazines and manuals. There is little point in taking your products and services to another country and then not offering the necessary product information and outlines to those customers in their native language.
When selecting a localization company to help with your global expansion, ensure that you partner up with someone who provides a holistic localization offering. We’ve worked with many a brand and business to ensure their localization efforts are effective and successful. Take a look at this Amway Case study, for an example of how we get things done.
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It’s a Sunday evening and you’re winding down with your family ahead of the new week when you suddenly realize that you’re out of milk. Rather than having to explain to your kids that they can’t have their favorite breakfast cereal before school, you hop in the car and head to the grocery store. When you arrive, you realize that you are almost out of bread, so you pick up a loaf and quickly load your basket with a few other things. Might as well get everything else you need while you’re there. With our basket now full, you head to the till. It’s only on your journey home that you realize you’ve forgotten the one thing you wanted to buy in the first place – the milk.
If you’ve ever been in this situation, you’ll understand the value of a list.
While forgetting to buy a carton of milk may mean you have to endure some tough morning negotiations with your children, forgetting to do something in a business environment could be the difference between success and failure.
If you’re eyeing global expansion, it’s important to make a list of all the areas you need to consider to meet the needs of your global consumer base. At Rubric, we believe you can break your global expansion checklist into three groups.
Target market – know thy customer, know thy staff
Whether or not you think you could sell ice to an Eskimo, opening up an ice store in Alaska or Greenland is probably not the best business move. If you opted to establish your ice offering in a notoriously toasty country like Libya, you’d probably have better luck.
If this was the case, you’d need to do your homework about Libya. And when you did this homework you’d want to find out things like the native language, cultural nuances, lifestyle and buying habits of the people living in this country. If you didn’t do your research you wouldn’t know that it’s a no-no to schedule any business at midday on a Friday because most companies close for prayers. Or that it’s considered respectful to arrive at business meetings early, but expect to be kept waiting.
Localizing your sales and marketing mix
When looking to take your offerings offshore, it’s important to tailor your marketing and sales strategies to best target people from different regions. From a sales perspective, you’ll need to train both in-country and foreign staff so that they understand the brand’s identity and always exhibit culturally appropriate sales tactics and customer services practices. In line with this, your marketing and advertising strategy should comply with the regulations, strategies and rules of the region. Going back to the Libyan example, in a country where alcohol is prohibited, you’d be ill advised to create ad campaigns featuring people socializing over a glass of wine or a few beers in a bar.
Similarly, your brand and marketing media should be translated and localized appropriately. Given the fact that the majority of Libyans are on Facebook, using this social network as part of your marketing efforts is probably your best bet. Corporate communication material, product manuals and packaging and labeling, for example, should be translated into the country’s dominant language – in this case, Arabic.
Keeping your logistics and operations logical
When moving your operations into a new region, there are various logistical and infrastructural considerations. Who are the most affordable and reliable power or telecoms providers in Libya? Requests for proposals need to be compiled and translated. Health and safety should also be a consideration – this entails conducting risk assessments, identifying relevant permits and conducting the necessary staff training.
If you’re on the lookout for a localization company to make your global expansion efforts simpler, we may be able to help. We’ve compiled a Global Expansion Checklist to ensure that you have all your ducks in a row before making that international move. Click below to download our checklist:
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Did you know that Cebuano is one of the most widely spoken languages in the Philippines? Or that across much of Nigeria the native people speak a language called Igbo? Did you know that in Sanskrit there are 96 words for love, in Greek there are three and English only one? Or that in the Inuit language there are more than 30 words for snow?
At Rubric, it’s our job to know these things. We’ve spent the last 20 years helping companies to better manage their translation and localization requirements as they look to expand internationally. We’re currently able to translate content into 144 languages thanks to our dedicated team of expert translators, software engineers and project managers. And this number is always growing. We also have a few customizable automation tools that simplify the process and make it easier for us to deliver accurate and culturally sensitive content that gets your message across.
So what exactly do we do? Here’s a brief breakdown of our services:
Localization Consulting and Services: We’ll guide you through the entire localization process – from how to approach new markets, to understanding cultural sensitivities and, ultimately, localizing your product or content.
Translation Consulting and Services: Our translation expertise and streamlined project management processes save you time and money as you look to enter new markets.
Document Translation: If you’re in the language industry, we’ll automate the most labor-intensive aspects of document translation, using our advanced terminology databases and translation memories.
Audio Translation: Our extensive database of in-country audio production facilities, translators and voice-over artists keep the audio translation process localized, ensuring your message is conveyed accurately.
Video Translation: Localized talent ensures your video conveys a message that is accurate, culturally sensitive and aligned with your market.
Transcript Translation: Multilingual transcript translation is executed by our in-country translators and localization engineers so that your transcripts contain cultural and linguistic nuances.
Subtitling: Want a cost-effective alternative to producing a localized version of your video? Our expert translators can provide video subtitles.
Voice-overs and Voice Dubbing: In markets with low literacy rates, voice-overs and voice dubbing are a nice alternative to subtitles. We can do voice-overs for anything from animations to webinars.
Website Localization: We will translate your web copy and localize the visuals and tone of your site. We’ll address your immediate requirements and implement processes to help you tackle future projects.
Software Translation: This service spans from code to copy, with in-depth testing to remedy glitches.
Transcreation: Transcreation is the first step in any successful localization project. We’ll ensure that your content retains the right emotion to elicit the desired action.
If you want to go global, we’re the translation and localization company to help you ensure that your content hits the mark. Click here to take a look at our Product Brochure.
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