As technology has facilitated faster and easier international travel and communication, doing business across borders has become the new norm. This presents many businesses with new and exciting opportunities to expand their global presence and enter new markets. But to do this effectively, businesses need to ensure that their marketing messaging, product information, and brand identity as a whole are translated into the right languages and adapted to local cultural sensibilities—in other words, they need to localize.
Thankfully, this is also an area where technology is able to deliver. In addition to enabling aspects of the localization process like communication and data storage, technology plays a particularly vital role through automation.
Automation is a key part of the Localization Maturity Model
We’ve mentioned before how the Common Sense Advisory’s Localization Maturity Model (LMM) is a highly effective way for any business to approach localization in their organization. Automation is one of the key steps in the LMM process (the others being governance, strategy, process, and organizational structure). This is because as a business scales, it needs to be able to use certain localization materials over and over again in different contexts.
Translation memories (TMs) are a great example of this. A TM is a database of key sentences, phrases, and terms that can be used by translators so they don’t have to spend ages translating the same content over and over again. When combined with automation technology that automatically translates certain strings of text, a localization team is able to process significantly more content in a shorter amount of time. Furthermore, that information will be available for every new localization project going forward, which is essential for growing businesses that are planning to expand operations overseas.
Beware of technological snake oil
For most companies, the ultimate goal of investing in localization efforts is to manage global content more effectively and provide users around the world with the best possible customer experience. This is only possible if an automation benchmark is set and adhered to throughout the organization, as you’ll be able to identify and remove manual localization processes that are time-consuming, expensive, and prone to human error.
That said, simply investing in automation technology does not guarantee excellent results. Localizers who fail to execute their automation processes with diligence and foresight are unlikely to be satisfied. This is because there’s considerably more to automation than purchasing a tool and hoping that it solves all your problems. Tools have their place within the global content map, but they are always only one component. You need to look at the entire picture and involve all stakeholders, content generators, content manipulators (among which are LSPs and translators), and content consumers.
Translation automation adds value to the whole organization
One of the primary goals of the LMM is to take the concept of localization and apply it to the entire organization, not only to an isolated team. Translation automation technology is a great example of what this actually looks like in practice, because it can be used to great effect in a broad variety of contexts for any company doing business in international markets: content creation and adaptation, translation, workflow management, engineering and testing, as well as any additional language services such as live chat.
The digitization of content, in particular, offers a fantastic opportunity to introduce automation into the localization process—that is, as long as the interests of all stakeholders are considered before final decisions are made. This is why it’s a good idea to partner with a localization service provider that understands technology and can help your business get the most value from its automation tools.
If you would like to find out more information about how automation ties into the LMM, or are interested in localization services for your company, then contact us at Rubric. We’re always happy to help.