Any company that’s attempted a simultaneous shipment of a product (SimShip) knows that the logistics alone can be nothing short of a Herculean effort. It doesn’t matter whether you’re shipping a piece of manufacturing equipment or you’re making a software product available for download in ten countries at the same time. In order to ensure that the product is ready for every market, you have to make sure that all of the code and copy can be understood by end users right out of the box, physical or digital.
A major software company – that we keep anonymous to respect their internal governance guidelines – was having difficulty with SimShips. The company provides human capital management solutions with product updates in 40 different languages every three months. It’s an ambitious release schedule, but the company wants to guarantee that every customer has the most up-to-date software as soon as it’s available.
A seamless user experience:
The company's director of product localization and internationalization is in charge of localizing the user interface for all of the product’s applications. That means taking about 40 different files and translating them into each language. This isn’t just a copy translation, either. Translators have to dig deep into the files and localize around 4,000 different key values.
It’s safe to say that this is a big job.
“In more than 40 files, we have about 78,000 key values and just under 400,000 words,” he explains. Since so many keys are added or modified per quarter, and the product rapidly changes as it gets ready to hit the market… even after one version of the product has already been passed off to the translators.
For customers around the world:
That’s where the problem for the company started. Since developers were still updating the software after it had been sent to the localization team, parts of the user interface in the final product weren’t translated when the software launched in new markets. And with product updates every quarter, end users had to wait another three months for an update to fix any language issues. “There was a big process gap,” the director of product localization says. “When we got the translated files back, it wasn’t synchronized with English. You would switch to a French locale, and 25 percent of the words were still in English”.
With Rubric’s help, the company worked out a way to translate and localize the product accurately – even as the engineers were adding new updates to the product. Together, the companies built a seamless user experience for every product update for customers around the world.
The major software company:
Translate 400,000 words, 40 files, 78,000 key values every quarter
Build out a process that guarantees accuracy
Multi-deliveries, in real time:
With the old translation model, the localization team had to translate code within four weeks – that meant localizing 4,000 keys and adding up to 30,000 words in about a month, while developers were still making changes to the product. Rubric and the software company knew that a new process was needed to keep up with this tight release cycle and ensure better collaboration and consistency between development and localization, so the two companies built out a strategic, multi-delivery, multi-drop plan.
“We started delivering five different drops of content to the localization team, and they would deliver the files twice,” the director of product localization says. “That allowed them to start translating the code about six weeks before they had access to the finalized content.”
When translators received the final drop of the content about three weeks before the general launch of the product, they had to translate it within two weeks. But, since they had already been working with the delta code, there wasn’t as much that needed to be changed.
The product localization director notes that Rubric was instrumental in hammering out the process between their team, project managers, and translation teams. “Rubric really helped negotiate around the timeline. With three deliveries and two drops per product update, we had to find a rhythm that worked for both our team and the translators,” he explains. “If the translators in Hungary went on vacation, for example, we had to work around thet to make sure we still met the deadline.”
Together, Rubric and the software company closed a process gap and eliminated almost all of the localization errors that users had experienced with the interface in the past. So, with each product update, every end user received the same seamless experience. When you’re managing 1,600 files back-and-forth five different times within a quarter, automation is fundamental to the process as well. This is where Rubric applied automation tools to streamlines the five-drop, two-delivery process.
Technology in translation:
To streamline project management and expedite the overall localization process, Rubric employs a number of automation technologies. For the software company, Rubric used several different tools to manage the tight turn around that each product update required.
Rubric used automation tools to automatically find and replace key words and phrases, as well as compare all the code and copy of the earlier version of the product with the latest version that had been sent to the localization team – that way, translators could immediately find the new updates that had to be translated among thousands of different keys.
By integrating automation and comprehensive project management capabilities into the translation process, Rubric helped ensure that each quarterly round of localization is delivered on time. Rubric and the software company have since managed to guarantee a SimShip in dozens of languages every three months. Now the company's customers can expect a timely, consistent and localized product update, wherever they are in the world.