Manufacturers: Is Your Content Workflow Wasting Money?

August 31, 2020
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We all know that streamlining our workflows is important. 
Every small improvement we make to a manufacturing process can amount to huge budget savings and quality improvements over time. Each efficiency gain puts us on the path to a more successful and smooth-running business. 
You and your teams are consistently looking for ways to adjust and improve your processes.
But, there is one workflow that many manufacturers ignore when they are looking to improve their operations… 
… their content creation and translation workflows. 
Manufacturers often feel powerless when it comes to creating content for their international markets. They know that translated content is important for increasing sales and engaging employees in those markets, but it feels like they are at the mercy of their translation providers. 
Does that sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone.

What happens when you’ve no control over your global content

For many companies, their global content production is an uncomfortable black box.
The English content that you create in-house — or via your trusted local suppliers — speaks perfectly to your brand and the needs of the customers. When you read, watch, or listen to that English content, you can tell immediately that it presents the right image of you and your company. 
But, as soon as you send off your English content to your translators, it feels like you lose control of it. You have no way of knowing if the translated content will be on-brand. Plus, the translation often seems to go over budget and over time. 
If you could create a dedicated, quality translation team in-house, you probably would. That way, you could control the content for all of your global markets. But, very few manufacturers have that capacity. It would just be too much overhead. 
So, you jump from translation company to translation company, trying to find one that understands your business and can provide the service that you so desperately need. This process eats up a huge amount of your resources. 
This doesn’t sound very efficient, does it? However, it’s surprisingly common. 
Why your content and manufacturing workflows are the same
Why does this inefficiency happen?
You might be tempted to blame the translation companies (and, yes, they should probably shoulder some of the blame). 
However, there’s often something deeper going on… 
The problem starts when manufacturers don’t view content creation as a process. 
Just like your manufacturing workflows, your content creation workflows are not a black box. They are complex systems of operations with various stages and stakeholders. 
By viewing content creation as a black box, you are missing an opportunity to improve that process and make it work better for you.

The effect of inefficient content workflows on your business

It can be tempting to downplay the effects of an inefficient content workflow. After all, it appears to have less impact on the bottom line than a process improvement elsewhere in your business. 
But, this is a misconception. 
Most manufacturers are just not familiar with the process of translation so they don’t recognize the huge effect that this inefficiency can have. 
When the content workflow isn’t working properly, the quality of your translations can suffer. 
The translated content that comes back from your translation suppliers may be rejected by your teams in the international markets. Your people say “This content you have sent us won’t work in this market.” 
For example, we’ve experienced situations where a company’s in-country marketing teams have completely rewritten the translated content sent to them by head-office. As a result, the brand becomes fractured across the international markets. The messaging that they spent so much time, budget, and effort to create and translate is suddenly thrown out of the window.
At head-office, they might not even realize that this is happening. But, they do see the negative effects on sales and engagement in their international markets.
At Rubric, it troubles us how much money is wasted by manufacturers due to bad translation workflows. 
An inefficient content workflow can show up on your bottom line in several ways. 
Examples include: 
  • The cost associated with excessive rework of translated content. 
  • The loss of sales because your international sales teams haven’t received good marketing material in their language. 
  • The cost of retraining employees who have been badly served by poorly translated training content. 
  • The loss of employees abroad who feel underserved and undervalued due to not receiving good content in their own language.
The impacts of your content workflow on your international markets can be just as far-reaching as those of your other business workflows. 

5 ways you can improve your content workflow

Thankfully, your content workflow can also be improved in a multitude of ways, just as you can improve any manufacturing workflow. Every small improvement you make to the workflow can amount to huge budget savings and quality improvements to your international content. 
Just remember that the quality of the English content going into a translation process will directly impact the quality of the translated content coming out.
Imagine the significant effect of just one small improvement to the English content when you are translating your work into dozens of different languages!
Here are 5 ways you can improve your content workflow when you start viewing it as a process:
  1. Reduce waste — by not creating translated content that is ultimately unusable. 
  2. Reduce rework — by ensuring that the English content and translated content are well aligned in message and quality.
  3. Remove unnecessary work — by only translating those pieces of content that need to be translated.
  4. Streamline the workflow — by looking for small improvements you can make to the process.
  5. Apply continuous improvement — so that you can consistently improve your translation process, as you would with any of your manufacturing processes.
You’ll notice that these are all the same type of improvements you already make to your manufacturing processes. 
So, start thinking about your content workflow in the same way that you think about your other workflows. 
With the right approach, each efficiency gain will put you on the path to a more successful and smooth-running business. You can reduce translation costs, increase quality, and better serve your customers and employees in your international markets.

Do you want to learn how to make your translation process more efficient?

In our guide 10 Profitable Tips to Streamline Your Translation Workflow you will learn actionable tips to improve your entire translation process.

10 Profitable Tips to Streamline Your Translation Workflow

Like any manufacturer, you know that a streamlined workflow is the key to a successful business. However, the idea of having a “streamlined translation workflow” might seem unusual.