Centralize Translation Services Your Way – 5 Points to Consider
You are a multinational corporation that uses translation services on a daily basis with an annual volume of translated words that reaches well into the millions.
You have at least two large Language Services Providers who service your high-volume translation needs, and are large corporations with a large footprint.
Sure, you would like to work with more businesses, and perhaps throw a few smaller, minority-owned businesses into the mix. Or you might like to know if you are really saving every dime you can through leveraging already-translated content or by using machine translation. But your vendors say you better stick with them. Why? Because they “sit” on the largest volume of already-translated content in the form of translation memory databases, and you are, naturally, getting the best deal with them.
In fact, you might hear the pitch from one of your Language Services Providers to “centralize your localization program” with just one provider: them.
Yes, centralizing your localization program offers many valuable benefits to your organization, but that pitch has one HUGE flaw. You do not need to settle for one vendor to achieve your centralization goals. Centralization and owning your localization process CAN be successfully achieved no matter how many Language Services Providers you work with.
How? To understand that, let us look at the benefits of centralization individually, and how owning your localization process relates to each one.
1. Control Over Your Content/Data
Translation work is subject to copyright. Once you have paid your bill, the translated content – and the translation memory database created from it – belong to you.
At Teneo Linguistics Company, we ask our customers if they have their translation memories under their legal and physical control, and nine out of ten times the answer is “no”. In most cases, it is the supplier who is in control of the data and therefore in control of how savings are calculated, how the database is maintained and managed – and who has access to it as well.
The argument of centralizing with just one vendor does not hold here. You would be putting total control of your very valuable, company-specific memory into the hands of some other company, instead of diversifying your risk.
2. One Technology
Different suppliers will use different technology, workflows, glossaries, and terminological databases. This may seem like a deterrent to centralization – a negative factor – but again, centralizing with one supplier gives them control over the technology used, its effectiveness for your organization, and control over all security considerations.
You can take control of your language process by making an informed decision about which centralized technology works best for your company’s needs, and suppliers will conform to keep your business.
3. Financial Savings
Consolidating all translated content in one location gives you better leverage for volume discounts and discounts for repetitive content. But this only works well under two conditions:
- If you have full access to all your data and the process of how fees are calculated.
- If the translation memory content is maintained and curated correctly, and/or if the machine translation engines are properly trained and retrained.
If these two conditions are not met, you will still be at the mercy of your supplier.
If multiple users within your organization need access to ordering translation and uploading documents for translation, it can be a real headache when working with multiple suppliers. Each supplier will have a different process, a different portal to sign into, and different workflows.
This is where the implementation of centralization, and more importantly, simplification, makes sense. But even in a one-supplier scenario, you will not have any control over how the workflows are set up and what process is followed.
For example, what if one supplier offers dramatically lower rates for translation and another offers lower rates for review, and you wanted to set up a process that always sends documents to the same supplier for translation, and another one for review?
It would be much more efficient to have the ability to set up and manage that workflow in one centralized location that contains your complete database of translation memory than to try and do it in separate portals with separate translation memory databases.
In other words, even if everyone has the same way of uploading the content, without overview and control of processes used it still resembles just throwing the order over the fence and hoping for the best.
5. Evaluating Performance
Every organization has important goals and KPIs to achieve including reducing cycle time, achieving financial savings, or working on continuous improvement. How do you improve these KPIs in regard to the workflow of your organization’s chosen Language Services Providers?
With no direct insight into your Language Services Providers’ processes, it is difficult to evaluate how they are performing — whether you have one supplier or multiple.
- Do you have access to reporting on how well suppliers are achieving project deadlines across all projects?
- Do you know what the total volume of savings is with each supplier and how it changes over time?
- Do you know how nonconformances are handled?
This is critical information that every organization should have easy access to when evaluating supplier performance and when determining how to improve their KPIs.
What we have here is really not a case of using multiple vendors vs. just one. This centralization scenario is more about taking control of the process in a meaningful way for you and your organization’s goals.
How Do I Centralize the Process?
So, how do you achieve all these benefits? Consider centralizing your localization process but instead of centralizing with one supplier:
- Keep all the suppliers you like.
- Take control of the process.
- And keep it under your own roof.
Owning your own Translation Management System (TMS) is a completely realistic solution that allows you to consolidate all databases of already translated content from your suppliers into one source. There is no need to invent or build anything, TMS solutions are an off-the-shelf product these days, with a variety of them available.
You can then have a number of suppliers working within your TMS and focusing on what they do best – translation. Meanwhile, you are in complete control of maintaining and leveraging already-translated content.
You will be legally and financially protected, use one centralized technology with no headaches, and your users will have one simple way to upload their files while monitoring the progress and deadlines of projects. With detailed reporting features that include supplier performance metrics and many automated processes, the benefits to your organization adopting this centralized system are endless!
Wait, you say you have no one on your staff to manage the TMS? No problem! You can hire a consulting service to set the system up and manage it for you, perhaps by embedding their own employee into your company so they would be available to you at all times.
The choices are numerous and will likely vary from corporation to corporation. The bottom line is that centralization does not mean the same thing to everyone.
Look for centralized solutions that help you achieve your goals, put control and ownership squarely into your hands, and allow you to continuously maintain full compliance.