Coordinating large-scale translation strategies with nothing more than spreadsheets and emails is a bit like eating spaghetti with a knife and spoon. Yes, you can do it. But it’s a messy process that could be made more efficient, effective, and enjoyable if you use a more specialized set of tools instead.
Buying new software is more complicated than acquiring a fork, of course, so you’ll need a thorough business case behind your proposal. Below are five business benefits you can use when modeling translation technology ROI for your team.
Most localization teams that cling to spreadsheets and emails ultimately find that the majority of project time is spent preparing, as opposed to translating, content. They spend weeks (or months) manually copying and pasting source text into shareable spreadsheets. Then, when language service partners return the requested translations, that content often sits idle for weeks until developers see the email and issue an update.
Translation management software automates the majority of translation tasks that are not performed by linguists. It enables you to send content to translators in an instant and give them more time and space to get work right the first time. Then, when finished, project managers can immediately push approved translation live.
As a result of this accelerated production pace, you can consistently beat competitors to market and confidently update your localized content on a more frequent basis.
Manual website translation methods only get less efficient as you add more languages and more content to your strategy.
Weeks of copying and pasting content turn into months, restricting the amount of time project managers can spend preparing and debriefing translators. As a result, error rates suddenly spike and a stream of correction requests jam an already crowded translation queue. Then finally, frustrated developers insist that the only way to stop translation from taking over their lives is to restrict content updates to a quarterly cadence.
Translation management software minimizes the impact of strategy expansion by proactively eliminating or automating the tedious tasks that once weighed on employees. Managing 10 languages feels only a little more difficult than two languages when content collection and distribution still happen instantaneously.
One of the biggest pitfalls of traditional translation methods is the lack of context associated with content. Regardless of where text comes from, it all looks the same when confined to a spreadsheet cell.
Localization managers try to do their best, creating reference guides and adding spreadsheet notes that offer clues as to the true nature and intended meaning behind the text. But more times than they’d like to admit, confused translators are left with little option but to offer their best guess and continue to the next string. As a result, all manner of linguistic and formatting errors appear downstream.
Leading translation management software now creates visual context automatically. Translators see source content exactly as it lives in an app, webpage, or document. And when they do, they suddenly have the clarity they need to make smarter judgments and supply translations that suit exactly what you wanted.
There’s a difference between completing translations and engaging audiences. When coordinating strategies over spreadsheet and email, just getting work out the door on time can feel like a minor miracle. But when logistics are no longer a dominant concern, you get more time to make sure the linguistics achieve a real impact.
Translation management software helps centralize all the brand resources and audience insights translators need to create the most accurate and authentic content. Additionally, even simple innovations like translation memory can dramatically improve the consistency and professionalism of your communications.
Translation management shouldn’t be an all-consuming task for localization managers, much less the marketers and developers with competing priorities. Process automation empowers teams to get more done with fewer people involved, limiting the potential for localization to distract multiple departments. But since software-driven workflows also help turn activity into actionable data, every stakeholder can still retain a clear, real-time perspective of how projects are progressing.
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[Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2015 and has recently been updated for accuracy and clarity.]