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Session Summary: Is There a Gold Standard for Translation Technology Stack?

Here is a recap of a panel discussion from LocWorldWide45. Three localization experts shared ways to take a customized approach to developing a new translation program and making the existing systems more efficient.

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Whether you are trying to build a new translation program from scratch or update your existing translation tech stack, it can be challenging to know where to start. Because each business is different, you need a flexible process to successfully deliver localization and translation to the end-user.

In the panel discussion from LocWorldWide45, Paypal’s Head of Localization Technology Michal Antczak, Workday’s Manager Localization Engineering Lucio Gutierrez, and LogMeIn’s Senior Director of Global Localization Services Hartmut von Berg discussed ways to take a customized approach to developing a new translation program or making the existing systems more efficient. Here are some key points from the session.

Is Having a TMS Enough to Deliver a Seamless Experience for Customers and Stakeholders?

The TMS is the cornerstone of the localization process and the engine that drives your translations at your organization. However, just having a TMS in place is not enough. An organization has all kinds of customers and stakeholders, all with different processes and requirements that you have to consider. Therefore, when building a translation tech stack, you have to think from the perspectives of various departments and customers and their unique needs, not solely from the linguistic point of view.

The trick is to listen closely to each other’s needs and plans to build that TMS into a broader tech stack that integrates well with the stakeholders and their systems. And additionally, while a TMS offers a lot of control and the ability to manage the projects, you will still need to pull the different components into the TMS to help improve scalability and speed.

Determining the Localization Architecture

Building the localization architecture for the organization should start with people. Begin with listening closely to your stakeholders’ pain points. You want an architecture that integrates with your stakeholders’ systems, so first, understand their processes and think about how they can be improved.

To ensure continuous localization, automation of the end-to-end process with the internal stakeholders is critical – and the TMS is what makes it possible. Create an architecture with a TMS as a center, but remember to complement it with the stakeholder-centric approach. Instead of solely relying on the TMS as the backbone of everything, test the different approaches, and don’t miss out on the opportunities to make use of your tried-and-tested experiences and data.

Success Criteria to Measure the Efficacy of the Current Systems

At what point of the localization maturity should you revisit the translation workflows and the technology used to deliver your translations?

There are internal and external triggers that should make you rethink your technology stack. One of the external triggers is integration. If you want to automate your process, you need to be able to integrate it with various tools. However, the reality is that they constantly change – new systems, new updates, etc. Over time, you will run into situations where your surroundings change and your current solution no longer works, and you can no longer optimize your process.

There are also times when new requirements – such as legal or security policies or internal criteria – are being implemented. These are the times you should revisit the process to ensure your systems are up-to-date and continue collecting the right data. This will help you diagnose problems or bottlenecks early on to be able to address them promptly. Identifying Your Champions to Support Your Localization Cause When you are a part of a matrix structure in your organization, it’s essential to identify the stakeholders that will be the biggest sponsor in your cause for localization, especially if you are trying to take your tech stack to the next level. Then who should you engage with to achieve this?

Once you have identified your tech stack, components generating the content, and the tools building your product, the next step is to determine who can influence the decision-making. Since you can’t partner with everyone at the same time, look at your inventory and decide who will have the voice in selling your architecture in your company. Then, start having conversations with leadership about your needs and pain points – get their buy-in.

Remember that the people who provide the company with the most revenue will not necessarily be the best sponsors. The stakeholders that you will be providing savings for will be the ones that are relatively easy to convince to back you up, as savings are more easily quantifiable versus the revenue impact.