On a periodic basis, Advanced Language Translation reaches out to its clients with information to help them guide their translation and localization decisions. We explain to our clients that any completed project is an asset to their company, having value, and functions to meet business development or customer commitments.
Case Study (names and locations have been changed for non-disclosure purposes):
Acme Incorporated in Wisconsin has been distributing globally for decades. The industrial equipment they produce contains complex subsystems, requiring documentation that explains the functionality and safety requirements. They distribute through in-country representatives who make the sale to in-country end-users of the equipment. This is a typical international sales model for many companies.
Until about five years ago, Acme Incorporated only supplied equipment documentation, including assembly, operations, maintenance, and safety manuals in English. When their in-market sales distributor in Portugal advised that they needed all the documentation in Portuguese, Acme Incorporated instructed them to pursue translation however the distributor deemed necessary. Acme Incorporated agreed to cover the cost of any translations through expense reimbursement to its Lisbon sales office.
Some time went by in this manner with the business in Portugal continuing to increase. Each time there was a product sale, whether the same product or a similar product, the in-market sales office would advise that Portuguese documentation was required, and they would coördinate the translation and seek expense reimbursement.
Eventually, Acme Incorporated began to wonder: “Why is the expense reimbursement always the same cost? They have already translated this documentation. Where is it? We’ve paid for it, it’s an asset to our business in Portugal, but it’s nowhere to be found?”
In short, over the course of about 10 years, Acme Incorporated paid $125,000 in translation and localization expenses and regrettably, their in-country sales representatives did not manage the documentation or consider it a present and future asset. There was no re-use or leveraging of existing translations, there was no terminology database, and so their investment was essentially lost.
Through considerable effort and additional investment, Acme Incorporated is now on the road to realizing true cost savings. They first brought their translation and localization work home to their corporate headquarters. They next sought to re-translate and re-invest, but ensure that translated documentation was managed as they manage their English documentation, and also ensured that they were working with a reputable translation and localization firm that could assist them to manage these assets. Finally, through proper documentation asset management, Acme Incorporated is realizing a 35% reduction in costs through leveraging previously translated content and is also improving its own authoring methodologies. Because terminology management was introduced into the process by Advance Language, Acme’s technical publications and marketing departments started coördinating their terminology, which reduced consistency errors and delays in their internal and legal review processes.
Keeping Acme Incorporated’s story in mind, we strongly encourage you to consider that the next foreign language project you undertake will be an investment, and once completed, becomes an asset with measureable value attached.