It's a Small World After All

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Enterprise and consumer hardware and software
Vendors: HyperObjects (with lots of in-house customization for content management), SDL trados GXT for TM management and HP Application Content Globalization (ACG) services for translation.
Business Problem: Consolidate worldwide product information content and build a translations system to enable users to leverage existing translation content regardless of their locations.

HP is a worldwide company with hundreds of different products sold and maintained across the world. It made a massive transition from using an ad hoc system of managing content across different countries, regions, and business units to using a single system to manage its content and the related translations while still allowing business units to produce and publish content independently within the system framework.

Alison Toon, translation and localization manager at HP, says that before it established this central system, HP had hundreds of separate internet servers. In fact, each country had its own internet presence. She explains this was an untenable situation, which the company began to address several years ago.

“There was a big effort to consolidate, not only the number of servers that we had, but also the content management systems and processes and everything related to it. We went from something we like to call the spaghetti system where you’ve got all of these people creating content in worldwide business units, in the regions and the countries and getting it published in lots and lots of different places in lots of different ways [to today where] we have managed to streamline that,” Toon says.

Todd Karnig, who is responsible for Global Content Acquisition at HP, adds that the company had a lot of disparate threads all pursuing technology and business processes that suited its particular needs. “Then over time we were more thoughtful about it and began to integrate and converge and now we are [at] a stage where we have converged many but not all of the business processes and systems,” he says.

Karnig says that although HP does not endorse any particular vendor, it chose a content management solution for global content from HyperObjects, a French company, then brought it behind the firewall where HP’s IT took over and customized the product to meet its needs. He explains that customization was absolutely essential because a company the size of HP faces huge issues of scale. He says HP has an unusually high number of users and approximately 80,000 current products along with all of the products that are no longer current but still require support documents.

Toon says's primary translation vendor is HP ACG Services. The translation part of the process usually begins in English, then each piece gets modified and regionalized and integrated into shared translation memory. In this way, terms are defined in a standard way, so there is a standard translation framework, regardless of where it comes from. Karnig adds that the entire system from creation to translation to publishing to management is handled in discrete steps within a broad systems framework. So, for instance, if the content management system gets an upgrade, it doesn’t break the translation part of the process.

The whole goal of all of this work is to create a common HP look and feel across all of its global content and, of course, to reuse content whenever possible. Karnig says, “If you go to, all of the countries have a standard look and feel but are customized for a local market.” For a company as large as HP, the process of unifying content across its many sites is a constant challenge, but over time by carefully building a system, it has made great strides in building a unified global content repository with standard translation methodology.

Companies Featured in this Article:
Common Sense Advisory
Lionbridge Technologies
Tennant and Company
SDL International

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