The Struggle is Real: Localization and Translation at Gilbane

Nov 30, 2016


Localization is on the minds of every global enterprise. In fact, according to a new study from SDL and Forrester Research, 68% of companies are running 10 or more sites. And 70% of enterprises support five or more languages. SDL’s VP of Technology Solutions, Alberto Andrade, talked to Gilbane Digital Content Conference’s audiences about the results of the study and the struggles that these companies face.  

Most companies, according to Andrade, are doing a good job of translating marketing and product focused content. In other words, enterprises are focusing their energy on translating the content that helps them drive awareness. Over 50% are not localizing content types that support mid-funnel and post-purchase activities. So, for instance, pricing info, videos, and training content are often left out of the process.

The research also revealed that 40% of companies are translating content themselves. About two-thirds are embracing machine translation, and still more have simply dispersed website ownership. But this kind of fragmentation is creating problems for global businesses. Andrade also points out that only about 29% of companies can fully automate the process. The biggest challenges to achieving successful localization that respondents pointed to were:

  • Lack of standardization (35%)
  • Lack of understanding global needs (31%)

With a topic as big in scope, and as important to the experience as proper translation and localization, how do you begin to address these issues? According to Andrade, you need a Global Content Operating Model, where “a centralized team handles baseline operation for all websites such as technology selection, vendor management, security, website administration, and language translation.” Local teams would still have some control over administering the experience, but the process would become generally less siloed and fragmented. But this isn’t the norm just yet.

Less than 20% of enterprises have a Global Content Operating Model, but according to Andrade 48% are moving toward it in the next two years. Andrade and SDL have some recommendations based on their research for those companies:

  • Standardize and centralize your web and content tools
  • Ensure a global content strategy before localizing
  • Plan flexible content-ops governance
  • Embrace a portfolio of localization solutions
  • Standardize the integration to streamline localization processes
  • Iterate toward simplicity but recognize you may never get there