Leverage Your Localization Budget as a Strategic Tool
As you refine your globalization budget for 2022, be sure to review the technical and messaging components of your plans. The technical element covers four areas: software for linguistic transformations, the middleware that connects those tools to source content and code repositories, the business systems that support operations and staffing, and what we’ll broadly term artificial intelligence, a relative newcomer to the team. The messaging part refers to how you discuss and position your work on localization or globalization. Both are critical to success of digital, user, or customer experience (DX-UX-CX) projects.
Technology – Lots of Moving Parts and Vulnerabilities
Start with the technology portion. Whether you lead a localization department at a company or government agency, or direct a language service provider, you’ll have to budget for, manage, integrate, maintain, evolve, and ultimately replace technology in all four areas that support localization or globalization activities. With all the attention given to machine learning, it’s easy to overlook “old” technology in favor of the bright shiny object that is AI today. Review your entire tech stack to determine its readiness for this globalization initiative.
Delivering an integrated customer experience wherever an organization operates means more than translating your website, setting up a few servers outside your borders, and offering extended hours for customer care (“Globalizing at Scale: Four Steps to Advance Faster”). It involves reviewing an array of business requirements that begin with the age-old IT mandates of reliability, availability, scalability, and security – or RAS2 for short.
The long-running migration to the cloud of core business systems and translation management addressed availability and scalability issues, but a conversation with IT directors will uncover the cloud’s shortcomings as well as identify other critical directives for tech stack attention – legality and security, among them, that can wreak havoc with your plans (“Evaluating the ‘-ities’ for Cloud Deployments”) .
Failure to address them can expose your systems to Nobelium, the perpetrator of the SolarWinds attack that is back in the news. Consider the scope of security requirements and the accompanying demand for privacy – and learn enough about the buzzword bingo of security to recognize where your offering or service might fall short and where you need help:
- IT security. This multi-faceted issue ranges from the user interface through all functions to the back-end technologies and file management. Review your hosting partner and any internal systems for physical and logical security, continuous monitoring, auditability, and multi-tenancy. Your company may have its own guidelines that require data centers to support ISO 9000 quality management, comply with SSAE 18 for auditability, ensure PCI payment security, and comply with security controls such as the U.S. NIST 800-53. ISO/IEC 27001 provides a framework for legal, physical, and technical control that defines your security policy. In recent months we’ve seen dedicated cyber-attacks perpetrated on LSPs that have resulted in significant data loss and disruption to their processes.
- Privacy. Remember that it’s not just your data security, but security for your customers and clients, too. The European Union’s GDPR regulates data protection and privacy within Europe and transfer of personal data beyond. Depending on your industry or location, you may also need to adhere to U.S. HIPAA regulations for health care or compliance with any national or regional directives on security and privacy, such as China’s Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL) or California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA). As a best practice, plan for the most restrictive privacy regulations you might encounter.
Who’s affected? Localization teams that haven’t assessed and validated their security profile open themselves up not only to potential breaches but to having their plans blocked until they do. LSPs or TMS vendors that can’t demonstrate enterprise-quality security will find themselves barred from the opportunity or add months to negotiations as their prospect analyzes possible exposures.
Messaging – Engineering a Different Conversation
Turning to the messaging side, in 2022 the rhetorical part of your planning will likely present as big a challenge as the technical one. For the longest time, discussion has centered on the cost per word of translation, quality scores, and turnaround times. Enter a new requirement that sees translation as integral to meeting the customer satisfaction (CSAT), engagement, retention, and upselling goals as companies globalize digital experience initiatives. Given that many DX/UX/CX projects grew organically, that means localization teams, LSPs, and TMS vendors have to roll up their sleeves, identify, and potentially help application owners fix shaky customer journeys. The most pernicious are ones with critical problems that may go unrecognized in the source where a diversity of options can conceal them. In this new role they will:
- Identify problems at the source. As digital transformation plays out across the market, enterprises and government agencies expose burgeoning amounts of content as part of the user experience. In the process, they invariably find and have to fix flaws in content, journey maps, links, hand-offs, and supporting software like content management and help desks. Their past experiences pulling and pushing content out of source repositories will qualify localization experts in recognizing software-breaking behaviors and patterns.
- Extend the experience in translation. When organizations begin transforming home-language experiences for global or domestic multicultural audiences, they lay bare major gaps in their multilingual journey maps where content is still in the source language, badly translated, missing, or broken (“Can’t Read, Won’t Buy – B2C”). They also expose problems with the supporting software – and that’s where localization teams and LSPs get involved.
The Takeaway: Meeting enterprise needs delivers a compelling message
In-house localization experts, LSPs, and TMS vendors bring a lot of experience, talents, and tools to information flow analysis, comprising a powerful library of linguistic services. Many enterprises and government agencies might not yet realize they need these offerings. However, anyone still chanting the litany of price, quality, and turnaround times will miss the opportunity to assist in working up and down the content supply chain and optimizing it for multilingual use while helping to case-harden the source-language versions. Their new marketing mantra will incorporate RAS2, global content processing as a service, and enterprise-wide business process globalization for sustainable global growth.
About the Author
Chief Research Officer
Focuses on market trends, business models, and business strategy
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