Giulia Tarditi presented her talk Scrappy Makes Perfect – Innovative ways to repurpose your localization technology to drive profitability elsewhere in the business at XTM Live 2023, showcasing the different, innovative, and unexpected ways in which a translation management system can help drive growth in businesses.
We sat down with Giulia (Qualtrics’ Head of Global Experience) to find out a bit more about how localization technology deployed in a smart way can help companies grow and what’s in store for the industry in the coming years.
Giulia, what is the main overarching benefit of deploying localization technology at Qualtrics?
Being a SaaS company, enablement is key. One of the main areas of focus is making sure that once you sign up for a deal, you’re able to make the most of Qualtrics. Qualtrics is quite a complex ecosystem, so being able to go through enablement material and support content in your language is paramount. This is where language models can help working on cross-linguistic localization.
What pain points are your customers facing that can be solved or eased through the deployment of advanced language technology?
At Qualtrics, we focus on three different personas in the localization sphere. First, from a product perspective, people who create programs and surveys need to localize them for maximum effectiveness, and that requires the right localization technology. Second, we have customers who consume dashboards to extract data. Let’s say, for example, that you have a big restaurant chain that has stores globally, and you want each of your store managers to come in every day and check customer experience KPIs for their local store. They need to be able to do that in their native language. And lastly, we have the survey-taker level. If you are a fashion brand and want to be able to find out how your customers like your latest range of luxury bags, this needs to be done in their native language to get the most accurate results. Language is a layer of experience, and communicating in your customers’ native language definitely impacts their brand perception.
What would be the consequences of doing so in their non-native language?
If you don’t ask people in their native language, you’re going to receive flawed data, and you won’t be able to use it to make big decisions. And this would be in regard to the structured-data component of Qualtrics. But we also have products for unstructured data, which would be the one extracted from your social content and sentiment analysis—this needs to be in every one of your market’s languages. Having large language models available to localize enables you to work faster and better in cross-linguistic localization, and therefore obtain reliable data, which can then be used in a reliable manner.
We also see a lot of companies that omit the use of a TMS in favor of just using MT, either to cut costs or because they don’t see a need for it. What are your thoughts on this approach? And what would you say about this approach?
Every program is unique, and it’s hard to say without really understanding their needs, pain points, and content touchpoints overall, but my gut feeling would be that they’ve never tried one. It’s also perhaps a technological-maturity issue. If you’re at a very early stage of maturity from a localization point of view, you can perhaps get away with not using one, and that could be the reason. Another reason could be that its benefits have not been properly conveyed internally. To get approval to purchase a TMS, you need to be able to answer questions from your decision-makers such as “What’s the return on investment?” If you are not able to answer that question in a straightforward, concrete manner, it’s a pretty hard sell. But, for me, having a TMS is a non-negotiable aspect of localization, and having a TMS will allow you to bridge more gaps than you could imagine.
Investment in localization technology is a challenge for many companies, whether that’s because of budget or because their decision-makers do not see a clear ROI. How do you make them change their perception of localization from a cost to a business driver?
They’re not going to change their minds unless you show them that the proof is in the pudding, and there are a couple of different ways you can serve that pudding, depending on how many pain points you are happy to go through and how much leeway you think you have in a company. One way is by showing what happens when you pull the localization plug.
Let’s say you have an email marketing campaign. Split the audience into two. One part of them will receive a localized campaign, and the other will receive the same but without fully localizing it. Showcase to your decision-makers what happens and how the pipelines of one campaign and the other grow over time. It’s also about understanding the KPIs, and every company has different localization KPIs. With access to the right data sources, you will be able to pull together the figures, compare the two versions, and clearly demonstrate the effects of each approach.
The demand for localized content has grown exponentially in the past few years. How are companies like Qualtrics coping with this increased demand, and what do you expect to see in the coming years?
I wish I had a crystal ball! I think we’re just going to have to build and prepare for agility and flexibility because we just don’t know what’s around the corner. I always tell people who are scared about AI power tools to look at the stats. Jobs haven’t disappeared. Humans have not stopped translating content. We haven’t translated any less as a result of the emergence of large language models. I think the demand is going to keep growing, but we don’t know by how much. It also depends on what we mean by growth, so we’re going to have to be open minded as to what growth means, and we’re going to have to try and adapt to that. For that reason, keeping things really agile and flexible is really important right now.