A cost benefit analysis of using a single, centralized enterprise wide Translation Management System
A cost benefit analysis of using a single, centralized enterprise wide Translation Management System illustration

Many corporations can realize significant savings in their overall translation budget by centralizing content and workflows under one solution. Additional benefits include increasing the overall focus of brand messaging and accelerating time to market for localized products.

Even assuming the processes and features of different localization solutions are the same, companies who maintain multiple localization systems nevertheless bear a variety of extra costs. A large portion of the direct cost savings of centralization come from the elimination of duplicate efforts required to maintain separate systems, such as:

  • The cost of paying to translate the same source content multiple times, at least once in each separate system. Centralization enables content to be translated once and effectively reused globally.
  • The cost of maintaining multiple translation memory and terminology databases, much of which will be redundant and represent duplicated effort. Again, centralization saves time and effort in keeping these vital resources clean and up to date.
  • The cost of redundant resource management in each system. Not only is there the cost of keeping extra copies of resource profiles and rate cards etc. up to date, but by failing to centralize localization a company risks “leaving money on the table” by foregoing real multivendor volume discounts or related cost reductions that can be achieved through effective resource management.
  • The cost of training separate teams on different systems and processes or, even worse, multiplying the cost of training staff to work in more than one system. Centralization reduces the costs associated with training and errors due to added complexity and increases quality and resiliency by having everyone trained up on the same standard quality processes.

An important but less obvious cost is the dilution of the brand that comes from having content translated inconsistently among independent localization systems. By making customer interactions less focused and effective, the enterprise bears this cost in the form of reduced sales and penetration of regional markets. Centralization of the localization system enables better control and more consistent delivery of the company’s brand message.

Enterprises can try to alleviate the types of costs described above by increasing the interoperability among their separate systems, but these efforts often fail compared to centralization for two reasons:

  1. Companies can try to increase the consistency of their localized content by synchronizing the translation memories and terminology between separate systems, but the potential savings are usually eaten up by the extra work put in by staff exporting data, sharing content and importing data. This extra synchronization work also slows time to market by delaying translation projects in order to use up to date resources.
  2. Companies can develop custom connectors to make different systems more interoperable, assuming that APIs exist and proprietary formats do not inhibit sharing. But of course this work entails the added cost of development and maintenance of niche software, not to mention the opportunity cost of company resources being spent on localization tools rather than newer or better products.

Centralization of localization under one solution that is scalable and flexible enough to support the entire corporation enables companies to reap all the benefits of interoperability without the additional costs.

Lastly there is the obvious, bottom-line cost of licensing, supporting and upgrading the different localization solutions. Centralizing on just one solution will almost certainly be less expensive than paying for multiple systems. It also eliminates the hassle of different release and upgrade schedules as well as the risk of diverging feature sets over time. Moreover, thanks to the various efficiencies to be gained from centralization, as described above, it is likely companies will not need to pay for as many licenses or “seats” for their solution.