XTM Insights

What are the key benefits of centralizing all your language assets?

What are the key benefits of centralizing all your language assets?
What are the key benefits of centralizing all your language assets?

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Reaching global audiences requires localizing a large amount of content, more often than not in a very short amount of time in order to maintain a competitive advantage. Such short turnaround times can lead to different challenges, especially if your localization program’s structure uses a multi-supplier approach and your language assets are not centralized. Centralizing your language assets is a step forward in enhancing your localization efficiency, but what are the benefits of transitioning to a centralized approach?

How does centralizing all my language assets affect my brand image?

A consistent brand message is becoming an increasingly useful tool for businesses. According to Gartner, sales reps now only account for around 5% of the customers’ business-to-business buying journey, so your content is crucial in convincing potential customers to investigate further. In fact, consistency can contribute to customers identifying a brand as authentic and building a sense of trust, which is so highly valued that it can lead to a 33% increase in revenue.

Having a centralized location for all your language assets will ensure they can be leveraged by all linguists, ensuring a consistent tone of voice regardless of the project they are working on. By using separate translation memories (TMs) for different content types, you can adapt your tone of voice to each target audience while still maintaining the essence of your brand tone and terminology. By centralizing your language assets onto one platform, a single source of truth is created, helping companies ensure that all linguists are using the most up-to-date terminology in all their projects. This means there is reduced potential for human error, since localization managers no longer need to inform dozens of different teams individually when there is a change in terminology, something which they would have had to do in a decentralized system.

The implementation of separate TMs also gives companies the ability to cross-leverage previous localization projects by using more than one TM for a particular project. This is a powerful tool, as it allows you to use translations from different departments which generate a lot of content, such as marketing, and use them for other departments, such as legal. So, if you’re translating a legal document, you can leverage translations and terminology from the marketing resources and then just make some small adjustments at the end to ensure it is appropriate for the context. Without cross-TM leverage, translations would need to be made from scratch, even if the translation is already stored in another department’s TM. This helps companies save a lot of time and maximize their language assets.

Grant Blackburn, Xpert at XTM International

Creating a centralized localization ecosystem gives you consistency of content, and ownership over your terminology as well as your time-to-market. This allows you to launch products quicker, be adaptable where needed and make changes at the drop of a hat.”

Grant Blackburn, Xpert at XTM International

Another way to maximize language assets is by applying penalty profiles to TM entries. A penalty profile is a configuration you can apply so that TM entries do not appear as 100% matches but instead as high-fuzzy matches (for example, if you’ve applied a 5% penalty to a certain TM, 100% matches will appear as 95% matches). This means that linguists can leverage existing translations without having to translate them from scratch, but that since they are no longer 100% matches, they will require some form of human review. Penalty profiles are particularly helpful when translating different locales from a single language or if you want to leverage certain content and terminology which might require tone change, e.g. from marketing to legal.

You can specify which TM takes precedence so there’s no cross contamination between translation memories. This means you can maximize the value of your translation assets without fear that different styles such as a more formal legalese will influence your lighter, more conversational, marketing text or that the technical language used in an instruction manual will appear on your website homepage. This way, content localization becomes more streamlined and efficient while harnessing human creativity when it’s needed most.

Just as multiple TMs allow you to adapt content to different departments, they also give you the ability to speak directly to different demographics such as B2B or B2C clients while maintaining a consistent, authentic tone of voice that your customers can trust and identify as yours. Using a centralized platform means that you have full ownership of all these language assets, so if you change translation vendors, you can still enjoy TM leverage that maximizes your previously translated content, a single source of truth populated with up-to-date terminology, fast query management and direct communication with project managers. In fact, with a vendor-agnostic TMS in place, you are no longer beholden to one vendor but have the ability to choose the most appropriate one freely, allowing you to make decisions based on what your company needs rather than who owns your language assets.

Key Insight

Brand image is increasingly important as it builds trust with clients and establishes you as an authority in your field. Make sure every department has its own translation memory in place so that you leverage translated content to its maximum potential while ensuring that your tone is appropriate for the context and clients you are speaking to.

How will the use of connectors improve my localization process?

With a TMS, you can leverage out-of-the-box connectors for a wide range of systems. Connectors allow you to make your TMS and content tools communicate seamlessly, automating your translation processes and allowing your localization teams to create translation projects directly from their preferred content interface. 

The use of connectors removes the need to manually export all content, create projects, manage queries offline and manually import translations back into your content system. This results in a greater level of consistency, as all content is being managed in a single ecosystem and can also be leveraged in future projects. Using connectors can also lead to quicker turnaround times, as content for translation is automatically pushed to the TMS and then returned translated back to the platform, reducing repetitive, manual tasks while also minimizing the potential for human error.

It also removes pressure from localization managers, as they now have the ability to automatically create projects, allocate translation and review steps and publish the content in a seamless, single workflow. This frees up time so that individuals can focus on more productive and innovative tasks rather than carrying out manual, time-consuming ones or spending their time working on jobs which don’t add any value to the program, such as the previously mentioned manual import and export of files. Connectors ultimately drive efficiency across the whole program and allow localization teams to focus their time and efforts on the tasks which need it most.

With the translation process taking less time and with less errors to troubleshoot thanks to automation, localized content can be published more quickly. This streamlines product rollout, which is particularly important if you are consistently launching multiple products in several different markets. A localization manager in a multi-billion-dollar US company specializing in material handling explained the importance of a quick turnaround: “Time-to-market has become a huge thing and technology plays a key role in ensuring we’re able to deliver a timely, high-quality user experience.” It’s clear that a good user experience is linked to timely go-to-market times, which is why having good connectivity is key. A TMS with connectivity provides real tangible benefits to companies, allowing them to publish localized content to their global customers more quickly no matter where they are in the world, and, as a result, enhancing your brand’s image thanks to meeting customer expectations.

Key Insight

Automation is the key to unlocking your business’ true growth potential, as it moves your team away from manual, repetitive tasks and allows them to focus on areas where they can add more value. Connectors enable this automation and allow you to get your products and content to market faster and give you that competitive advantage that you need when entering new markets.

How can your team benefit from working on a single platform?

Having all your language assets and resources centralized on a single platform provides considerable benefits to your localization program. Firstly, it allows you to create a single source of truth—the thread which runs through every translation produced. This means teams are no longer restricted to working in silos but can instead work as a cohesive unit, collaborating in real time and leveraging existing translations so they can be more productive and focus on tailoring it to the content. XTM Xpert Grant Blackburn explains the importance of having a single source of truth:

Grant Blackburn, Xpert at XTM International

If a company has multiple websites on different content systems and relies on external suppliers, this overall decentralization can cause many issues down the line, ranging from an inconsistent brand voice to a lack of ownership of language assets. The use of a single localization platform solves these two issues by enabling everyone to use the same language assets and ensuring linguists are using the most up-to-date terminology. This makes the work of translators easier and makes localization more cost-efficient for companies. It’s a no-brainer.”

Grant Blackburn, Xpert at XTM International

Moving away from relying on and accommodating the needs of external vendors puts the power back into the company’s hands—by providing all suppliers without distinction with a technology and platform they can all use. This is known as vendor-agnostic technology and it’s a big step towards reducing inconsistency in tone and voice. 

A translation and terminology specialist from a global manufacturing company explains the importance of centralizing the localization process: “Previously, we had a multi-voice approach, so consistency was a real issue. Centralizing our localization operations and assets has allowed us to maintain a consistent message and brand voice.” The ability to create this single, consistent voice through centralized language assets is key for businesses and their brand as they establish themselves as an authority in new markets and build trust as customers grow to recognize this. Working on a single platform enables this to happen thanks to everyone using and working with the same language assets.

Key Insight

The level of control over your assets and deadlines will determine your ability to create a consistent brand voice. Therefore, you need to underpin your localization program with a technology that enables you to have full ownership of your language assets if you wish to maintain your brand image across all your global markets.

What are the benefits of aligning localization goals?

Working as a whole team toward a common goal gives every team member a broader understanding of what they’re aiming for and the localization department’s role in helping them achieve this goal. Without this bigger picture, some departments may not understand the importance of localization and be reluctant to financially invest in the process or spend time working on these tasks. With aligned localization goals at the forefront of everyone’s mind, team members will no longer be stuck between department heads going in different directions. Instead, everybody will be contributing to the same goals and this alignment is what will allow the localization program to flourish and be executed with maximum efficiency. 

This single focus can also remove friction when departments no longer feel like they’re wasting time on pointless tasks but instead understand why their involvement matters. Working toward an aligned goal gives each team member the freedom to work in the areas they are most skilled in rather than spending valuable time troubleshooting or performing tasks which are outside of their scope. For example, localization managers will be able to assign translation projects with just a few clicks, whereas marketing specialists do not have to worry about any aspect of the localization process other than ensuring that the translated content looks good in the user interface once it has been completed. To enable this, the right technology is needed, and a language technologies manager at a global fashion company highlights the tangible results of this process: “The implementation of a Translation Management System and the new opportunities it has afforded us has driven a transformation in our team and expanded the scope of activities we do. We’re no longer just receivers of translation requests, but rather drivers of change within the business.”

This showcases how a TMS allows companies to move from being task-focused to lifting their eyes and working with a broader vision with a strategy in place. As everyone shifts their attention to this strategy’s common goals, communication between teams also improves, and they are now able to access resources more easily and communicate with other team members more quickly and efficiently without any friction or miscommunication among them.

Key Insight

Breaking localization actors out from their department silos and centralizing the whole localization process in a single ecosystem allows teams to work together and communicate more easily, shifting their focus from small, disparate tasks to single, aligned goals.

In a noisy, digital world, it is increasingly important for customers to both recognize and trust your voice. This is particularly true when you consider that brand trust is a key factor in buying decisions and can translate to a real increase in revenue. Adopting a TMS isn’t just revolutionary to the structure of your localization teams—its centralized structure allows everyone involved in the localization process to leverage the same language assets, a key step in maintaining your brand message, personality and image across all global markets. This key benefit is what will allow your brand to be recognizable, no matter in what language, and this would not be possible without centralizing all your language assets.

Aleix Gwilliam

AuthorAleix Gwilliam