Nigel Watson speaks to ITM about SDL’s position as a leader in global customer experience and translation and provides readers with his top translation tips.
Introduce us to the company and what makes SDL a leader in global customer experience and translation?
Exceptional customer experiences means delivering the right information, in the right context, at the right time to customers. Organisations are faced with the increased challenge of meeting growing consumer expectations and delivering a superior, relevant experience.
The explosion of digital content and channels, and the way people gain knowledge and make decisions is forcing companies to change significantly and language is increasingly being recognised in importance throughout the customer experience journey.
With over two decades in the localisation and customer experience space, SDL supports businesses by helping them to meet customers’ needs and deliver a relevant product and brand experience. It’s by using our technology and services that enable companies to deliver great experiences across channels, devices and languages.
Focussing on our language solutions, SDL’s language platforms provide the first-class technology and services needed to deliver local language content across every step of the customer journey. It has been key to our success that we understand our customers and their markets. At SDL, we have specific industry expertise across our 1000 strong team of translators and linguists, making us consistent and credible when localising for these industries and means we are providing great quality in our translation technology and services. Our industry expertise spans manufacturing, ecommerce, IT/Software, travel &hospitality, finance, government, even Life Sciences.
To this end, SDL has put in place, at all levels of the organisation, the people and technologies that allow us as a company to ensure we know our customers’ needs and challenges. This encompasses account management; dedicated teams working in industry verticals; use of an external annual customer survey; sponsoring and attendance at industry conferences / customer success events; use of SDL’s own technologies e.g. Customer Journey Analytics to understand what the market thinks.
It is for these reasons that 79 of the top 100 global companies trust SDL to help them create authentic customer experiences in any language.
Why is an effective translation solution essential to businesses looking to grow internationally?
Regardless of your business, success on an international level requires you to engage prospects and customers in the right language at the right time.
Research conducted by the Common Sense Advisory, shows that 20 languages are required to reach 80% of the global online population. I suppose it’s no surprise that when given the choice, consumers today will choose products and services from companies who speak in their language and abandon those who don’t.
However, for most companies, language is an afterthought. Recent research from the Economist Intelligence Unit shows us that 64% of executives say language barriers make it difficult to gain a competitive foothold in international markets. Further to that, 49% say that a language barrier has stood in the way of a major international business deal.
So, it’s safe to say localisation and communicating in a consistent voice are important topics for all companies aiming to expand beyond their current domestic market. Regardless of country or language, customers require product or service information to be delivered in the right language, across many channels, so that their purchase decision is well informed and contains a level of purchase reassurance.
Without relevant and localised communication, as the research shows, expansion into new markets could be an uphill struggle for growing businesses.
Why should companies choose to work with SDL as a Language Service Provider – how much experience does SDL have, which new technologies are you making use of?
With over two decades of expertise, over 1000 in-house, in-country translators and unequalled technology and coverage for over 200 languages, SDL helps you connect with customers in their native language and forge relevant brand experiences. Our mission is to enable businesses of any size to engage with their customers – in the language, the media and at the moment they choose.
It’s why, as we mentioned previously, 79 of the top 100 global companies trust SDL to support them in their customer experience and localisation journey.
At SDL, we pride ourselves on our network and infrastructure of in-house, in-country, industry trained translators and linguists providing our translation services. This means more control in translation quality, with native speakers who provide a higher level of linguistic expertise in their own native languages. Keeping translation in-house also provides us with a full audit trail and the ability to strictly monitor quality and ensure that the linguists assigned to a project have the relevant experience and industry expertise to provide the best quality translations.
As well as this, as we continue helping businesses drive growth, manage their brands and increase global revenues, SDL is focused on providing innovative solutions for managing language and global customer experience requirements.
Some key up-and-coming highlights include:
XMT: SDL’s next generation Machine Translation (MT) offers higher-quality translation through Language Learning with advanced algorithms and enhanced post-editing. In other words, the MT engine learns and improves during the translation process. With SDL’s next generation MT engines, we can see up to a 63% improvement in social and informal language translation.
Customer Journey Analytics: SDL Customer Journey Analytics provides business decision makers with market knowledge to enable them to raise awareness, convert shoppers into customers and customers into advocates. SDL’s SaaS-based social insight technology paired with professional services provides a holistic, actionable, fully contextual view of the customer. SDL is able to accurately extract topics and themes that due to data volume are unrealistic for human analysis.
SDL Translation Management Systems – Both SDL WorldServer and SDL TMS are leading technologies in the translation management space. Each product has supported localisation workflows and linguistic functionality for over a decade. The fact that both SDL translation management systems are ISO 27001 certified is particularly important for companies that deal with personally identifiable information and/or confidential intellectual property.
Tell us more about SDL Language Cloud
The concept of SDL Language Cloud and Managed Translation is very simple: Provide companies with easy access to translation options for a variety of content needs, summarised in a simple, easy-to-use dashboard. With access to multiple translation options, companies can quickly achieve the required quality for any type of multilingual communication, at the right cost.
I think the great thing about SDL Language Cloud Managed Translation is access to first-class translation technology as well as in-house, in-country, industry trained translation services; the benefit of which we highlighted earlier – the importance this provides in controlling translation quality.
As well as the assurance of great quality translation, in a simple platform, there are no upfront costs or investment in using SDL’s Language Cloud Managed Translation, the solution offers a transparent, fixed price per word per language for each translation type (machine translation, post-edited translation or professional translation) and the platform is free to access.
I think what’s also important, that our current Language Cloud customer base really appreciate, is the access to full spectrum of translation options: human, machine and specialist machine translation, allowing greater flexibility on pricing and the quantity of content that can be translated. It means that companies of any size – regardless of the scale of their translation needs – can access SDL’s first-class translation technology & services without a capital investment.
What are your top translation tips for our readers?
1. Categorise your content
Categorising your content and its value to the business is a good way of ensuring you can translate all of your content within budget and time constraints. Choose the best translation method for your content based on its value within the customer journey. Take into consideration its worth to customers, its shelf life, how it is used and even the brand impact.
2. Consider all channels
Have you considered how you will manage translating content over more than just traditional channels? E.g. SEO, Mobile and Video. There is more than just quality translation to consider here: word length – words contracting/expanding and choosing appropriate, relevant search engines for different international markets are just some of the areas to consider here.
3. Standardise your terminology
Managing terminology supports every part of the business that uses a non-native language, as well as all those who use corporate language as part of their work. By defining a concept and assigning one allowed term per language to it, a company can make sure that everybody involved in the communication process is clear and consistent – the beginning of any good translation strategy.
4. Incorporate different translation methods into your strategy
The more you utilise the different translation options (human, machine, post-editing), the more content you can affordably translate at a suitable service level. Many organisations consider only one translation option (human) but access to multiple levels of human translation and real-time machine translation will satisfy a range of quality needs – at affordable prices.
5. Invest in an LSP (Language Service Provider)
Delivering a culturally relevant and personalised experience to international customers relies on your ability to speak their language. You need a reliable service provider who has the scalability and experience to support your industry and the types of content you’re producing. SDL has been working in the localisation space for over 20 year with over 1,500 enterprise customers and 400 partners who rely on us every day. With a global infrastructure of 70 offices in 38 countries, as well as 1000+ team of native translators and linguists, we help businesses connect with their customers in the right language, at the right time.
About Nigel Watson
With over 18 years of experience in the localisation industry, Nigel leads a consulting team advising and supporting customers with their strategies for international expansion. Nigel’s extensive knowledge in latest localisation software, services, processes and integration has been instrumental in choosing the most effective language solutions for our customers.