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Challenges in Managing Translators: Direct or Through an LSP?

A tale of customer relationship management in the digital age

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There’s no doubt about it — the efficient harnessing of new technology is key to forging ahead in the modern digital marketplace. And of course, customer relationship management (or CRM, as it’s commonly known) is no exception to the rule. In recent years, we’ve seen how the ability to actively engage with customers in their native language can make or break a company’s success in overseas.

This is where translation and localization strategies have an important role to play. However, if the language industry is to benefit from the shift from brick-and-mortar businesses to e-commerce, then their respective stakeholders must also have the ability and know-how to keep the customer experience journey front and center.

‘Come inside and lend a hand’

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But what exactly does that mean for language services providers? Well, simply put, it involves a shift in mindset. It means taking a more hands-on approach to client relationships rather than acting as little more than an external service provider. In other words, it’s about the integration of language services into internal translation and localization workflows, by making optimal use of cloud services and providing clients with an insight into the inner working of our industry.

For years, the work of translators and other key members of the language industry has been greatly undervalued, and there’s still a long way to go. But one thing has changed, and that’s the speed at which international commerce operates. These days, without a trusty team of translators on board, companies are unlikely to be able to keep up with global product releases, seasonal trends, and consumer demand.

From resources to teammates; a paradigm shift

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Want to know the true key to success? Integration. Traditional translation workflows, which are often initiated during the later stages of development, just won’t cut it in this new digital age. Instead, translators must be brought in at an earlier stage of the development process through the use of more predictable, collaborative workflows. The implementation of a continuous translation workflow is perhaps of the best ways for a digital company to tackle this transition.

This process is what’s known as agile development and involves a so-called reshuffling of almost every process within a company. Although at first sight this may seem somewhat overwhelming, the agile manifesto has been successful for multinational companies such as Infobip. Semir Mehadzic, Product Manager at the company, argues that this working methodology switches the focus to end-users, feedback, teamwork, and automation.

The how involves, at least in most cases, the use of what’s known as a translation software solution. Now, you’re probably asking yourself how this differs from your age-old desktop CAT tool. Well, in a nutshell, these tech solutions facilitate a constant workflow, without having to order each separate batch via email from your language service provider of choice. This agile workflow has been proven to increase productivity and minimize workflow delays.

David Richardson, VP of Product at Lookout, a Beluga client, recently described us an extension of their team. He went on to mention how the team had benefited the company in a multitude of areas, from cost, time and resource planning to defining our corporate tone and style in local languages all the way to the roll-out of the final product.

And if that wasn’t enough it enables all relevant stakeholders to be kept (albeit indirectly) in the loop in terms of product release dates, overseas expansion decision, etc. Now, you may wonder how this can be of benefit to, let’s say, your language service provider. Well, for starters, it enables them (and their translators) to plan ahead, something which is not always a given in the translation industry. This enables specialized teams of linguists to be compiled ahead of time, style guides to be digested, and relevant research to be carried out.

Now of course, the requirements and expectations of the client can vary from one company to another. Let’s take the case of Last.fm, for them the Beluga team is all ears and eyes. According to Localization Lead, Laura Nolte, the team was perceived to be the perfect take-off and landing strip.

It’s pretty much a no-brainer in terms of proactivity too. The chances are those head scratching issues that you’re trying to resolve may be familiar to a language service provider, such as Beluga. For this reason especially, tapping into our expertise beyond the realms of mere translation can help you to work more efficiently and ultimately, prevent delays in your localization workflow. At the end of the day, it’s what you might call a give and take situation, welcoming your external partners as part of the team means they’re better positioned to improve processes and better understand customer needs.

You know what they say; a problem shared is a problem halved

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However, this can’t all be achieved using tech alone (although we’d be lost without it). In fact, as we mentioned earlier the only way to truly optimize the relationships you have with your customers is to actively involve your external partners in your project. For example, by keeping them up-to-date with the upcoming translation pipeline and setting up meetings between go-to-market experts and linguists, you stand a greater chance of boosting customer engagement.

“You know that feeling of being understood? That’s the feeling we’ve had since we met Beluga. Having the right partners on board means that you can concentrate on your core operations and gain the speed easily to win the game. We are confident to have found this partner in Beluga.” Jochen Leidig (COO, Muume AG)

As far as the translator is concerned, involving them in the workflow at an early stage can be hugely beneficial in terms of the success of your company’s overseas expansion. At Beluga, we advocate strongly for our linguists and the value of their cultural know-how. Our experience tells us that they’re far more than mere translators, but that they can also offer advice on the potential success of certain products in their home countries, and the adaptations that must be made in order to boost their sales potential. This, at least for us, all forms part of the customer relationship management service we offer.

The days of treating translators as commodities are long gone — or at least they are if you want to succeed in the global marketplace. At Beluga, we’re well versed in the business of fast-growing companies, and the importance of blending into to your workflow.

That said, we understand that providing us full access to your business may seem a little daunting at first. However, if you want your products and services to truly shine on the global stage, then trust us, it’s a step in the right direction. Want more information on how we like to do things? Then get in touch with us today.

About us

Beluga helps fast-moving companies to translate their digital contents. With more than a decade of experience, professional linguists in all major markets and the latest translation technology at use, Beluga is a stable partner of many of the most thriving enterprises in the technology sector. The business goal: To help fast-growing companies offer their international audiences an excellent and engaging user experience.