Global Language & Translation

Preparing for Global Service Expansion

‘Global governance with local execution’ is the philosophy followed by a large number of organizations looking to expand their service operations across the globe. In fact, a recent The Service Council (TSC) research survey revealed that nearly 9 out of 10 enterprise-level organizations operate service in more than one geography, and across all revenue classes, nearly three out of four organizations are looking to further expand their global service presence. This is either done by entering new geographies or by delivering new service offerings in supported geographies.

This desire to expand is tied to two primary factors:

  • Filling existing or future coverage gaps and increasing revenue
  • Gaining a greater level of control on the end customer experience, especially in areas where service has traditionally been delivered by partners or third-parties

 

FIGURE: Reasons for Global Expansion

Source: Global Service Expansion Research
The Service Council, Q1 2014

In expanding, organizations are quite aware that a ‘one size fits all’ approach will not suffice as what works in North America doesn’t always work in China. Therefore, there needs to be a level of execution at the local level that can translate a global service vision into a series of local service actions and strategies. Yet, a pure multi-national approach to service can be costly and also prevents the sharing of best practices and strategies that can be relied upon globally. Therefore, most successful organizations look to balance global centers of excellence and shared services with local responsibility for business execution.

In our research on global service expansion, we asked survey respondents for their comments on the first steps that need to be taken when expanding globally. The following word cloud reflects the most common answers filled in:

The words that stand out:

  • Understand
  • Customer
  • Local Market/Culture
  • Business Case

As in the case of a new product expansion it is vital to build a business case to support the introduction of service into a new market. But before the numbers can truly be run, it is necessary to learn about the local business environment and understand customer expectations and perceptions about service. For the purpose of organization, it can be helpful to categorize perceptions and preference into the following categories: (Note: these categories are not a TSC secret but have been developed by Ron Kaufman, best-selling author and founder of UP! Your Service. They reflect his BIG PICTURE categories, areas where organizations can differentiate and deliver value to customers. I am using the categories for a slightly different purpose.)

  • Primary Product – what do you sell? (Product/service)
  • Delivery Systems – how is it delivered? (Field, contact center, in-store)
  • Service Mindset – who is delivering it? (Interactions with people)
  • Ongoing Relationship – will it be delivered again?

Most of the exploration around service preferences will yield results in the first two categories, for instance:

  1. What is the service product?
  2. Are customers willing to pay for service?
  3. Are we legally allowed to charge for service?
  4. How do customers schedule and receive service?
  5. On what channels do they expect service delivery?
  6. On what channels do they prefer service information?
  7. What are customer expectations regarding speed of service?
    1. How are those expectations changing?
  8. In what language(s) is service expected?
    1. Is this consistent across service channels?

However, it is essential to think about areas in categories 3 and 4 and how customer perceptions regarding softer areas such as the service mindset and the service relationship can enable the construction of a differentiated service strategy.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when exploring global service expansion. Yet a mis-read of customer expectations can lead to a drastically undercooked service plan. Recently, I shared some findings from our research around global service expansion on an webinar entitled Building a Consistent Global Customer Service Model in a Multi-Lingual, Multi-Channel Universe. My session focused on sharing data and best practices on how organizations can develop a global service model that accounts for rapidly evolving customer expectations especially around the channels, the format, and the language of service delivery. If interested in listening in, please click here.

How are you navigating a global customer base? Do send in your comments and questions.

Global Training and Development Trends [Industry Report]

We live in a knowledge economy where a skilled workforce and educated audience are key components to enterprise-wide success. A globally dispersed workforce doesn’t just add logistical challenges to training efforts, it also adds a layer of complexity to the technologies promising to reduce the difficulties faced by learning organizations.

So how are organizations evolving their learning strategies and practices to meet growing global development needs? What technologies have been  embraced by learning leaders and audiences, and what are the greatest challenges to success? Continue reading »

The Language Services Behind our Global Economy

Language services is a largely unsung industry – many people have never heard of it. Yet it’s a $34.8 billion industry, according to Common Sense Advisory, and growing. In a recent special feature, Success in any Language,” Fortune Magazine provides an in-depth look at language service providers and their critical translation and interpretation services working in the background of today’s global economy.

Fortune starts out by highlighting the need for engaging consumers in their own language. Considering that nine percent of consumers in the U.S. don’t speak English and that consumers outside the U.S. overwhelmingly prefer their local language, there’s strong motivation for businesses to utilize translation and localization services. Beyond boosting credibility, relevance, and brand integrity, communicating to consumers can increase revenue; Fortune 500 companies with foreign-language websites were 50% more likely to report increased revenue when they increased their translation budgets. Continue reading »

Sochi 2014 Olympics Unite Languages

Every two years the Olympics occur and the world is exposed to different cultures, traditions, and languages. As athletes from all nations compete on a global stage, a sense of unity occurs for both individual achievements and countries as a whole.

At each Olympic games, different countries languages, and dialects are represented. This brings up an interesting concept of language dialects contrasting. Athletes representing the countries of Spain and Mexico will be able to converse in their native tongue, but may not understand key words or phrases of the Spanish dialect they speak. Continue reading »

How Are Organizations Investing in Training and Development in 2014?

We live in a knowledge economy where a skilled workforce and educated audience are key components to enterprise-wide success. As corporate training and development needs grow globally, how is the industry evolving learning strategies and practices? Continue reading »

Managing the Global Content Challenge with Automated Translation

The pressure to translate both your company and product information has grown exponentially over the past few decades. With more and more content channels available, your global customers expect to interact with and learn about your business in their native tongue.

But professional human translation can be time consuming and expensive. Fortunately, automated translation can help companies and business stakeholders translate more of their content, at lower cost. Two unique types of automated translation are available to help companies tackle the translation challenge. Continue reading »

The Many Flavors of Machine Translation

In today’s global business environment, consumers anticipate that companies will interact with them in their native language for everything from customer support to product information. If your business is looking to translate material into different languages, you must consider the amount of content that’s needed to meet consumer expectations and then multiply that by the number of languages you plan on providing. Your budget and timeframe will dictate how much content you’ll be able to translate. Luckily, automated translation is designed to make translation projects more reasonable when it comes to cost and turnaround time. There are several different types of automated translation, with machine translation (MT) being one of them. MT is the use of computer software and applications to translate text from one language to another. Usually, MT is used by language service providers (LSPs) as just one component of a whole translation process. To ensure the highest quality translation, the MT engine is customized by expert linguists who then post-edit the raw machine output to achieve the desired results. Continue reading »

The Vast Potential of Augmented Reality

Lately, augmented reality is stirring up quite a buzz in the world of technology, with the excitement growing around Google Glass and other technologies that are expected to change the way we live. Despite all the hype, it seems as though many people are still unsure about what exactly augmented reality is and how it works. Continue reading »

The Importance of Localization Engineering

The role of localization engineering and whether it is necessary is often misunderstood when it comes to translation and localization projects. Many are under the impression that localization engineering is unnecessary in the context of a software localization project. In addition, a common question is, “My product has already been engineered, so why do I also need localization engineering?” and it’s understandable to ask this. For others, the term “localization engineering” conjures expectations based on standard software engineering. With this blog, I want to paint a clear picture of what exactly localization engineering is and how it is used, for those who may be unsure of its purpose and role, and to help you receive the maximum benefit from it. Continue reading »

Decoding Encoding

When we look at a document, what do we see? Text – and it comes in a variety of forms, such as letters, numbers, punctuation marks, and other symbols. A computer, on the other hand, does not see text when it looks at a document because it’s not human and can’t actually read. Instead, it sees the text as a series of ones and zeros called binary data. As a result, the characters that comprise text must be represented as numbers so that computers can handle them. Encoding is the process of converting text into a coded format, which consists of numbers, so that a computer is able to read and understand it. More complex languages with a greater number of characters require more numbers to denote them. In the industry, the term for these numbers is “code points.” Determining which languages are more complicated depends on the number of “bytes” that it takes to represent its full alphabet. A byte is simply a unit used to measure quantities of computer information, and it’s equal to eight bits. Now that you know some of the basics, let’s take a look at which languages are easy to encode and which ones are a bit trickier. Continue reading »