This article originally appeared in the March 2013 issue of CUSTOMER Magazine.
As companies go global, they are faced with new content challenges. How should a brand interact with foreign audiences who are using their services, or want to, but don't speak English? Companies have tried to address the challenge by using technology that can help manage their global presence as they expand into foreign markets.
Yet the technology isn’t foolproof. The corporate landscape is littered with examples of corporations that made major faux pas in communicating to their international audience: HP faced challenges in China by not providing an offering specific to the Chinese language and culture. McDonald’s botched its recent billboard ad aimed at Hmong populations, and Parker Pen famously translated an ad for one of its pens into Spanish resulting in an ad for a pen that "won't leak or make you pregnant!"
Traditionally there hasn’t been a one-size-fits-all solution. While machine translation offers promise in helping companies to communicate with an international audience, it lacks cultural nuance on its own. Professional translation, the more established option, is costly and time-consuming given the amount of content that companies must translate in the new Web 2.0 environment.
Scaling Global Customer Support and Marketing
Alfresco, a content management company which enables companies to share, organize and protect their content, faced a large-scale translation and localization challenge in supporting nearly 8 million users in more than 180 countries. Customers leverage Alfresco technology to manage more than 3 billion files worldwide, on the go and in the office.
To provide its software to customers around the world and in many languages, Alfresco needed a way to manage its localized websites and to synchronize its marketing messages — and the company needed the process to be simple, scalable and cost-effective. With a quickly expanding footprint, Alfresco needed a solution that could also continue to carry its web content into new countries (and new languages) while maintaining synchronization with central corporate messages.
To achieve these goals, Alfresco embarked on a worldwide website localization project. One of the key strategies in this effort was the translation and localization of content. Alfresco wanted to start by translating its content into six languages, with the option of more as it expanded into new markets.
Elaborate International Workflow Needs
At first it seemed the only options were physically e-mailing around files, and sending them to professional translators for translation. Yet Alfresco’s rapidly evolving translation workflow produced a continuous stream of content with which translation services had to keep pace. Alfresco content changed 50 to 100 times a month, and the company needed a solution that could keep pace with this translation workflow.
What’s more, with each new language Alfresco added, its content doubled. The company couldn’t afford to wait the length of time it took to manually pass around documents and keep track of any changes by hand. By the time the translated content arrived, it was already outdated.
Pure machine translation wouldn't work either. Alfresco needed highly accurate translations that could adapt to the specifics of local languages and their unique nuances. It was extremely important to ensure that all contingents were saying the same things in the same ways, despite varying languages. This included ensuring that idioms and metaphors were translated appropriately so that they did not lose their meaning in the translation.
To solve these issues, Alfresco selected Lingotek – Inside Drupal with the Collaborative Translation Platform, and as a result, the days of e-mailing files for translations are long gone. With Lingotek – Inside Drupal, all of the translations are handled inside Drupal, and Alfresco is provided with real-time statistics as to where content is in the translation process. Alfresco has leveraged Lingotek to launch its global websites, sync content and get real-time statistics of where the translations are in the process. This automated workflow frees Alfresco from manually managing the translation of content, and in a sense, removes the middleman in the translation process.
Lingotek’s collaborative translation platform continuously and automatically translates Alfresco’s global content, in real time. Alfresco, already a Drupal user, benefited from the fact that Lingotek’s translation platform is embedded inside Drupal. The company was able to localize its content for each of its global markets without leaving the Drupal website.
Lingotek enables Alfresco to take advantage of several possible workflows: automatic machine translation, community (customer- or employee-based) translation and professional translation. Together, these workflows enable seamless multilingual publishing, automatically and in real time.
What’s more, Lingotek’s automation kicks off translation workflow whenever Alfresco’s corporate website changes. This ensures that Alfresco’s global sites are always synchronized, even though many incremental changes to content take place daily. As a result, all the translation is fully scaleable.
By harnessing Lingotek – Inside Drupal, Alfresco translated its websites in record time. The ability to initiate the translation inside the content management system was key to making this happen, and the ability to continuously translate was a major factor in Alfresco using the Lingotek solution. Alfresco is able to quickly adapt content to new languages to easily enter new markets and new countries.
Rob Vandenberg is president and CEO of Lingotek|The Translation Network (www.lingotek.com).
Benefits Alfresco has experienced using Lingotek
* minutes, instead of weeks or months, to accurately translate content for new countries;
* automated translation workflow that kicks off whenever Alfresco’s corporate website changes, ensuring satellite”websites are always synchronized;
* seamless multilingual publishing, automatically and in real time;
* highly accurate translations adapted to local languages and their unique nuances; and
* the ability to easily add new countries and languages from within the same workflow.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi