In our previous articles, we’ve unveiled the ins and outs of translating Excel files and the nuances of integrating content with Wezen in Adobe Experience Manager.
Today, we’re diving deep into a strategic pivot point: translation project management. Here’s a commonly held notion – translation project management is 20% planning and 80% execution. But what if we’ve got this ratio flipped? What if, for a streamlined execution of international deployments, it should be 80% planning and just 20% execution?
Translation Project Management is all About Planning
Consider this scenario: You are an e-commerce brand poised to foray into the French, Spanish, and Chinese digital landscapes concurrently. Your repertoire needs more than just translators. It demands subject matter experts, quality assurance specialists, and perhaps, localization maestros to guarantee cultural relevance. This entails synchronization among multiple stakeholders, each contributing distinct expertise, often spread across time zones. Plus, the challenges of aligning timelines, budgets, and ensuring consistent translations loom large.
Eventually, there is colossal data volumes and human networks to be managed at an international scale. Welcome to the world of translation project management, an arena crafted to fine-tune this elaborate process.
Now, is there a solution to make any international deployment successful?
We believe that what will make the difference is the execution of professional, well-executed Translation Project Management. And it all starts with a good plan:
- Project Planning: This pivotal phase shapes the entire translation project’s trajectory. Beyond mere objectives and scopes, it’s about foreseeing potential pitfalls. Questions such as “Who will be our audience in this region?”, “Do we introduce our complete product catalogue in every market?” become paramount.
- Budget Control: Financial prudence isn’t just about sticking to numbers. It’s about anticipating, monitoring, and ensuring the project seamlessly aligns with earmarked resources. Every Euro spent needs to be tracked and justified.
- Resource Allocation: It’s about precision—deciding where and when to allocate which resources (human, technological, financial). Do we harness only machine translation? Or blend the prowess of machines with human expertise for a holistic international rollout?
- Team Management: Beyond hiring the right talent, it’s about fostering synergies within teams. Providing them with a conducive collaborative environment is key to ensuring unified strides towards project goals.
- Quality Control: The essence of translation is authenticity. Rigorous reviews and checks are instrumental to ensure translated content not only aligns with linguistic standards but also resonates with the intended audience.
Interestingly, themes of budget control and resource allocation are often interwoven, especially when you’re strategizing global expansions.
10 Best Practices to Manage your Localization Projects for More Performance
We believe planning represents 80% of what makes international projects successful. Now, the last 20% are the most difficult and reside in your plan’s execution.
Here is a little bit of help, after testing various organizations on hundreds of successful international deployments.
From planning to execution, here is our detailed step-by-step workflow to bring structure to project management at an international level:
- Project Planning: Start with the end in mind. Outline clear objectives and milestones for the translation project. Using a Gantt chart or a similar tool can help visualize each phase, from the initiation to the execution and closing. Define every market in which you’ll go, and what are the requirements for each of them. You can plan how long it will take you to enter these markets correctly, when to enter a specific one and who will be working on which ones.
You can also ask experts what is the quality required for each market. Because maybe in the French market, customers will prefer visuals with little words. On the other side, Spanish people will prefer detailed product descriptions. This way, your strategy is well-defined, and you can focus on each next step.
- Budget Control: Overruns in translation projects are common, especially when the scope isn’t clear. You’ll need to be prepared to take out your bank card. Regularly monitor your budget against the actual spend. This part can be easier when you use software that gives you tools to monitor every aspect of your project. Additionally, it’s wise to allocate a contingency fund for unforeseen challenges, such as the need for specialized translators at short notice or an exceeding in your localization license.
- Resource Allocation: It’s not just about having the right number of translators. It’s about having the right translators for specific tasks. You should know all linguists are not equal: translators are specialized by “locale” (a term that takes into account not only the language but also the regional variations of the country) and by industry. And some will be great for editorial content, others with product copy, etc.
Finally, bare in mind translators usually are freelancers and face a high demand. This means they are prone to having a full calendar, and may take some time off in the day to perform tasks that are not related to your assignment. This means it is paramount to either forecast additional time to anticipate any downtime or proactively ask for clear deadlines/availability of each linguist. Finally, an additional workload on your end to create that schedule and possibly recruit not 1, but several linguists.
- Effective Team Management: As you’ve seen, managing your teams can be quite a tremendous task. With potentially diverse and dispersed teams, clear communication is crucial. Regular check-ins, feedback loops, and collaboration tools can help maintain alignment. Imagine working with 20 linguists and freelancers on your e-commerce website project. You need to check that every one of them respects the deadlines, understands clearly your objectives and uses your brand’s tone of voice perfectly.
Onboarding all your teams on a unique platform allows you to have a real overview of your project and efficiently manage your teams. It’s also essential to respect cultural and time zone differences, especially when scheduling meetings or expecting deliverables.
- Prioritize Quality Control: Translation isn’t just about words; it’s about capturing the essence and nuance of the original content and making it relevant to your customers. Implement multiple rounds of proofreading and editing to ensure content that is culturally relevant and SEO performant. You can’t launch your translation projects, thinking that machine translation will be sufficient. For some types of products, it could be enough, but for most of them, it won’t. So it is vital to respect the quality requirements for your specific markets. You can implement all these steps by finding software that allows your teams to work and rework several times the content without losing the old version.
Such software employs translation memory to avoid a potential lack of consistency and the brand’s tone of voice. You can also consider back translation (translating back to the original language) as a way to check for accuracy for some languages.
- Leverage Technology: This point aggregates the ones before. You can consider that there are software that enables you and your team to manage your translation projects easily. A tool like a translation management system, such as Wezen, offers a centralized platform for tracking progress, managing resources, onboarding all your teams, and storing translated content. These systems can significantly streamline processes, reduce manual effort, and minimize errors. Basically, your 15 freelance, translators and reviewers are all working on a unique platform where your 150 product sheets are stored and translated, SEO friendly, matching your brand’s tone of voice and ready to be sent back to your CMS/PIM.
- Feedback and Adaptation: Post-project, gather feedback from stakeholders—translators, editors, clients, and end-users. What went well? What challenges arose? Use this feedback to refine your approach for future projects.
- Plan for Scalability: If your brand is looking to expand to multiple international markets simultaneously, your translation strategy should be scalable. This might mean having a roster of translators for various languages on standby or employing machine translations for initial drafts, followed by human editing. Consider software that prepares you for growth from the outset.
- Continuous Learning: The world of translation is ever-evolving, with new tools, methodologies, and challenges emerging. Encourage your team to stay updated with the latest in the industry, be it through workshops, courses, or seminars.
- KPIs! To support the past 9 steps, introduce key indicators in everything you do. There is nothing less valuable than subjective insights, however you will get plenty of these: feedback from markets will often sound disparate, and you may disregard real problems with the excuse “the context in this market is different”. What you’ll need to take action is relevant, measurable data. This is where using a Translation Management System or a platform like Wezen will become a strong asset. What you ultimately wish for is data being captured regarding quality, timings, performance etc., and compiled into key performance indicators.
To sum it up, navigating translation project management requires meticulous planning, efficient resource allocation, and a commitment to quality. Leveraging tools can help you streamline this intricate process. Combining best practices with technological solutions will undoubtedly aid your success in translation project management.
How Wezen Empowers E-commerce Brands for their Translation Project
We know brands are compelled to venture into new markets, each with its unique linguistic and cultural nuances. Making an impact and ensuring a consistent brand voice across these markets requires precise, localized content. While the importance of translation project management has been stressed, how can you truly navigate this intricate process as an e-commerce brand? The answer lies in leveraging the right tools, and we stand out as a real and adapted solution.
- Streamlined Project Planning with Wezen’s platform: Transitioning from knowing the importance of project planning to implementing it is a colossal leap. Wezen’s platform simplifies this task. It offers an intuitive interface where deadlines can be defined, timelines set, and tasks allocated to the right team, allowing you to visualize the entire project’s flow. You can also work with our Customer Success Manager to make your project go further with our platform. With Wezen, this is not just about planning; it’s about real monitoring.
- Robust Budget Control: All our e-commerce customers think of ROI. What we did for all our customers in 2023 was provide the info regarding the volume of all translations they did this year. And they were able to find out how much their content was repeated. This allowed them to see on average that Wezen prevented them from re-translating 45% of their content… which means 45% budget cuts! Thanks to dashboards provided by the platform, they were able to optimize their translation project management and translation costs.
- Optimal Resource Allocation and Team Management: The platform was developed to give our customers the tools for them to succeed. When a customer starts to work with us, they can be sure of being able to best manage their projects and teams. They have access to a tool giving them a global view of their products and assets to be translated for international deployment. His teams are brought together on a single platform to work optimally, localizing content and making it SEO-friendly.
Between clearly defined deadlines and a clear vision of the progress of each translation task, all the tools are there to help them perform. And as a result, they always get the best possible management of their teams, because each translator and reviewer has a well-defined role and a clear view of their objectives. That is invaluable time saved for your translation project management.
- Quality Control Par Excellence: Wezen is not just about translating words; it’s about preserving the essence, tone, and quality of your original content. Here is a short list of tools to help you monitor and control the quality on the platform: a termbase to respect your brand’s tone of voice; a memory to keep consistency through your content; a QA check to verify potential errors; correction steps available in your content translation process; a studio where your team can work jointly; history for every task and more. Through these advanced tools, the customer facilitates rigorous quality checks, ensuring that the translated content aligns perfectly with its brand’s voice and the target market’s cultural context.
- Customized for E-commerce Needs: Our customers like working with us because the platform is advantageous for them. Let’s say your e-commerce site experiences a 30% increase in traffic, along with an 80% increase in international sales. You’re likely to want to build on this growth, which means making more products on your PIM available on different markets. And therefore a greater need for translation. This is where Wezen comes in handy for our customers, as the platform is able to keep pace with this growth and industrialize your content translation. We have a particular fit with e-commerce websites because the platform connects with the most important PIM/CMS and DAM. Recognizing that e-commerce platforms require dynamic content changes, frequent product updates, and time-sensitive promotions, the platform is designed to handle bulk translations efficiently.
- Leveraging Automation and AI: Drawing from the understanding that machine translation isn’t enough, the platform smartly integrates AI to assist rather than replace human translators. By suggesting translations, maintaining a database of previously approved translations (translation memory), and offering real-time quality checks, Wezen ensures speed without compromising on quality.
In conclusion, for e-commerce brands aspiring to global prominence, translation project management is non-negotiable. While the process is intricate, with tools like our platform Wezen, brands are equipped to navigate these complexities with confidence. Through its suite of features, the platform does more than just manage translations; it ensures that e-commerce brands resonate globally, fostering connections, and building loyalty across borders.