Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Collaboration and Teamwork – Many hands make light work

Many of our clients requesting translation projects do not feel like they have time to assess and resolve process inefficiencies. What they don’t know is that the responsibility for process efficiency is not in their hands alone.

A popular process management philosophy, Kaizen, states that when you look at improving an inefficient process, you have to look at all of the processes that are of influence or being affected by the inefficient process in order to create real improvement. Consider your vendors and internal staff to be part of the translation process. We actively encourage our client requesters to put us in direct contact with the project team – including both external vendors and internal staff – to collaborate with us and discuss efficiencies at each step of the process.

When one of our clients chose a new technology vendor for their online surveys, we contacted the vendor directly to get a better understanding of their proprietary technology. While the vendor had previous experience with Language Service Providers, we found out that the process for retrieving and storing multilingual content was manual. After a direct discussion with the vendor, we were able to find specific inefficiencies that impacted the time and costs for our client. We optimized the process to work within the vendor's proprietary software. And we were able to provide the vendor with useful information on how to improve their software for multilingual content.

We have defined 20 Readiness Objectives in our Client Mentor Program™. Our objectives tie directly in with the issues we resolved for this client. Here are two examples.

Organizational Readiness Objective: Ensure quality outputs by assigning team members to participate together in tasks that require their expertise and knowledge.

This objective takes into account every resource and person who influences the translation process. It formalizes the relationships between all the team members involved in the translation process. In this case, the technology vendor played a very important role in the translation process because their proprietary software was not designed for localization. Direct contact with the vendor was necessary for us to help our client mitigate the risk of overspending.

Content Readiness Objective: Eliminate redundant steps in the process of developing source copy.

The localization industry uses a lot of technology to manage content for translation. The technology vendor’s proprietary software introduced redundant processes because it was not setup for localization. We assess whether technologies our clients are using are designed with localization in mind and their impact on cost and timeframe. With this information, our clients can select appropriate technology vendors. Our assessment can also help technology vendors to improve their products by adding support for languages other than English.

Resolving all the inefficiencies throughout the process are not the responsibility of just one person. It takes teamwork and collaboration!