Thursday, September 22, 2011

Language Solutions is ISO certified

Language Solutions has received ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management Certification from BSI International Registrars.

We started working on ISO Certification in late January and managed to get our Quality Manual documented and successfully completed both of our planned audits with BSI (Stage I and Stage II) by August.

Download our Certificate
We were particularly successful with ISO certification because we've listened to the requirements from the ISO standard and let our processes (that were driven by customer requirements, innovation and through industry best practices) lead us to achieving the requirements rather than the other way around. During the audit it became apparent to the auditor that we had created a system of processes that is effective and fits with the needs of our clients.

The culture of Quality Management and Quality Excellence was already ingrained in our organization. During our test phase we learned that 80% of the ISO requirements were already met when we started and we made further improvements to our process to ensure that we met all of the requirements. The mindset of quality management and continuous process improvement was shaped by our involvement in Baldrige Performance Excellence and provided us with better understanding how ISO could be beneficial to our organization. ISO gave us new tools to use in our quest for performance excellence and is playing an active role in the every day management of the organization.

Implementation of ISO can be a daunting task, but it can be very rewarding if approached with the intent to make the organization better. We believe that ISO is an important addition to the success of our organization. The ISO certification is just the start. We plan to continuously review our Quality Management System against the requirements of our customers using the ISO standard and Baldrige Best Practices in our management toolkit.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Why you need a CGO

A recent article in Fortune Magazine mentioned seven new C-level areas expected to emerge in the next 5 years. The magazine predicted some interesting positions such as the Chief Perception Officer. Surprisingly, a Chief Globalization Officer was not considered as one of these emerging areas.

Is global expansion and important growth factor in your business? If so, can you identify who in your organization is currently the champion for setting the global business directive? Our experience is that organizations that are just starting expanding globally usually do not assign a dedicated manager and resources for their global expansion. Global is not managed by one person or division but rather managed by many people at different levels of the organization, with different budgets and different managers. Management responsibilities grow organically over time as they become natural extensions of someone's current responsibilities.

This could be a risk when global expansion becomes more important to the business and needs to be managed. We've talk about this growth and maturation risk in an earlier blog post.

Without centralization, can your organization truly create global communication initiatives effectively and with consistency? If you are not able to pinpoint where global 'lives' in your organization, your organization will benefit from having a partner that your organization can count on for managing and coordinating global communications across the organization.

Examples of benefits:
Value Added Resellers can grow their international accounts by actively being involved in the sales process.
You can protect your brand message through centralization, ensuring that no unwanted brand messaging in your global communication piece goes out the door.

Consider Language Solutions as your 'Chief Globalization Officer' for centralization and management of your global communications. With defined metrics and goals that span the organization, we bring a global communication strategy to your organization tailored to your needs that would require an investment at a fraction of having to set up your own department with management responsibility.

Our focus on globalization strategies is as much directed towards the organizational goals as it is to work to support the people who 'make global happen'. If your organization has an international department or is starting to coordinate globalization efforts, we can deliver knowledge and experience that can help you move through the maturation curve effectively. Allow us to sit down with your department and talk about managing your global communication efforts and see the benefits of having a partner that goes beyond just translation.

Monday, May 9, 2011

What do you consider when choosing a Translation Vendor?

In previous posts, we've discussed the buying process of multilingual communications. In this video, we ask you to consider various important factors when choosing a translation vendor:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Metrics for Linguistic Screening of Product Names

There is a whole array of considerations that marketers and product developers go through before they even decide on a product name in their domestic market. However, these considerations are often overlooked during product name testing for their foreign markets.

When our clients come to us for linguistic screening of their English product names, our start is to take inventory of the main considerations that went into development of the brand for the domestic market. Here are a few examples of the most prevalent metrics for linguistic screening:

The Brand Concept

We consider the elements such as brand positioning, brand messaging, and product segmentation to be the foundation for analysis in the target market. We leverage the knowledge that was created during the name development to test and analyze in the target market.

The Language

Linguistic screening should not only take into account appropriate meaning in other languages but also the ease by which a product name can be pronounced by a person from another country. Pronunciation could be an important success factor in product name adoption. Product names are often ambiguous and created without direct meaning. Therefore, a valuable attribute could be a powerful sounding name. Names could be unintentionally softened through differences in pronunciation in the target market. Understanding how a product sounds in the target market can be valuable information in choosing a product name.

The Culture

Cultural analysis can include a wide variety of aspects. One example is the use of colors and images that are appropriate and engaging. Another aspect is name associations. In product name development, associations with competitors or other organizations is usually taken into account for different reasons (legal reasons, unique factor, etc.). Powerful associations can be made with similar words used in related or unrelated industries, or for instance in popular culture. Especially with highly ambiguous names, powerful associations that support the brand positioning can be a key success factor and should be tested in the target markets. Cultural views may vary by generation and therefore an important attribute is to understand the target segmentation of the product. Gender roles in purchasing are also important to consider as these differ by country. You may not be marketing to the decision maker!

Product Analysis

While actual product testing is not part of the scope for linguistic screening, we also should not discount the value of product analysis for the target market. Product aspects such as packaging and design can be taken into consideration and analyzed for further testing in the target market. Having product aspects analyzed before you test in your target market can help narrow down the goals for expensive tests using local focus groups.

The Linguistic Screening process should benefit from open communication and flow of information between product developers and linguistic and cultural analysts. Too many times, the brand development process is overlooked in product name development for a foreign market. When considering the investment that has gone into the product and the potential it could have, the investment in a carefully executed linguistic screening process should be a drop in the bucket.

The next time your client or your company wants to screen their English product name in other languages, give us a call for a proprietary process that we use.