2017 Global Manufacturing Trends and Localization Tips

As global populations and economies grow and evolve, manufacturers are constantly faced with challenges and opportunities to progress product development and expand operations into new markets. Manufacturers in all sectors, including heavy equipment, industrial, machinery, automation, components and electronics, innovate processes, systems and technology to stay ahead of world demand for the many products that affect our everyday lives. Innovation impacts the way in which manufacturing organizations develop and localize content to support their products and brands. Manufacturers produce volumes of content, often highly technical and destined for a multilingual audience, to ensure their products can be safely operated and implemented by users all over the world.

In this blog, we examine some of the forecasted trends that will impact the manufacturing sector and what role content and translation will play in the future.

‘Green’ or Sustainable Manufacturing

As manufacturing has remained a driving force in many economies, the environmental effects have caused many companies to consider alternative methods of production, whilst remaining competitive and keeping up with demand. Green manufacturing is not new in the industry, but will continue to grow as consumers demand products that have been sustainably sourced and created. With factors including waste pollution, cost reduction, and renewable energy, manufacturers must find new ways to sustainably expand; and with the advancement of new technologies within the industry, lean manufacturing cuts down on material costs and are more marketable and well-received. It is important for manufacturers and consumers to consider that new products will not always be necessary when introducing this new process – updates or additions to existing goods can reduce the carbon footprint.

LOCALIZATION TIP: Localization and translation providers must work to expertly publish more regulated content that is updated according to health and safety codes, and culturally adapted in native language markets to ensure comprehension by companies and their employees. Many local governments and government agencies have their own regulations and laws for increasing “green” awareness. Any technical or marketing documentation that has been produced to support these activities must be understood by all stakeholders, including employees and customers.


Robotics have been part of the automotive industry for years. According to the World Robotics Report 2016, the number of industrial robots deployed worldwide will increase to around 2.6 million units by 2019 – that’s about one million units more than in the record-breaking year of 2015. As we progress into 2017, the use of machines to streamline processes will continue to increase. While some might view the use of robotic machines to takeover human jobs, advances in ‘cobotics’ prove to be a complementary addition to the workforce via monitoring systems and production techniques. The United States is at the forefront of this movement right now with a majority of big factories implementing new technology to safeguard and insure a solid product from start to finish – with alerts in machinery being addressed before a breakdown can even happen.

LOCALIZATION TIP: Any user interface, display panel or robotic operating instructions will require some element of globalization. Many large manufacturers produce and distribute products all over the world therefore workers and employees in all target markets must be able to safely operate products, including robotics and cobotics.

In 2017, watch for the aerospace and automotive industries to pioneer the relationship between human and robot.

Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing)

Additive manufacturing includes a number of individual processes which vary in their method of layer manufacturing. Often referred to as 3D printing, additive manufacturing impacts many Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) in high-end markets like aerospace, automotive and medical systems tooling. 3D printing is another trend that has grown over the past years. Gartner analysts said worldwide 3D printer shipments are set to double, year-over-year with 455,772 3D printing units shipped in 2016, more than doubling shipments in 2015. Using 3D printing for prototypes enables manufacturers to go to market faster with significantly lower costs. The technology allows innovated design and advanced research to create new products. No longer a niche market, 3D printing is experiencing a widespread acceptance beyond its application in specialist industries.

LOCALIZATION TIP: Advances in additive manufacturing technology indicate a growth in small, local production units, providing on-demand 3D printing which means increased demand for localization of technical user manuals and training materials. 3D printing is experiencing many new discoveries all the time and is being adopted by more and more countries and manufacturing populations. It is important to consider the endless possibilities that this trend can create and where it can take the industry in the future.

In 2017, be on the lookout for what materials global manufacturers may print with ideally, low cost, easily recyclable and easy to source. Researchers have dubbed graphene as the new super material because of its strength and flexibility.

With new and emerging trends in the manufacturing industries, technical and marketing content creators must be adept at localizing several diverse categories of documents, from technical data-sheets to catalogs and operator manuals to global marketing materials.

While the global manufacturing industry is continuously faced with challenges, Welocalize is excited to see the progress and innovation in manufacturing and supports many global brands in a manufacturing.

What do you think will impact global manufacturing and localization in 2017? We’d love to hear your thoughts!


Jordan Ockleberry is a member of the Global Marketing and Sales Support team at Welocalize.