Automating the Localization Workflow. Webinar Highlights

welocalize August 4, 2020

Cisco’s Globalization and Translation Services organization (GTS) provides localization services to over 2,000+ internal Cisco stakeholders, helping them to reach international audiences. Alfonso Carrillo heads up GTS and has partnered with Welocalize for many years, establishing a centralized, scalable, and vendor-agnostic localization model, fully digitized and primed to meet growing demand. GTS manages around 185 million words each year, processing over 7,000 projects in multiple languages.

Welocalize webinar, Automating the Localization Workflow, features a fire side chat between Alfonso and Darin Goble, VP of Solutions at Welocalize where they discuss the evolution of GTS and the journey they’ve been on to build this centralized localization platform and technology stack. Click here to view full recording.

This webinar is a fascinating and honest exchange between two established industry experts and provides insights and advice for anyone managing a localization and translation program. Many of us would presume that large global brands operate highly sophisticated technology stacks to manage multilingual content. This often isn’t the case. Many programs are still relatively immature, with projects simply being processed using email or FTP. Cisco’s GTS delivers services using a fully digitized platform that connects with Welocalize and other vendors, driving efficiencies and generating data that enables Cisco to launch products globally now and into the future.

Building a Scalable Tech Stack

According to Alfonso, ‘At GTS, we’re operating an ongoing localization service so we can’t just stop if things don’t work. The car never stops, the plane never lands – you have to build and fly at the same time. You can’t have an unreliable, unstable program platform and tech stack, like Jenga. You must be able to continue to innovate and look for new technologies to drive a global content strategy, whilst continuing to deliver a service and support your internal stakeholders. We wanted to build a platform and tech stack that helps take Cisco to where it wants to be for global growth.’

The Cisco GTS platform leverages multiple technologies and is integrated with Welocalize’s cloud-based client services delivery platform, Pantheon. Having full digitization between GTS and Pantheon (via custom connectors) enables projects and tasks to flow seamlessly and provide stakeholders with real-time rich data about project performance against KPIs and OTD measures.

Track Your Package – The Power of Data

The data collected from GTS and Pantheon is powerful as it enables internal stakeholders to get full transparency of where translations projects are in the workflow.

Alfonso continues When you commit yourself with a relentless effort to please stakeholders and work seamlessly with them, a key element is providing them with rich data. Some stakeholders want to know where every file is at all times, others don’t need that insight – as long as OTD is being met. A fully automated workflow means you can provide data to those who want it, harvest data out of the TMS and bring into the overall customer experience with GTS. We’re heading towards a ‘Track your Package’ model and you need a robust, scalable, digitized platform to achieve that.’

Darin adds, ‘Digitization allows us to capture data on discreet tasks and pivot away from rear-view reporting and to an active dashboard. We are using Microsoft Power BI to understand the data from all projects and programs to see the risks, opportunities, and identifiers. Things are moving every minute, so this allows us to get to the concept of smart resourcing, supported by the data and ecosystem we built for Cisco. We need to be relentless in keeping pace with innovation. We actively work with the Cisco team to keep moving forward and keep the GTS plane in flight at all times.’

View the webinar recording to see full detail of the tech stack that supports GTS.

In the live webinar, we received a lot of thought-provoking questions, some of which we didn’t get around to answering. Here are some of the questions, answered by Mandy, Alfonso, and Darin:

What type of content is being localized? Is software UI part of it?

The range of content being localized includes sales and marketing content, product documentation, UI content, customer support content, and branded corporate communications.

How does Cisco connect with XTM? Who provides that connector?

Cisco utilizes the PEGA customer engagement platform and internal middleware connected to XTM via API.  The connector is ultimately Cisco developed using XTM’s API’s and endpoints.

How do you differentiate between use of the MT engines providers?

MT engine provider differentiation is evaluated as “best fit” across both language and content type. 

What is the monthly volume for translations?  (MT requires large volume to justify the cost of training the engine)

We process almost 60M words in TOTAL between our normal Production Process and our Free-of-charge offering of our Cisco Translate (MT based solution for our internal Cisco community), this volume is on a quarterly basis.

 We saw in the workflow that you have SME review before delivery. How do you handle post-production process – who implements these reviews?

We have an “option” for our stakeholders to have an “In-Country Review” (formerly known as SME Review). If that’s chosen, once the translation process is completed, within XTM it triggers a signal to the designated reviewer notifying them the document is ready for review. This review takes place within our XTM system which assists in the exchange between reviewer and linguist for implementation of any required changes – as long as they don’t deviate from our agreed upon terminology base and style guides set forth by the Cisco Brand team.

How do you manage terminology? Do you use any tools for terminology management?

Terminology is key for an accurate translation. We work closely with our local stakeholders, our language leads, and the translation teams to ensure that we’re building and using Cisco-validated terminology. A dedicated terminologist maintains glossaries in the terminology section of XTM, adding or updating terms every time a key term extraction/translation is performed, or when clean-ups and ad hoc change requests are submitted in a database designed for this purpose.

For terminology extraction we use various industry tools available, to automate the process and minimize time-cost impact. The terminologist also performs an additional manual harvesting to ensure that only valid key terms, among the ones automatically extracted, are selected and submitted for translation. For every term, the terminologist also includes metadata, such as definition, context, part of speech to provide the linguists with further clarification on the right meaning and background information. All terms are vetted by the language leads and approved by Cisco local office representatives, before we incorporate them in XTM, through a dedicated approval process.

The added value of hosting and maintaining the glossaries directly in XTM is that linguists can see and use the approved translations in real time in the Workbench, whenever a term appears in the source text. The glossary can also be exported from XTM and used with any QA tool, that allows an automatic QA check to ensure that the approved terms were used in the translation.

Without having in-house language specialists in the Cisco team, how do you (Alfonso) ensure the translations meet Cisco’s tone of voice and style?

Translation memories, terminology lists, and style guides are key for an effective and efficient global translation services program. We have a language lead program in place for the top 13 languages. Our Cisco language leads are native speakers who are accountable for the language-specific quality program and coordinate the linguistic activities of all resources for that language. They are fully immersed in the brand guidelines and manage the training of external resources with day-to-day support, query management, etc. They oversee managing everything from quality, adherence to style guides, translation memories, glossaries, and preparing quality reports which can be shared with the client. They are also in charge of updating the style guides on a regular basis, based on feedback and recommendations received from the local stakeholders.

We also work with our dedicated Cisco terminologist to extract terms that we need accurately translated prior to working on any content. These terms are approved by Cisco stakeholders to make sure that terminology is correctly captured in all our work.

How do you assure the quality is high?

Quality is built into all aspects of the program and is not confined to language quality alone. We have dedicated quality managers that ensure the account has a quality program designed to accommodate Cisco’s specific needs. They work with a quality team that ensures a quality plan is implemented, monitored, adjusted, and reviewed as needed. Every translation is assigned to a translator who translates the document, and then is reviewed by a second individual, the editor, who edits the file and also assesses the quality via feedback that is sent back to the original translator to make sure errors fixed are avoided in future copies. All files then undergo automated QA checks that can be customized for a variety of quality checks. We also have language leads appointed for our top 13 languages. Quality assurance and control procedures are an integral part of every translation project, and occur before, during, and after completion of various tasks such as translation, localization, review, transcreation, multimedia recording, and testing. We have flexible systems to monitor, measure, and control translation quality in line with the latest industry standards.

We have implemented a DQF-MQM model to address linguistic accuracy, cultural suitability, readability, market appropriateness, instruction adherence, client voice, and tone. All feedback is shared with the original linguists and all actions are recorded and monitored to its completion by the quality team to make sure issues are effectively and efficiently addressed to avoid they are not repeated in the future. We follow a quality sampling strategy that is integrated in XTM to track error categories and severity levels. LQA scores allow us to track team performance and improvements. External linguistic resources receive ongoing performance measurements as part of our language quality sampling initiatives. The scores are saved within our resourcing infrastructure and at a granular level, within XTM. Trend analysis and reporting is done via a customized quality dashboard.

A common localization challenge is that it is often treated as an afterthought by content creators, developers, and designers. Could you elaborate on some ways that Cisco is addressing this common localization challenge, either by creating cross-functional alignment to bring localization into the product design & development process at an earlier stage, evangelizing, engaging, or otherwise?

Part of my team is a small group of “engagement managers” whose responsibility is to be the “evangelizers” of localization for those organizations we work with, they bring awareness, expertise, consultancy and offer assistance to help those stakeholders have a “global” mindset when developing their SW products, applications, and content.


If you would like to find out how Welocalize can help digitize your localization workflow, connect with us here.