Energy Company Requirements for a Localization Partner

463232609Welocalize Business Development Manager, Benjamin Skovran, is based in Houston, Texas and works closely with global energy companies. In this blog, he talks about some of the key characteristics these companies, in particular those in oil and gas sector must look for when choosing a language service provider (LSP).

The energy industry consists of multiple industries that are involved in the production and sale of energy, including fuel extraction, manufacturing, refining and distribution. More than $1.5 trillion is invested annually into the global energy supply.  Within the energy industry, there are a wide range of organizations and suppliers. The oil and gas industry primarily, which is estimated at $1 trillion in annual investment focuses on equipment and processes used in extracting and managing global oil and gas production and supply.

The industry itself is highly competitive. The ever increasing difficult procedure of drilling a hole in the ground in the hopes of extracting oil is a complex combination of science, politics, economics and technology. Their success also hinges on language and communication. Finding, extracting and distributing energy has international implications.

The demand for localization often hinges on processes involved in this global industry that are highly technical, strictly regulated, and can be high risk from a health and safety perspective. This creates a demand to translate all types of content that can be distributed across diverse geographies.  As an example, to be successful in this sector and keep a global workforce safe, companies must ensure content is accurate, readable and understandable in all locales it employs and contracts labor.

Many companies in the energy sector produce highly complex and technical content. Whether it’s a multi-billion dollar RFP or a technical manual for drill bits from an oil and gas supplier, the content requires skilled translators who have experience and knowledge of the industry. Content for this sector often includes crucial health and safety information, legal and compliance data, corporate communications, employee materials and global marketing — all of which must be translated correctly for the target audience.

Here are four characteristics that companies must require from a qualified energy industry localization partner:

  • EXPERIENCE – The energy industry, and in particular the oil and gas sector, needs language specialists that are versed in the complexities of this segment.  It is crucial that any localization partner has an established and proven track record in this sector and has a network of qualified vendors to support the breadth of the work involved in all content needing localization and translation. An experienced partner will be able to give guidance on best practices and share experiences to help better meet all translation requirements to reach a global audience.
  • BREADTH OF CONTENT – The content types produced in this industry are vast. The right language services provider must have a strong portfolio of capabilities with a mix of resources with proven translation skills and expertise. When seeking a long-term localization partner, make sure they have experience at translating all types of projects associated with the energy industry. Examples of content types include health and safety documents, technical and CAD drawings, maintenance service manuals, training and user manuals, eLearning and training course materials, multimedia and videos, well reports, drilling programs and reports, pipeline inspection reports, investigative and scientific studies and assessments, marketing materials, website localization, RFP and tender documentation and any compliance and legal documentation.
  • A CONSULTATIVE RELATIONSHIP – Key to the success of any localization program in the energy sector is to engage with a provider in a consultative way. When localization involves ongoing, complex, multitask projects, companies need a localization provider right at the center of all translation activities. This will make the process smoother, so the company can focus on core competencies and the language service provider can produce the translation and localization expertise. Having a centralized repository for all translation activities ensures total transparency when translation projects are sent, shared and complete. The right LSP will ensure translation is conducted in line with a company’s overall business goals.
  • SPECIALIST EXPERTISE – To translate and localize energy-related content, a provider needs to understand it. Expertise must extend beyond translators. It must also reside with skilled project managers, DTP engineers and reviewers. Technical translators must also hold degrees and have work experience related specific to energy, including the oil and gas industry to ensure high levels of subject matter expertise. Standards, compliance and regulations for this industry are changing continuously and this knowledge must be 100% up-to-date with anyone that participates in the translation workflow.

There are other characteristics that will benefit companies, as translation and localization requirements for this industry sector can be unique. It is important your provider work with you to define your program and project requirements.  Knowing your goals and project requirements are the first place to start, then your provider can create a customer-centric solution to deliver your project on-time, within budget and with stringent quality standards. These are all good foundations when looking to establish a strategic relationship with a language partner.


Benjamin Skovran is based at the Welocalize office in Houston, Texas.

Click here to find out more about Welocalize’s localization services to the energy industry.