Key Elements to Successful Localization Vendor Management

by Lyn Carroll, Senior Director of Global Vendor Management at Welocalize

Time for SuccessI recently spoke at the annual ATC Conference 2013. My presentation was based on how to promote productive relations with sub-contractors. I spoke with a lot of people involved in globalization and localization and they kept asking me: “What are the key elements to successful vendor management on such a global scale?”

Here’s what I think is most important in successful localization vendor management:

  • Be aware that it is a symbiotic relationship. Success for translation vendors = success for Welocalize = success for clients.
  • Embrace and build collaborative solutions for evolving market requirements. Content is increasing in volume and variety and SLAs are tighter. Social media and user intimacy mean clients are now seeking to translate content that is previously stayed monolingual, such as user generated content (UGC), blogs and other real-time media content types. That means rapid distribution, shorter shelf life and a unit rate that reflects the return on this mass content. Our approach is to work together with our vendors to craft the resourcing solutions and build language programs that can deliver on the evolving range of requirements.
  • Evolution or Extinction. Welocalize has a responsibility to its vendor supply chain to keep them apprised of trends and market-shifts, and support their adaption of new processes, technologies and mind-sets to keep pace and get ahead. Our cautionary tale is that in the past year, three Welocalize vendors who have failed to evolve to the changing market demands have gone out of business. They produced good quality but could not change their work practices quickly enough to reduce their cost base and scale profitably.

We get many vendors wanting to work with us so I’m also often asked: “What does Welocalize do differently to keep the worldwide vendor network happy and part of our global team?”

  • We help our vendors drive out waste: System interoperability and connectors eliminate touch-points so vendors can focus their time and effort on translation, not file processing and data entry.
  • We believe in vendor motivation: Training in PEMT, quality automation and sharing experiences and lessons learned in our internal translation teams.
  • We emphasize communication and community: Welocalize runs regular vendor summits, demos and workshops, all involving key Welocalize and vendor representatives. Vendor take part in the LocLeader forums with our clients so everyone can understand the challenges faced. We also run Developer Days where vendor techies get direct access to our development team for joint innovation initiatives.
  • Trust: We are honest and transparent with our vendors, encouraging and participating in an “open kimono” approach. We share openly with our vendors and expect the same from them.

To view my presentation, click here.