Sharing Experiences, Translation KPIs and Keeping Localization Relevant

My LocLeaders Debut by Anne-Sophie Martin, Translation Project Manager at Talentsoft

anne-Sophie MartinRecently I became Translation Project Manager at Talentsoft and I am discovering the specific world of application translation and some of the problems that can arise. Talentsoft is the European leader for talent management cloud applications. Our solution allows Human Resources Managers to pilot employees’ recruitment, training, performance, competencies, career and compensation. Talentsoft is used by 700 clients in 100 countries all over the world.

Our translation needs are linked to the application and also to our documentation. Every week we deliver new functionalities, which must be available in all the 20 languages our clients use. Our translators need to be human resources experts in order to understand the terminology of our specific field of expertise. They also need to know the wording and vocabulary specific to Talentsoft.

The Welocalize Locleaders Forum 2015 event in Berlin was my first translation and localization conference. I attended the event hoping to meet other Welocalize clients and people, find good practices and concrete solutions to solve some of Talentsoft’s translation challenges.

The atmosphere was relaxed, the place was wonderful and the conference was well organized. In my opinion there were two important moments:

ONE: At the welcome dinner at Katz Orange the evening before, I took part in some excellent discussions with other clients and the Welocalize team in an informal and relaxed way. We spoke at ease about the different problems we all face and the solutions considered, tried or even instances in which we have given up! Those discussions helped me to put our challenges into perspective. The quality of our translations affects the product’s image, and this applies to every company. Problems that are new for Talentsoft are well known for other companies. Discussing experiences with other localization colleagues was really enlightening.  Meeting people with the same problematic has allowed me to compare our process with theirs.

TWO: My other highlight was the client round-table and panel discussion that took place in the afternoon at the LocLeaders event. Some of the discussion was about key performance indicators (KPIs) in translation. I was really interested in two points that concern Talentsoft: How to determine a translation’s quality, and how to plan and justify the translation budget. One good practice shared was the fact that the translation has to be assess-based on objective and precise criteria. Global impression can easily be negative because it is based on first impression. When criteria are introduced, evaluations are often more positive and useful to translators.

We also discussed the question of translation budgets. In most cases, the necessity of estimating a translation budget doesn’t appear at the beginning. Currently, companies start translating as a reaction to a business need, without anticipating the cost. It usually leads to underestimating the price. When it becomes evident, decision-makers are completely surprised with the amounts. Translation and localization may not be the most interesting subject to them. One of the subjects we discussed was how to make it interesting and relevant for busy non-experts and stakeholders and how to prioritize and justify the choices made.

If there is one takeaway from the LocLeaders event, it is the perspective it has given me. The translation question is quite a new question for both Talentsoft and I. The testimonies from people much more experienced than I am on problems we both have, as well as the solutions we can apply or adapt to our own organization, have been really interesting. I am looking forward to attend LocLeaders next year with one year of experience on this engaging subject.