Maintaining Tone of Voice in Multilingual Technical Documentation

Everyone within a growing, international organization is on a global journey. At each stage of this journey, there are volumes of content produced, from patent applications to user generated content on social media, that communicate to a variety of audiences and stakeholders, many with different requirements. Although many content types have different levels of impact, regardless of language, they must consistently represent the company and its brand portfolio.

In the 2016 Welocalize Client Survey, we asked our clients what their anticipated localization needs were for 2017 and approximately 47% of respondents included localization of technical documentation. Technical documentation is #2 in Welocalize’s list of Top 10 Needs for Localization and Translation Being Outsourced to LSP’s in 2017.

While the main objective in the translation and localization of technical documentation is a high level of accuracy and quality, consistency of style and tone of voice are also important and a deciding factor in selecting a strategic localization partner. At the Welocalize LocLeaders Local Germany 2016 event in Stuttgart, many attendees who are heavily involved in the production and translation of technical documentation were keen to discuss how to strike a balance between content accuracy and keeping a consistent, culturally appropriate brand voice. The traditional approach of pure translation for technical documentation is relevant, but there is a growing emphasis on content transformation to ensure consistency of brand and a cultural relevancy in each local market.

To accomplish this, many global brands are embracing techniques like transcreation. Transcreation is where facts are directly translated, but concepts and brand messages are culturally adapted to meet local market requirements. This results in a consistent style and tone of voice across all content produced by a global organization.

The e-book by Acrolinx, Watch Your Tone! outlines the importance of tone of voice and the different types and elements of tone. The ebook states “…even purely informative content, such as technical documentation, may suffer if translated literally, because motivations and attitudes differ so much across cultures. For example, while US training tends to be interactive and hands-on, French people tend to prefer more information, less participation…”

How is style and tone of voice integrated?

For any language team working on technical documentation, they must be fluent, native linguists and hold a good level of subject matter expertise. To be able to hit the right tone of voice, it is important for teams to be familiar with the company, brand portfolio, and, also, know more about the product or service experience to ensure proper context in any translation work. Putting translators, linguists, and reviewers into the shoes of the customer creates a deeper understanding of overall objectives which is delivered into all locales. This approach is applied across products within one brand portfolio, but also for the different content types throughout the globalization journey.

Welocalize runs product and brand immersion workshops, where translators and reviewers receive training, with the client, to ensure they understand the product and the context of the content with which they’re working. This reduces review cycles and forges good working relationships with open lines of communication. As a result, there is more retention and less churn on productive working groups.

Sharing tools like translation memory (TM), terminology management, style guides, glossaries, and product training documents across the organization creates good interaction between internal teams, as well as between the client and the language services provider. Seeing localization and translation strategically as a whole, rather than in silos of individual translation tasks, is a big step towards delivering consistent brand value in multiple markets.

In a report conducted by Acrolinx, Terminology Management, How Companies Use Their Words & Phrases That Matter Most to Their Business, maintaining the integrity of the source content and translation are the main reasons why companies manage their words and phrases. Almost half of content professionals surveyed said that the top reason they maintain a list of words and phrases is to either ensure correct usage or enforce the company’s style and tone of voice.

It holds great value and benefit to any global business to forge a long-term partnership with a strategic language services provider who can localize across all content and achieve a consistent tone of voice, for both source and translated content. Having content teams that are invested in the brand long-term ensures style, terminology, technical facts, jargon, and engineering detail are 100% accurate in every target locale.


Garry Levitt is Welocalize Vice President, Europe.

In November 2016, localization and content professionals gathered in Stuttgart to attend the first Welocalize LocLeaders Local event held in Germany. Style and tone of voice in the localization of technical documentation was one of many topics we discussed. At any Welocalize LocLeaders event, there is always a boundless enthusiasm for industry peer-to-peer networking and collaboration. People love hearing from other people who share the same challenges and opportunities. It’s a great form of therapy. By sharing real, concrete experiences and scenarios, the discussion flows naturally. LocLeaders is about open engagement and participation.  In 2017, we’re hoping to run more LocLeaders Local events across Europe and North America so if content transformation is your business, then please join us or email for more information.

Three Reasons Why Technical Documentation is a Perfect Match for MT

Welocalize manages a variety of localization and translation programs for global brands that produce large volumes of technical documentation, including online help, user guides, admin guides, operating manuals and data sheets.

The Technology Solutions team at Welocalize is heavily involved in the evaluation and onboarding of machine translation (MT) for new localization programs.  Technical documentation is one of our favorite content types to work with when we are customizing MT engines for our clients. Here is why:

#1: Source Authoring

Technical documentation is frequently authored by technical writers, who are trained to write with clarity, simplicity and consistency. Additionally, they often use authoring tools that help avoid difficult constructions; long sentences, passive voice, ambiguous words or phrases and gerunds (-ing forms). As a result, the source text is simple and easy to read and is processed well by the MT system.

#2: Terminology Management

Terminology management is an important part of the localization process for technical documentation to ensure consistent and correct translation of key terms and hardware, and software references to the product. Any glossaries established as part of the terminology process are an extra bonus during MT engine training, since they can be used to customize the engines further and directly enforce the translations of specific terms and phrases.

#3: Style Expectations

Technical documentation is not usually designed for cover-to-cover consumption and rarely requires a stylistically polished translation. Consistency, correct terminology and technical accuracy are the top priorities.  In comparison, higher stylistic standards are expected for a marketing brochure, which is designed to sell a product or for an e-learning course that is required to be read word-for-word, cover-to-cover. The result is technical documentation requires lower post-editing efforts, compared with content types such as marketing brochures that require a high level of stylistic polishing.

These three characteristics make technical documentation a perfect match for MT and post-edited MT. The carefully authored source content and the availability of extensive glossaries increase the quality of the MT output while the simple style requirements allow the post-editors to reuse more of the MT output.

The end result is that the translators post-edit less, which means a reduction in client costs and an increase in productivity—and a higher return on investment for MT.

Click here for more information on Welocalize MT-driven solutions.


Based in Boston, Elaine O’Curran is an MT Program Manager on Welocalize Technology Solutions team.

Technology Tools in the Localization of Technical Documentation

In this interview, Nicole McColgan, Senior Project Manager and Team Leader at Welocalize, shares her knowledge and experience from over 10 years of working with clients who produce high volumes of technical documentation. She talks about the growing importance of technology in the translation of technical and engineering content to help manage efficiency and costs.

What role does technology play in the translation of technical documentation?

For the translation of technical documentation, ensuring consistency, correct terminology, and technical accuracy of translated content are top priorities. Technology and translation automation can be overlooked in the translation of highly complex content and diagrams.

Technology plays a significant role in all localization and translation activities, including technical documentation. Due to the complex nature of technical communications and diagrams, there is an assumption that only human translation is allowed. However, there are several tools that can automate translation and still deliver high quality content while managing deadlines and budgets. Many global brands in sectors that produce a lot of technical content, such as manufacturing and heavy equipment, are using more technology in the translation process, especially with so much more content being published and updated digitally.

Are organizations more open to using machine translation (MT) in their localization programs for more complex content?

There is definitely growing openness towards the use of MT for technical documentation. Clients are more aware that MT can increase productivity and reduce costs. MT, with post-editing, can produce the same level of accuracy and quality as a human translator and enable organizations to translate more. While MT is not a standalone tool, it works well together with post-editing to speed up the translation cycle.

How does cultural adaptation affect translation quality?

For technical detail, such as measurements or numbers, it is important to keep the translated content aligned with the source content. There is no room for error. However, it remains important to adapt the content to resonate with local audiences, both culturally and linguistically.

Cultural and linguistic accuracy in translated technical documentation is no longer limited to 100% human translators. MT engines learn and build up knowledge as more content is translated. The more content put through MT engines, the more accurate and consistent the output will be. Teaming MT activities with post-editing can check the facts and details, while ensuring that tone of voice is also culturally appropriate. It is beneficial if consistent language teams are used as they become familiar with the product range and brand style.

What are the most important tools when localizing technical documentation?

Any technologies that automate the process, making the translation cycle quicker and more cost-effective, are important. Given the increasing volume of digital content being published at a quicker pace, technology supports quick turnarounds. Updates and changes are happening all the time, even in technical documentation, and the translation process must reflect this.

In addition, content management systems (CMS), translation management systems (TMS), glossaries, and terminology databases—all tools that help efficiency and accuracy in the production and translation of technical communications—remain important.

Welocalize manages a variety of localization and translation programs for global brands who produce volumes of highly technical communications and documentation, including user manuals, operating manuals, data sheets, and supporting marketing materials. Innovation is one of Welocalize’s 4-Pillars so we’re continually looking for ways to automate and introduce technology to make the process even more efficient and cost-effective.

Based in the UK, Nicole McColgan is Senior Project Manager and Team Leader at Welocalize.

Interview by Cecilia Tang, Welocalize Global Marketing and Sales Support Team.

Technically Speaking at Welocalize LocLeaders Local 2016 Germany

Guest interview with Christian Weih, Chief Sales Officer at Across Systems GmbH and panelist at LocLeaders  Local 2016 Germany

christianweihWelocalize will hold the first German LocLeaders Forum in Stuttgart on November 8. The discussion will be held in German. The theme of the German LocLeaders Local is “Technically Speaking.” Localization leaders will gather to openly discuss topics and share experiences relating to the localization of technical communications and how global brands can optimize style, tone and quality in multiple languages. The event features a special panel discussion, including guest panelists from IKEA, Amadeus, Rockant Training & Consulting and Across Systems GmbH.  

The following is an interview with Christian Weih from Across in advance of the event.  For more information and to register for LocLeaders Local Germany 2016 in Stuttgart, click here.

What are some of the key challenges in the localization and translation of technical content?

First and foremost, there needs to be more priority and emphasis from global organizations on translation. Documentation is a global business. Many companies spend huge amounts of money and resource developing source materials and campaigns, then little respect is shown to translating content. If you add up the cost of writing, designing and publishing source content, including the content management system (CMS) and compare this to the amount budgeted for translation, then the difference is vast. A key challenge is to increase the importance and significance of localization and translation activities. Good global content enables international business.

Many organizations also want to automate as much as possible to increase speed and efficiency, but they find it challenging because they’re not ready. Multinational companies in regulated sectors like pharmaceutical, medical devices and heavy machinery, need speed and high levels of accuracy in their global content. Automation is crucial to success.  Implementing technology and translation automation tools, like machine translation (MT), requires the company to be progressive in its’ content management and translation approach.

How has the translation of technical communications evolved?

Translation measures and KPIs are no longer about achieving literal or linguistically accurate translations. It’s all about getting the meaning right and ensuring the corporate style and tone of voice comes through in content. Some technical communications have strict guidelines and defined structures. Adapting the style and tone for each target audience is how organizations can differentiate themselves and create competitive advantage.

Technical content itself has evolved. People often perceive technical communications as dusty, 500 page manuals and it just isn’t like that anymore. There are some new ways for publishing and accessing technical communication, for example, use of apps, websites and multimedia. The rise in media publishing platforms like YouTube, has also opened up new ways to convey highly complex information and this also impacts the overall translation process.

What are some key tips for translation of technical information?

Get the source right. If you create the source content with localization and translation in mind, then any subsequent translated versions will be more on target. A better source document also allows for more opportunity for automation, using MT, to increase efficiency. If you mess up the source files, you can’t automate. Organizations must also be aware of information security when they use automation – where the translated content is held.

locleaders-stuttgartHow do you think events like Welocalize LocLeaders helps the industry and localization professionals?

There are very few events like this held in Germany, at a local level. This is the perfect opportunity for anyone working with global content to see that they’re not alone in their challenges and pains. The open discussions and shared experiences will help attendees to move their organizations forward to get ready for more efficient and successful multilingual communications. I’m looking forward to being part of this unique event.

For more information and to register for LocLeaders Local Germany 2016 in Stuttgart, click here.

Interview by Louise Law, Global Communications Manager, Welocalize.






Localization and Collaboration to Enable Global Growth

A Welocalize and Avigilon Case Study

Avigilon_RGB[1]Avigilon Corporation, a trusted security solutions provider, required a scalable globalization strategy that centralized localization and translation activities to meet rapid global growth in demand for its products and manage high volumes of variable content. Avigilon wanted to work with a language service provider (LSP) large enough to manage a wide variety of content and high volumes, but also agile enough to grow with Avigilon and deliver a scalable solution to meet increasing global demand. Avigilon selected Welocalize, global leader in innovative translation and localization solutions.

As demand for Avigilon’s products exploded, the new team moved quickly. Avigilon and Welocalize centralized the flow of translation requests and technology, moving assets and processes onto Welocalize’s open-source translation management system (TMS), GlobalSight, and developing glossary maintenance programs and translation memories (TMs). A new localization program was put in place that could handle a wide range of content into up to 23 languages.

READ MORE: Avigilon and Welocalize Case Study

Services include:

  • Software Localization
  • Software QA and Testing through Welocalize Testing Lab in Portland, Oregon, USA
  • Localization and Testing of e-Learning & In-Classroom Training Materials for Avigilon’s Global Product Training Programs
  • Localization of Multimedia, including Dubbing and Subtitling of Audio and Video Content
  • Technical Documentation, Product Installation Guides, Software User Manuals & Product Datasheets
  • Sales & Marketing Collateral
  • Web Updates
  • MT & PEMT Support

Adapt Worldwide Transcreation Capabilities

Avigilon works with Welocalize’s multilingual digital marketing agency, Adapt Worldwide, to transcreate sales, marketing and product content, providing linguistic copy writing who are trained on Avigilon products. The Adapt Worldwide team develops fresh, digital content, whilst retaining the overall brand concepts and values for local markets.

“Avigilon’s localization strategy is to invest in the right content areas and target languages to improve Avigilon’s overall global performance and achieve global growth. We’re extremely satisfied with the results we have seen by bringing Welocalize on board as our strategic localization partner. The Welocalize team deliver world-class customer support and has increased our levels of localization maturity, resulting in a localization program that is used globally by many departments within Avigilon. It has been and continues to be an incredibly successful collaboration.” – Paula Hunter, Localization Manager, Avigilon.

To achieve global growth, you need localization and a strong collaboration with a global language service provider. Find out more about how Welocalize help Avigilon achieve global growth with a wide range of world-class, scalable localization solutions. Click here to read the full Avigilon and Welocalize Case Study.


Highlights from Tekom Conference 2015

Welocalize recently attended tekom/tcworld 2015 held in Stuttgart, Germany. It represented an opportunity to engage in conversation with attending clients and colleagues, as well as share best practices on the localization of technical communications and documentation. Our attendance at such events is always important for Welocalize, as we benefit by engaging with tekom attendees and industry members to find out what they value in solutions provided by their language services providers.

Here are some of the key highlights from the event:

HIGHLIGHT #1: Automation and Content Management

One of our main findings from the tekom event was how processes and technologies involved in localization are moving closer together. They are becoming more integrated as one process and smooth workflow. Automating processes increase efficiency. It allows us to reduce administrative tasks and time-to-market. It also allows us to reduce the chances of human error and misunderstandings in file transfer and preparation. The content management systems (CMS) that many technical authors work with, must be integrated with the various translation management systems (TMS), terminology and language tools to allow an efficient process and ensure important information is accessible to everyone involved in the translation supply chain.

Welocalize uses its open-source translation management system (TMS), GlobalSight. This is a platform is available to all clients and localization teams, and allows everyone to engage in an automated translation process.

HIGHLIGHT #2: Machine Translation (MT)

MT is becoming more significant in the language services industry. While human translators still play the most important role, many companies use MT to complement and support human translators and enable higher volumes of content to be translated for various content formats. Although high standards are still required for many technical communications, use of MT and posted-edited MT is starting to play a key role. Many Tekom attendees were keen to learn more about how Welocalize weMT and language tools can help the overall localization program.

HIGHLIGHT #3: Terminology Management

Good terminology management is crucial in the translation of technical communications. At Welocalize, we make it our duty to provide the best quality translations for our clients, with a high emphasis on consistency of terminology. Attendees were keen to learn more about terminology management solutions and how these solutions could work for them. Furthermore, 75% of our clients agree that inconsistent terminology causes them the most frustration when translating content. More information can be found in the Welocalize blog Terminology Management for Translating Technical Communications.

HIGHLIGHT #4: In-Context Translations and Content Management

Technical content is highly complex and must be localized to high levels of quality and standards. Global organizations demand that translators possess a thorough knowledge of their product and industry, to ensure good accuracy and content is “in-context.” Having access to relevant product and company information as part of the overall translation workflow is key to accurate and relevant translations and also provides a better working environment for the translators and reviewers.

At tekom/tcworld 2015, we were delighted to speak with clients and attendees and gain insight into the value they see in Welocalize localization programs.  Attendees provided positive feedback related to the fact that Welocalize is very open and transparent in the approach to localization. Deploying innovative tools and technology puts us at the forefront in technical content solutions. Many clients gain great value from the fact that we are willing to work with all tools, including MT and content management systems across a variety of platforms, as we are guided by interoperability. We work with numerous connectors and technologies to ensure our clients have the solution that best fits their unique needs..


Tobias Wiesner, Business Development Director, Germany

Importance of ISO 9001 Standards for Technical Translations

Highest quality stamp

Highest quality stamp

When you look on a company’s website or ask for their portfolio of services or products, chances are the word “quality” will be mentioned somewhere. How do you know that these claims reflect a certain standard acceptance of quality? This is where the ISO 9001 standards are useful, as they provide the necessary proof of a company’s credentials and an implied fact-check for quality.

Quality is one of Welocalize’s 4-Pillars. It applies to all aspects of our work, service, talent, delivery and processes. Global language service providers like Welocalize understand the value that is placed on quality throughout and should pride themselves on delivering translation services that match the quality expectations of clients.

ISO 9000 is a quality management standard based on guidelines that are used to increase business efficiency and customer satisfaction. The purpose of ISO 9000 standards is to build organizational quality management systems that result in increases in productivity, reduction of unnecessary costs, while ensuring quality of processes and products. The ISO 9001 standards are designed to provide a documented process and protocol and apply to translation projects as well.  It is the standard most widely used for international management systems.

Welocalize has six locations (including Germany and the UK) that hold the ISO 9001:2008 certification. Welocalize’s ISO 9001:2008 certification is renewed every three years and audited every year. This ensures that we continue to provide our clients with the service they expect through the whole of the translation process, from initiation through to final delivery. It also helps us to continual work against established processes to produce a consistent output, and through our improvement cycle we are able to see those processes continuously evolve. ISO certification is especially important to the DACH market, where the concepts of quality, as well as efficiency, are especially desired for translation projects.

Holding ISO certification is very important when dealing with large volumes of technical translations. Technical translations must be accurate and meet the high levels of quality, represented in the source. Technical document and content translations may contain complex engineering diagrams, detailed operating instructions, important health and safety information. Translating this type of content requires high standards and quality levels at every stage of the translation workflow.

Because the ISO 9001 standards are applied across a wide range of industries, giving it a broad remit, our Quality Management Team have designed a Quality System which adapts those standards specifically to the translation industry with enough space to customize for additional client-specific requirements. One of the key aspects of Welocalize’s use of the ISO 9001 standard is the application of stage boundaries during any translation project. These allow the project managers to ensure the each stage of the project is sufficiently completed within or above our quality standards. The three main boundaries used are for three sections: translation, proofreading and DTP (desktop publishing). The splitting up of projects into these stages enables the project managers to efficiently manage quality at each stage, ensuring quality checks are complete before moving on to the next stage.

Another very important aspect of our quality management is setting up of a database for every translation project managed by Welocalize. This means that each project for every company we work with can be monitored effectively, and progress can be tracked throughout the project from the initial negotiations to the final proofreading of the translated text. In these databases, a different folder is set up for each stage of the process, to enable the project management team to organize the project efficiently, saving time and ensuring nothing inappropriate goes into a project.

The structures put in place by the measures laid down by the ISO 9001 standards allow us to conform each project we take on, while also allowing for the fact that every project is unique.

Quality in technical communications and translations will be a top discussion points at the upcoming tekom and tcworld events in Stuttgart, Germany, November 10-12. Welocalize will be attending tekom and we look forward to discussing how organizations can ensure quality is applied throughout the entire translation and localization workflow. To learn more about Welocalize quality standards, read Getting to Know Welocalize Quality and Training.


Based in Germany, Tobias is Business Development Director at Welocalize.

Terminology Management for Translating Technical Communications


The localization and translation industry deals with a wide variety of clients, content, industries and projects. No two projects assigned to us by our clients are ever the same. For this reason, we need to ensure that our localization programs are tailored to our client’s unique needs and their business sector.

One very important aspect of customer-centric approach is making sure we use consistent terminology that is appropriate and correct for each client and applicable industry sector(s). Translating technical content types needs particular focus on good terminology management. Often, industry-specific technical information and diagrams are authored with high levels of expertise; therefore, any subsequent translation must be delivered with the same level of quality and accuracy as the original source. Quality is essential.

According to an in-house survey conducted by Welocalize of some of Europe’s leading manufacturers, 75% of respondents claimed that “inconsistent terminology” has caused them the greatest frustration and challenge when creating and translating content.

Terminology is a set of defined words used by a particular brand, vertical market sector, company or product type, often specific to an industry. One such example of this can be found in the German language, where every tool and piece of equipment or machinery has a specific name, to explain exactly what it does, rather than the often-vague descriptions used in the English language. In English, a simple word such as pump can mean anything from a water pump to a bicycle pump, or an automotive pump to a large equipment pump. In German; however, a different word is used depending on the function of the device and what it the pump is required to “pump.”

Businesses require a meticulous and precise translation regarding their products, with little or no tolerance for error. Due to the highly technical nature of some documentation and instructions, errors could in fact be fatal. Incorrect usage of words or terms in certain health and safety or compliance content could have high risk and even compromise the safety of the end-user.

To this end, a terminology database must be established to effectively manage specific terms. Even if you utilize a simple shared spreadsheet or implement a terminology language technology solution, consciously applying time and resource to managing terminology within the organization will ensure better quality technical translations. Welocalize utilizes offers terminology management programs and technologies to assist with this component of the translation workflow.

Translators are in a better position to deliver high quality translations when they are armed with information, terminology and style guides for any translation and localization projects they are working on for a client. If different translators use different words and different sources, the process becomes confusing, inconsistent and leads to a loss of accuracy. In the end, it can result in wasting time and money. This is also likely to affect the reputation of the brand, if not managed correctly.

The Annual tekom and tcworld 2015 Conference takes place in Stuttgart, Germany, November 12-14.  I will be attending and I looking forward to talking with attendees and sharing knowledge and experience in the area of technical communications and documentation, translation, localization and terminology management. You can learn more about the event at If you are planning to attend, please reach out to me at


Based in Germany, Tobias is Business Development Director at Welocalize.

Further Reading:

The Role of Technology in Localizing Technical Translations

Welocalize and Global Manufacturing: The Importance of Effective Terminology

Welocalize Terminology Management Solution – Teaminology:  

CMS and the Manufacturing Translation Process

Many global companies use content management systems (CMS) and authoring tools to continually create and update source documentation for a variety of content, including: technical manuals, user guides and supports, marketing collateral and much more. The CMS plays an important role in the overall translation workflow and it is important that the two systems are compatible and integrated where possible.

Today, many global manufacturing companies use content management systems for their technical documentation. Companies in this sector produce vast amounts of technical content and use of a CMS reduces document creation costs and also translation costs. Certain documents types are split into modules and managed within the CMS for reuse. Technical documents are continually being updated and modified to meet changing product and global requirements.

When these modules are translated, they are also managed by the CMS in order to translate only those modules which have changed. This can lead to challenges in the overall translation workflow. Here are some suggestions to improve your process.

  • COMPLEX GRANULARITY: Localization and translation companies may only get the so-called delta for translation; that is only the modules that have changed. These modules need to be large enough, so that translators have enough context to provide a good translation. If the module requiring translation is relatively short, its translation may not fit in with any other associated modules of documents. Translators must be provided with supporting materials to ensure quality translations.
  • LIFECYCLE MANAGEMENT: Modules which don’t change will not be touched; therefore, inconsistencies may occur throughout the modules, especially when terminology is adapted or translations are improved in the Translation Memories (TMs). All modules need to be checked periodically in source and target language to ensure consistency and quality.
  • STRUCTURE: CMS’s often use different databases for different products to reflect the necessary specialization and terminology of these product lines. Translation Memories need to be structured in the same way in order not to dilute the CMS approach.
  • TERMINOLOGY MANAGEMENT: As mentioned, any change in use of terminology across product lines must be applied throughout all modules and associated documentation.

To overcome these challenges, manufacturing clients must work closely with their lead language service provider (LSP) to plan and integrate the CMS and translation management system (TMS) and workflow. This will ensure accurate and quality technical translations across entire product portfolios.

If you have any questions about your CMS and TMS systems and how to improve translation efficiencies and output, please email me at


Based in Germany, Christian Zeh is Business Development Director at Welocalize.


Emerging Content Types in Manufacturing

ThinkstockPhotos-168810325In March 2015, the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) published their annual report on content marketing trends in the manufacturing sector. The report revealed that 82% of manufacturing marketers are using content marketing[i]. It defined content marketing as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content.” Creating content that directly appeals to your audience is becoming an acknowledged business discipline, including in the manufacturing industry.

Marketing in the manufacturing sector is slowly changing from the company seeking customers, to customers seeking the company. Customers, direct and indirect, are more informed these days and companies can take advantage of that by being the ones to inform them. Providing relevant content also allows you to constantly be on a buyer’s radar without explicitly asking them to buy from you.

The buying cycle in the manufacturing sector can usually take anywhere from six months to a year or perhaps longer, meaning that you have a very small window of opportunity to pull in that prospect via trade shows or sales calls. Publishing educational and value-driven content can help make sure that your company’s name is thought because you were viewed as the expert. Although content such as instruction manuals, maintenance documents and data sheets are still widely published, the usage of various other types like e-blasts, blogs and social media has become extremely popular for educating a supply chain, distributors, procurement, employees and consumers.

Social media content has taken the manufacturing sector by storm. Manufacturers are embracing the mega-platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Even though manufacturing is viewed more as a traditional market sector, there is definitely a place for it in social media. Companies, especially those in product manufacturing, are able to offer demonstrations of products, virtual tours around the facility and present safety procedures, fabrication processes and equipment. Being open about how your company works gives it credibility and build confidence from your buyers, whether direct to businesses or consumers or through a channel.

YouTube was rated the most effective social media platform for the manufacturing sector and videos were the most used content marketing tactic in the 2015 CMI report. It’s no wonder when this video-sharing site has four billion views per day,and is the second largest search engine in the world. YouTube can work for B2C and B2B companies alike. Your videos can be aimed at investors, engineers or the general public. The content of your videos are very important. They must have a purpose and should engage, educate and differentiate.

LinkedIn is also a highly effective social media platform which can establish your company in the B2B manufacturing community. LinkedIn is a professional social networking site with over 200 million members worldwide. There are 1.5 million LinkedIn groups, and some of those will be groups pertaining to the manufacturing sector. Initiating conversations and getting involved with discussions in industry groups show other businesses that your company is interested and up-to-date with the trends and events currently happening in the manufacturing sector.

The 2015 CMI manufacturing report revealed that when asked what their most important goal was for using social media, the manufacturing marketers answered brand awareness. Social media is an effective global marketing tool. Whether updating clients, building your brand, educating an employee or engaging with potential buyers, you have to make sure you can communicate globally – in the right language.

Welocalize specializes in providing manufacturers global localization and translation for all types of content. Our specialized language services include multimedia translation so that videos can be watched  in English as well as in dozens of other languages, websites are catered to your audience when your brand has a presence on the global stage, and of course accurate translation for traditional and vital technical documentation and corporate communications.

Louise Donkor, Communications and Marketing Specialist at Welocalize

[i] Responses presented are from 217 B2B manufacturing marketers in North America.

Being a Manufacturing Translation Manager

Mitya Rahtz_10-04-2015In this post, Mitya Rahtz shares some insights about the role of a busy manufacturing industry translation manager. Working for Legrand at its global head office in Limoges, France, Mitya is responsible for the management and coordination of translation projects. Legrand is a leading multinational manufacturer with close to 36,000 employees worldwide, marketing a total of 200,000 products in 78 categories.

My guess is that few jobs are probably as straightforward as they may superficially seem, but I do know for sure that the job of an in-house Translation Manager is very much a multifaceted assignment.

Going by my own, statistically insignificant experience, the layman’s perception focuses mainly on product data sheets and catalogs. This is what people usually mention whenever I introduce myself to someone from another walk of life; it represents the visible part of the iceberg. Occasionally, the focus will shift to websites; however, that’s mainly when LSPs phone me to offer their services in satisfying a supposed need for localization in countless countries!

In any case, few people realize either just how many different types of translation requirement actually need to be satisfied in the everyday life of a manufacturing company, or how many different hats you get to wear in attempting to do so.

Looking at the diversity of material, first of all, technical documents are obviously part of the picture, but there’s so much more. The requirements range from an expatriate’s tailor-made employment contract to the installation manual for a dual-technology lighting management system; an advertising brochure for a range of high-end decorative finishes aimed specifically at architects and design consultants to a data sheet drafted in doubtful English by non-natives, which first needs clarifying to enable its contents to be translated into various other languages. Include a legal opinion on a touchy international patent dispute or the maintenance handbook of an air filtering system, not to mention company annual reports and financial statements, press releases, video subtitles that need to be kept as short as at all possible, and so much more. The challenges are many, some apparent, others concealed, which need to be identified and overcome, usually ‘ASAP’ or, as the French say, ‘no later than yesterday’!

Ensuring this works obviously requires the help of first-class translation providers, which is why you’re reading this article! It also requires intervening in a variety of capacities.

Being tasked with coordinating the response to your company’s translation needs means you are de facto acting as a buyer, constantly mindful of the need to optimize spending and contractual framework condition, and performing ongoing supplier assessment.

At the same time, for your purchasing department you are the main spokesperson for translation users in your organization, for whom priority is service quality, in all aspects of the term: getting just what they need, on their specific terms, on time, and reliably so.

Sometimes, you may need to explain to these colleagues how translation actually works, what goes into those delivery times and prices they may see as excessive, what can or cannot be reasonably expected. You are a guarantor of market standard and professional practice. In this respect, having actual experience as a translator is, of course, invaluable.

As the client-supplier interface, you get to channel sometimes complex information for explanatory purposes, adding or removing details in order to make messages intelligible, sometimes by decoding in-house acronyms, project names and other specific jargon to defuse so many potential mistranslations. Far from being a passive messenger, you need to be able to deploy your knowledge of both the corporate context and translation techniques in order to interpret and transmit what people on either side are saying, to make sure no material details get lost in the cross-talk. This is where functional attachment to a corporate communications department makes sense, since you are very much a mediator.

And at the bottom line, you get to be a sort of front-line spending controller, reminding your in-house clients that translations cost money, cross-checking to validate and sometimes redefine their needs, ensuring each request is funded, and handling a lot of spreadsheets every month in the process of producing ever more detailed reports to your colleagues in Finance!

In short, you are at once a buyer, user, proofreader, scheduler, broker, controller and referee, to name but those roles. In fact, one of the few things I seldom get to see at close quarters is boredom! It’s a constantly stimulating and occasionally thrilling job, which largely precludes any routine.

Meeting interpreting needs is another side of the job, and here it is even more true to say there is virtually no such thing as a “typical” request, as you almost invariably have to tailor the solution according to the customer’s requirement and budget, the locations and logistics involved, the equipment required and/or available… But that’s another story!

Mitya Rahtz

Translation Manager, Group Internal Communication & External Relations Dept. at Legrand

About Legrand: Legrand is the global specialist in electrical and digital building infrastructures. Its comprehensive offering of solutions for use in commercial, industrial and residential markets makes it a benchmark for customers worldwide. Innovation for a steady flow of new products with high added value and acquisitions are prime vectors for growth.

Tips to Produce Powerful Manufacturing Multilingual Content

Janie HallwoodJanie Hallwood works as a project manager for Welocalize, working with large global manufacturing clients. She has been working in the localization and translation industry for nearly ten years and in this blog, offers she provides key insights and tips for effectively translating manufacturing content.

Having worked with clients in the manufacturing sector for many years now, I have handled countless technical documents and I am aware that this content presents its own special challenges.  These challenges include:

TIME: Successful localization of documents such as operator manuals, user guides, datasheets and maintenance schedules is made far smoother when you have specialist knowledge at your disposal. At Welocalize, we are aware that time pressure on translation workflows is often a high priority for our manufacturing clients, where localization requirements are sales-driven.

COMPLIANCE: Another major concern for manufacturers is compliance. Strict industry-specific regulations that need to be adhered to and that often vary, depending on the country or region in which you are operating.

ACCURATE CONTENT: User documentation often needs to function as a walk-through for personnel who may or may not have used similar equipment before and accuracy is essential.

So how do you ensure that your translated documents are compliant, clear to follow and delivered in the shortest possible time-frame? Here are my four top tips for successful localization of manufacturing content:

Tip One:  Create Translation-Friendly Documents

Time and cost can be saved by creating documents that have been developed with translation in mind – at the source. In the case of large manuals, minor issues, which can be fixed in minutes for smaller files become time-consuming, needing hours of intervention before translation can even begin. Consider how the document is put together. There are several areas where a file can be optimized for translation.

  • Table of Contents (TOC): A correctly set-up table of contents will be automatically recreated in the translated version, potentially saving hours of costly and manual post-translation formatting work.
  • Non-editable elements: Do you have headings in your file? Are these editable text, or converted to outline text (curves)? A common feature of design agency-created files is outline text headings, which need to be manually recreated in order to edit the text. It is advisable to avoid using outline text unless this is used to protect text from editing. It can be used to good effect for any terms which should not be localized, such as product names, company divisions or industry-specific regulation names.
  • Graphics: Text in graphics is another common feature in manufacturing sector documents. Where possible, we advise avoiding the use of text in graphics and opt instead for editable keys. This includes numbers in the image, editable text beneath the image in the file.

Finally, think about what you don’t want to translate, as well as what you do. Setting all non-translatable content on a separate layer in InDesign, for example, ensures that requirements are clear and saves on manual file preparation time. This layer can simply be switched ‘off’. This is great way to handle menu options, for example, in a scenario where software is not localized.

Tip 2: Ensure Regional Compliance

This will be high on the agenda for the content author and the supporting legal advisory team, who will almost certainly already possess the knowledge of the required industry norms and standards to mention for each geographical region. However, you still need an expert translator with experience in the field and target country. This is a great asset when it comes to verifying that all the requirements in all languages are met. Verification will be covered during translation itself and also when the translator performs a final check (LSO – linguistic sign-off) on the file in its final layout. This is of particular benefit when the translations relate to operations on a different continent from the document originator.

Tip 3: Does the Walk-Through Work

The objective of many manufacturing sector translations is for the end-user to be able to follow a production process using the translated document. We strongly recommend to that all product and process information available for the document authors is also made available to the translators. They need to picture themselves in the shoes of the end-user during the translation. Visual references and beta versions of software are perfect for this too. We also always advise that the translator has the opportunity to review the full document after the formatting work has been done (LSO again – the holy grail of in context review). This allows for any uncertainties to be ironed out and any last improvements to be made to the document before the translation is delivered.

Tip 4: Allow time for translation

Possibly the most important tip of all is to allow for enough time to get the job done, completely and accurately. Manufacturing sector documents are often large and complex, and the authoring process will often have taken weeks. A typical translation throughput is around 2,000 words per day, so wherever possible do build consideration of this into the project lead-time.

Welocalize works with global manufacturers every day. We realize that the localization and translation of complex, technical manufacturing documents is important to the overall growth business strategy of any global manufacturer. If you have any tips and recommendations you would like to share, drop me a line.


For more information, read Welocalize Manufacturing Overview

Translating ERP Software and Content for Oil and Gas

ThinkstockPhotos-466311504Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is used as essential business management software in the oil and gas industry.  It is a suite of integrated applications, that large multinational enterprises use to collect, store, manage and interpret data.

Due to high levels of investment, capital and supply chain complexities, many companies in the oil and gas industry deploy ERP systems to effectively manage their day-to-day business. The overall process to discover, extract and deliver energy is complex and requires robust ERP software to ensure smarter project management, procurement and supplier management to achieve operation efficiency, control costs and improve capital planning.

ERP implementations in the energy sector tend to happen across many geographies and suppliers, which requires translation and localization in multiple languages for the both content and software.

Large ERP providers like SAP, Microsoft Dynamics, NetSuite and IFS will often employ translators to produce localized versions of software.  End-clients and ERP providers also partner with language services providers to help produce local language versions of software strings, technical documentation, managed content, training courses and online help. For each ERP deployment in any sector, there will be elements of customization and this will generate demand for multilingual content.

For a large oil and gas company, one platform can coordinate planning, development and operation of complex capital intensive programs and assets across a full range of regulators, resource owners, investors, partner suppliers and energy consumers. As use of ERP software increases in the oil and gas industry, so does the demand for localization. Big data software systems help oil and gas companies optimize the full life cycle of operations that enable further development of global energy resources.

There are some key considerations for any ERP localization program in the oil and gas sector:

  1. Local Compliance Regulations. For each geography or oil field, local compliance regulations must be met. This may mean issuing contracts, reports and certifications and these need to be in the local language. For tax purposes, financial reports have to be produced in the local language of the country. This means any ERP reporting modules must be able to generate reports in the relevant local languages. This is a key consideration when deciding which languages and which ERP modules are to be translated for a global user base.
  2. Internationalization Factors. Any ERP implementation across international barriers will need much product internationalization. This takes into consideration factors like time zones, calendars and character sets which all need to be set at a local level.
  3. Deployment Period. Global ERP deployment can take from one to three years to complete. If there is ongoing translation and localization requirements, oil and gas companies must partner with a reliable, global language service provider (LSP) who has experience in ERP deployments in this industry sector and who can scale up when required and help drive the localization program in the long-term.
  4. Language Resources and Subject Matter Expertise. As with any specialized subject in localization, subject matter expertise (SME) is crucial. ERP localization and translation is specialized and knowledge of ERP for oil and gas companies is even more specialized. Any LSP in the energy sector must be able to demonstrate an established network of translators who have subject matter expertise and can deal with such a complex topic of software localization.
  5. Technical Support Documentation. Many suppliers within the oil and gas industry employ an international staff, who may all speak different languages. If ERP systems break down on an oil rig or platform, the software user interface and online help have to be compatible with the user’s native language.
  6. Training. Customization, practices, process and usage of ERP software and content usually require multilingual applications.  This is important with implementation, updates and new user materials.  Retention of content is much higher when presented in the user’s native language.  The ability to manage a global workforce, using a global system requires global content.

Implementing an ERP system within the oil and gas industry can be a complex project involving many third parties and high levels of investment. Companies need industry-specific localization solutions with an LSP partner who has extensive knowledge and experience of ERP localization.

Global Communications Manager at Welocalize

For more information on Welocalize localization solutions for the Oil and Gas sector, click here.

Role of Technology in Localizing Technical Communications

96220781There are different priorities when it comes to translating and localizing technical content. Translated technical documentation must be as concise as the source content. Key focus points include consistency, correct terminology and technical accuracy.

What role does technology play in producing high quality technical documentation? One often assumes each word and diagram must be addressed and managed by human translators. Actually, there are a number of tools that can be used to help produce ongoing, high quality technical translations while managing deadlines and budgets.

Machine Translation (MT) for Technical Communications.

When translating and localizing technical content, MT can be a great tool. Machine translations is not a standalone tool, nor a magic wand that can fix the mismatch of growing content volumes and decreasing budgets. It is a productivity tool within the content translation supply chain. To continue to achieve high quality, MT with post-editing can still speed up the translation cycle, faster and cheaper than using 100% human translators. With these strengths particularly beneficial to technical communication, it is hard to ignore MT.

“It’s the reality of our industry now,” says Nicole McColgan, Senior Project Manager at Welocalize. “Machine translation is not a replacement, but a progression. Quality is still valued, so this is where post-editing comes in.” Post-editing is becoming an increasingly valued skill with the rise of MT to increase the quality of the MT output.

Terminology Management for Tech Docs.

The terminology used in technical communications can be quite specialized. You should consider the in-house terminology that each client utilizes and apply it appropriately. In her blog, Welocalize Senior Translator Sarah Evans, recommends building a spreadsheet of extracted key technical terms for each client using a specialist tool like MultiTerm Extract. This helps you to speak the clients’ language.  This is especially crucial as clients tend to use technical content internally, so communication between the vendor and client needs to be clear to gauge exactly what the client wants in translations. Click here to read Sarah’s blog, The Importance of Effective Terminology Management.

“Welocalize focuses on the client’s needs, making any suggestions for improvement and listening to them,” notes Nicole McColgan. “Managing terminology effectively ensures that the translation process is faster, as there is less time spent on researching terminology for specific clients. It also reflects well on your company, as consistently accurate and timely technical translations are a top priority for the client.”

Management Systems: Translation and Content.

The adoption of a content management system (CMS) helps content to be translation-ready, resulting in a quicker turnover time, benefiting the client and the language service provider (LSP). CMS’s may not be a direct tool for localizing and translating technical content; however, they certainly help in the preparation of content. Using a CMS will benefit clients in the long run with all types of content being effectively and centrally managed. A CMS also can run in tandem with the translation management system (TMS) used by the LSP, making the whole process smoother and more automated. The TMS also benefits both the client and LSP with its terminology database, translation memory and automated localization workflow.

Even complex technical documentation requiring high levels of accuracy and quality can benefit from automation. Technology systems like MT, CMS, TMS and terminology management tools play an important role in the overall translation process and can help organizations produce more high quality content to their global audiences.


Louise Donkor is a member of Welocalize’s global marketing and business support group.

How to Prepare Technical Documentation for Localization

Hannah Brady is a project manager at Welocalize, based in the UK office. She has spent a number of years in the localization industry, working with clients with high volumes of technical documentation.  In this blog, Hannah focuses on high level documentation and looks at how to best prepare technical communications for localization.

521457763Documentation is critical for creating and selling a global product. Technical documents, in particular, are important for end users to understand how a complex product works and how to operate it safely and effectively. A clear, concise and well-written document also helps sales teams to promote the product and increase sales. The translation of technical documentation must also bear these qualities in order to compete in the global market.

In my years as a project manager (PM) at Welocalize, I have seen technical documents in many shapes and formats. These range from instruction sheets, datasheets and specifications created with Microsoft Office tools such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Publisher, to more complex user guides, operator manuals and drawings authored in more sophisticated software like FrameMaker, InDesign, MadCap Flare and AutoCAD. There is a lot more to localizing a document than simply forwarding it to the translator and review teams. It takes time and effort to put together a technical document in its native format and it takes similar effort to prepare a document for translation, separating it into its different components.

There are different approaches and methodologies involved when dealing and preparing the different documents and file formats. As a PM,  it is my job to ensure the scope is assessed. This means examining the native files in detail to see what should be translated, which tool should be used for translation, and ultimately how much it will cost. As many other PMs will agree, it is essential that all materials are available and potential pitfalls are covered right at the start of the project life cycle.  This is especially critical as there is little margin for error given the need to provide specialist target content under time pressure. In addition, missed text and graphics discovered late in the workflow can be disastrous, resulting in missed shipments and launch deadlines. At Welocalize, we have a pool of dedicated experts who assess all components of technical documentation and can advise on the best approach.

Tips for how best to develop and prepare source documentation:

  1.  Write content clearly and with a global audience in mind. It goes without saying that a poorly written document can make or break a successful product. If a translator has trouble understanding the message behind the source material, there is every chance that it will not be rendered correctly. Even worse, serious misunderstandings can occur which will have a disastrous effect on the reputation of a product and indeed the business responsible for it. Ensure that your document is written clearly and neutral and is free of colloquial registers that may be misunderstood.
  2. Make room for language (literally). Translated text is often around 20% longer than English, needing extra space to fit into the document. It is recommended to design your document with this factor in mind, positioning graphics and text boxes to allow enough white space is available to accommodate longer text. It may be necessary to reduce the font size at DTP (desktop publishing) stage to fit text, so it is also worth considering how many points you can allow size to be reduced and provide instructions to the PM.
  3. Provide all materials needed for the document in an organized structure. To ensure that accurate quotes can be issued quickly, it is essential to provide all native files used to create the source document, which should be editable. This includes graphics used in the document. Instructions or guidelines on how to process certain files are also invaluable for planning a project and final QA (quality assurance)review before delivery. By ensuring everything is available right at the start, it allows the necessary questions to be asked at the beginning of the project cycle and avoids delays halfway through due to queries.
  4. Avoid embedding text in graphics. CAT (computer-assisted translation) tools can only pick up editable text for translation. Our recommendation is to avoid inserting text in non-editable graphics and visuals. A good alternative would be to consider using captions instead. However, if your company design does not allow this, our evaluation team is on-hand to keep an eagle eye out for graphics and advise on how they should be handled. By ensuring all files are editable, significantly reduces the risk of errors and resulting delays and extra costs. To read more on text expansion, see blog Seven Golden Rules for Optimizing Graphics in Technical Communications.
  5. Use hard returns and spacing with caution. We often see hard returns used in technical documents, many times in the middle of sentences, to ensure the text fits into the design of a document. While inserting such breaks is an easy way to design the layout of the source text, split segments can cause problems for the translator. It also increases translation costs unnecessarily. For example, if a sentence translated in an old manual is split by a break in an update of the document (even though the text itself is exactly the same), this results in a loss of exact TM (translation memory) matching and discounts.

Translation of technical documents requires careful consideration and planning from all sides involved in the process.  Following these best practice guidelines will help ensure your documents are translated accurately, on time and that costs are kept to a minimum.


In April, Hannah wrote a blog, Welocalize’s Guide to Localization in the Global Manufacturing Sector which looked at how technical documentation, which is common in the manufacturing sector, must be accurate and comply with standards, directives and regulations imposed by authorities of the target local market.

Based in the UK, Hannah Brady works in the Welocalize UK office.

Seven Rules for Graphics in Technical Communications

452217709Graphics and images form a crucial part of almost all communication materials, especially in technical documentation where the use of complex engineering diagrams is common. In this blog, Welocalize DTP Consultants Elaine Abbott and Sue Rigby share their seven golden rules and tips on how you can optimize source graphic files for localization in technical communications.

Humans recognize images better than text. Text and image excite different parts of the brain. A good image aids the memory to visualize. It is easier to depict a complex process or technical procedure using a flowchart or detailed graphic. Good technical authors will include graphics in their communication materials and these graphics will need to be localized for global distribution. One basic rule is to create graphics with localization in mind.

Seven Considerations for Developing and Localizing Graphics

1. Graphic Preparation

Technical manuals and documents contain many complex graphics and those graphics may require the insertion of translated text to complete the illustration. Provision of these original graphics is very important. Graphics such as flowcharts and diagrams may have been obtained from a variety of sources within an organization or from previous documents. Over time, it is quite common for the original source files to be untraceable. Graphic files may have been converted to .jpg or .tif format and simply inserted into the document. This can cause challenges in the localization process as the graphics then cannot be edited.

Providing access to text layers in the original graphic file format will increase cost savings and time required. For example, in order to localize a .gif or .jpg file, the original Photoshop (.psd) or Adobe Illustrator source file is needed along with overall style guides that were used to create the original graphic: color information, preferred fonts, design specifications and export or save settings.

If the original graphic is not available and you have to supply a non-editable file, then your language service provider (LSP) can create a new text box; overlay it onto the original graphic thereby covering the original text. This is possible if the original text is on a white or solid background; however, more difficult if the background is not uniform, such as the gradient background in the illustration shown:

gradient example

Challenges with graphics in the source language files will be multiplied by the number of languages being translated into for the project.

2. Text Expansion

When you translate from English into another language, the translated text will take up more space. Most languages are longer than English by about 15% and languages such as Russian can be up to 40% longer. Once the text in the graphic is translated, text expansion can cause problems with the original layout of the graphic.


source content example


frech translation example

Minimize issues by using numbered call-outs instead and allowing for text expansion in the source.

call-outs example


3. Use of CAT tools

Localization of graphics is usually carried out with the use of computer assisted translation (CAT) tools, such as SDL Trados. There is software available that allows LSPs, like Welocalize, to automate the extraction and insertion of text from graphics created in some packages such as Illustrator or CorelDraw into .rtf format for use with this CAT tools. Other graphic formats may require a more manual labor intensive copy and paste approach.

Try to avoid any text in graphics in the first place and create the text in the main documentation itself. This ensures that the text will appear “in sequence” to the translator and also allows for the text to be incorporated more easily into Translation Memory (TM). If the text must be adjacent to graphic elements, try to position it in such a way that there is some horizontal space for text expansion. Ensure that the text is in a text box and that no hard returns are contained within the paragraph. When the TM tools analyze segments, the text is usually segmented at a logical break such as a hard return. As an example, inserting a hard return into a paragraph so that a long sentence description can fit into a narrow text box can negate the benefits of using CAT tools. It may also simply mean your LSP takes longer at the file preparation stage, having to spend time (and money) deleting the hard returns ready for the TM analysis.

4. Build Terminology Glossaries and Translation Memories (TMs)

Building glossaries and TMs means your team of translators will become familiar with products and standard documents and manuals, which is important when localizing technical publications. Using a consistent team will mean you will establish a library of graphics that can be quickly and efficiently localized.

5. Provide a List of Graphics

When supplying source files to your LSP, provide a list of all graphics along with their respective formats and information relating to each graphic. For example, which graphics do not have translatable text, graphics that do include text and where the respective pages and files can be located.

6. Localizing Screenshots

If you pictorially display screenshots as graphics, localized versions of the software must be made available so new screenshots can be taken. These are especially important as a source of reference for the translator to ensure exactly the correct terms used in the software are used in the translation.

7. Keep Graphics Culturally Generic

Take into consideration the culture or religion of the country. Each culture has different value systems, varying beliefs and interpretations of non-verbal communication. For example, in China the color red and the number eight are considered lucky. In Japan, black and the numbers four and nine are considered unlucky.

Elaine Abbott and Sue Rigby are both Senior DTP Consultants at Welocalize and are based in the UK.



Influencing Technical Communications

by Christian Zeh, Welocalize Business Development

Christian at TEKOMThe big event in the European technical communications industry, tekom and tcworld conference 2014, took place this month in Stuttgart, Germany. I spent three days talking to delegates, clients and vendors and also delivered a presentation in German on the localization of user generated content (UGC) that you can reference below. Living near Stuttgart and in my role as Business Development Manager at Welocalize, I am primarily focused on the German market so this event is always a pleasure.

Over the course of the three day conference, this year’s event gave me the chance to meet many technical communication professionals and also speak with several technology and CMS providers that the tekom and tcworld conference attracts each year. It was my second time as a presenter at tekom and I was delighted that my presentation about localizing UGC attracted so many delegates. This is indicative of how people within the technical communication space are looking beyond the traditional methods of authoring, publishing and translating content and looking at emerging content types, like UGC and social media to improve technical content.

Technical communication materials are very different to other types of content, such as marketing and software materials. The localization of technical communications requires a high level of subject expertise including good terminology management, knowledge of required in-country standards (legal and otherwise) and high quality output to ensure the optimum end-user experience. A poorly localized technical instruction manual can result in the failure of a global product launch or even a lawsuit. Accuracy is of the utmost importance so these localization tools for technical communication must be carefully assessed for suitability.

I attended several excellent sessions at tekom. A very interesting presentation was given by Tony O‘Dowd from KantanMT, talking about measuring the performance of Statistical MT. This presentation was very accessible and provided good insight to how MT and training of the MT engines are currently working.  As an example, looking at how “fuzzy matches” in the MT output explained how automated utility scoring works in the real world. This aligned with my presentation materials. Special note:  Welocalize also hosted a presentation on The MT Engine Lifecycle that you can view here.

Historically, technical content may not have sat within the overall central content strategy at an organization. Separate authors and translators can result in an inconsistent customer experience, which can be confusing to the client. If the marketing materials promised a certain type of brand and customer experience and the technical instructions don’t look anything like that promise, you could be in big trouble!

Often centralizing the creation and localization of all content, including technical communications, ensures consistency. By developing a key relationship with a global localization provider, like Welocalize, we can together achieve consistency for the end users. We can maximize the return of investment made in technical content, by using trained and dedicated translator and reviewer teams and up-to-date technology tools. For companies in industries like manufacturing and automotive, who are producers of large volumes of technical communications, content could be one of their biggest business assets. Simple steps like setting up glossaries and terminology management programs can contribute significantly to the global content strategy and quality of localized technical content.

In a recent Welocalize survey, technical communications is one of the top five priorities in 2015.  Is it one of your priorities?  How are you thinking about UGC and social media in relationship to your technical communications. Let’s continue the conversation if you attended tekom or if you would like to discuss my presentation (in German or English) and how we can help you. Send me an email at


PRESENTATION:  Tekom 2014 – Nutzergenerierte Inhalte – kostengünstige Lösungen zur mehr… (User-generated content – cost-effective solutions for multilingual publication)




Welocalize to Present at tekom and tcworld conference in Germany

Frederick, Marytcworld 2014land – November 5, 2014 – Welocalize, global leader in innovative translation and localization solutions, will be exhibiting and presenting at the tekom and tcworld annual conference, taking place in Messe Stuttgart, Germany, November 11 – 13, 2014. The tekom annual conference together with the tcworld conference and tekom fair is the largest global event and marketplace for technical communication.

“Welocalize has many years of experience working with companies who generate large volumes of technical communication content,” said Christian Zeh, director of business development in Germany at Welocalize. “We’re looking forward to bringing in-depth industry insights to this year’s tekom and tcworld conference and sharing best practices on how companies can better drive international revenue by developing innovative global content strategies.”

Welocalize will be presenting at the following sessions:

Tuesday, November 11 at 11:15am – Christian Zeh, Welocalize director of business development in Germany will present “User-generated content – cost-effective solutions for multilingual publication.” He will discuss localization of user-generated content (UGC), including the challenges and solutions for translating this growing content type.

Tuesday, November 11 at 1:45pm – Derek Coffey, Welocalize SVP of technology will deliver a tools presentation entitled, “GlobalSight Translation Management System Supports COTI to Enable CMS.” He will provide insights into the latest developments of Welocalize’s GlobalSight, including the new COTI connector.

The Welocalize team will be meeting with attendees at exhibition booth 2G09 to meet with technical communication experts.  Welocalize will share expert insight and best practices for the localization and translation of technical documentation and related content types.

For more information or to attend the tekom and tcworld conference, please visit

About Welocalize – Welocalize, Inc., founded in 1997, offers innovative translation and localization solutions helping global brands to grow and reach audiences around the world in more than 125 languages. Our solutions include global localization management, translation, supply chain management, people sourcing, language services and automation tools including MT, testing and staffing solutions and enterprise translation management technologies. With over 600 employees worldwide, Welocalize maintains offices in the United States, UK, Germany, Ireland, Japan and China.

The Global Construction Industry: How will Big Growth Forecasts affect Localization Strategies?

478782449The volume of construction output will grow by more than 70% to $15 trillion worldwide by 2025. A significant trend in the construction industry is the growth expected from emerging markets like China, India and Indonesia. – Source: Global Construction 2025 report, July 2013, Global Construction Perspectives and Oxford Economics.

Financial crisis aside, investment in housing and infrastructure is increasing. As certain sectors head into recovery, construction and engineering projects that may have been put on hold during the crisis are now going out to tender. One of the key trends in the global construction market is the significant growth of construction taking place in emerging markets versus developed markets, especially in hot spots like China, India, Indonesia and Brazil. Industry experts reckon China will generate 25% of the world’s construction output by 2025.

What happens internationally over the next couple of decades in the construction industry will not only significantly affect the international business strategy of global construction and engineering companies, for example manufacturers of heavy construction equipment, it will also directly impact the localization strategy.

If construction and engineering organizations are chasing big contracts in Asia Pacific emerging markets, like China, India or Indonesia, then this will generate demand for greater volume of multilingual material in these target languages.  Examples of content that requires localization:

  • Marketing materials, tender proposals and legal materials needed to secure contracts and promote services.
  • Technical manuals, user guides and safety instructions that accompany construction equipment to be sold and used more extensively in these emerging markets

Recent opinion has indicated that the emerging market economies haven’t grown at the rate originally forecast. Recent figures have seen them under-perform compared to that of the developed market economies, like USA, Europe and UK). It would seem that there is an overall long-term trend for increased demand in the global emerging markets. For the construction industry, this has been fueled by increased demand from a rising middle class and the desire for a better quality and standard of living.

At Welocalize, we have seen a notable increase in the demand for translations into languages, typically used in the emerging market economies. In Welocalize’s recent annual report of top languages and word counts for 2013, the demand for target languages from some emerging markets is on an upward trajectory. Notably, 42% of total word count for 2013 came from translation into the top three languages: Japanese, Simplified Chinese and Latin American Spanish. Korean experienced a 20% annual increase. South East Asian languages are rising in the patent and legal world: Indonesian, Thai and Vietnamese are now in Park IP’s Top 20 Languages. Park IP is a Welocalize company specializing in legal and IP translation. Park IP Indonesian represents 50% of Welocalize and Park IP total Indonesian word counts.

If construction companies are looking to open offices and recruit staff in these growth markets to capitalize on increased demand, then they need to be linguistically savvy too. To be understood in these new markets they need to partner up with a strong localization partner. Content used within the construction, engineering and manufacturing industries often contain a lot of highly specific technical terminology. This requires specialist and experienced translation and localization knowledge to ensure global construction companies get the maximum return on the investment they make translating content.

Buyers of localization services within the global construction industry would also be advised to check that any global language service provider (LSP) they partner with is accredited with the quality standard, ISO 9001:2008 and has access to subject matter experts (SMEs) to ensure accurate and consistent translations, especially for technical translations.

By Louise Law, Communications Manager, Welocalize

Welocalize and Global Manufacturing: The Importance of Effective Terminology Management

Sarah Evans is Language Team Lead at Welocalize in the UK. She has worked at Welocalize for six years and is responsible for maintaining and creating our key clients’ termbases. A true linguist, Sarah also works as one of Welocalize’s in-house technical translators. She studied German at University and has an MA in Translation Studies. In this blog, Sarah shares her knowledge on terminology management and how important it is for global manufacturing clients.

sarahevansAccording to an in-house survey conducted by Welocalize to some of Europe’s leading manufacturers, 75% of manufacturing companies who were asked “What causes you the biggest headache when creating and translating content?” responded with “inconsistent terminology”. There is no simple way to manage terminology. As a technical translator and linguist, terminology plays a decisive role in each and every document that I translate.

Managing terminology proves a common, continual challenge to many clients, especially in the manufacturing industry where there are high volumes of technical translation. Accurate industry-specific terms are of paramount importance to both manufacturers and their customers. As Hannah Brady discussed in her blog, “Welocalize’s Guide to Localization in the Global Manufacturing Sector”, manufacturing content must comply with the standards, directives and regulations imposed by the authorities of the target local market. If you can crack terminology management, you can deliver accurate, high quality content at an accelerated rate without incurring huge costs.

A good starting point is to define terminology: a collection of words that have special meaning in a given subject field. Language Service Providers (LSP’s) should strive to maintain a term database (termbase) and glossary for each client, exclusively compiled with terminology related to their systems, products and services. Highly specific technical terminology can differ not just across companies, but for large global manufacturers this may even vary across individual business units of the same company.

Technical translations can often be out of context and with minimal reference materials. For example, the English term “valve” can be translated into French as either Valve, Vanne, Clapet, Soupape, Robinet and maybe others, depending on the context. Creation and maintenance of a clearly structured glossary increases consistency of the terminology used across various industrial sectors and business units.

Consistent terminology pays off in many ways:

  • Accelerated Translation Processes: Translators spend less time researching terminology.
  • Smoother Review Process: Client reviewers do not need to spend as much time at the review stage because key terminology is incorporated into their glossary.
  • Increased Brand Value: The greatest benefit is that consistent terminology increases the overall quality of your content and ultimately your brand image.

Managing terminology is not a simple dictionary filling exercise. It demands client input and LSP guidance, especially in relation to approving terms. There are various methods which can be used to produce a termbase for a specific client. One common problem technical translators face is being overwhelmed by a termbase packed full of non-technical terms: colors, languages, surnames and even days of the week. Such non-technical items should naturally be avoided in the termbase: they are not necessary for either translators or clients. Instead, value should be placed on ensuring that key technical terms are integrated into the client-specific glossary.

My preferred method for terminology management is to extract key technical terms from source documentation either manually or through using a specialist tool, such as MultiTerm Extract. The translator is then provided with an Excel table of terms which he/she will be translating in the project in question – and simply populates the list. New terms are then added to the client’s glossary with the approval status of “pending approval”.

Client approval of the translated terms is essential. For example, a leading weighing solutions manufacturer translates the German term “Waage” as “scales” for translations used its industrial business units; however, as “balance” for its pharmaceutical units. Such critical differences in terminology would be challenging to relay to the translation teams, if they were not added to a client-specific termbase. The termbase actively suggests translations to key technical terms along with critical information regarding the source term. In the above instance, translators are provided with the business unit details as well as the fact that the term is marked as either approved/pending approval/rejected by the client, enabling translators to make well informed decisions.

Undoubtedly the most important role is played by the client’s in-country reviewers who are in a position to actively approve the translations provided or even offer alternative suggestions for different business units or industrial sectors.

Welocalize has its own dedicated in-house teams to create and then continually maintain client-specific glossaries for all key language pairs. As a company with many global clients in the manufacturing sector, we recognize the importance of effective terminology management.