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.