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.