Improving time-to-market around the world

 

“Eyas Information, Inc.” provides business intelligence services to customers around the world. Eyas is, however, growing quickly, and demand for its services (whatever they might be) is global. As a result, Eyas needs to deliver technical content in multiple languages.

Eyas has tried to limit localization costs by sending content to its in-country sales teams and letting them do the translation work. This approach looks reasonable from a budgetary point of view, but the result has been lengthy delays in translations, and the eventual results are of low quality. The company is now looking into using a professional localization services provider.

In this scenario, a strong business case will help to mitigate the sting of localization invoices. Currently, translated content (when available) lags behind the initial English text by at least three months. We can quantify the lost revenue of those three months, along with the potential customers lost because Eyas does not provide information in their preferred language.

The problem

Eyas has hesitated to enter new international markets because of the potential expense of localization. But a competitor, “Hawkeye’s House of Hints,” is beginning an aggressive expansion into worldwide markets. Eyas needs to ramp up localization to compete, or cede the non-English markets to Hawkeye. The rival companies are led by two men with long-standing animosity. Not competing is out of the question both for strategic and personal reasons.

 

The solution

Ultimately, Eyas wants to reach a point where new content is available in all supported languages at the same time. (The localization industry calls this “sim-ship” for simultaneous shipment.)

To begin delivering professional translations, add new languages, and (eventually) achieve sim-ship while keeping localization costs reasonable, the following needs to happen:

  • Set up an efficient authoring process for source language content.
  • Use best practices for creating localization-friendly content (simple sentence structure, no jargon, culturally neutral content).
  • Ensure that formatting is completely automated (preferred) or heavily templatized.
  • Use a localization services provider rather than ad hoc internal resources. (A professional in-house localization group is also a viable option, but only for organizations with heavy localization requirements.)
  • Use topic-based authoring (rather than book-based authoring). Ship topics for localization as they are ready instead of waiting for deliverables to be completed.

Publishing workflow optimized for sim-ship

The business case

Table 1. Estimated costs
Item Year 1 Year 2
Author training on writing modular content, using templates, avoiding overrides, and other single-sourcing concepts $5,000
Edit content to use best practices for localization (5,000 pages @ 10 pages/hour @ $50/hour) $25,000
Clean up formatting template in print production tool $2,000
Content localization (5,000 pages, 4 languages, $0.25 per word per language, average 250 words per page); 20% updates the second year $1,250,000 $250,000
TOTAL $1,282,000 $250,000
Clearly, the costs outside of localization will be a rounding error. After scraping themselves off the floor, Eyas management take a look at the gains from the more professional localization approach.

Table 2. Cost savings and revenue generated
Item Cost savings and revenue generated (Year 1) Cost savings and revenue generated (Year 2)
Faster time to market in 4 locations (delay reduced from 12 weeks to 2 weeks; assumes product revenue of $5M per year total across 4 locations) $10,000
Revenue growth due to providing professional content in the local language (10% of $5M per year) $500,000 $550,000
TOTAL $510,000 $550,000

With a professional localization process, Eyas takes the delay in localization from 12 weeks down to 2 weeks. That means that revenue starts flowing in 10 weeks earlier than before. This is worth approximately $10,000 (1% of $1M). Eyas sees a positive return sometime in Year 3 of this business case.

 

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