Content in the language of the customer is fundamental to the success of global market expansion. Publishers and information providers who are eyeing up revenues from new regional markets are taking a good hard look at their content management and publishing systems and processes. Are they capable of producing multilingual products and services efficiently? Do they support the delivery of a quality content experience in the target language? Many publishing and production environments fall short in the unforgiving light of multilingual requirements. When it’s time to reevaluate and retool, addressing symptoms of language afterthought syndrome serves as a good starting point for improvement.
Language afterthought syndrome is the pattern of treating language requirements as ancillary post-processes rather than as integral to the end-to-end flow of content from creation through end-user consumption. It’s the result of considering language issues tactically rather than strategically. Companies that leave localization and other language considerations as afterthoughts (or “bolt ons”) put the success of their global strategies at risk.
Here are five common symptoms that an organization is suffering from language afterthought syndrome:
- Content products and services are late to market. Revenues from new markets are pushed out due to the time it takes to translate the content from the source language into the target languages.
- Content should be reusable, but isn’t. Regional marketing and production teams waste time recreating content that already exists and then translating it for local audiences out of their own budgets.
- Time and money is spent on retrofitting translated content to meet regulatory requirements. Content products and services in regulated markets are often hand-crafted at great expense.
- Growth is stalled due to inability to “be local.” Multilingual content infrastructures that can’t scale result in maxed-out language capability, thereby constraining market opportunity.
- The cost of preparing and translating content for regional markets is mysterious. Many companies don’t know what it costs to serve global markets, often due to decentralization and lack of visibility into what happens within regional operations.
The key to overcoming language afterthought syndrome is recognizing that language issues impact all functions within the global content supply chain, not just localization and translation. By including language considerations in content processes from the very first stages-from planning and preparation before content creation begins-enterprises have reduced the costs, accelerated delivery time, and improved the quality of the multilingual content they deliver.Publishing