15 July 2015

Localisation: the state of the art #1

Why we shouldn't translate marketing ... and we do it anyway, by Wayne Bourland*, Director of Dell's Global Localization Team, appears on page 6 of the latest issue of Brand Quarterly.
* Wayne Bourland is recognized as an agent for change, driving innovation and process efficiencies across global organizations. He is currently responsible for translation of Dell.com and marketing collateral for more than 100 organizations across Dell. With no background in linguistics, he approaches the industry with a different perspective, focusing on end value and customer acceptance versus traditional industry KPIs.
Here's an article that clearly demonstrates first, that you do not need to come up through the ranks of the language services industry to become an innovative, perceptive leader in localisation; second, that some localisation team leaders working for major corporations have gained deep understanding of how wordworkers and their workflows go about their assigned duties; and third, that some suppliers are meeting the needs of these leaders.

Here are some excerpts:

Since I can't add my own bold or highlighting to these excepts allow me to rephrase three particularly perceptive observations:
  • If our sole aim was to produce the best possible copy in local languages, we wouldn't translate. Instead, wwould use local in-house copywriters or a local ad agency. 
  • We invest significant effort in creating great marketing copy in the source language then turn it over to a translation team and expect the same level of quality at a fraction of the cost, not to mention delivery in a matter of days.
  • What? We paid $350 for the translation – compared to the $75k invested in the source and gave the translators three whole days – compared to the six weeks and 19 different exec reviews for the original – and it isn't spot on!? Who did the translation? They should be fired! Let's get a new vendor!! Note: $75k is 214 times $350.

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