In-Country Review (ICR) with a TMS: A Strategy for LSPs

This article was originally published on the Wordbee website. Wordbee are the makers of the popular translation management system and CAT tool.

If I were to ask, “Do LSPs play a role in in-country review?” you would probably reply with another question, “Why are you asking this?” Translation buyers that choose an in-country review usually have local offices branches or representatives in specific countries to whom they can entrust this task. And these buyers are typically large organizations. So, how can LSPs contribute to an efficient in-country review?

In-country review within the localization workflow  

In a previous article we wrote that, from the perspective of a translation buyer, the in-country review is an extra step in the localization workflow. It’s also important to note that an in-country review comes with a significant cost because it makes the already laborious TEP workflow longer and because, if not conducted correctly, it might not sort out the expected results.

Nevertheless, the in-country review may be deemed as a necessary step to make sure that the localized content doesn’t just comply with locales and local conventions, but it is also aligned with the organization’s national/regional marketing policies. Think, for example, of the hyper-localization strategy by Coca Cola to sell its products on the Indian market.

Oftentimes a large organization entrusts the in-country review to its local subject–matter experts or sales/marketing department employees, who may not be happy to be loaded with some extra (and apparently irrelevant) work.

Here things could get messy: A translator or reviewer looks at the written content based on grammar, terminology, style and so on, without any specific knowledge of the product or the regional market; on the other hand, a local subject-matter expert or a marketing/sales representative could ignore aspects such as the localization requirements or a specific house style dictated by the translation buyer. To prevent a potential mishap, it is important to set and communicate the predefined localization requirements to all parties involved. In this respect, we recommend creating a localization kit.

Things could get even messier. For example, there could also be the case of a large organization that doesn’t necessarily have regional branches and staff with the knowledge and the ability to conduct in-country reviews. What the organization in question might consider, though, is the option of working with a local agent (for example, a representative from the sales network) who will take on this task. In turn, this local agent could select a local LSP and entrust them tasks like review, back translation, and/or linguistic evaluation. These are steps that play a significant role in the life science sector, within the localization of medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and clinical trials.

It’s exactly at this point that an LSP making use of the right technology can play an efficient and crucial role.

TMS as an assembly point

Let’s suppose we follow a traditional localization workflow: a multi-language vendor (MLV) sends the localization project to its trusted single language vendors (SLVs). In turn, the SLVs send the project to the freelancers. Once the freelancers send the completed project back to base (i.e. to the MLV via the various SLVs), the localized content can be delivered to the customer and assigned for in-country review either to the client’s subject-matters experts or to a chosen representative working with a local LSP.

The translation management system (TMS) becomes then the convergence point of all tasks, a combination of knowledge and collaboration. 

The content of the localization project never leaves the TMS. It is simply made available, simultaneously, to all parties involved, i.e. the translation buyer, its representative(s), the MLV(s) and SLVs and the freelancers. 

Bringing order into a complex localization workflow

There are a few strategies to be considered to make sure an LSP can run a smooth in-country review in an already complex (and sometimes messy) workflow. First of all, data centralization within the TMS, i.e. the efficient use and management of data, is crucial, because it helps both translation buyers and LSPs to improve on workflows and final results.

The TMS needs to be integrated within the translation workflow and not the other way around. For this reason, the TMS must be flexible and adaptable to all the existing business processes. For example, the localization workflow should be set based on the content typology and project requisites.

It’s paramount to collect a localization kit within the TMS. A localization kit will consist of the following:

  • Localization project requirements
  • Guidelines for localization and review
  • One or more style guides, for example, the translation buyer’s style guide and the MLV translation style guide
  • Other reference material deemed useful

Customizable quality assurance (QA) tools should be made available to all parties. Suppliers’ QA checks at various stages of the workflow can help catch any problem or issue before it happens. 

During the linguistic review/evaluation step the person responsible should have the option of leaving comments on a segment level or on a general level, to which every person involved in the localization project should have access (possibly in real-time). A sentiment analysis option could be a nice extra.


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