This article was originally posted on the Wordbee blog. Wordbee are the makers of the translation management system and CAT tool for translators.
Taking a cue from the survey and the analysis presented in the TAUS article The Realistic Perspective about the future of the translation industry, I want to contribute to the discussion starting first of all with two basic questions:
- What are the main concerns of LSPs?
2. What can LSPs practically do to become more resilient and future-proof?
1. What are the main concerns of LSPs?
For some LSPs the main issue is survival, and the first objective of survival is facing the competition. In what we hope is the aftermath of the pandemic, competition is fiercer than ever and clients are even more demanding: A typical LSP whose activities revolve around the traditional TEP (translation/editing/proofreading) process might find itself struggling to stay afloat and to respond to the new challenges and the necessary changes.
Other LSPs are waiting or searching for the next big thing. But how can you spot the next big thing? How can you decide whether it is innovative? And how do you prepare in advance for innovation?
Finally, more adventurous LSPs choose to reorganize their activities with a series of M&A. If affordable (let’s be honest, the financial resources needed for M&A are significant), this strategy can lead to the gain of a larger part of the market, an increase in capability and a diversification of the services.
2. What can LSPs do to become more resilient and future-proof?
For the above-described issues, translation automation represents the best long-term solution.
Translation automation is essential to manage, change and adapt not only the IT infrastructure, but also the processes through which the company operates. The goal of an automated company is to work faster in order to achieve higher profit margins.
Furthermore, by simplifying change through automation you can save time and energy to dedicate to innovation.
Translation automation to improve and thrive
Start by fully integrating the existing MT systems within your workflow and develop ancillary services like post-editing.
Transform your translation management system (TMS) into a full-fledged business management system through a scalable and modular single point of solution. Here are a few suggestions:
- Workflow customization – Customize your translation project workflows based on content typology and clients’ requirements, to work faster and more efficiently.
- Project management – Push automation a bit further by automatically assigning the job to a translator in a specific group or planning deadlines and automatic kickoffs.
- Connectors – Make extensive use of middleware to connect websites, CMSs, and DMSs to your TMS to reduce time-to-market and increase savings thanks to optimal re-use of translated content.
- Invoicing – Automate your invoice processing to reduce costs associated with manual data entry and processing times. Exploit your TMS for one-click creation of invoices, quotes, POs, and so on.
Translation automation as a competitive advantage
Nobody knows where the next big thing will come from. While the tourism industry is in big trouble, tech giants are under the spotlight. But there are few segments that have emerged as a lifeline and that are collecting resources and increasing their cash flow. Think of banks, food and e-commerce companies, the pharmaceutical industry and other service verticals.
Now more than ever agility is key. Organizations in general, and most specifically companies that suffered during the pandemic, are not willing to resume business as usual.
To start a dialogue with prospects and collaborate with existing customers as a tech-savvy partner, go for autonomous implementation of data-driven solutions. Again, here are some suggestions:
- Vendor management – Implement a sound vendor management strategy to get the most out of vendors in terms of productivity and profitability. For example, use business data and KPIs in vendor selection and vetting.
- Business analytics and KPIs – Get the most out of other business data: put it to good use to spot trends and opportunities as well as identify areas for improvement.
- Quality – Adopt a holistic approach spanning the whole translation process by integrating predictive quality and quality control. For example, set rules to determine when revision is necessary as well as the necessary level of revision within the quality control steps. Put automatic checkers in place to identify and notify errors.
Translation automation as a harmonizing element
LSPs seeking reorganization, e.g. through M&A, are aiming at strengthening their customer base and consolidating their vendor base.
In M&A, technology is as important as finance and operations. Companies may have different platforms that must be harmonized. In this respect, interoperability is crucial and might have to be investigated in advance.
In this case, a translation technology supplier offering maximum flexibility is a crucial partner to provide you with a very scalable platform, where a few adjustments might be enough to meet any customization requirements.